News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.

NOCHE

Akron General


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Government and Politics


Ohio backs a balanced budget, but what backs the logic?
Economists debate what the amendment would do to the U.S. economy
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
In The Region:

State leaders left the Statehouse today to travel west to Lima, to sign a resolution calling for a federal balanced budget amendment. Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler reports that’s a hotly debated topic in economic circles.

LISTEN: Kasler on the balanced budget debate (extended)

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:21)


LISTEN: Kasler on the balanced budget debate (longer)

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:12)


The resolution passed in Ohio calls for Congress to come up with an amendment requiring a balanced federal budget, or to allow the states to convene a Constitutional convention. Conservative economist Richard Vedder is teaches economics at Ohio University in Athens, and makes the basic case for a balanced budget amendment. 

The future generation question
“We are endangering future generations by massive deficit spending and the debt reduction proposals and the balanced budget amendment seem to be sort of a crude way of dealing with the issue, they are usually effective as state governments have shown time and time again with their own budgets.”

While the idea of a balanced budget amendment has been popular with conservative thinkers and politicians for many years, Vedder admits his is the minority view and isn’t widely embraced by economists. Jim Thomson is the chair of the Finance Department at the University of Akron, and says a balanced budget amendment doesn’t allow for the flexibility a government should have in spending. 

Tied hands
“I think the big problem with most balanced budget amendments are that they tie the hands of the federal government a little too tightly.” 

Wendy Patton is an economist with the liberal think tank Policy Matters Ohio. She says during a recession the federal government can spend when consumers and businesses can’t, and that keeps recessions from becoming depressions. And she says a balanced budget amendment could result in job losses and big cuts in programs that help communities. 

“We would see the federal government prioritizing expenditures on the FBI, on veterans’ benefits, on things they have to spend money on. Ohio would be cost support in water treatment plants, in equipment for police officers, in schools, in research and development.” 

But one economist thinks the U.S.would be better off now if a balanced budget amendment had been in place during the last recession. Todd Nesbit is a senior lecturer at Ohio State University and is affiliated with the Mercatus Center, a free-market think tank. 

“Even in the short run, I think that we would have made better decisions overall on how our elected officials were actually spending a lot of the money, doing a better job of really, truly understanding what are the opportunity costs. If we spend more money over here, that means we can’t do this other project here. Which one is actually going to provide us the greatest benefit to our entire society on this?”

Do families really stay within their budgets?
But most economists are still wary.  James Newton runs Economic Perspectives, an independent economic consulting firm in central Ohio. He takes the often heard argument – that a family has to balance its budget, so the government should to – and turns it around. 

“There are lots of families that do not, in a single year, find themselves in a position where what they spend and what they bring in in income is exactly the same. It’s a matter of: Is the amount of debt that you take on, is that difference between income and spending narrow enough that it’s comfortable? It’s that way for a family – it can just as easily be that way for a nation.”

Ohio is the 20th state to pass a balanced budget amendment resolution. Backers need 34 states to pass it for it to move forward.

 

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio's Supreme Court narrowly upholds Ashford Thompson's death sentence
"Justices" William O’Neill, Paul Pfeifer and Judith Lanzinger should all be immediately removed from the court. If they could actually believe that this murde...

Ohio's Sen. Brown is pushing for more assistance for homeless vets
That would be a great program to have for the homeless vets. Many of them are still suffering from PTSD even from the Vietnam war.

Lordstown GM plant plans to install 8,500 solar panels
How much will this solar array cost? How is it being funded, and who is really paying for it? How much real useful electricity will it actually produce in MEh p...

Local Ebola concerns cause officials to pay more attention to West Africa
I have a better idea, let's secure our borders and spend those billions of dollars on our own first.

HUD and Cuyahoga Land Bank extend a housing deal for another year
Need to sale lot, and would like to know how to contact someone to see if they may be interested in the property that sat between two lots. If you can give me...

Akron Beacon Journal details abuse claims against televangelist Angley
In the early 90's I went forth for pray. And the man was anointed by the hand of God. Just a fact I will never forget

Lawmaker questions why a million voters didn't get absentee applications
He's a damn lie! I vote n all elections. I missed 1. Haven't gotten my absentee ballot and their making it hard to get one.

Thirsty Dog Brewery warns it might have to leave Akron
Why is it the city's responsibility to find this guy a location? There are a hundred realestate companies that could help him.

Kent State sends home three after contact with second Ebola-stricken nurse
Why weren't all health workers who were around Duncan quaranteened for 21 days and tested for Ebola? That's a no-brainer. Why was Vinson allowed to travel right...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University