The Instigator
Pro (for)
12 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
16 Points

Balanced Budget Amendment

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/11/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,430 times Debate No: 20346
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (5)




I will be arguing that there should be a Balanced Budget Amendment for the Constitution that would make it unconstitutional for a President to operate outside of a Congressionally approved and balanced budget with the single exception being the outbreak of war.


No ad hominem
No posting new arguments in the final round

First Round is for acceptance.



Hi. First off, don't fear ad hominem from me, I'm quite docile. This is also my first debate, so even though it is irrational for me to ask you to let me win or go really easy on me, please don't attack the mistakes I make in formatting my arguments, etc. Obviously you may attack any mistakes in my case though, so here goes...

To begin, I completely agree something needs to be done. The debt is spiraling out of control faster and faster. However, restricting the president's power is the last thing we need to do. Excepting rare instances, even rarer recently, congress tends not to react very quickly or together. Last fall, as the United States approached the preset debt ceiling, it took congress until the day before the deadline (I think, doing this part from memory) to raise the ceiling. If they had stalled just a little longer, they could have literally sent the world's economy into a downward spiral, and as it was their deliberation was listed by Standard and Poor's as one of the reasons for the credit downgrade from AAA to AA+.
As the world's largest economy by far, the United States has a responsibility not only to its citizens as every country does, but to the entire world. With today's globalization, economies of all nations are intertwined as never before. Not long ago, Greece running broke would have made the .01% of Americans who invested in it lose money, but it wouldn't be America's problem. Now, their debt crisis has sent shock waves through Wall Street and inducing panic over Europe's future. Greece is a country with a GDP roughly 2% of America's. If their collapse can accomplish what it did, how horrible would the results of an American default be? Yet even in the face of disaster, congress procrastinated until the very last minute. Several politicians, mainly tea party members, used this opportunity to blackmail the other members of congress into agreeing to some of their terms.
This goes to show that Congress is incapable of 1) reaching a decision in a timely and efficient manner, and 2) reached a unified decision that directly attacks the problem. All congress did with the debt ceiling was move it away. If either party had gotten their way, more money would have been cut from the deficit: Republicans through spending cuts, and Democrats through lesser cuts and slightly higher taxes. As it was, approximately $4 trillion would have been saved over the next decade with either plan, but divisions within congress created a compromise that kept only some spending cuts and eliminated the Democrats' tax increase, roughly halving the amount saved. If we give congress more power to regulate spending, then we will wind up with ill timed poorly effective compromises like in August.
The second problem I see is that your plan allocates for no scenarios but war. This is flawed because other emergencies exist. If another economic crisis as in 2008 arises, congress will likely not be able to act quickly enough to prevent it. Whereas in congress, a lack of majority can derail a bill in one house, and conflicting majorities between senate and the house of representatives can stop nearly all decision making, the president has loyalties to only one party. We need to move towards the system of government and ideas of founding fathers like Alexander Hamilton, whose views have been largely ignored. The president is the most important tool for getting things done efficiently. Even with his limited power and facing opposing majorities in congress, and a poor economy, Obama has kept or is working on 2/3 of his campaign promises, and achieved a compromise on another 10%, with only 12% not kept or working on.
So we can see that congress is incapable of creating effective, efficient bills, and that the president is the greatest force for getting things done, it should be the logical choice not to restrict his (or maybe at some point her) power, but instead increase it to give America a powerful leader who can get things done. (Retaining of course provisions of the constitution allowing the people to vote the president out of office to avoid tyranny)
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for his argument and look forward to a great debate.

As the First Round (Round One) was supposed to be for accepting the debate only I will move into making my opening points.

But I would like to address your point when you say that with a balanced budget amendment Congress would not be able to respond "quickly enough". This is a contradiction for you already said and made a point of Congress being slow so how can a balanced budget amendment (BBA) cause Congress to react slowly when you already stated youself that Congress reacts slowly?

Also before we begin I would like to elucidate what I mean by a Balanced Budget Amendment.

A BBA would call for a yearly budget that either breaks even or operates under a surplus. Such an amendment would make deficite spending unconstitutional.


