Warren Buffett says he could fix the U.S. deficit problem very quickly.
Here's his not-entirely serious (but not entirely joking either) plan, as told to Becky Quick during this morning's live interview on CNBC:
"I could end the deficit in five minutes. You just pass a law that says that any time there's a deficit of more than three percent of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election. Yeah, yeah, now you've got the incentives in the right place, right? (Laughs)
So, it's capable of being done. And they're trying to use the incentive now that we're going to blow your brains out, America, in terms of your debt-worthiness over time. And that's being used as a threat. A more effective threat would be just to say, 'If you guys can't get it done, we'll get some other guys to get it done.'"
The only problem: the people who would have to pass such a law are the same people who would lose their jobs.
UPDATE: An attorney in St. Louis, Jarrad Holst, points out by email 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, very big if, Buffett's deficit plan would become the law of the land. That process would, however, take more than five minutes.
"A pen in the hand of this president is far more dangerous than a gun in the hands of 200 million law-abiding citizens."