The Balanced Budget Amendment Ruse

Mike Lee, sponsor of the BBA in the Senate, is the latest Republican to pass on this list of “23 Democrats [who] support a balanced budget amendment.” Notice anything amiss with it? Here’s the entry on Michael Bennet.

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): “U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet broke his hesitation on endorsing the balanced-budget amendment last week… pledging support for the idea.” (“Bennet Balancing His Approach To Budget,” Denver Post, 3/6/11) 

We can follow the link.

Bennet says he doesn’t agree with most of the balanced-budget amendment versions out there — including one co-sponsored by his Senate colleague from Colorado, Udall. He does not agree with blunt across-the-board cuts — something that most versions require, according to economists.

In fact, Bennet’s version of a balanced-budget amendment looks less like something that would need to be ratified in the states and more like a simple congressional vote on President Barack Obama’s fiscal deficit reduction.

“I think there’s a lot of rhetoric around budgets,” Bennet said, noting that the current proposals are nowhere “remotely near the most effective way to deal with our budget, and if we write it the wrong way, we’ll create an even greater crisis.”

Read through the list and you see a lot of examples like this – Democrats backing a vastly different version of the BBA in the 1990s (Democrats who would then vote against the less-ideal version), Democrats speaking vaguely about how they want to balance the budget. The idea that there are 20 gettable Democratic votes for Cut, Cap, Balance is purely political.