Can 'Cut, Cap, and Balance' Bring Sanity to Our Budget Madness?
In a survey conducted for the coalition among 1,000 likely U.S. voters by On Message Inc., when asked to choose among the three approaches currently on the table a clear plurality of 49 percent picked Cut, Cap, and Balance as their preferred method of dealing with the current fiscal crisis.
Only 21 percent said they preferred a decade of spending cuts "that are larger than the debt ceiling increase but without a balanced budget amendment," and just 9 percent said they favored the clean debt ceiling approach President Barack Obama and many congressional Democrats want, which would merely increase the debt limit without any corresponding reductions in spending and fail to stop the growth in the federal government. (The remaining four percent said they would be happy with any of the three.)
The same poll showed that the Cut, Cap, and Balance approach is favored by 62 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of independents, and even 37 percent of Democrats.
"Cut, Cap, and Balance is the single most significant reform package Congress has seen in decades," said Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who wrote the Balanced Budget Amendment included in the pledge. "It forces Washington to balance its books with strict, enforceable fiscal restraints and will cut spending significantly and immediately to improve our economy and create jobs."
"We cannot continue to rack up debt without first addressing the underlying problems that cause Washington to overspend," Lee added. "Supporters of the pledge are saying we want to fix the problem before it gets any worse. Opponents believe we can keep piling up debt and just hope Washington changes on its own. We owe future generations more than that and have a responsibility to do the right thing for them today."
America understands the problem. It's not certain that Congress or the White House does. As Sen. DeMint put it, "Americans know we can't wait to save our country, and they are tired of politicians saying, 'Trust us, we'll fight after the next election.' We agree we need immediate spending cuts, caps and entitlement reform. But that's exactly what Washington did in the nineties when we were $5 trillion in debt -- and now Gramm-Rudman is ignored, the entitlement reforms never materialized, and debt has exploded to over $14 trillion."
"Americans won't be fooled again," DeMint continued. "They know none of these grand promises will ever happen unless we force Washington to do it with a balanced budget amendment. Let's see Democrats and President Obama try and explain that they want to shut down government because they refuse to balance our budget."
The supporters of the pledge are serious. In fact, they are just as serious -- if not more so -- than the Democrats who keep reassuring their friends in government that the GOP is certain to cave and will give in on some form of "revenue enhancements" in order to get a deal on the debt ceiling. It's up to the American people to make sure Congress knows which side of the equation they are on.