Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

In Their Opinion

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

In Their Opinion

Article excerpt

A stand against public sentiment

IN a representative democracy, it is occasionally a good thing for lawmakers to stand up against what appears to be an overwhelming public sentiment.

Such was the case (March 17) when a majority of the House of Representatives courageously voted down the superficially popular Balanced Budget Amendment.

The amendment enjoyed a high level of public favor, not without good reason. Americans are generally convinced that Congress and recent administrations have not responsibly managed the government's fiscal affairs. The evidence, of course, is clear. That does not mean, however, that this particular radical populist proposal is the correct answer to the problem.

If taken at face value, the amendment requires a drastic and sudden change in the nation's economy, the kind that invariably leads to instability and loss of confidence.

Moreover, the amendment would change the power of Congress and the government to manage the economy even in a responsible way....

Despite its name, this was not just a simple little plan to balance the budget. It established a permanent formula for government spending and debt that would have tied the hands of future governments for eternity.

Politicians do not score easy points by voting against popular whims. But they do occasionally protect the country from being panicked into alluring mistakes.

This was one of those times.

Tulsa (Okla.) World Peacekeeping aftermath in Somalia

IT is feared that the power vacuum created by the peacekeepers' withdrawal {from Somalia} after March 25 will cause widespread violence unless a political agreement among different factions is reached....

If the Somali factions escalate their fighting once again, it will be difficult to contain it this time. With that, freelance banditry will return once again to Mogadishu and other Somali cities. …

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