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.

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