No, not the requirement of the U.S. debt-ceiling agreement that Congress vote up or down on such an amendment -- everyone knows that proposal will be dead on arrival. Rather, it was the joint recommendation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy that all 17 euro-area members adopt constitutional amendments by next summer that would require balanced budgets by specific target dates.Read the whole thing. Proposing an amendment — even passing it — doesn't make anything actually happen, Feldman informs us. "Constitutional commitments are only convincing when they credibly correspond to elite interests over the long haul."
In the context of the world’s current economic troubles, how could responsible, economically sophisticated leaders think it is a good idea to impose an inflexible constitutional debt ceiling? Merkel and Sarkozy are, after all, a far cry from Rick Perry.
August 22, 2011
"If you think balanced-budget amendments are the stuff of madmen or dreamers, you were in for a surprise this month."
Writes Bloomberg columnist/Harvard lawprof Noah Feldman.