Constitutional Politics and Balanced Budgets

71 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2010

See all articles by Nancy C. Staudt

Nancy C. Staudt

Washington University Law School

Date Written: September 1, 1998


Unbalanced budgets have sparked decades of debate among legislators, scholars, and the public at large. Although the controversy has abated somewhat in recent years, many continue to believe that Congress has a tendency to pursue a level of public debt that is both inefficient and unfair. Foremost among those who criticize the federal budgeting process are fiscal constitutionalists, a group of public choice scholars who believe the constitutional constraints are the only means by which the public will obtain protection from legislative fiscal irresponsibility. This article explores the public choice argument for a balanced budget amendment and argues that it may not be the best means to the preferred ends.

Keywords: taxation, tax policy, budgets, fiscal policy, constitutional reform

JEL Classification: K34, K39

Suggested Citation

Staudt, Nancy Christine, Constitutional Politics and Balanced Budgets (September 1, 1998). University of Illinois Law Review, Vol. 1988, No. 4, 1998, Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper 10-18, Available at SSRN:

Nancy Christine Staudt (Contact Author)

Washington University Law School ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

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