‘New’ Conservative Leader Bobby Jindal Calls For Bad Amendment GOP Has Supported For Years

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) has been cited as a “new voice” in the GOP and potential presidential candidate for 2016. However, in a recent op-ed, Jindal suggests Congress enact a balanced budget amendment (BBA) to the Constitution.

Not only is this a disastrous idea, it is also an old one. Bob Dole supported the policy during his 1996 presidential campaign, and the most recent GOP platform states:

We call for a Constitutional amendment requiring a super-majority for any tax increase with exceptions for only war and national emergencies, and imposing a cap limiting spending to historical average percentage of GDP so that future Congresses cannot balance the budget by raising taxes.

A balanced budget amendment overwhelmingly favors tax and spending cuts over increased revenues and puts the country “in a fiscal straightjacket.” Though tax increases require a super-majority of all members — not just those present — tax cuts can pass with a simple majority. As former Reagan economic official Bruce Bartlett explained, “the idea of mandating a balanced budget through the Constitution is dreadful.”

Requiring a super-majority to raise taxes is a recipe for fiscal calamity. Just ask California, which passed such a requirement, known as Prop 13, in 1978. Prop 13 resulted in multi-billion dollar drops in both revenue and spending and legislative gridlock. In addition, education funding per-pupil dropped from one of the highest rates in the country to one of the lowest by the 1990s.

— Greg Noth