- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 6, 2012

I suggest House Republicans tell President Obama that they will agree to end the George W. Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans in exchange for House and Senate Democrats agreeing to pass a constitutional amendment to balance the budget.

This will accomplish two things. First, it will put the Democrats on the defensive since they will not agree, thus shifting leverage in the debate from Mr. Obama back to House Speaker John A. Boehner. If the Democrats truly believe we need more revenue to remedy the deficit, then why would they oppose a balanced-budget amendment? The reality is they never want to spend less — unless it’s on defense.

Second, it will help focus the public’s attention on the fundamental reality that Congress’ spending habits will never be curbed absent a constitutional mandate to limit spending. The current alternative budget proposals from both sides will not make any serious dent in the national debt. The debt will continue to rise, just at a slower rate. Without such a constitutional amendment, Congress will continue to use the national treasury as its re-election slush fund to buy off voters.

GARY L. JARMIN

Vienna, Va.