Constitutional Amendment Archive

Senator Udall (D – Colorado) Speaks

By John Lumbard.   Republicans are threatening to shut down the government over $100 billion in spending cuts---remember when that was considered big money?---while Democrats try to turn the event to their political advantage.  Wouldn't it make more sense to take a stand on principle and a permanent change for the...
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The Grand Bargain

By John Lumbard.   In the weeks before the 2008 elections Barack Obama mused that the nation needs to strike a "grand bargain" if it's going to balance the federal budget.  You won't give up your benefits and tax breaks unless I give up mine, and the same can be said...
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The Scott Adams Challenge

By James Schaefer.   Scott Adams, the author of Dilbert, recently had a feature article in the Wall Street Journal, entitled "How to Tax the Rich", and he asked readers to think up incentives that might allow our biggest taxpayers to feel a bit better about dropping hundred-thousand-dollar checks into the ravenous maw...
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Amendment Filed. Call Your Congressman!

Senators Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)  have introduced a Balanced-Budget Amendment to the Constitution that---are you sitting down?---includes a 20% of GDP cap on federal spending!  It requires a 3/5 vote of both houses to run deficits or overspend, but in other respects is very much like a bill...
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Incentives Rule!

By John Lumbard.   In December the Boston Globe ran a front-page story on the “dangerous incentives” created by a program that offers cash to the parents of children taking psychotropic drugs for ADHD and other behavioral conditions.  The number of children on these drugs has predictably swelled, and a program...
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Hair of the Dog

By John Lumbard.   Unemployment claims are down.  The trade deficit is rising.  The Fed is printing money.  A new cut in payroll taxes (less FICA taken out of your paycheck) and an extension of unemployment benefits will mean growing federal budget deficits---and a big new stimulus for the economy.  We’re...
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Three Cheers for the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility!

By John Lumbard.   The President's Commission on Fiscal Responsibility will release its findings on December 1, but recently the two chairmen--Republican Alan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles---took the extraordinary step of releasing a "draft" of the "Co-Chair's proposal".  It's an end-run around the dissenting voices in the commission, and a clear statement that...
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Postponing the Pain

Economist Charles Wheelan writes occasionally for Yahoo Finance, and he's always terrific.  In a recent article he suggests that the President extend the current graduated tax structure, with a plan to balance the budget in 3 or 4 years (when the economy is stronger) by cutting spending and adding consumption taxes...
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Letter To A Congressman

By John Lumbard.   Dear Congressman; In high school we all learned that our Congress has the power of the purse.  Our legislators have other powers and responsibilities, but their most basic duty is to ably manage the monies that they extract from reluctant and disillusioned taxpayers and voters.  They have failed...
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Tax Brackets and Balanced Budgets

By John Lumbard.   Washington has abruptly backed away from a proposal to extend the Bush tax cuts for middle and low-income taxpayers, while bumping the rates for higher-income taxpayers back to the levels of the 1990s.  Both parties were using the debate to score political points---they were trying to box their opponents into positions...
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