How to End the Deficit in 5 Minutes

Warren Buffett

How to End the Deficit in 5 Minutes

Warren Buffett, in a 2011 interview with CNBC, offers a great quote about the debt ceiling:

“I could end the deficit in 5 minutes,” he told CNBC. “You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.”

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months and 8 days to be ratified!  Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 – before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven took one year or less to become the law of the land – all because of public pressure.

Here is the essence of the idea that was proposed:

Congressional Reform Act of 2012

1. No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they’re out of office.

2. Congress (past, present and future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan,  just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.

Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 12/1/12.

The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women. Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

An attorney in St. Louis, Jarrad Holst, has pointed out that there is a way to enact Buffett’s idea without the cooperation of Congress.  Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, a “Convention for proposing Amendments” is convened when called for by the legislatures of two-thirds of the states.  A proposed amendment would then need to be ratified by the legislatures of three-quarters of the states.  If that happens, and it is a very big if, Buffett’s deficit plan would become the law of the land.

That process would, however, take more than five minutes.

What do you think?


  1. troy campbell says

    Sounds like a “sound” plan but if it’s that easy ( I know it’ll take comment and work to get done) then why doesn’t Warren with all of his money and connections campaign for this change? This is the first I’ve heard of such a strategy. If he advertised on t.v. I’m sure he’d get a major following from the people of our country. He may not want to be involved with politics but I’m sure someone would spear head this campaign for him to make the necessary changes in our government. I’m surprised the tea party movement haven’t latched unto this plan of Warren’s. I’m sure politicians in D.C. won’t like this so it’ll take someone outside of Washington to spear head this and cause the changes. Good plan but who out there with the resources will take on Washington?

    • garymoyers says

      Great questions. Change will never occur from within. It seems the politicians are too entrenched. Why would they vote a pay decrease or job limitations for themselves? Or cut their own insurance and retirement? This is messed up.

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