Balanced Budget Amendment

Commentary by Pete du Pont

Host intro: Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis says a little healthy disagreement among friends is good....especially when future's on the line.

I hate to disagree with columnist Tony Snow. We're usually on the same side, but not on the balanced budget amendment. To Tony, forcing a balanced budget on Congress, would raise taxes, dump unfunded mandates on the states and doom major tax reform. His most damning indictment: the amendment embodies the central tenet of liberalism, that one can produce a better society by ordering people to do good.

They're challenging arguments. But we literally can't afford them.

In 1962 the federal budget was $100 billion. It doubled by 1971. And again by 1977. And by 1983. And by fiscal 1997. Next year the federal government will spend $240 billion just to pay the interest on the federal debt.

A child born this year will have to pay $187,000 in taxes to pay his share of the debt.

Because of the federal deficit's effect on families, they'll only make an average of $35,000 a year instead of the $50,500 they'd make without it.

Congress is incapable of restricting spending sufficiently over the long run without a balanced budget amendment to make them do it.

Once it's in place, we can afford tackle our other problems.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Host outro: Pete du Pont says the Food and Drug Administration is making it harder for companies to save patients' lives. We'll find out how on Monday.