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.

Lehmans

Greater Akron Chamber

Hennes Paynter Communications


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
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

National Weather Service confirms three tornado touchdowns yesterday
I was driving back from a party and was caught in the middle of a large thunderstorm. The hail and lightning were a whole light closer than usual, is something ...

Another Indians season opens with Chief Wahoo under scrutiny
The picture you have for Robert rocha is not him. He has long hair. No idea who that guy is in that picture

Portman predicts McDonald's confirmation, but says it won't be easy
I sent the following note to Senator Blumenthal after reading commentary from yesterday's hearing: Senator, You certainly have the right to ask Mr. McDonald que...

Seven minutes changed everything, but what changed Ashford Thompson?
He shot the guy four times in the head. I have never been that drunk or mad, and I have been through it. Shoot a guy once is bad, maybe a mistake, shoot a guy f...

First cricket farm in the U.S. opens in Youngstown
I am interested in cricket flour to replace soy flour in a low carbohydrate diet. As soon as you have cricket flour available for the average person, please le...

New process starts digesting sludge in Wooster
Awesome! When do our sewage rates decrease accordingly?

Akron's Chapel Hill Mall in foreclosure
Not a surprise. Between the shoplifting, gangs and violence that goes on up there it is no wonder that no one feels safe to shop at Chapel Hill. They have sca...

Ohio launches investigation into at least one Concept charter school
I worked at Noble Academy Cleveland as admin assistant and enrolment coordinator for 6 years, I know this is so valid and true and can provide staff names and p...

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