Is the U.S. National Debt a Partisan Issue?

No, of course not.  But that doesn’t stop every member of Congress from pointing the finger at their political rivals.  In the matter of expanding the National Debt, both Democrats and Republicans are guilty as sin, and they all know that they can get away with it by blaming the other team.

Here’s how the out of control budgets work:

1.  In order to get political endorsements and/or the cooperation of Super PACs, several candidates make backroom deals to add pork spending, targeted subsidies, or targeted tax breaks/credits to the budget as a rider.

2.  The other party spots these sweetheart deals and makes a big fuss about how wrong they are.

3.  The Congress People compromise with each other such that all of their sweetheart deals are a little less sweet, but the budget is still left with a massive deficit.

4.  The budget passes and the debt goes up.


A casual examination of this process reveals that there isn’t really anything in the structure of the U.S. government to prevent that process from repeating indefinitely.  That’s why I think that the solution is a Constitutional amendment that adds some kind of check or force that pushes Congress to control the National Debt. I’ve proposed penalties to Congress people’s salaries for failing to balance the budget or tax breaks that are triggered by funding the National Debt.  Both of those methods are basically gentle feedback control systems.  But there are also other options.  For instance, an amendment could be made that explicitly makes it an impeachable and criminal offense to impede the passing of a balanced budget by adding riders.  But I’m not in favor of such methods because I suspect that they would be misused to impede the members of Congress from performing their duties, and that is not among my goals.

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