The folk over at Political Wire have chosen a highly provocative cartoon to make a point about the perils of passing a balanced budget amendment.
The cartoon, drawn by Arizona Daily Star artist David Fitzsimmons for his August 1 "Cartoon of the Day," shows the U.S. Capitol looking more like Beirut in the 1980's- pockmarked with bullets, buildings in near collapse, even the Washington monument snapped in half. The Flags of Hitler's Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan fly high above the U.S. Capitol.
As inflammatory as this talking point may be, it is also based on a false premise. As Ken Shepherd of News Busters points out, the proposed balanced budget amendment:
"would require the President to submit and Congress to enact a balanced budget, cap federal spending at 18% of GDP, and prevent future federal tax increases. Congress could only waive these provisions by a two-thirds vote, except in times of declared war or by three-fifths majority during times of military conflict. It would also require a three-fifths majority to raise the federal debt limit."
Facts are indeed stubborn things. Congress promptly declared war on Germany and Japan in 1941. And perhaps with a balanced budget amendment in place, Congress would reassert its Constitutional authority to declare war going forward.