Living Within Your Means

In the real world families, companies and buisnesses all must live reasonably if they wish to survive. If a family spends itself into debt they are likely to lose their home. If a buisness or bank overspends too quickly it is liable to go out of buisness. My question is why is our government above this? The answer is that it shouldn't be. Obama (and it's not just Obama but every President since Woodrow Wilson) alone has added 3.3 trillion dollars of deficite spending to our budgets as of March, 2011. [1] This breaks a previously held record for an entire presidency. Where does all of that deficite go? It gets added onto our debt which is now over 15.2 trillion dollars! [2] And is 130,000 dollars per tax payer. [2] These numbers are ridiculous and irresponsible.

If you want to talk about a financial crisis, that is a financial crisis. If a company was 15 trillion dollars in debt or even 15 billion dollars in debt it would be in serious trouble.

Solving the Debt Problem

A BBA would solve the debt problem by making obtaining debt illegal. There won't be any or very much debt if deficite spending is illegal. Whatever money the government is able to take in is the money it is allowed to spend. No more no less. Without the ability to incur debt we unsurprisingly take on no debt.

This would require a serious cutting of government down to sizes that are actually managable. There would have to be a reordering of priorites and the destruction of several social programs in order to achieve this. Just as debt is toxic to a family or company debt is also toxic to the United States and the combination of debt and deficite spending is what has caused the financial crisis you described.

But a BBA would solve this.

Growing Debt

The debt has been rising by an average of 1 trillion dollars a year for the past ten years. If this trend continues we will have aquired 25 trillon dollars of debt by 2025 which will be 66% of all total global debt. [3]

Why should the government live outside of the laws of economics the rest of us have to abide by?
Why should we incur debt that will harm our contry for years to come?

They shouldn't.
We shouldn't.

A Balanced Budget Amendment is just common sense. Present a budget with black ink not red and stop the deficits, stop the debt.

Thank you.



Sorry for the misunderstanding about round one.

First, to defend my own point. A BBA would slow down congress indirectly. I gave the example of approaching the debt ceiling, which, I think we can agree, is highly relevant. The deadline imposed by the debt ceiling exacerbated existing rifts within Congress. The rifts in turn slowed down decision making. What a BBA would do is act as sort of a "mini debt ceiling". As Congress approaches their limit, they will begin (or rather continue, but worse) squabbling over bills to excessive degrees. You use the example of a family in your first contention, and I think that is a suitable parallel, so I will use it as well. Let's say that the primary provider for the family (I realize it's stereotypical but I'm going to use the father) gets a bonus. At first, it's "Yay, let's buy stuff!" as the money runs out, the family has to start choosing more. Whereas in the beginning Jane could get a new blow dryer AND Johnny could get a new baseball glove, when the money starts to run low, they begin to argue over who gets it. The same thing would happen on a larger scale as the limit's approached. Now you have Republicans and Democrats fighting for the rest of the money, neither willing to concede. We know this happens because (unfortunately) very similar circumstances to what you propose recently occurred and these were the results. Introducing a BBA would be like creating a debt limit (I know it's not DEBT, but it's the same idea) that would be even more recurrent than the one existing now.

Further regarding your first point, cannot a family apply for a loan? Nearly everyone, when buying a new car or house, will take out a loan for it. They don't have the $300,000 for that new colonial on the market, but they can still buy it because they can get a loan for the money. They will receive the loan because the bank trusts them to pay it back. The same things happen on a larger scale. The United States, until recently, had the highest possible credit rating, meaning people trust us to pay back what we borrow. Even when it was downgraded, it is still extremely good. As Jon Stewart points out, (paraphrasing, but it's pretty close) "We went from AAA to AA+? Why is everyone so worried? If you go out to get a porno and find out its only XX+ instead of XXX, are you really THAT disappointed?". And the fact is, we received said downgrade because of congress' inability to function effectively and efficiently under the imposition of a deadline. Experts estimate that the tipping point of the United States' debt is at about 180% of the GDP, and right now we are at around 100%. Where we are is sustainable. Japan is one of the world's strongest economies, and their debt is roughly 200% of their GDP.

