By Jim Rubens
Every two years, we hear that the coming election is a historic watershed.
Meanwhile, our national debt and unfunded future promises have mounted to a crushing $100 trillion. Our economy is fueled almost entirely on printed money and is producing too few living-wage jobs. Federal power is so dangerously concentrated that Washington now monitors much of our personal communication and controls the curriculum in our local schools.
Regardless of Republican or Democrat control, we are stuck with the Ex-Im Bank (half of whose taxpayer subsidized loan guarantees go to just one company, Boeing), corn ethanol mandates, the Raisin Control Board and sugar import restrictions (all drive up food cost to benefit a handful of agribiz campaign contributors), and the M1 Abrams tank upgrade program (lives on despite fervent opposition by the sequester-constrained Pentagon because program suppliers are spread across 173 Congressional districts). Congress rams through hyper-complex, purposefully unintelligible 2,000 page bills, unread by members and written by special interest lobbyists seeking economic and regulatory privileges at the expense of ordinary citizens.
Little has changed over the past thirty years, other than that the underlying problems have grown worse. Only by amending our constitution can we force Washington to exercise fiscal discipline, address systemic political money corruption, and relinquish power back to the states and the people.
There are two means provided in Article V to amend the constitution. All 27 amendments to date have been proposed by Congress and ratified by the necessary three-quarters of the states. But our constitution’s framers had the immense foresight to anticipate a Congress so corrupted by political careerism as to be incapable of self-reform and therefore provided a second and as yet unused amendment route. If the legislatures of two-thirds of the states (now 34) pass resolutions applying for a convention to debate and shape proposed amendments, Congress is compelled to call an amending convention. If a convention agrees on the language of one or more proposed amendments, legislatures or conventions of three-quarters of the states (now 38) must agree to ratify.
Twenty-four states, including New Hampshire, have already applied to Congress to call a convention to shape an amendment to require a balanced federal budget, other than in times of emergency. Supermajorities of the American people also want term limits for members of Congress, a smaller federal government, and a means to reign in systemic political corruption. Several national organizations on the right and left are asking state legislatures to apply for a convention to address one or more of these subjects.
Because it has never been used, there is great controversy and uncertainty about the state-initiated amending process. Some fear a “runaway” convention proffering amendments to gut our Bill of Rights or adopt full-on socialism. This cannot happen because convention delegates will span the full spectrum of views held by the American people and will struggle mightily to reach agreement on amendment language likely have the broad supermajority public support needed to gain ratification by 38 states. Delegates will be acutely aware that it takes only thirteen states to kill too extreme amendments. Just as New Hampshire, Wyoming, Alaska, and at least ten other states will reject restrictions on our Second Amendment rights, so will New York, California, New Hampshire and at least ten other states reject a constitutional ban on gay marriage.
Join me in support of balanced budget amendment convention applications in other states and for application resolutions by the New Hampshire legislature on other pressing subjects. Help me persuade the Republican National Committee to drop its opposition to an Article V convention. Let’s work together, right and left as we must, to gain use of the most powerful tool we have to address our nation’s toughest challenges.
Read more at JimRubens.com.