Atwater's against deficits, except when it helps FL budget
Fresh off gobbling up billions in federal money raised by deficit spending in a Democratic Congress, Republican Senate President Jeff Atwater is now interested in ... a balanced federal budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Last time there was a balanced budget is when Bill Clinton was president. After Republicans took over the White House and Congress, the deficits began ballooning. But once a Democrat became president again with a Democratic bunch of deficit spenders well -- my God! We've got deficits! Somebody change the Constitution!
Here's Atwater's letter:
Dear Congressman Diaz-Balart
Unfunded mandates, insurmountable debt, and unconscionable spending are mortgaging our children and grandchildren’s future. Therefore I ask for your help to protect our Nation’s economic liberty. A strong economy is nothing short of the very foundation on which our Republic stands. That is why we need a Federal Balanced Budget Amendment.
For the last 40 years the American people have told Congress they want a Balanced Budget Amendment. Article V of the United States Constitution allows for Amendments to be proposed two ways: by Congress and by the States themselves. Amending our Constitution is not to be taken lightly, nor should an Amendment be proposed for light and transient causes. However, at such a time as this in our Nation’s history it has become apparent that the future of our Republic is at risk. Florida’s house is in fiscal order. We have a balanced budget. However, no amount of fiscal discipline on our end will save Floridians from the flood of federal debt coming our way. Florida must do everything possible to ensure its economic liberty.
Therefore, I respectfully request you join the effort for a Balanced Budget Amendment by affirming your support today. Rest assured, however, that inaction at the federal level will motivate State Legislatures across the country to find other remedies. It is not only the right, but the duty of the several States to use every tool at their disposal to protect the Republic. My hope is for Congress to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment. However, if Congress does not, Florida is fully prepared to call upon Congress to convene an Article V Amendments Convention for the limited purpose of Balancing the Budget.
The actions we take or fail to take now will determine our future. The choice is clear: we take control of our destiny or it will take control of us. When the States rose up in the 70s and 80s our deficit and debt was nominal compared to what it is now; yet even then, the States were arguing that it was imperative to the future of our economy. The stakes are even higher now. Our debt is no longer owed to the American people, as in years past. Today our debt is owed to foreign nations. Today our threat is not just a troubled economy, but the very survival of our Republic.
Please join the effort for a Balanced Budget Amendment and sign the enclosed “Pledge for America’s Future.” Our country needs your leadership to initiate the journey toward independence from debt, enduring prosperity and ensuring the blessings of liberty for generations to come.
FOR AMERICA'S FUTURE
WHEREAS, fiscal discipline and economic integrity have been core principles of American governance, and
WHEREAS, the American people have historically demanded the same prudent, responsible, and intellectually honest financial behavior from their elected representatives as ultimately compels individual behavior, and
WHEREAS, mortgaging the birthright of our children and grandchildren is a dangerous departure from traditional American values which threatens to permanently undermine the strength of our nation, and
WHEREAS, the national debt has nearly doubled over the past 8 years to a number that is more than all Americans make in wages and salaries in 2 years, and
WHEREAS, for the nation to pay off the entire federal debt by 2015, Congress would have to triple the federal income taxes of every American and devote the increase exclusively to debt payments, and
WHEREAS, our debt is increasingly owed to the governments of foreign nations, not to the citizens of the United States; therefore, our wealth is transferred to others and will not be available to supply the means for America’s future growth and prosperity, and
WHEREAS, this generation will bequeath to its children one of the world’s most indebted industrial democracies, and
WHEREAS, high federal deficits cause increasingly high payments for debt interest in the future, make future borrowing more costly, reduce investment activity, and thus reduce the size of the future economy, and
WHEREAS, states have long recognized the wisdom of fiscal discipline and enshrined in their Constitutions and laws requirements to place prudent limits on the tendencies of government to spend beyond its means, and
WHEREAS, the Federal Government has for too long relied on revenue increases and borrowing against our future rather than on prudent spending decisions within the limits of current revenues, and
WHEREAS, lasting resolution of this nation’s budget deficit can be achieved only by addressing the spending habits of our Federal Government, not by increasing the tax burden under which our citizens already labor, NOW, THEREFORE,
I pledge that as a member of Congress I will actively support an amendment to the United States Constitution that will require a balanced federal budget, with strict revenue limitations, and limit the federal government’s ability to dictate state spending.
Marc Caputo, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau