All public budget policies and ideas ultimately arise from presumptive and foundational ideas related to the proper role and limits of government. After carefully reading this module/week’s reading assignments, you will conduct your own research and write a concise but thorough research paper examining the Constitutional limits on the federal government and the rationale employed by proponents of a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution.For this assignment you should
1) fully explain what is meant by “constitutionally limited government,”
2) provide an analysis of the general limits on government that should influence government spending/budgeting,
3) explain the relationship between constitutionally limited government and the rationale employed by proponents of a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution and
4) evaluate these issues in light of a Judeo-Christian worldview.
Limited Government and Balanced Budget
Budgeting and the creation of a financial plan are important to any organization considering that it gives the organization as well as the individual employees the sense of direction that is needed to succeed in the current volatile business. A financial budget gives an opportunity for an organization or a government to design and implement a financial plan based on their income and expenses. The budget often consists of the total funds allocated for a particular purpose and the summary of intended expenses along with proposals for how to meet them. The budgeting process comprises of all activities and actions undertaken by an organization or a government as they attempt to build a budget. A good budgeting process ensures that those responsible for adhering to it as well as implementing it are involved in every step to ensure that they understand what is expected of them (Haulman, 2016). This assignment will attempt to provide further research and information regarding limited government and balanced budget amendment.
Research shows that most Organization For Economic Cooperation And Development (OECD) nations are currently running substantial budget deficits as they attempt to move away from the effects of global recession. Therefore, the government of such countries directly influences the lives of the people by influencing their economic activities. In a limited government, the powers and authority of the government to influence the lives and activities of the general public are limited by constitutional law, unlike the unlimited government. One of the notable countries that use limited government in the world today is the United States of America. Research shows that the united states constitution outlines a limited federal government. The nation’s government is based on federalism with separation of powers and authority between the central government and the state governments (Wenzel, 2014). Therefore, the United States government has only those powers that the people have specifically authorized and cannot go beyond those rules. Historians and politicians believe that limited government is ideologically opposite of the doctrines of absolutism and the divine rights of kings, which offers a single individual in a country unlimited sovereignty over the common citizens in the country. Further research shows that the history of limited government started way back during the era of English Magna Carta back in 1512. Unlike those ancient times where the powers and authority of the king protected a few people, the current form of limited governments is based on the constitution of the country that helps limit the chances of anarchy and misuse of power in a country. The articles of confederation designed and implemented back in 1781 led to the introduction of a limited government. Unfortunately, the fact that these articles did not provide a way through which the united states government could raise money to finance its war, it led the country in financial chaos (Kruger, 2012).
Public expenditure is one of the important concepts of any government considering it influences the amount of money needed by the government to provide the much-needed products and services to its citizens. Public expenditure largely comprises of the value of products and services bought by a government and its articulations. Research shows that through public expenditure, the government has an opportunity of contributing to the current effective demand in a country, express a coordinated impulse on the economy as well as increasing public endowment of products for every citizen (Nishimura, Nourry, Seegmuller, & Venditti, 2013). However, in most governments and nations, particularly in cases where there is a limited government, the government budgeting and spending are often influenced by the constitution. The notion of limited government is one that was introduced by classic political liberalism and free market liberalism. Irrespective of the fact that politicians and economists differ on the determinants of a limited government, one thing is clear in that a limited government should protect the people by ensuring that they levy enough taxes to finance services related to these purposes. Research shows that the political will of a limited government is one of the major determinants of the government budgeting. The priorities of a government, their desired state model as well as their interpretation of their powers and authority as well as current economic status influences their taxation policies. Notably, most of the government spending is financed by taxes levied on people and business. Therefore, the political will of the limited government influences the taxes on the people, which in turn influences budgeting and spending. Another major factor that substantially influences the spending of a limited government is the anti-cyclical broad control of the public expenditure. In such cases, the government employs automatic stabilizers and supporting schemes for unemployment to help improve the gross domestic product of a country which in turn calls for more spending (Stone, 2015). Finally, the state revenues are known to affect the level of spending in a country substantially. In cases where a country experiences unbalanced budget where there are higher or surplus revenues, the limited government is forced to spend more. However, in the case of the public deficit, fall in tax revenue or even recession, the government may be forced to cut its spending.
A balanced budget amendment is a constitutional requirement requiring that countries spend only what they can generate. Therefore, in the case of a limited government, the government cannot spend more than their income as the constitution prohibits the government from spending more than it can generate. In the current system in the united states, a balanced budget is one of the constitutional requirements, although it makes exceptions in the times of war, national emergency or recession. Notably, the constitution gives the Congress the power to suspend this clause in the constitution through supermajority rule. For example, in the united states, all states have some form of the balanced budget except Vermont. However, the provisions of the constitution that govern the balanced budget of a country differs from nation to another or from, one state to another given the fact that different nations and states have a different level of income and expenditure. Therefore, the provisions of a constitution are the major determinants of government spending in most countries that have limited governments (Stone, 2015).
The concept of Judeo-Christian traditions are based on the Christian theory of suppression where the covenant between the Christians and God supersedes the Jewish one. According to judo-Christianism, Christians should respect those in power and authority, considering that public policies they design and implement are part of God’s image of the world. As a result, those in power should respect the set principles and laws while the common citizens should respect and follow those in power (Harvey, n.d.,).
From the above discussion, it is easy to point out that limited government plays an important role in the creation and implementation of a balanced budget. However, the constitution of the country should be clear on how to handle different events and circumstances owing to the volatile and changing times.
Harvey, W. Z. (n.d.). 11. The Judeo-Christian Tradition’s Five Others. Is there a Judeo-Christian Tradition?. doi:10.1515/9783110416596-012
Haulman, C. A. (2016). Virginia and the panic of 1819: The first Great Depression and the Commonwealth. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
Kruger, S. (2012). Governmental Fiscal Prudence, Writ Constitutionally. SSRN Electronic Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.1452062
Nishimura, K., Nourry, C., Seegmuller, T., & Venditti, A. (2013). Destabilizing balanced-budget consumption taxes in multi-sector economies. International Journal of Economic Theory, 9(1), 113-130. doi:10.1111/j.1742-7363.2013.12008.x
Stone, J. A. (2015). DO BALANCED-BUDGET RULES INCREASE GROWTH? Bulletin of Economic Research, 68(1), 79-89. doi:10.1111/boer.12038
Wenzel, N. G. (2014). Lessons from Constitutional Culture and the History of Constitutional Transfer: A Hope for Constitutionally Limited Government? International Advances in Economic Research, 20(2), 213-226. doi:10.1007/s11294-014-9462-3