Vineet: I agree with your basic premise, that the economy does not need constant tinkering run well. The Keynesian fine-tuning that was in vogue in the 1960s is a case in point: It made the economy less stable, not more so.

Having said that, I would like to emphasize a point I tried to make in my post: An annual balanced budget amendment, of the type recently defeated in Congress, is ITSELF a recipe for constant tinkering. Left alone, the annual deficit naturally rises and falls with the business cycle, even if it is constrained to balance over the cycle on average. Under a BBA, Congress would each year have to tinker with taxes (raising them each time there was a recession) and/or spending (cutting each time there was a recession). Like the fine-tuning of the Kennedy-Johnson years, this new GOP brand of fine-tuning would profoundly destabilize the economy.

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Economist, Senior Fellow at Niskanen Center, Yale Ph.D. Interests include environment, health care policy, social safety net, economic freedom.

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