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Balanced Budget Amendment

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/4/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 970 times Debate No: 32078
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
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Thank you, AStevenson, for accepting this debate. I wish you the best of luck in this debate.

Resolved: The US Should Adopt a Balanced Budget Amendment


1) Balanced Budget Amendment - A BBA requires congress to pass a balanced budget for each fiscal year. Currently, there is debate going on in the House and Senate between different versions of the amendment. There is very little difference between the two, however for sake of the debate, I will use the Senate's version found at;

2) Balanced Budget - The overall amount of spending within a budget is equal to or less than the revenue brought in.
3) Should - Ought, is proper

4) Adopt - Put into place


1) Acceptance
2) Opening Statements (ONLY)
3) Rebuttals
4) Rebuttals/Closing Statments


1) If special circumstances arise, one side may ask the other to wait out his or her remaining time.
2) No forfeiting or plagarism is acceptable.
3) Please structure and format your arguments in a way that is easy to follow.
4) No trolling - debaters should have adaquet debating experience.
5) Failure to abide by any points above will result in an automatic loss



Second debate, here we come!
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting this debate on the Balanced Budget Amendment. As another war on the debt limit is looming over us and the fiscal cliff just barely passed over us, we need some serious thoughts on ways to reduce the deficit. One of my proposals is a Balanced Budget Amendment.

Pro 1: The BBA Addresses Chronic Deficit

For the past several years, the United States has been running deficits upwards of $1 trillion or more and there is no end in sight. We are in a period of chronic deficit and it is deficit that we can no longer sustain. As John Adams purportedly said, “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.” [1] These words reign true to this day as we are seeing what is happening in the European Debt Crisis. Figure 1-1 shows how bad the debt has become.

Federal Spending by the Numbers 2012

Sources: Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the U.S. Government, FY 2013: Historical Tables, Table 1.1, February 2012, <a href= (accessed August 8, 2012), and Congressional Budget Office, An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 to 2022, Alternative Fiscal Scenario, August 22, 2012, (accessed August 23, 2012)." /> (accessed August 8, 2012), and Congressional Budget Office, An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 to 2022, Alternative Fiscal Scenario, August 22,
2012, August 23, 2012)." />

Figure 1-1: A table comparing the recent deficits. [2]

So, let’s put this into a different perspective. What if the average income family spent like the federal government? Figure 2-1 shows what the consequences would be of such a family.

In 2010, median family income was $51,360. If a typical family followed the federal government's lead, it would spend $73,319 and put 30 cents of every dollar spent on a credit card. This family would have racked up $325,781 in credit card debt"like a mortgage, only without the house. What credit card company would continue lending money to this family?

Figure 2-1

The data from this graph is from 2010 where the median income family was $51,360.00. If a typical family followed the government’s lead, it would therefore spend 30 cents of every dollar on credit card. This means that the family would have racked up $325,781 in credit card debt – a total equivalent to that of an entire mortgage, only without the house. Who would allow such a family to continue borrowing from them? [3] If such spending is not right for a typical family – what then justifies the federal government to spend in such a manner?

What is the main cause of this problem? It isn’t that we don’t have enough revenue – we simply have too much spending. Figure 3-1 shows the revenue to spending relationships

The main driver behind long-term deficits is government spending, not low revenue. While revenue will surpass its historical average of 18.1 percent of GDP by 2018, spending remains above its historical average of 20.2 percent, reaching 22.1 percent by 2022, even after $2.1 trillion in spending cuts in the Budget Control Act.

Figure 3-1 [4]

As we can see from the above graph, the deficit is government spending – not low revenue. In fact, revenue will surpass the historical average by 2018, spending will still remain even well above that, even after the $2.1 trillion in cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011.

So, why is the BBA appropriate for this chronic deficit problem? Because it addresses the real problem, which is overspending by the government.

Pro 2: Flaw in Democracy

One of the great flaws in democracy was attributed to Edmund Burke in 1754 (emphasis added) [5]:

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.

The BBA is one way to fix the flaw in democracy because it limits the amount of money that can come from the public treasure.


The United States should adopt and pass a BBA because it immediately addresses our chronic deficit and spending problems which threaten economic viability of our nation. Secondly, a BBA is appropriate because it fixes the flaws in a democracy by limiting the amount of money that can be taken from the public treasury.

[2] Courtesy of

[3] Image and caption provided by

[4] Image 3-1 is courtesy of

[5] Quoted in;



Can't wait to get this debate started!

My Arguments

War and National Emergencies

When a country is at war, it has to spend a large amount of money. We did so in every war we spent on. President Franklin Roosevelt had to raise spending by a lot in order to win World War 2. We needed to go into debt to fight this war because had we balanced the budget we would have not had the money to fight in it.

World War 2 is not the only war we fought in, we must also look at the Cold War, which was mainly won by the actions of Ronald Reagan. After Reagan, George H.W. Bush went to war with Iraq which spent that we needed to keep up a lot of spending. After the war Bill Clinton became president, but because he had no wars to deal with he could reduce military spending and debt as well.

Finally, after 9/11, both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama did the responsible thing and raised spending on the military, but due to the ways the terrorists acted, the Department of Homeland Security and other domestic security measures were needed. Like with Roosevelt, Reagan, and the elder Bush, our two most recent presidents need to raise spending in time of war. This can been seen here:

Debt from the modern presidencies.

However, we should not just look at wars, what about other disasters? Hurricanes and other natural disasters all require government assistance. What if a disease comes and spreads worse and is more deadly than the Bubonic Plague? The government must respond to it. This means that we need money.

Economics and Revenue

Whenever we go into an economic recession, the government loses revenue. As we have seen in 1929 and 2008, recessions can be unexpected. Traditionally, when a recession occurs then we need to relieve the poor. It happened in 1933 with the rise of Franklin Roosevelt and it happened in 2008 with the rise of Barack Obama. This means that the government must take immediate action to fix the recession and that means spend money. This can be even worse when you maybe in the middle of a recession and at war. What about tax cuts? They usually make you lose revenue. Ronald Reagan signed a tax cut in 1981, but revenue dropped. What if this dropped passed the amount of revenue need for spending? Then we would be in debt. I got that from here:

Government Revenue

Congress Breaks a lot of Amendments

Congress has broken several constitutional amendments over the years that may have been unpopular, but still happened. This has angered generally everyone, but it still happens. How is a balanced budget amendment going to be any different. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent and I have agreed to a tie due to the number of rounds glitch. Please accept a draw. Airmax, if you can, please reset this debate.


Will be here waiting for when the debate is reset!
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
A liberal says breaking the constitution is probably bad? Cool, I like this one.
Posted by AStevenson 5 years ago
@hg I'm alright doing it. Nothing I can't handle.
Posted by 1Historygenius 5 years ago
@doubtingdave will it make a difference?
Posted by DoubtingDave 5 years ago
I have mixed feelings about abortion. Crap I failed to change the length to four rounds. Want to restart?
Posted by AStevenson 5 years ago
I actually started my first debate on abortion. How do you feel about the issue?
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