Balanced Budget Amendment the answer? Boozman says yes, Pryor no, Part 32 (Input from Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute Part 4)

Mark Levin discusses the two amendments needed to re-establish Constitutionalism as well as other things that need to be done to fix the issues facing the nation. Mark is brilliant at keep his eye on the objective and does this every night on http://www.marklevinshow.com. This excerpt is from 1/27/2011.

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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 fourth portion:

How Would the Amendment Work?

Several critics have charged that a balanced budget amendment is unenforceable. What, for example, would happen if the budget approved by lawmakers used overly optimistic economic assumptions but the actual numbers threatened to dip into the red? Would Congress be forced to revisit the budget halfway through the fiscal year? If the fiscal year ended and there was just a minimal deficit — even less than one dollar — would a constitutional battle follow?

These concerns can be precluded if the amendment is drafted properly. The key is to include a clause requiring a supermajority vote to issue new debt. Such a provision would make the balanced budget amendment self-enforcing. Take the example outlined above. Lawmakers could use every budget gimmick, pull every smoke-and-mirrors trick out of the hat, and make the most ridiculous economic assumptions, and it would do no good; once the fiscal year began and spending threatened to outpace revenue, they would be unable to issue new debt without a three-fifths or two-thirds vote.

Thus, failure to include the supermajority requirement to issue debt would be a serious mistake. It either would make a mockery of the amendment (lawmakers might try to use outlandish economic assumptions to evade the intended fiscal discipline) or would result in legal challenges that could give the federal judiciary unwarranted control over fiscal policy. Indeed, not only is the three-fifths vote requirement on new debt critical to the amendment’s success, but it actually makes the main provision — barring outlays that exceed receipts — superfluous.

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