OK, this is not new, but it serves as a reminder of how nutty some in Washington have become. Back in late March all 47 Republicans introduced a constitutional amendment that would require a balanced budget with spending capped at 18% of GDP.
I can hear it now: "What's wrong with that? 'bout time we get spending under control." People who ask that are either achingly naive about economics, the federal budget, and how government works, or they are teabaggers. Lots of overlap there. And if you are wondering why there is no discussion on how to reel in our monstrous defense budget to, you know, cut wasteful spending, that's because there isn't any.
I will have to pick at the balanced budget fallacy a few snippets at a time. For now it is worth noting that none of the budgets Ronald Reagan or Bush the Lesser submitted were balanced. And Republicans, including the current leaders, were more than happy to raise the debt ceiling as needed when their man was in the White House. Here are some specifics:
June 2002: Congress approves a $450 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $6.4 trillion. McConnell, Boehner, and Cantor vote “yea”, Kyl votes “nay.”
May 2003: Congress approves a $900 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $7.384 trillion. All four approve.
November 2004: Congress approves an $800 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $8.1 trillion. All four approve.
March 2006: Congress approves a $781 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $8.965 trillion. All four approve.
September 2007: Congress approves an $850 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $9.815 trillion. All four approve.
More on raising the debt ceiling at Think Progress. More on the nutty idea about a balanced budget amendment here and here.
Meanwhile, j4kesutter has his own way of addressing teabagger wisdom in letter to the illiterate. Not sure what you mean, j4kesutter. Tell us how you really feel.
On an entirely different note, Hawaii has a web site up that allows you to explore the joyful possibilities of carving up the state's voting districts at this reapportionment map.