The United States of America is one of the illustrations of the benefits of capitalism and its drawbacks. The political and economic systems of the country are based on liberal values and ideas articulated by John Locke or David Hume, with a focus on people’s personal rights and certain limits imposed by the government. The founding fathers established a strong foundation to support the prosperity and development of the country, but various changes and transformations have been needed to address the changing environment (Epstein, 2014). This paper includes the analysis of the concept of limited government in relation to federal budgeting in terms of the Judeo-Christian perspective.
The Essence of Constitutionally Limited Government
One of the basic principles Americans have shared for centuries is individuals’ liberty. The USA is the land of people having diverse freedoms to benefit from their intellectual and physical capacity in the environment of a free market that is still limited to a certain extent. Such values have been safeguarded by the existence of constitutionally limited government. The constitutionally limited government can be defined as the form of political and economic governance where the constitution of the country (the U.S. Constitution in this case) ensures people’s safety and right to property, as well as doing business in a free-market environment, but mandates certain restrictions and taxes (Rubin, 2019). Epstein (2014) notes that the U.S. Constitution guarantees basic freedoms, such as the freedom of speech, which enables people to exercise their right to live in a free world. The limits of government are established to secure people’s and their property’s safety, so taxes are used to fund national defense (as well as law enforcement).
Clearly, the need to guarantee people’s (and their rights) security makes people accept the limits imposed by the government. Thus, one of the aspects to consider when developing federal budgets is, of course, national defense and law enforcement. The state has to be strong enough and capable of defending its people, so citizens should pay taxes to fund these spheres (Holcombe, 2017). The government can also fund such sectors as health care and education, which contributes to the development of American society and its welfare. However, other areas should remain intact, so clear limits on government should also exist.
Limits on Government Budgeting
Americans still have the strongest limiting power over government that is secured by their votes. People vote to support their candidates who introduce and advocate for the policies that are favored by voters (Timberlake, 2020). People’s representatives in government (officials) enact laws that pose different limits to government on diverse levels (federal, state, and local). Balancing the economic opportunities of the citizens and governmental programs (funded with the help of taxes) is implemented by the government whose activities and reach are limited by Constitution and secured by the judicial branch. Taxes can be raised under some circumstances, but these tools are unacceptable during periods of economic constraints (Kogan, 2018). Various policies related to budgeting procedures have been developed and enacted, so the government has to operate within the established boundaries.
That, approximately three decades ago, a new discourse of giving the government more power in budgeting appeared. Policymakers came up with an idea to introduce the Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and only one vote was lacking to pass this legislation (Collins, 2018). The Amendment encompasses the development of restrictions for the federal government to develop deficit budgets (Biebricher, 2018). Notably, in over twenty American states, certain restrictions regarding budgeting are in place, and states are not allowed to have deficit budgets. The attitude towards this initiative has been fluctuating and has become highly polarized in modern American society (Crosby & Holbrook, 2019). At present, Republicans try to ensure that the bill will be passed, while Democrats oppose this incentive.
The Relationship Between Constitutionally Limited Government and the Rationale of the Proponents of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U. S. Constitution
The proponents of the bill emphasize that the limits for the government would help the country solve its lasting fiscal issue making the next generations free of debt. The proponents of the amendment also state that it is possible to make states and the government more responsible only when the corresponding laws are introduced. The opponents of the initiative stress that it will have adverse effects on the country’s economy (Kogan, 2018). It is believed that governments will try to balance their budgets by raising taxes and providing more funds to social projects during times of economic constraints, which would make the situation even worse. Clearly, the amendment is in certain conflict with the idea of limited government. By introducing boundaries for government in this respect, the state will, ironically, enhance its power and can potentially limit people’s freedoms. The government would try to abide by the law, making balanced budgets and will impose new restrictions on the market (higher taxes, limits for trade, and so on).
The major issue related to the concept of balanced budgeting is related to the extent of each person’s responsibility and basic rights. In terms of the Judeo-Christian paradigm, which is the basis of the American political and economic systems, people’s freedoms are sacred until they are responsible and virtuous (Eberle, 2020). One of the basic teachings of the Bible that became the foundation of the current American society can be formulated in one sentence, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (King James Bible, 2017, Matt. 22:21). In simple terms, people have diverse rights that can be limited if other person’s rights are violated (Raeder, 2019). People can make their own choices, but they need to be responsible and make sure that their fellow citizens’ rights are not limited.
These Christian values have supported responsible capitalism ideals where people work hard and share some of their resources with others (their families, their communities, their state). Boccia (2016) illustrates this concept through her ideas regarding a truly balanced budget where people’s entrepreneurial zeal is not limited by high taxes. At the same time, people’s taxes are allocated wisely and facilitate the development of society. Based on the idea of wise allocation of funds, it is clear that no amendments are necessary if the government becomes more responsible. Budgeting can be efficient, and the goal of reducing the Americans’ debt can be reached if excessive spending is eliminated.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that constitutionally limited government is the system that has proved to be effective, making the USA one of the greatest countries in the modern world. However, the current policies and legislation in the domain of budgeting need considerable transformations. Although some promote the Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as a solution, it is not necessary. Instead, budgeting policies should be reconsidered, and funds should be allocated in a more cost-effective manner. The government’s power should be restricted in order to secure people’s liberties and their ability to prosper and contribute to the development of their community and the entire country.
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