Every few years a handful of Republicans propose a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution that would theoretically force Congress to equalize spending and revenue. There was a big push for it in 2010, when the tea party was all the rage.
The editorial board at the conservative National Review doesn’t want it:
Senate Republicans are again set to mount a fight for a balanced-budget amendment (BBA). Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and whip John Cornyn (R., Texas) hope to unveil a bill today, and the indication is that their caucus is behind them, along with most Republicans in the House. The amendment would cap federal spending at 18 percent of GDP and require supermajorities for tax hikes and new borrowing.
While each of these ends may be desirable on its own, and they may even be desirable together, a constitutional amendment is a dubious means of achieving them, and our brief against such an amendment hasn’t changed. It is highly unlikely that a BBA could pass, and if it somehow did, it is highly unlikely that it would work. …
Passage of a BBA is not just implausible; it also would be unwise.