Balanced Budget Amendment the answer? Boozman says yes, Pryor no, Part 31 (Input from Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute Part 3)(Milton Friedman worked with Senator Hatch on amendment)

Mark Levin interviews Senator Hatch 1/27/2011 about the balanced budget amendment. Mark is very excited about the balanced budget amendment being proposed by Senator Orin Hatch and John Cornyn and he discusses the amendment with Senator Hatch. Senator Hatch explains the bill it’s ramifications and limitations. Senator Hatch actually worked on this bill with renowned economist Milton Friedman. This ammendment is the first big step in saving our country.

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Steve Brawner in his article “Safer roads and balanced budgets,” Arkansas News Bureau, April 13, 2011, noted:

The disagreement is over the solutions — on what spending to cut; what taxes to raise (basically none ever, according to Boozman); whether or not to enact a balanced budget amendment (Boozman says yes; Pryor no); and on what policies would promote the kind of economic growth that would make this a little easier.

Dan Mitchell wrote a great article called “Why a Tax Limitation/Balanced Budget Amendment is Needed to Control Spending,” Cato Institute, Feb 19, 1997. I will be posted portions of that article the next few days. Here is the third portion:

What Should the Balanced Budget Amendment Say?

How The amendment is written will depend on the purpose desired. Two competing versions of the balanced budget amendment are before Congress at the present time, one with a supermajority tax limitation provision and one without. Both amendments include a requirement that lawmakers balance the budget unless a deficit has been approved by a supermajority vote of Congress. A third proposal also has been offered, but it is not a true “balanced budget” amendment because it exempts a significant portion of the federal budget before the calculations are made. The three amendments can be described generally as follows:

  • The Tax Limitation/Balanced Budget Amendment. Sponsored in the House by Representative Joe Barton (R-TX), this amendment contains a prohibition on deficits and debts without a two-thirds vote of Congress. It also includes a special escape clause in case of war. The most important provision of the Barton amendment is its requirement that tax increases also must obtain two-thirds approval.
  • A Balanced Budget Amendment. Sponsored by Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) and Representatives Charles Stenholm (D-TX) and Dan Schaefer (R-CO), this version is very similar to the Barton tax limitation/balanced budget amendment. It does not include, however, a meaningful provision that prevents efforts to balance the budget by raising taxes. There is a requirement that tax increases be approved by a “constitutional majority” (51 in the Senate and 218 in the House) during a roll call vote, but this is only a small improvement over current law. In addition, only a three-fifths vote would be required to approve deficits or debt. Both this version of the amendment and that of Representative Barton enjoyed significant support in the 104th Congress.
  • The “Exempt Social Security” Amendment. Led by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), some Members of Congress are proposing an amendment that supposedly would require a balanced budget while allowing politicians to pretend that Social Security did not exist. The most noteworthy feature of this version is its political relevance. Many Members of Congress do not want a balanced budget requirement, but they realize that voting “no” would antagonize voters. Presenting a phony alternative allows these members to vote against a legitimate version of the amendment and, at the same time, tell their constituents that they voted for a balanced budget amendment.
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