Bill identifies symptom instead of cause of problem

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Mississippi Senate recently passed SB 2389, otherwise known as the Compact for America’s Balanced Budget Amendment, and was sent to the House.

The bill is the latest from a neoconservative group to propose a balanced budget amendment. Their central point is unlimited borrowing capacity fuels unsustainable political promises. Both are a result of the unconstitutional federal reserve and the refusal of the Congress to obey the spending limits imposed by the Constitution.

This is simply another highly touted proposal that identifies the symptom instead of the root cause of the larger problem.  Their solution legitimizes the unconstitutional spending that benefit the state legislatures and their politically connected cronies rather than eliminating it.

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The Compact for America’s Balanced Budget Amendment does nothing to break Congress of its unconstitutional spending habits.  It allows Congress to spend money on anything, no matter how unconstitutional so long as the amount does not exceed the questionable limits of their BBA. When the amendment is ratified, the “authorized debt” may not exceed 105 percent of the existing national debt.  If the national debt is $20 trillion at ratification, no more than $1 trillion may be added. The “authorized debt” may not be increased unless it is approved by the state legislators.

Congress could increase the national debt under the BBA at any time with the approval of a simple majority of the states. Many states, like Mississippi, depended on the federal government for large portions of their budgets.  Finding 26 states to approve an increase in the national debt won’t be that difficult. The states are addicted to federal funds and when the federal handouts are reduced, they will gladly approve a debt or tax increase.   As you can see, there really is no debt limit.

Rather than expose the Constitution to the whims of special interest groups, political action committees, corporations and the politicians they control, our economic dilemma can be improved by eliminating the federal reserve and forcing our federal representatives to confine the spending to the limits imposed in the Constitution.

Many informed and politically wise individuals have repeatedly stated that a convention is completely controlled by Congress.

The one I find particularly convincing comes from noted constitutional scholar Dr. Edwin Vieira.  Since Article V grants Congress the power to call the convention; and since Article I, section 8, last clause, grants Congress the power to make all laws necessary and proper to execute its delegated powers; Congress would be within its constitutional authority to organize the convention any way it wishes.

Why risk an Article V convention controlled by John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid and the rest of the membership of both houses with verifiable character flaws to implement a flawed amendment?

The amendment, under certain circumstances, allows the president to impound and delay the spending of appropriations that he alone decides. Given the choices of the 2016 presidential candidates, it’s scary to surrender such power.

It guarantees a tax increase and labels excessive debt as “authorized debt” implying it’s legal. It encourages unconstitutional spending, doesn’t limit the debt and ignores the off-budget crimes committed by the feds.

Who, other than the neoconservative groups that strongly promote a BBA, could possibly benefit from this coming disaster? Certainly not the middle class taxpayer. Could the unknown benefit be a chance to repeat the Constitutional Convention of 1787 wherein the delegates went behind closed doors, discarded the Articles of Confederation and wrote a new constitution?

By Jeff Smith.