Cut, Cap, and Bluster

by Ramesh Ponnuru

My latest Bloomberg column argues that it’s a mistake to tie a debt-ceiling increase to passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. It also mentions one question to which I’ve never heard a satisfactory answer from BBA proponents: How would the amendment be enforced?

Presumably most conservatives would not want the federal courts to step in to decide how much to spend on defense. [Rep.] Mulvaney is counting on a sense of honor and shame: “I think Congress would be hard-pressed to sidestep a balanced- budget amendment. It’s right there written out.”

I then cast some doubt on the efficacy of relying on honor and shame when it comes to congressmen.

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