The Constitutional Minute #17: Does the federal government need a budget?

Not if we elected folks who would abide by the Constitution! The federal government does not provide for a budget because the enumerated powers are the budget! It’s all so simple. Only the government can muck up such simplicity.

Congress is to appropriate funds to carry out the handful of delegated powers, and then it is to pay the bills with receipts from taxes.

Our Constitution doesn’t permit the federal government to spend money on whatever they want. If Congress obeyed our Constitution, they would limit spending to the enumerated powers listed in the Constitution.

Since the Constitution delegates to Congress only limited and narrowly defined authority to spend money, excessive federal spending (and regulation) is not the result of a defective Constitution, but of our federal government disregarding the existing constitutional limitations on federal spending.

Various factions are now telling us that the only way to stop out of control federal spending is with an amendment, specifically a BBA (Balanced Budget Amendment), but we must look at the interactions of one part of the Constitution with the other parts to get a complete picture and to prevent unintended consequences! How many of those have we had in the past?

An amendment is not a stand-alone document. Its parts are wonderfully interwoven with other parts of the Constitution. Once an amendment is ratified, it now becomes part of the Constitution. Now, look at Art. III, Sec. 2 where it says the judicial power shall extend to all cases “arising under this Constitution”.

If a Balance Budget Amendment creates a budget (and it does) and defense spending is part of the budget (and it is), defense spending now “arises” under the Constitution, yes?  Is defense spending now possibly subject to judicial determination? How would you like to see defense spending differences end up in federal courts? What could possibly go wrong?

Still think amendments are a good idea?  We must not let desperation sideline our critical thinking skills!