FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 19, 2011
3:26 PM

CONTACT: Economic Policy Institute

Michelle Bazie
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
(202) 408-1080 (office)     

Phoebe Silag
Economic Policy Institute
(202) 775-8810 (office)      

Nobel Laureates and Leading Economists Oppose Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment

WASHINGTON - July 19 - A group of leading economists, including five Nobel Laureates in economics, today publicly released a letter to President Obama and Congress opposing a constitutional balanced budget amendment.  The letter outlines the reasons why writing a balanced budget requirement into the Constitution would be “very unsound policy” that would adversely affect the economy.  Adding arbitrary caps on federal expenditures would make the balanced budget amendment even more problematic, the letter says.  The Economic Policy Institute and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities organized the letter.

“A balanced budget amendment would mandate perverse actions in the face of recessions,” the letter notes.  By requiring large budget cuts when the economy is weakest, the amendment “would aggravate recessions.”

The signatories of the letter are Nobel Laureates Kenneth Arrow, Peter Diamond, Eric Maskin, William Sharpe and Robert Solow; Alan Blinder, former Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve System’s Board of Governors and former member of the Council of Economic Advisors; and Laura Tyson, former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors and former Director of the National Economic Council.

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The Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit Washington D.C. think tank, was created in 1986 to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers. Today, with global competition expanding, wage inequality rising, and the methods and nature of work changing in fundamental ways, it is as crucial as ever that people who work for a living have a voice in the economic discourse.


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