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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cut, Cap, and Balance: Why Libertarians Should Actually Oppose It

The supporters of this legislation do have the best intentions, and among its sponsors are some politicians that I actually really like, but the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act has really not been thought through very well at all.

Rob Natelson at The Tenth Amendment Center explains why:

When you write a constitutional amendment, the devil is in the details.

“Cut, Cap, and Balance” prescribed some details for a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA). But those details were poorly thought-out, and might have given America a devil of a problem.

Fortunately, Senate liberals—too short-term greedy to recognize their own long-term political interest—defeated Cut, Cap, and Balance. As a result, we dodged a bullet we had unwittingly fired at ourselves.

Let me make it clear that I believe in balanced budgets, and would like to see a balanced budget requirement in the U.S. Constitution. And I’ve proved my bona fides: For many years I conspicuously led citizen efforts in Montana to limit taxes and spending—and did so at enormous personal and professional cost. However, years ago, when researching the subject of “TELs” (tax and expenditure limitations), I learned that some measures can do more harm than good. In other words, they can backfire. Whether a limitation works as intended or backfires depends largely on how you write it.

The authors of the Cut, Cap, and Balance bill were well intentioned, but in the BBA part of the bill, they made some serious mistakes.

Read the four mistakes at The Tenth Amendment Center.

Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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