If you asked a bunch of Republican politicians for their favorite fiscal policy goals, a balanced budget amendment almost certainly would be high on their list.
This is very unfortunate. Not because a balanced budget amendment is bad, per se, but mostly because it is irrelevant. There’s very little evidence that it produces good policy.
Before branding me as an apologist for big government or some sort of fiscal heretic, consider the fact that balanced budget requirements haven’t prevented states like California, Illinois, Connecticut, and New York from adopting bad policy.
Or look at France, Italy, Greece, and other EU nations that are fiscal basket cases even though there are “Maastricht rules” that basically are akin to balanced budget requirements (though the target is a deficit of 3 percent of economic output rather than zero percent of GDP).
Indeed, it’s possible that balanced budget…
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