Cut, cap, balance: The fiscal pledge we need

First, we must demand that spending is cut. We should make discretionary and mandatory spending reductions that would cut the deficit in half next year. Last year’s deficit was $1.6 trillion, the largest in history. We must cut our deficits now, not over 10 years.

Second, we must demand enforceable statutory caps to return federal spending to 18% of gross domestic product, where it has been for most of the past 60 years. Federal spending is now nearly 25% of GDP, which is unsustainable. If the spending cap is breached, it must trigger automatic spending reductions. Republicans in the Bush years and Democrats in the Obama years have proven that we cannot trust them when it comes to spending.

Third, we must insist on passage of a balanced budget amendment before that debt-limit vote occurs. The amendment drafted by Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) is a good example to follow. It requires a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress to increase taxes and a three-fifths vote in both houses to raise the debt limit, and it requires the president to submit a balanced budget to Congress each fiscal year.