America is $15 trillion in debt, and that number is growing; but Sen. Mike Lee proposed an amendment to the Constitution to help fix the problem.
Lee spoke to students and community members gathered in the Sorenson Student Center about his newly proposed Balancing Budget Amendment on Tuesday, March 22. The official name of the bill is Senate Joint Resolution Five.
Lee focused on the overall deficit that America was facing in the coming years. According to Lee, This bill isn’t about a quick fix for America but about slowing down government spending.
The government is supposed to use taxes and government funds to protect the interests of life, liberty and property, but in order to protect the people’s rights, the property – money in this case – sometimes has to be eroded.
This is generally how and why taxes are used. America uses them for whatever reason to keep peace and make life easy.
“People fear anarchy more than they dislike taxes,” Lee said.
The problem that faces the economy today is that the government is spending more than the taxes are bringing in, which is called deficit spending.
In the early 1900’s the country used two-percent of its gross domestic product. That number is now in the area of 25 percent.
The government uses money to expand then uses their expansion to gain more money. The government has expanded its programs, which are bigger and better, but they don’t have the money to keep them going.
Lee said that the $15 trillion-deficit is equal to $50,000 per man, woman and child in America.
The amendment would force the government to not spend more than it makes in a year and slow down their spending 18 percent of the gross domestic product. Although this would stop deficit spending, it would allow it in cases such as war or other national emergencies.
“The real solution to paying off the debt … is expanding the economy,” Lee said.
Some of the other ideas that Lee brought up included deregulating Medicaid so states have an easier time with the program and just bringing certain federal programs, such as education, down to the state level.
The money that is being spent today is going to be the burden of the younger generation, especially college students and younger. What Lee called inter-generational wealth transfer, or a form of taxation without representation.
“We fought a war on taxation without representation, and I am pretty sure we won that war,” Lee said.
Lee also had advice for what students can do in order to help with the problem.
“Express your viewpoint, express your concern about how this is going to effect you as a student,” Lee said.
Those views could be expressed by anyone in any format. Lee mentioned talking to government representatives, sharing with reporters or on social media such as Facebook.
Lee said that $3.85 trillion a year is spent and only $2.2 trillion is brought in with taxes. Included in this budget are Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the military, and any new spending on these programs over the $1.5 trillion deficit is completely borrowed.
This means that even though most people work a quarter of the year to pay the government, it is not enough. If these prices keep up, the question may arise as to which policy is the most important. If this spending keeps up, programs like Medicare or the military may be forcibly cut down, according to Lee.