Your points about the acceleration of debt is a problem, but you do not account for changing circumstances. A very large portion of the increase in debt is due to the war in the middle east, and the recession. The war on terror has cost $1.3 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan alone. That cost is drastically reduced with the complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq, and decreasing levels in Afghanistan. (By the way, that is not military spending over those years, it is money spent specifically on the war on terror and does not include domestic upkeep, aid packages, etc.) The second major cost in that period is the recession. The 2008 bailout alone cost $700 billion with $150 billion in added corollaries introduced in congress. Hundreds of billions more have been spent on stimulus packages, and other economic band aids. So we can see that rather than being a continuing exponential increase in debt, the numbers you provided in fact represent a peak .

The number we need to really worry about is not in dollars but in percents. If America incurred another hundred billion in debt, we'd barely feel it. But if say Nepal incurred a hundred billion dollars of debt, they would be completely devastated. Where it is now, the debt as a percent of GDP is sustainable, and according to
is projected to level out in coming years and then decline to lower, more normal levels.

Another problem with a BBA is that it makes long term spending difficult. Congress would have to account for future scenarios in determining spending projects. If they guess the GDP would be higher than it ends up being, there would be a budget shortfall that could result in painful cuts to programs we need because we cannot support them at the time, even if it just for a year.

So, to reiterate my points, imposing a BBA would act detrimentally to Congress' ability to function, it is unnecessary because the current and projected debt exists at sustainable levels, and that it would cause complications in long term budgets plans. It is for these reasons that we can plainly see a BBA is not viable, recommendable, or desirable.
Debate Round No. 2


No worries about Round One, now onto Round Three.

To refute your first point:

The example of a bonus is ill fitting. Tax revenue is not a bonus, even though that's how government has treated it lately, its the livlihood of the government.

Yes there will be decisions that will have to be made but by the end of sorting through the tax revenues all programs that need funding will get funding. While Jane might not get a new hairdryer Dad's car will get gas. There will have to be choices but choices in the name of fiscal responsibility are good. There will be pain and there will be fighting but at the end of the day, as you said yourself, a resolution was passed in the nick of time. That's how our government runs, obviously it runs this way anyways even without a BBA so why can't we ask it to run responsibly?

In fact your entire point has been proved false by several studies.

"Importantly,these studies find that stringency does matter for fiscal policy. For example, Poterba (1994) shows that states with more stringent restraints were quicker to reduce spending and/or raise taxes in response to negative revenue shocks than those without." [4]

These stuides show that states and organizations with stricter fiscal policy are actually faster at responding to emergencies that require funding than looser fiscal policies.

To refute your second point:

What you are refering to here is responsible lending. A reasonable loan to a debt free family who is recieving steady income. This is not a $5,000,000 loan to a family who already is in debt 15 million. A bank would never make such a loan. Like I said in Round One there would be areas that loans would be acceptible such as wartime.

Also when a family takes out a loan that $300,000 doesn't factor into their budget, the morgage payments do. So if the government wanted to take out a loan they would have to factor that payment into their balanced budget. If they want to borrow money thats fine but the morgage payments so to speak must then be factored into the balanced budget.

To refute your third point:

The debt problem is a problem that is due to deficit spending. All of our presidents since Reagan have operated under deficit spending, even Clinton who supposedly ran a "surplus" still managed to increase the debt. [1] In 2011 we had a 1.3 trillion dollar deficit! [2] There was no stimulus spending this year my friend. We in fact have pulled out of Iraq and are long past the shockwaves of the initial market collapse in 2008 and still manage to add 1.3 trillion dollars to the debt.

Your point about long term spending is irrelevent since fiscal situation, with budgets or not, is different every year. Families, companies and the government all spend and gain different amounts different years. In fact a balanced budget would help long term spending because with strict guidelines for monetary spending making it easier to imagine how money will be spent because there will no longer be huge programs that gobble up infinite amounts of money year after year because it would have to adhere to a budget.

