The Harm a Balanced Budget Would Do

Balanced Budget

Tom McClintock long has fought for an amendment to the Constitution that would require a balanced budget — forcing the U.S. Government to reduce its spending to match its revenue every year. Sounds good in principle. But he never tells you all the harm a balanced budget would do.

Before we discuss some of the damage McClintock’s proposal would do, let’s discuss what it wouldn’t do. McClintock likes to doomsay about the Nation’s growing debt, claiming in 2017, for example, that the “interest costs are now eating us alive.” But he won’t vote to raise revenue by forcing the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes. Instead, he joined his party in adopting the 2018 tax reform bill that drastically slashed the taxes paid by the wealthy. His foolish claim that the bill would prompt “a significant burst in economic growth” — like the widespread GOP talking point that the tax reform would pay for itself — has been as wrong as too many of his other predictions. It’s hard to accurately predict how a law will impact the country if you can only see it through the lens of a hyper-partisan. And McClintock is a hyper-partisan.

Instead, Tom McClintock wants to slash spending. He doesn’t explain what that means, though, because spelling it out demonstrates how destructive it would be. As this article explains, the Social Security Trust Fund — the money held in trust to pay benefits when Baby Boomers start to retire, and benefits exceed revenue — would become unusable. That’s because “it would essentially be unconstitutional for Social Security to use these savings to pay promised benefits. Instead, it could have to cut benefits, because all federal spending would have to be covered by tax revenues collected during that same year.” 

Under the policy Tom McClintock has fought for years to enact, the Social Security Administration would be prohibited from paying more in benefits than it receives in revenues, and so it would have no need to draw from the Trust Fund to pay retirees. That large pot of Social Security revenues — borrowed by the U.S. Government, to be repaid in the years to come as the number of retirees grows — would never be needed. Instead, the SSA would cut benefits to match revenues. The Government would never have to repay the $2.9 trillion that it currently owes to everyone who has paid into Social Security for decades. 

Tom McClintock’s policies do real harm to his constituents. His decade-long fight to slash Social Security benefits would do enormous harm. Too many senior citizens rely on Social Security to make ends meet. Any loss of benefits would be devastating. But McClintock doesn’t care. In vote after vote after vote, McClintock puts the interests of his political donors ahead of the interests of his constituents. 

California’s 4th District deserves better. We deserve a representative who sees our challenges with clear eyes and takes meaningful action to fix them. We deserve a representative who truly cares about what happens in this District. We deserve a representative who will fight for us.

Join us, as we fight to send Tom McClintock back to his own District, and to finally stop him from selling us out, one vote at a time.

Because we know, as Margaret Mead said, that “a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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