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Does the United States Need a Balanced Budget Amendment?

Does the United States Need a Balanced Budget Amendment?

As the United States’ looming deficit continues to dominate the national discourse, many are calling for a Balanced Budget Amendment to be added to the Constitution. Such an amendment would require that the United States not spend more than its expected income in a year. Most states and some countries already have written balanced-budget provisions into their constitutions. Supporters of the amendment argue that it would force the federal government to spend responsibly, and is necessary given Congress’ failed attempts to cut down the national debt, most recently with the breakdown of the deficit-reduction “super committee.” However, critics of the amendment argue that such a provision would constrain eocnomic growth, especially during recessions, when tax revenue is down and more people depend on the government for social welfare benefits. Here is the Debate Club’s take on the Balanced Budget Amendment:


The Arguments

#1
51 Pts
Act Now to Prevent a Debt Crisis

Yes – Act Now to Prevent a Debt Crisis

David Primo Senior Scholar at George Mason University's Mercatus Center

#3
-2 Pts
Balanced Budget Amendment a Distraction

No – Balanced Budget Amendment a Distraction

Scott Lilly Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress

#4
-21 Pts
We Don't Need a Balanced Budget Amendment

No – We Don't Need a Balanced Budget Amendment

Tad DeHaven Budget Analyst on Federal and State Budget Issues for the Cato Institute

#5
-24 Pts
Dangers of a Balanced Budget Amendment

No – Dangers of a Balanced Budget Amendment

Patrick Sharma Postdoctoral Fellow in the Regional Oral History Office of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley

#6
-37 Pts
Balanced Budget Amendment Would Cripple U.S. in a Recession

No – Balanced Budget Amendment Would Cripple U.S. in a Recession

Steve Wamhoff Policy Analyst for ITEP and the Legislative Director of Citizens for Tax Justice


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