Also Japan has a socialist style government and focus on much different aspects of society than we do here in the US so the idea doesn't transfer well. And if you look in the past 30 years Japan has had serious fiscal troubles especially in the 80's and 90's.

The Idea That Debt is Okay

In our day and age the idea of debt isn't bad and is even in some cases considered good. In the American tradition debt was always considered bad and every president leading up to Woodrow Wilson attempted to bring it down to manageable levels. Andrew Jackson even eliminated the national debt in 1835 [3] with no ill affects to the country and was and should still be lauded for such an achievement. We don't need debt, we don't need loans and we don't need deficit spending. Debt is bad, it's not good in any number. No one wants to be in debt so introducing something to lessen or prevent this is good.


Logic says that an equation must be balanced. Both sides must be equal. The thought that our government is operating outside of this and spending money that we don't have in amounts that they have been is staggering. It's ludicrous, dangerous and it doesn't make sense. Logic tells us that in the equation x-3=0 x must equal 3 but in our equation x equals whatever we want it to be and then we write IOU underneath the answer.

A balanced budget amendment is good fiscal policy, it's common sense and it will help to stabilize an uncertain and unstable economic situation.

[1] Broke, Glen Beck 2011


Defending my first point:
The example of the bonus does work. Yes tax revenue is constant, but with a BBA, spending will not be. If something needs to get done, but there's not enough money left, it has to wait until there is. any new program would need to be put on hold until the money is ready, and when there isn't immediately enough, nothing gets done. As we approach the end of the fiscal year, we would indeed be running out of money, and could not do anything. Also, there is a fundamental difference between a deadline and stringent economic policies. Stringent policies that you mentioned are constant, and not what we are discussing. This debate is about imposing an incredibly strict limit every year on what congress spends. As I have successfully shown, with an example more parallel to this case than yours, congress does not act efficiently when nearing a deadline.

A responsible loan is not always or necessarily to a debt free family. People who are in debt because they haven't finished their house payments can still get a loan for a car. Also, it's not a $5 million loan to a family $15 million in debt. I don't know any country willing to loan us a lump sump of $5 trillion. It is instead micro loans, (relative to overall size) that are being paid off successfully, and that family $15 million in debt is making $15 million a year, and paying off that debt responsibly.

Our debt incurred this year wasn't because of the examples I gave, but it still proves my point. Congress had the opportunity to eliminate trillions in debt and failed because of the conflicts between parties and the obstinacy of tea party members who refused to policies that would have slashed the deficit. When pressure is put on congress, they do not rise to the occasion but rather crumple under it. With a BBA, that kind of pressure would be put on congress again and again, which would cripple their barely existent competence. Japan also works as an example because regardless of their type of government, countries still lend them money despite their debt. This proves my point that our much lower debt (relative to GDP) is sustainable.

On to your points. I'm in no way saying debt is good, which you seem to be refuting, but instead putting forth the idea it is acceptable if kept at a manageable level, which it is at as I have proven, thus your point is null.

Your logic point is completely invalid. I don't see a mathematical equation as a parallel, but if you insist it is, then you are still wrong. An equation can be altered in so many ways that it is unrecognizable from the original, and changed on one side to force it to work. Sometimes answers aren't even real. We are currently manipulating the equation so that right now there is more on our side than theirs, but it is still the same when broken down. Also, we have been living with trade deficits since before the civil war, and most industrialized nations have deficits as well. Instead of reducing the ways the government helps people, we could achieve an even greater effect by increasing how much citizens help their government by eliminating the Bush Tax cuts which cost us more than any stimulus package. Obviously there are other solutions, so why should we choose the one that exacerbates proven consequences of actions and decreases the utility of the government?
Debate Round No. 3


First Point:

I still do not understand your argument. I am saying that there is nothing wrong with imposing strict limits on Congress's spending. Budgets are not a deadline. Perhaps it would be better if we put up the definition of a budget.

budget - An estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time. [1]

An estimate of income and expenditure over a set period of time. Sounds reasonable to me. In this case the set period of time would be one year and the income would be total tax revenue from the previous year with the expenditure being the money spent on government programs.

