Hundreds of Organizations Oppose Balanced Budget Amendment

OMB Watch has long been a vocal opponent of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Now, we have a lot of company. In a letter released today, a full 247 national organizations, including OMB Watch, announced their opposition to a balanced budget amendment, believing it is bad for America. A full list of the groups is available here.

A balanced budget amendment would be spectacularly horrible policy for a number of reasons. Most importantly, it would hamstring the federal government’s ability to respond to economic crisis. The government’s deficit-spending power is the best tool it has available to fight against economic downturns. A balanced budget amendment, however, would make it almost impossible for the government to use this power. As a result, as the letter says, “this amendment is a recipe for making recessions more frequent, longer, and deeper.”

Even worse, the balanced budget amendment proposal currently making its way through the House of Representatives isn’t actually about balancing the budget. With provisions limiting spending at 18 percent of last year’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and requiring super-majority votes to raise taxes or raise the debt ceiling, this balanced budget amendment is more about writing conservative policy ideals into the highest law of the land.

To quote the letter: “A balanced budget amendment has no place in the Constitution of the United States. Our Constitution has served the nation well because it represents enduring principles that are the foundations of our government. It should not be used as a substitute for real leadership on fiscal policy.”

The letter comes at an important time. The House is scheduled to vote on the balanced budget amendment next Wednesday, requiring a two-thirds vote to pass. Hopefully, Congress will listen to the hundreds of groups who have signed onto this letter and vote down this terrible policy.

Image by Flickr user Sepehr Ehsani used under a Creative Commons license.

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