Re: Alexander Hamilton vs. the Balanced Budget Amendment

Ed beat me to mentioning Carson Holloway’s fine essay at Public Discourse arguing against a balanced budget amendment.  Readers should also see Ramesh Ponnuru’s case against it in the August 15 NR.  Ed’s right about the dangers of extending even an implied invitation to the federal judiciary to make fiscal policy under the rubric of a BBA.  The only feasible alternative would be an outright ban on judicial enforcement, and the establishment instead of something like the old presidential impoundment power (taken away by act of Congress in 1973), this time on steroids.  But does Congress–should Congress–want to cede that much power over spending to the executive branch?

Matthew J. Franck — Matthew J. Franck is the Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

Most Popular


Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More