Balanced-budget amendment still a bad idea

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is backing a new effort to pass a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. “It is time to stop the reckless spending in Washington and restore some fiscal sanity to our country,” he said in a statement. But conservative commentator Ramesh Ponnuru contends that a balanced-budget amendment is a bad idea. “A strict balanced-budget rule would force spending cuts or tax increases at times of economic weakness,” he noted, which could make the economy worse. Another big concern is that the courts likely would be responsible for enforcing the amendment. Ponnuru wrote: “The result would be a major expansion of judicial power over American life, brought to us by the party that has rightly warned against the growth of that very power for decades.”