I don't see the idea of a deadline anywhere in this definition.

There is nothing wrong with asking Congress to spend as much as it takes in. You are adamantly fighting this idea.

Second Point:

Let me rephrase, I am sorry for the confusion. I understand that no one is loaning us $5 trillion dollars but my point still stands. Who wants to loan anyone any money when they are so far in debt?

And the only reason we are paying off the debt "responsibly" is because we keep borrowing more money to make our debt payments! We are asking for another 1.2 trillion dollar increase to the debt ceiling. [2] Certainly we will be "paying off our debt" while in the process of borrowing more money. A BBA would solve this problem can't you see? Without the problem of continuously adding to our debt through deficits we will be able to actually start paying off our debt "responsibly" because right now its not responsible. It might be being paid but at the expense of continuous borrowing.

Third Point:

First I do not appreciate your low shot at the Tea Party because we have had a spending problem throughout the entire last century. Attacking a single group in this won't solve anything. There was no proposed plan for cutting the debt. Taxes would have helped lessen the deficit and nothing more. The debt has to be paid down consistently over time without incurring any more of it to be successful. The Democrats offered a similar deal to Reagan in the 80's, x in tax raises for y in tax cuts but the cuts never came. So don't attack the Tea Party for an ongoing and deep seated problem.

Once again I don't understand how a BBA "cripples" Congress. Up until recently Congress ran under a balanced budget just fine. You seem to think that cutting programs will "cripple" Congress which is simply not true.

Also, once again you claim that it's okay to have debt by citing a place with tremendous debt but still functions. Debt is not good. You said so yourself. So why keep allowing an institution run under crippling debts and deficits when you can cap and limit that practice? Stop defending debt.

"Instead of reducing the ways the government helps people, we could achieve an even greater effect by increasing how much citizens help their government by eliminating the Bush Tax cuts which cost us more than any stimulus package"

This statement is so flawed I don't know where to begin.

What happened to "Ask not what the country can do for you but instead ask what you can do for your country?" and no JFK was not talking about paying more taxes. The government does not truly help anyone. They vote buy plain and simple. The government doesn't know who you are or what your problems are and most importantly they don't care. So don't get preachy.

Bush Tax Cuts:

A classic democratic attack. But here are the facts.

Under George W. Bush’s “tax cuts for the rich” the rich paid more in taxes in 2005 than any time in the prior 20 years. In fact, as the Wall Street Journal noted, thanks to George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, the richest one percent went from paying 25% of all income taxes in 1990 to 39% in 2005. The richest 5% went from paying 44% of all income taxes in 1990 to paying 60% of all income taxes in 2005.

In 1980, when the top income tax rate was 70%, the richest 1% paid only 19% of all income taxes; now, with a top rate of 35%, they pay more than double that share.

More crucially, after the 2001 initial tax cuts, the annual growth rate went from 0.3% in 2001 to 2.5% in 2002. By 2004, GDP growth was the highest in 20 years. [3][4]

AS you can see the Bush Tax Cuts cost us nothing, in fact they helped bring in massively more revenue than higher taxes did in 1980. In fact if the tax cuts were so bad why did President Obama extend them?

You say obviously there are other solutions (to the financial problem I'm assuming). So I beg of you, please present some.

Until then, I will stick to defending the premise of a balanced budget amendment. The government can function on a balanced budget and if the system was working there would be no need for me to suggest this but something isn't working so why not make it work?

Live within your means.

[1] Google Definitions


I'm sorry to have misrepresented my argument. I don't mean to say that a BBA would impose a deadline. but the constraints it would place on congress would have the same effect as one. As I mentioned earlier, as the spending limit for the year approached, congress would become deadlocked over how to spend the rest of the money. Because a BBA would mean only so much could be spent in a time period, congressmen would push their own agenda first, and filibuster any other proposals that would take the place of their own. This obstinacy is what will, as has been observed recently, result from a strict boundary for congress.

Also, I am not fighting the idea that it is OK for congress to spend as much as it takes in, I am fighting the idea that not doing so is a crippling, unshakable affliction.

