It pays to be wary of any Balanced Budget Amendment proposal that doesn’t contain some sort of automatic enforcement mechanism. Without one, what happens to an out-of-balance budget? Does it become law, anyway? Does it go to the Supreme Court? And if so, would the Court then be forced to write a balanced budget for the Congress?
Now that’s legislating from the bench, and it’s unconscionable. But it could happen, if we had a BBA without an enforcement mechanism.
So I offer this modest proposal.
Take your favorite BBA — there are several good ones out there — and add the following section to the end of it.
Any member of Congress voting in favor of a budget, a budget item, or any program or expenditure in violation of this amendment will be removed immediately from office, and forfeit any and all congressional pension or benefits. Such persons shall also be forever barred from holding any other public office at any level of government.
Rock solid, eh?
UPDATE: Over on Twitter, Jazz Shaw reminded my that the very last bit — forbidding state or local offices — wouldn’t hold up. So we compromised on tattooing violator’s foreheads with the scarlet “DUH.”