Thomas Jefferson favored amending the Constitution by “taking from the federal government the power of borrowing. “ He also favored a requirement that taxes would have to be sufficient for each generation to pay its own debts. Managing debt has always been a fundamental problem of American democracy. . . .
Searching for solace, I contacted Robert L. Bixby, executive director of the longtime debt watchdog organization, The Concord Coalition, and the leading expert on debt that I know.
No solace there. Bixby is as troubled as I am. “The debt outlook is now worse than its ever been,” he said, adding: “Our decision makers seem blindly fixated on keeping the offices open of a government that’s going broke.”
He remains skeptical of a balanced budget amendment. (Wyoming legislators have approved such a proposal; Montana’s have voted it down.) Bixby argues that once in the Constitution, the courts would have to decide questions of solvency, thus transferring the power of the purse to unelected judges, and giving the death knell of our representative democracy.
To Bixby it boils down to the people and our elected leaders “making fiscal responsibility a priority.”