Regarding the July 15 editorial “A bad idea returns”:
There is one more reason to consider whether a balanced-budget amendment is a good idea. Our Constitution has been amended only 27 times in more than 200 years, because the Founders believed that policymakers should exercise restraint when considering whether to amend it.
Despite the current political difficulties regarding the debt limit, Congress and the president can — if they wish — balance the budget. The Founders recognized the transitory nature of goals that may, in the future, seem easier or less urgent to resolve and the extraordinary difficulty in both enacting constitutional amendments and repealing unwise ones. They suggested, among other cautions, looking at means other than an amendment to accomplish a desired objective.
Mickey Edwards and Virginia E. Sloan, Washington
Mickey Edwards, a former member of Congress (R-
Okla.), is co-chair of the Constitution Project’s Constitutional Amendment Committee. Virginia E. Sloan is president of the Constitution Project.