The new drive in Congress for a balanced budget amendment is a puzzle, but we don't like it. We're not much for changing James Madison's great work, whether it's to stop flag-burning, congressional pay raises, whiskey-drinking, or uncontrolled federal spending.

The deficit numbers certainly have mushroomed recently, and thoughtful economists warn that the country is borrowing too much and investing too little. The deficit has doubled, to $4 trillion from $2 trillion, in the last six years, and for the first time the federal government next year will spend more to pay interest on the national debt than it will pay for any other budget item, such as defense of Social Security. Gross interest in fiscal 1993 will total $315 billion.

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