THE SENATE has now gone firmly on record -- with two votes to spare--as being unalterably opposed to its own worst tendencies. We speak, of course, of its tendencies toward grotesquely unbalanced budgets. This step will come as an immense relief to the people who had feared that the nation would have to depend on Congress itself to put the federal government's financial affairs in order. Instead, the burden is to be transferred to the U.S. Constitution.
Though we opposed this measure vociferously before the Senate action Wednesday, we now have seen the light--something of a strobe light, to be sure, but a light nonetheless. The constitutional amendment suddenly strikes us as a breathtakingly simple solution to an otherwise intractable problem. George Will, in this spirit, the other day suggested ways to expand its provisions. We say, why stop there? Why not mandate an end to other, equally bothersome woes?
People will argue about the precise list of activities and afflictions to be constitutionally proscribed, but surely everyone can agree on a few. War, for instance, wherever waged--out. Terrible illness for another--who needs it? Poverty might be controversial, but we could add another article ordering that none of the people who aren't poor be even slightly inconvenienced in the process.
We're beginning to like this. Wouldn't it be cheaper to junk all those niggling regulations and just haul off and outlaw pollution? Also high interest rates, high humidity and rain on Sunday afternoons?
What is needed as well is surely a constitutional command making all children respectful of their parents. We've given the Ten Commandments a few thousand years to achieve this, and as they appear to have been less than 100 percent successful (just as the congressional budget laws have let us down on the deficit front), why not go all the way and make juvenile disrespect unconstitutional too?
That should be enough for this session, and we surely don't want to put an excessive burden on the state legislatures that will have to ratify all this. Once they have dealt with this batch of amendments, we'll give them another. We are penciling in abolition of the urge to smoke for the follow-up and, assuming it wouldn't violate the constitutional separation of church and state merely to mention it, we figure to have the Senate outlaw both temptation and sin. It will certainly simplify some of their lives.
You know, we feel better already. Thank you, senators, for having saved us from those destructive deficits. Have a nice day.