Chanting “BBA, USA,” approximately 60 people gathered at the Statehouse on tax day to rally for a balanced federal budget amendment and to hear presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson.
Carson spoke about his humble upbringing and his mother, who demonstrated to him as a boy the importance of a balanced household budget.
“Our debt actually exceeds our GDP for the first time,” he said. The national debt is over $18 trillion, compared with the nation’s gross domestic product—nearly $16.8 trillion in 2013.
Carson also championed income mobility for the poor, which he said could be accomplished by encouraging hard work. And he wants to scrap “strangulating” regulations like the Affordable Care Act. “We must seize the reins of power,” he said.
Other activists within the tea party doubt the federal government will honor a balanced budget amendment because they think the government flouts the law in other areas. Carson said after the rally that “we the people” will hold elected officials accountable for following the law, though he admitted the people have fallen short of that calling before.
John Steinberger thinks the people will succeed at holding officials accountable to balance the budget, citing women’s voting rights and two-term presidencies as examples of officials upholding the rules under public pressure. Steinberger is a Charleston area resident who leads the state’s Fair Tax movement.
Sen. Larry Grooms and Rep. Peter McCoy also addressed the crowd. Both Charleston Republicans have sponsored legislation to call a convention of the states for the strict purpose of proposing a balanced budget amendment.
Carson will announce whether he will pursue a presidential run on May 4 in his hometown, Detroit. He hinted at the rally that he would run, answering those who criticize his lack of experience with two words—Joe Biden. More important than government experience is how much experience a candidate has solving problems, he said.