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Schweikert Says The Chance to Pass Balanced Budget Amendment was ‘A Dozen Years Ago’

Creating a balanced budget has been a dream of Republicans in an age of heavy spending, but is it still possible? Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ) told Cactus Politics that America’s last chance to have a genuinely balanced budget was “a dozen years ago” and offered an in-depth explanation of what drives debt and how budget balancing works.

Rep. Schweikert noted that many politicians run for office on the promise of a balanced budget amendment “if you built enough shock absorbers into it, but the math? We actually missed the window to do it truly and honestly about a dozen years ago.”

As Rep. Schweikert explained, the primary driver of sovereign debt is demographics (age-wise). This truth goes unacknowledged because “it is hard getting in front of an audience and explaining it is interest and healthcare, and that healthcare is Medicare.”

In other words, as the population ages, they need more healthcare. The government must spend more and more money to pay for those healthcare and retirement programs, yet is not receiving the tax revenue necessary, as the Peter G. Peterson Foundation explained.

Thus, to create a balanced budget, Schweikert continued, “You would actually design it so your first trigger is current borrowing needs to not exceed current growth in the economy. So if the economy expands, so [Gross Domestic Product] expands by $1 trillion, that is your cap. You cannot borrow more than that.”

However, the government is currently borrowing $2.50 for every dollar of GDP growth, “And that is what brings down a government. The debt growth continues to expand dramatically faster than the size of your economy,” Schweikert concluded.

The Arizona Congressman’s comments come on the heels of the House passing an appropriations bill that reduces government spending to some degree, reducing the budgets of the FBI (6%), ATF (7%), and EPA (9.6%).

However, it had detractors among GOP hardliners such as Representatives Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Byron Donalds (R-FL), and Troy Nehls (R-TX).