NAACP Opposes So-Called “Balanced Budget Amendment” to The Constitution

NAACP Opposes So-Called “Balanced Budget Amendment” to The Constitution as a “Political Gimmick” Distracting From the Real Issues Without Solving the Problem

IN ADDITION TO POTENTIALLY LEADING TO ECONOMIC CATASTROPHE, A SO-CALLED “BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT” TO THE U.S. CONSTITUTION WOULD FAVOR WEALTHY AMERICANS

In light of our growing national deficit, it is clear that we as a Nation must reexamine every aspect of our federal budget, from revenues to spending. Hard choices must be made about spending, entitlements and taxes. Sadly, some Congressional members are resorting to “gimmicks” such as amending the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced federal budget. Specifically, the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives has approved H. J. Res. 1, which would amend the United States’ Constitution to require a balanced federal budget (companion legislation, S. J. Res. 10, has been introduced in the Senate). The proposal will now be considered by the full House of Representatives, and it must be supported by two-thirds of the Members of both the House and the Senate and then ratified by three-fourths of the states to successfully amend the Constitution.

By limiting the federal government’s ability to respond to economic turmoil, a constitutional amendment could weaken the economy by hastening or deepening recessions. This would be especially harmful to racial and ethnic minorities, since we are traditionally much more adversely affected by any economic transition or downturn. A balanced budget amendment to the Constitution would also limit or eliminate public investments with long-term payoffs. Furthermore, both H. J. Res. 1 and S. J. Res. 10 would require a two-thirds “super majority” in both the House and the Senate to raise revenue, thereby undermining the principle of majority rule and further eroding the government’s ability to respond to economic realities. Also, by making it harder to raise revenues — and even to close unproductive tax loopholes — than to cut programs, the amendment would tilt policy in favor of the wealthy and well-connected over the middle class and the poor.

Rather than focus on distracting gimmicks which could prove detrimental to our national economy and our Nation’s people, the NAACP is committed to working with lawmakers who are seeking long-term common-sense solutions to our economic turmoils which will not disparately impact the most vulnerable Americans among us.

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