Does either proposal [balanced budget amendment or unbalanced budget amendment] really belong as a constitutional ammendment? As I understand it your constitution does two things, sets out the structure of government and sets limits to what laws can be passed in an effort to protect people’s rights. To put in economic policies even at a very general level would seem to blur the line between legislation and constitution, which I’m not sure is a good idea.
I think that’s a very important question to ask of any proposed constitutional amendment. I’m open to argument because I’m not entirely sure, but I think it would be an appropriate constitutional change. My reasoning is that budgeting–taxing and spending–is a fundamental authority of the government–from the perspective of many political scientists the fundamental authority, because nothing else actually happens absent budgeting.
So rules regulating the government’s exercise of that authority begin, I think, with at least a weak presumption of constitutional appropriateness. Obviously not every such rule would be constitutionally appropriate–an amendment saying Congress could not tax income over $100,000, or setting the top marginal tax rate, or saying no monies could be spent on minorities, obviously would be inappropriate. (On the other hand, I favor an amendment prohibiting business subsidies, although I’ve never figured out the right wording, given the big gray area between general expenditures and subsidies.)
But a rule ensuring that the government cannot functionally bankrupt the country, which is in effect a rule saying the government cannot abuse the authority given it, seems to me an appropriate thing to include in a Constitution.
Whether it’s wise is, of course, an entirely different question.