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|Coalition for Budget Integrity|
Economic Policy Institute
1660 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Robert Eisner, James Tobin, Jeff Faux, Allen Sinai Represent Concerned Colleagues at Capitol Hill News Conference
Washington, DC -- A group of prominent economists today released a statement signed by over 1000 of their colleagues -- including 11 Nobel laureates in economics -- warning the Congress and the President that the proposed Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is "unsound and unnecessary."
At a Capitol Hill press conference, economists Robert Eisner of Northwestern University, Nobel laureate James Tobin of Yale University, Jeff Faux of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), and Allen Sinai of Primark Decision Economics presented the economists' statement opposing the enactment of a balanced budget amendment, currently embodied in Senate Joint Resolution 1 and House Joint Resolution 1.
The petition produced a broad consensus among economists nationwide that the amendment would put the country in an "economic straight-jacket." In 1992, a similar statement circulated among economists garnered the signatures of just 447 economists, including 7 Nobel laureates. "Clearly, opposition to a Balanced Budget Amendment is growing among economists," said Jeff Faux of EPI.
The 1060 signatories, holding a variety of views regarding national economic policies, state: "We condemn the proposed 'balanced-budget' amendment to the federal Constitution. It is unsound and unnecessary."
The economists' statement enumerates five major concerns with the proposed amendment. Chief among the concerns they cite is the danger to the economy of locking economic policy into the Constitution. "To keep the budget balanced every year would aggravate recessions," they write. The economists also point to the danger that a rigid constitutional requirement would perpetuate reckless fiscal behavior by policymakers. "The amendment would prevent federal borrowing to finance expenditures for infrastructure, education, research and development, environmental protection, and other investments vital to the nation's future well-being," they warn.