In terms of paying off our debt, a BBA is unnecessary. Did you know it is possible to spend more than we take in and simultaneously decrease the debt? If we take in ten dollars, and spend fifteen, we have negative five dollars and increase the debt by that much. But, if ten of the dollars we spent went towards paying off the debt, we would actually have five dollars less debt. Obviously the ratios in that example are off, but the premise still stands. A BBA is completely unnecessary to reduce debt.

In terms of the third point, I'm sorry if I unintentionally insulted you, but I do not in any way see it as a "low shot". I in no way intended to "attack the tea party for an ongoing and deep seated problem". What I meant to do was reference the actions of politicians elected as tea party candidates preventing an effective solution from being reached. This is not a point of view I made up just to attack tea party members. Here is a quote from Standard & Poor's memo regarding the credit downgrade: "Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act". This makes the same points that I did earlier, and shows that I was right. Whether or not this reason is valid is irrelevant. The fact is, we were downgraded, and this is why, proving my contention.

Now, to defend my point that you quoted. Yes, the government does help people. Free education, transportation, social security, not being invaded by other countries because we have no army are all thanks to the government, so I think yes, it does help people. Secondly, eliminating the Bush tax cuts would provide extra revenue. It's not even a tax hike, it's allowing something that was meant to expire expire. Calling their expiration a tax hike is like calling the end of a store's half off sale a doubling in price. With or without a BBA, extra revenue is good. It would make sense for you to call for the expiration of the cuts as well because their revenue would extend the budget, making a BBA more viable.
Even your evidence works against keeping the Bush tax cuts.
"In 1980, when the top income tax rate was 70%, the richest 1% paid only 19% of all income taxes; now, with a top rate of 35%, they pay more than double that share." This shows that lowering taxes on the super wealthy increases income disparity. It has been proven that increased income disparity has lasting negative effects on society and the economy.[1] Also, Obama extended the Bush tax cuts because all 42 senate republicans signed a pledge to filibuster any and all legislation until that had happened, which supports my earlier criticism of tea party members, though I admit I may have been too narrow and should have blamed all republicans.
As the con, burden of proof does not rest upon me, so I am in no way obligated to provide the examples you ask for, but I will anyways. All we have to do is increase revenue, and/or decrease spending, which can be done without unnecessarily restricting congress' power.
Debate Round No. 4


I understand what you're saying, but what are the implications? We just give Congress as much money as they want to prevent them from fighting? The logic behind such a claim is ridiculous. Give them enough money to prevent them from squabbling? No. Limiting Congress to a certain budget would be beneficial because it would prevent the creation of many pork programs and useless money because the budget won't allow for it.

"Also, I am not fighting the idea that it is OK for congress to spend as much as it takes in, I am fighting the idea that not doing so is a crippling, unshakable affliction."

You're saying that its a good idea but its a bad idea? This statement doesn't make sense. You say you're not fighting the idea but its a bad idea to practice?

Your example of how to borrow money while paying down debt doesn't make sense when put into practical terms. It's an endless circle that makes no logical sense.

Your example in terms of the US government:

Congress spends as much as they want (i.e the fifteen dollars) and then spends every cent they take in paying down the debt that they just incurred.

This example is insanity. Once again you're saying that its okay to be $5 in debt because its not that much so its not that bad. Also this only works if you can control your spending to be relatively close to what you're taking in. So why is it so hard to just spend $10 instead of $15? According to this example you'll continuously lose $5. Say now you're in debt $5, you borrow $15 more, now you're in debt $20 and you pay the $10 you take in on the debt and now you're in debt $10 leading to a steady increase of debt.

Here's a simple solution: you take in $10 and you spend $10.

You're argument about the gridlock in Congress is irrelevant for these reasons.
* Their is gridlock in Congress without a BBA and you seem to think it can't get much worse so how can you prove that it will be worse with a BBA?
* With a BBA there will be no need for debt ceiling increases meaning that even if they do disagree it will trade off, debt ceiling vs. budget. They should be fighting about a budget rather than a debt ceiling.
* Our credit downgrade is irrelevant to the resolution on hand

According to the 10th Amendment the States should be helping people. If the BBA doesn't call for certain public programs then move them to the states as the Constitution intended.

