Drafting a Federal Balanced Budget Amendment that does what it is Supposed to Do (and No More)
Theodore P. Seto
Loyola Law School Los Angeles
Yale Law Journal, Vol. 106, p. 1449, 1997
Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2006-8
Repeated proposals have been made to add a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, most recently with the filing of H.J. Res. 58 on July 13, 2005. Almost all such drafts, including the draft currently pending, have resembled S.J. Res. 1, 104th Cong. (1995), narrowly defeated in March 1995 and June 1996. This paper, published in 1997 but not heretofore posted on SSRN, explores the technical problems inherent in such drafts. Because of those problems, it concludes, an amendment based on the approach taken in those drafts would be easy to circumvent, allowing Congress to claim to have balanced the federal budget while in fact incurring substantial deficits.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 89
JEL Classification: H61, H62
Date posted: February 28, 2006
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