Amending Their Priorities

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A group of GOP senators is planning to push for a balanced budget amendment in the fall. Ezra shakes his head:

Lately, Republicans have been shocked and appalled that Democrats are even considering arguments that could lead to them considering changes to the Senate's rulebook. At the same time, Republicans are planning to introduce no fewer than two major amendments to the United States Constitution. One would change the way the country grants citizenship. The other would remove Congress's discretion to run budget deficits and surpluses. And both these changes would be to the Constitution, which the Founders made very difficult to change, rather than to the Senate's rules, which they made very easy to change.

Yglesias notes:

[W]hile the article describes the amendment as “the latest foray in a crusade that conservatives have waged for two decades,” this leaves out the fact that conservatives strangely declined to continue this crusade during the period when they controlled the entire federal government.

Still, at this point, as long as there is a clear exception for recessions, I'd be for it. It may be the only thing that could force the GOP to face reality. Alas, it's far too cumbersome a process and the urgency of serious cuts in spending is great. I should say up-front: I do not believe for a second that, barring a constitutional demand, a Republican-controlled Congress will ever cut entitlement or defense spending in any serious way. And if we get a Republican Congress and president in 2012, the debt will sky-rocket as it did under Bush-Cheney. But then I'm a fiscal conservative. Which is why my contempt for the GOP is so deep and so lasting.

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