Suggested Discussion Outline

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johnkarls
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Suggested Discussion Outline

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SUGGESTED DISCUSSION OUTLINE
How To Regain America’s Competitive Edge and
Boost Our Global Standing
3/13/2013



A. Other Vital Measures

We should start with a brief opportunity for anyone to opine that our author has ignored a vital measure.

In this regard, Yours Truly has laced this month's Q&A's with the opinion that our author ignored the two most important vital measures = (1) taking effective measures to mainstream America's incredibly-large Permanent Under-Caste, and (2) taking effective measures to address the annual deficit and accumulated debt before we starve like 1930's Germany running on the British Pound Sterling and 1990's Russia running on the U.S. Dollar.


B. Discussion of Our Author's Vital Measures

Healthcare
Safety
Education
Government
Equality

In discussing each of these matters, it may be instructive to consider the impact of America's Permanent Under-Caste, of which our author seemed oblivious.


C. Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-Mail Campaign – Balanced-Budget Amendment

[Please see separate hand-out.]

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Balanced Budget Amendment


Q&A 12 of the Second Short Quiz (3/2/2013 RL E-mail)


Question = If our author had selected Governmental Fiscal Responsibility as a category, how would the U.S. compare with the 13 other wealthy nations?

Per the CIA’s World Factbook (http://www.cia.gov. > library > publications > the world factbook), the U.S. and the 13 other wealthy nations selected by our author for comparison vis-à-vis the five categories he chose, would have the following percentages of National Debt to Gross Domestic Product --

South Korea – 33.7%
Netherlands – 68.7%
Germany – 80.5%
Spain – 83.2%
Canada – 84.1%
United Kingdom – 88.7%
France – 89.1%
Belgium – 101.1%
United States – 106.1% and growing at more than 6%/year!!!
Portugal – 119.7%
Italy – 126.1%
Greece – 161.3%
Japan – 218.9%

Reading Liberally General Notes =

Portugal, Italy and Greece (3 of the 4 countries ranking below the U.S.) have been in trouble for quite some time and are only still afloat courtesy of U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (please see Q&A-6).

Japan’s debt is widely expected to be under attack in the near future, since its percentage is predicted by the International Monetary Fund to balloon to 237% by the end of the year (per Time Magazine 12/17/2012).

The fact that Spain’s governmental debt has been under attack despite a percentage of only 83.2% shows how unpredictable investor behavior is and, therefore, how not even President Obama and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke can predict when U.S. governmental debt will come under attack.



Balanced-Budget Requirements – Around the U.S. and Europe


French-German “ultimatum” in August 2011 that Europe’s “problem children” countries be required to balance their budgets “or else”

49 states have Balanced-Budget provisions in their state constitutions

The 1995 Balanced-Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (text attached) easily achieved the required 2/3 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to send it to the states for ratification, but fell 1 vote short of a 2/3 vote in the Senate

The 8/2/2011 Debt-Ceiling Agreement required Congress to vote during the Fall of 2011 on a Balanced-Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
· Proposed by Republicans as a “wedge issue” since 20 Democratic U.S. Senators were on record as favoring such an amendment
· However, Republicans abandoned the fight and let the Balanced-Budget Amendment be voted down because Republican state legislators routinely vote for tax increases on the grounds that their state balanced-budget constitutional provisions required them to do so



Salient Features of the 1995 Proposed Balanced-Budget Amendment


Balanced Budget required before the beginning of each Fiscal Year

Congress and President “shall ensure” it is followed

60% vote of all members of each house (not just 60% of those voting) required for –
· Any imbalance which must be specific
· Any tax increase
· Any increase in the national debt held by the public

Congress may waive the Balanced-Budget requirement by a majority of those voting in each house in the case of a Declaration of War (NB: there has not been a Declaration of War since 1941)

Congress may waive the Balanced-Budget requirement by a majority of all members of each house (not just those voting) for any fiscal year in which the U.S. faces an imminent and serious military threat

NB: Any imbalance for purposes of stimulating the economy would have to approved by a 60% vote of all members of each house (Item No. 3) just like any other specific imbalances



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[The text of the 1995 Proposed Balanced-Budged Amendment was attached to the foregoing handout distributed at the 3/13/2013 meeting -– it can be found posted under Reference Materials on http://www.ReadingLiberally-SaltLake.org for our 12/14/2011 meeting.]

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