So there’s no room in there anywhere for someone who wants to just make government smaller? The only way I can cut the size of government is to increase the amount of taxation? And it must be a 1:1 ratio? That would never fly.
Canada was in the same kind of mess as the U.S. is in. We got out of it by cutting government size and increasing taxes - but the ratio was $7 in cuts for every $1 in tax increases. Then, once we got the budget roughly in line with reality, we slowly grew our way out of the problem by holding government spending growth a couple of percentage points below GDP growth, so that government as a share of GDP eventually declined from 53% to 34%. In addition, as GDP grew in relation to government, our deficit shrunk, and eventually turned into a surplus. We used the surplus to pay down the debt, and as our debt-carrying costs declined, we took the saved interest and turned it back to the public in the form of tax cuts.
Along the way, we fixed our own social security insolvency by increasing the payroll deduction and by separating it into a basic stipend and an income supplement for low income people - essentially means-testing half of it.
That’s how you do this kind of thing rationally. You can’t gimmick your way out of it. In my adult lifetime there have been numerous proposals for balanced budget amendments. There have been spending limitation bills passed, like Gramm-Rudman, Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, etc. None of them mattered. Hell Obama even had a ‘paygo’ rule - which was quickly violated.
The way out of the quandary the U.S. is in required honest leadership. It requires a president willing to attack the third rail of politics by proposing reforms to Medicare and Social Security - and then to SELL it to the country. The leadership has to change public opinion - not be buffeted around by it.
That’s the biggest problem I see in American politics. Every politician has his finger in the wind, trying to figure out which way the wind blows so he can go with it. But real leadership means changing the polls. It means taking your case straight to the people, explaining the problems, the potential solutions, and the price of not doing something. Reagan did it, Clinton did it, Bush didn’t and neither has Obama.
So long as politicians in the U.S. continue to be pawns of special interests and terrified of bucking public opinion, you can come up with all the gimmicky rules and laws as you want, and they’ll find a way around it.
Also, you’re not going to get buy-in from any Keynesians. Your plan is anti-Keynesian - the government cannot borrow money and spend it in hard times. In fact, there’s a double-whammy - to cut spending, it has to raise taxes. Both are anti-stimulative to some degree. That’s fine by me, but I’m not a Keynesian.