Balanced Budget Fiasco II

Any law passed by Congress can be repealed by any succeeding Congress, but changing the US Constitution is a lot tougher. There is only one legitimate method to change the Constitution, and that amendment process is described in Article V. In that process, there are only two ways to even propose amendments.

The first case, proposals made by two thirds of Congress, was explored earlier, and it was seen that the very name of any Congressional action can be deceptive, if not malevolent. Close scrutiny of one “balanced budget” proposal which is now in position to be brought to the floor of the Senate revealed no binding restriction at all. Further, we found that The President would be given power that now lies exclusively with the House of Representatives.

The second method, which some unfortunately recommend, is that of a convention of states. “Congress shall call” for such convention upon the application of two thirds of the states. Before considering this method of proposing amendments, a bit of review regarding the actual writing of the Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention may be informative. According to James Madison’s notes, the delegates began their work on May 25, 1887 and signed the document on Monday, September 17 after deliberating some 85 days. They debated Article V on the next to last day.

It has been suggested that the convention of states proposal was possibly offered to gain the signatures of the reluctant Edmund Randolph, George Mason and Elbridge Gerry. In a nutshell, Randolph objected to what he considered the dangerous powers of the proposed government. Mason predicted the government would eventually become a monarchy or a tyrannical aristocracy. Two of Gerry’s fears were the “general power of the Legislature to make what laws they pleased to call necessary and proper” and the power of Congress to “raise money without limit”. The enticement failed to gain the approval of those three.

The general fatigue of the delegates, when none were expecting an excess of a few weeks of work, may have resulted in what could be the most dangerous element in the Constitution. Even James Madison expressed some concern that the convention of states feature fell short of ideal because of its lack of specificity.

When we scrutinize the convention of states method of proposal, we indeed see that the states make application, but Congress “shall call a convention for proposing amendments”…. That’s it. There’s no mention of how many delegates are to attend. There is no mention of the number of votes granted each state. From a close inspection of the grammatical construction, Congress could even claim the authority to appoint the delegates from each state. There exists no stipulation that would restrict those delegates to the wording, number or kinds of amendments that could be considered.

Perhaps we may recall from our intensive public school studies that the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention were instructed only to amend the Articles of Confederation of the existing government… They actually did a great deal more than what they were authorized to do.

We might exclaim, “They wouldn’t do anything like that now!”. Well, we do have a President that wrote in his book, The Audacity of Hope, pages 91-92, copyright 2006, “… I see a certain appeal to this shattering of myth, to the temptation to believe that the constitutional text doesn’t constrain us much at all, so that we are free to assert our own values unencumbered by fidelity to the stodgy traditions of a distant past”. There may be others who feel the same.

Please Google: “New States of America”.

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About billover70

Old. Name: Bill
This entry was posted in constitution, education, history, opinion, politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Balanced Budget Fiasco II

  1. Al says:

    Thanks, Coach! I didn’t know the additional information about the Philly Convention. Maybe I’m misreading your implication, but whether by fatigue or by design, in keeping with the theme of a union of States … THESE United States … it seems consistent this proviso in Article V to amend the Constitution without Congressional action would be rightly included .. and, as it stands today, seems to be the only legislative way our Fed is going to be restored … it’s so bloated and expanded, I don’t think there’s a “diet” other than a Constitutional Convention which can put the Fed “back in those britches.”

    I had opposed strict term limits in the past, bristling at the restriction against “let the people elect whomever they will” … in favor of a mechanism to bias against career politicians; supermajority to reelect or (as in the case of DOL labor union rules; abstention=NO) count only the YES votes in the entire eligible electorate. Over the last few years, I’ve adopted the notion “that ain’t gonna happen,” so, I have “thrown-in” with the movement to DIRECT the Amendment w/o Congressional approval regarding Term Limits via Article V.

    I don’t know the “over/under” on this initiative’s success, but I DO support it.

    • billover70 says:

      All, I must have really missed the mark here… BIG TIME.. the worst thing that could happen is a convention of states…. The prevailing establishment in ‘Congress could appoint the delegates by any method that they choose in order to have the constitution completely rewritten… even doing away with the current amendment process and leaving it up to a majority vote of Congress… The first thing they would do is elect the Pres by popular vote, of which the low info folks have already been convinced… The states can only make application for a convention….They have NO control over what may happen at that convention…. EVERY THING could rewritten… When you have time, Please google “New States of America”… I would have included stuff about that, but my stuff is always longer than two paragraphs, and most folks won’t read it anyway.

  2. Al says:

    Ah … the 1974 publication? http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/concon/newstates.htm#.U6trNRYV2YU

    Interesting … seems the goal is being achieved without rewriting the US Constitution … wealth redistribution … getting States on “the dole” (which will effectively eliminate a State-led Convention)

    “The goal is a corporate state concentrating economic, political and social powers in the hands of a ruling elite.”

    We’re pretty much there, aren’t we? Most of which aren’t even elected.

    Working on behalf of the USAFA a few years ago, I had opportunities to work with congressmen in the area regarding candidate nominations, etc … during one occasion, my admissions colleague & I were supposed to meet with one of these elected folks, but he had a little “fire” with his campaign in progress which preempted his attendance. The office chief of staff worked with us, instead, that day … she lamented the 2 year term “what were the Founders thinking on that short length of term?” Uhmmm, that the House is of the People, & should be so comprised of PEOPLE, not “ruling elite,” hence, do your time in the pickle barrel & git back home to earn a living.

    Unfortunately, there are FAR too many who’ve been in their office for over 10 years. That breeds the situation we have … where voting is almost worthless, it takes a REAL powerful event to motivate folks to become as educated on the election as practical … otherwise, the campaign becomes it’s own entity.

    • billover70 says:

      Al, your interest and social media contributions are sincerely appreciated…. I pray that the efforts of you and all others who seek to impart truth and open minds will be multiplied.

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