From those same preliminary reports, the hackneyed old Balanced Budget Amendment has raised its ugly head again. This superficially-sensible plan would require that the Federal budget be balanced on some basis, whether annually or cyclically. That essentially means that the nation would not have a real fiscal policy, and certainly not a flexible one which would meet present and future needs. The penalty for not enacting balanced budget legislation would be ever-harsher cuts in vital federal programs, putting immense pressure on Congress and any President to choose what might appear as the lesser of the evils, but which is really the evil of the lessers.
Then there is the new super-Commission of Congress which will propose -- and undoubtedly promote -- further cuts in federal spending. Again, while this might appear plausible, the orientation of any such Commission and its staff will undoubtedly be to find the maximum amount in spending reductions via a chopping-block-approach which is unwise, unreasonable, and unfair to the purposes of many federal programs which meet valid American needs. The baby will be thrown out with the bathwater if Congress makes such reductions -- but, if Congress does not do so, then the future debt limit will be held hostage, as the present proposal demands that cuts in federal spending exceed increases in the public debt. The logic of that requirement is not self-evident, and indeed is not evident at all.
In order to avert a pending Federal default and buy America some time, our President appears instead to have bought into a plan featuring bad economics and worse public policy, which ties his hands and those of future presidents to take vital actions needed by this nation to promote our economic health and the public interest.