The worst possible idea at the worst possible time

Unemployment is at 9.1%; the jobs report released Friday was awful; economic growth is anemic, and Americans are desperate for policymakers to take this crisis seriously. Yesterday, just 24 hours after we learned the economy didn’t generate any jobs at all in August, the Republican Party delivered a weekly address on the message the GOP wants the public to hear.

Republicans want President Barack Obama to demand a balanced budget amendment in his upcoming jobs speech to Congress.

“This would ensure spending cuts made today don’t easily disappear tomorrow,” said Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte in the GOP weekly address Saturday. “That doesn’t just mean a fiscal house in order; it also means more certainty for the private sector and a better environment for job creation.”

Oh my.

If anyone was looking for a reminder as to why dealing with congressional Republicans on economic policy is practically impossible, the party’s weekly address certainly offered one.

Keep in mind, a month ago, the House GOP leadership told its members that “the best thing they could do during the August recess” was to sell their constituents on the idea of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

This is just madness. Even if we put aside the fact that there are real problems that require immediate attention, and even if we ignore the proposal’s legislative prospects, the Republicans’ Balanced Budget Amendment is one of the worst ideas in the history of bad ideas. That congressional Republicans managed to create a BBA this year that was even worse than the previous version is a testament to their creativity, but it also reflects a degree of economic illiteracy that should disqualify them from any adult conversation on public policy.

What sensible policymakers should be doing is dismissing this “pathetic joke” of a proposal as quickly as possible.

That this is at the top of the priority list for congressional Republicans is a reminder of just how far gone they really are.