Tax cuts increase revenue! I already proved this with the Bush tax cuts, if you won't go back up and look at the increased revenue numbers then I urge my readers to do so.

tax revenues rose from $244 billion in 1980 to $446 billion in 1989 [1]

With Reagans tax cuts revenue rose due to increased economic growth from tax cuts by 200 billion dollars! Your point is false and irrelevant.

Also your point about income disparity is irrelevant to the resolution.

Your points:

- BBA would increase Congressional gridlock. Not only can you not prove this but many of the things that cause gridlock now days would disappear with the introduction of a BBA.

- Revenue increases can account for the deficit spending. This is false, I've proved this twice with reliable numbers.

- Congress deserves to be able to spend money because debt isn't harmful. Debt is harmful though and Congress does not have to spend in deficit spending.

My points:

Congress can live within its means, balance the budget and run a functioning government. If states want to continue social programs they are free to do so.

Debt is bad, and if we must borrow loan payments and interest can be and must be balanced within the budget.

Congress should not have unlimited borrowing power for it has proven to be reckless and dangerous. Stimulus packages, continuing deficits and a runaway debt is crippling our country. We must reel it in.

This has been a long fruitful debate.

Please use common sense. Congress must live within its means.

Vote Pro.

Thank you.



Firstly I want to thank my opponent for starting this debate on an excellent topics, and even more so for tolerating my lack of experience. I had a good time and learned a lot.

On to the argument. We're not giving congress money for them to get along. We're giving them money so they get along only to get things done. It's irrelevant who in congress likes each other, but when the rifts being members are exacerbated by a restriction like a BBA, we get a deadlock due to opposing views and an unwillingness to compromise effectively, which I have proven is what happens.
Next, I'm not equivocating on or contradicting the same idea, I'm speaking of two separate ones. First, I'm saying it's fine for congress to spend only what they take in; it's not a bad thing. I then say that the idea they should be forced to is not preferable.

Also, my example is not an endless circle and it makes perfect sense. [revenue] - [expenditures] = [balance]
[revenue]=10 [expenditures]= 15, but including ten being "deposited" into [balance] so the equation we get is:
10 - (15-10) = 5. As the phrase goes, numbers don't lie. I have proven it is possible to operate under a deficit while paying off debt. This is irrefutable.

Gridlock argument:
1) I never said things in congress can't get much worse. As was observed during the debt ceiling crisis, they can very easily.
2) Obviously there would be no need for a debt ceiling, except under your war provision, but I wasn't saying that arguments over the debt ceiling were the only cause of deadlock, I listed it as an example. What a BBA would do is impose a mini debt ceiling every year, and as the limit for the year grew closer, politicians would become less and less flexible and willing to effectively compromise. This has been shown to happen and will continue to, and a BBA will exacerbate this disunity.
3) The credit downgrade was an example of the consequences of a deadlocked and stubborn congress. This supports my contention and is thus relevant.

Regarding tax cuts, Reagan actually retracted many of his cuts before they even went into effect because of significant budget shortfall predictions that indicated the annual deficit as a percent of GDP would roughly triple in 6 years. Here is text proving my point regarding revenue increase: "This allowed for a major tax increase, the largest in four decades, in 1982. The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act raised an average of $47 billion in each of the four years after it was enacted.
Over the remainder of his presidency, Reagan would go on to sign a series of such increases"
Also, since the Bush era tax cuts, tax revenue has actually dramatically fallen. For years after the cuts were introduced, tax revenues, both corporate and were negative, and went even further negative later.

