Many conservatives have suggested passing a law or even a Constitutional amendment requiring the government to balance its budget. Although widely credited for being the last administration to achieve budgetary surpluses (1998-2001), President Bill Clinton was openly against a balanced budget amendment. When we look at the pattern of federal receipts and outlays over time, as shown in the following chart, we see a lot of ups and downs. A balanced budget amendment (BBA), a hardy perennial in Congress, is once again in the headlines. The balanced budget amendment said Congress can't spend more than it makes, but it can be waived with votes from three-fifths of the House and Senate. 55, and it shows both that BBAs are fundamentally flawed and that attempts to fix them invariably don’t succeed at doing that. To see why a balanced budget amendment would undermine stability, we need to understand how the budget affects the business cycle, and how the business cycle affects the budget. This is entirely understandable. In its simplest form, a balanced budget amendment would add a budget rule to the Constitution that would require federal spending not to exceed federal receipts. Chye-Ching Huang and Krista Ruffini (“Proposed Balanced Budget Amendment is Extreme by International Standards,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 3, 2013) make a similar point. … Res. A balanced-budget amendment: Bad idea, for many reasons. About nine months ago, I learned that Vermont was the only state not have a balanced budget law in the process of answering the following question: answer to Why is the Balanced Budget Amendment bad? The public trusts neither the president nor Congress, regardless of the party in control, to strike and maintain an economically healthy, sustainable balance between federal spending and revenues. So instead of a balanced budget amendment I propose a better idea might be an unbalanced budget amendment. My “Lock-In Provision” answers this important objection, since it does not require the budget to balance in every single year. Like now, an unbalance budget amendment … Bio. Rep. Ben McAdams introduced the latest balanced budget amendment (BBA), H.J. Members of Congress have proposed almost a dozen constitutional amendments this year requiring a balanced budget, all of which share serious drawbacks. Robert J. Samuelson. The amendment would make it unconstitutional for the federal government to run annual budget deficits. BALANCED budgets are generally good, but not always, which is why a balanced-budget amendment is a bad idea. Those against a balanced budget amendment believe that it would not only tie hands politically, but represents bad economics in general. Former columnist focusing on economics. Arguments Against a Balanced Budget Law . By Robert J. Samuelson. 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