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.

Hospice of the Western Reserve

Levin Furniture

Northeast Ohio Medical University


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

Three exonerated of murder convictions from 18 years ago
Thanks heavens that none of them have been condemned to death. This alons should convince the USA to join the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty. E...

Kombucha: a sweet business brewed with fermented tea
Stevia is not an artificial sweetener. It is a plant. I have one growing in my sunroom. The leaves are dried and added to teas. It's harvested commercially and...

Bringing back ballet in Cleveland
I do think Ballet in Cleveland is doing good things, but the fact that director says "When we have flourishing companies like the New York City Ballet and the A...

Report confirms some Vietnam veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange
was in nam 1969 exposed va stated lost medical records was in lawsuit from 197? till settled 0 $ 2010 ? said all nam vets will get back disability till 198? jus...

Mentorship grant program redefines "faith-based" provision
Can't anyone have values, beliefs, and morals anymore? How is it anymore unconstitutional for a school partner with a "faith-based" organization than any other ...

Exploradio: The challenge of finding a healthy balance with technology
Thank you, Jeff, for another well done Exploradio. I always learn something interesting about what is happening in NE Ohio.

Northeast Ohio's transgender community rallies around restroom issue
A good first step would be for Cleveland to require restaurants to have a public restroom. Cleveland is the only city I've ever been in where restaurants somet...

Vapor shops say tobacco tax hikes could hit them hard
Maybe you should be DOING a study, since every time you've tried to villianize them all that's happened was the opposite. I'm not a fan of alcohol that's flavor...

New law gives access to birth records to Ohio adoptees
Can siblings also look for their missing brother or sister? And how do we go about it?

Ida McKinley's tiara comes home, with the help of "Pawn Stars"
I donated to the fund to keep the tiara at the museum where I believe it belongs. I took my 16 year old granddaughter to the showing I dont think it will be som...

Copyright © 2015 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