WASHINGTON — Former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul A. Volcker, calling for "better ideas" for trimming the federal budget deficit, Thursday suggested a constitutional amendment to make it more difficult for Congress to spend money.
"Perhaps we must think more radically," Volcker said in his first testimony as a private citizen since leaving the Fed post in August.
He said he has changed his mind and now believes that some form of constitutional restraint on spending is warranted. After years of talk of budget cuts, Volcker said, "here we are in 1987, and the budget deficit has not come down."
He proposed an amendment that would require future spending bills to be approved by larger than simple majority votes in Congress. He suggested a 60% majority as one possibility.
The former Fed chief said such a change in the Constitution might be the only way to correct what he said was a built-in bias toward more and more spending.