Moving on, my point about income disparity is relevant. Firstly, in any discussion about progressive taxation, income disparity is related. Secondly, countries with lower income disparities tend to have higher qualities of life. Sweden, one of the most equal nations in the world, ranks 20 places above the United States in the adjusted UN HDI Index, and beats us in education, quality of life, health, and was ranked as the number one political environment in the world, with the United States falling to an embarrassing and distant 14th. Clearly to improve the lives of its citizens, which government was created to do, income disparity must be decreased. Again, this is relevant because a decrease in Gini coefficient corresponds to an increase in GDP, creating more revenue, and allowing for funding for important programs.

In summary:
My points -
BBA would create inefficiency in congress. I have in fact successfully proven, using relevant and recent examples, that when given a deadline or restriction, congress fails to effectively compromise, and ends up having existing political rifts exacerbated, creating deadlocks, and being bad for the American people.

Revenue increases can counterbalance spending. This makes the most simple sense. If you bring in more, you can spend more without going into debt. This proves that a BBA is unnecessary because other measures can be taken without restricting congress' power and resulting in the negative consequences mentioned above.

The debt is manageable where it is. Again, proven through math. We are making the debt payments on time and debt as a percent of GDP is projected to decrease in coming years.

My opponent's points-
Congress can live within its means. Sure it can, but that doesn't make a BBA necessary. This country has become the most powerful in the world without one; we're doing fine.

Debt is bad, and if we must borrow loan payments and interest can be and must be balanced within the budget. I agree, but again, this doesn't necessitate a BBA. Debt payments are already part of the budget

Congress should not have unlimited borrowing power for it has proven to be reckless and dangerous. Stimulus packages, continuing deficits and a runaway debt is crippling our country. We must reel it in. Congress does not have unlimited borrowing power. They only have as much power as is allowed them by lending nations. Also, the debt is not runaway, I have proved it is manageable. And, even though tax revenue decreased by 57% and individual tax revenue decreased by 22% in '09, the deficit has not been increasing at this rate. So when the economy recovers normal levels, the annual deficit will in fact be drastically reduced, again without need for a BBA.

To conclude: All of my points still stand, and I have successfully refuted all of my opponent's. As Burden of Proof resides with the pro, this was all I had to do. However, seeing as I have both done this and protected my own contentions, I have won this debate, and you should vote con. (I hope that doesn't sound too self-important or pompous, it's just how I learned to conclude an argument)

PS. Once again I want to sincerely thank my opponent for a very interesting round, and hope we can debate again. I feel that very good points were made on both sides of the argument (though I hope a couple more on mine) and can honestly say I leave with much more knowledge on this important subject than I came in with. I look forward to possible debates between us in the future, and hope that we have such an opportunity. Thanks again!
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by qwertsaq345 4 years ago
Then Ron Paul VB'd me, so we're even
Posted by ConservativePolitico 4 years ago
WTF?!?! I got VB'd
Posted by innomen 4 years ago
Looks okay by me.
Posted by ConservativePolitico 4 years ago
I know, I reread my post and didn't see anything about deciding the budget?

Anyways, the bottom line is a balanced budget across the board, I'm sorry if this wasn't made clear. I started this resolution pretty late last night.
Posted by innomen 4 years ago
I don't think it's about 'deciding' the budget, it's about balancing the budget.
Posted by wiploc 4 years ago
Congress decides the budget, not the president. This is already in the Constitution.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I like glen beck but he is to biased, hence the source point. I ive arguments to pro for a few reasons: 1. His format 2. his thorough rebuttal 3. his initial arguments where stronger. good job to both. :)
Vote Placed by DanT 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Both were tied as far as arguments go, but Glenn Beck is not a reliable source; some things he says is spot on other things are pure BS.
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Qwert gave enough reasons why we shouldn't support a bba, but answered in round 1 which is -1 conduct. However, the "living within your means" argument is one that I hear a lot from conservatives (and liberal democrats...and a lot of other people too tbh) yet they all seem to have a strange insight of the comparison between family income and government fiscal policies that I and all my economy lectures seem to lack. Cases like this, as well as others, seemed lacking in evidence, unlike qwert.
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering Teafood's Vote Bomb.
Vote Placed by Teafood 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Using Glen Beck as a source made Pro lose the reliable source. Other then that Pro really made it clear that he is clitless about economics and govenrment