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Argument: Balanced budget amendment undervalues loans and debt

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Supporting quotations

Kathy White. "Guest Commentary: A federal balanced budget amendment would hurt the economy." Denver Post. July 24th, 2011: "Traveling back in time is no way to prepare for the future. You meet the future by making investments that will pay off. Families take long term loans to buy homes and pay for college. Businesses borrow to take advantage of modern technologies and more efficient facilities. State and local governments borrow to build and maintain roads, dams, schools and prisons. Denying the United States government that same basic tool would jeopardize generations of progress. Indeed, a balanced budget amendment would be like forcing a family to pay the entire cost of a house up front, or making a college student pay a year's tuition entirely with money earned that same year. At the federal level, unless exempted as Senator Udall's proposal does, it could mean that the Social Security Trust Fund could pay out to current retirees only what it took in through taxes on current workers. Too bad if there are more retirees than workers."


Doug Kendall and Dahlia Lithwick. "Off Balance The Balanced Budget Amendment would make the Framers weep." Slate. July 15th, 2011: "A balanced budget amendment sounds like a great idea—until you read a little U.S. history and count all the times America spent more in a fiscal year than it raised in taxes and why that was necessary for our very survival. As this article published by the Constitutional Accountability Center (which one of us helped write, and which our piece relies on) makes clear, debt helped fund the War for Independence, complete the Louisiana Purchase, and preserve the Union during the Civil War. Debt not only helped us weather the Great Depression; it also gave us the tools we needed to emerge victorious from two world wars."

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