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Steny Hoyer: A Balanced Budget Amendment Would Make it Virtually Impossible to Raise Taxes

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By Doug Powers  •  July 20, 2011 09:25 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

If you’re on the fence as far as an opinion on a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, Steny Hoyer seems to be unwittingly trying to push you in the “pro” direction:

(CNSNews.com) – House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.) said on the House floor last night that if the balanced budget amendment Republicans are supporting is ratified and included in the Constitution it would make it “virtually impossible” to raise taxes.

“In order to pay our bills, Republicans would require us to pass a Constitutional amendment that would permanently enshrine their partisan budget priorities in law and make it virtually impossible to raise revenue,” Hoyer said.
[...]
Hoyer was evidently alluding to the amendment’s requirement that taxes could only be increased with a supermajority vote of Congress when he said the proposal would make it “virtually impossible to raise revenue.”

It might make it virtually impossible to raise taxes, which is Hoyer’s obvious concern, but he’s wrong in saying it would make it virtually impossible to raise revenue. That part isn’t hard at all. Shrink government, back off and watch the economy grow — the revenue will come. That was the Reagan philosophy, and what DC Democrat isn’t running around these days quoting Reagan?

They’re all about Reagan at the moment because Reagan raised the debt ceiling many times. Democrats even used snippets excised with surgical precision from one of Reagan’s radio addresses in an ad. But what they’re not playing are other sections of the same address:

“You don’t need more taxes to balance the budget. Congress needs the discipline to stop spending more, and that can be done with the passage of a constitutional amendment to balance the budget.”

There’s the Republican response to the Democrat ad right there. I don’t recall ever hearing Reagan expressing concern that a potential Balanced Budget Amendment would make it too difficult for the government to raise taxes. That might have been a reason he’d have supported it, but I’ll bet a case of jelly beans it wouldn’t have been a deal-breaker.

Hoyer can rest easy though, because the odds are against a Balanced Budget Amendment making it through the entire process and preventing the Democrats and any willing Republicans from increasing those economy-growing taxes.

**Written by Doug Powers

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