Kicking the deficit can down the road, constructively

If anyone thinks this 115th Congress is going to do anything about deficit spending, and our $20 trillion national debt, they’re not paying attention.  The Democrats aren’t interested, the Republicans don’t have the stomach for it, and Trump has other priorities.  We’ll keep adding between half a trillion and a trillion a year for the next two years, minimum.

So when the Republicans try to maintain their majorities in the 2018 election, they won’t be able to talk about cutting the budget, or reducing deficit spending, or dealing with the creeping existential crisis of printing money to pay our bills.  At the rate they’re going, what are they going to run on?  The best thing you can say about Ryan and McConnell is that they’re not Pelosi and Schumer.  Hardly anything to inspire enthusiasm.

This Congress is off to a lousy start, and if they don’t get something done they could lose the House.  Hatred of Trump fuels Democratic voters.  Republicans can probably count on the 40% of the public standing with the President, but that won’t be enough.

But there may be a way out for the R’s  —  a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution that would force future Congresses to begin balancing the books.  The Democrats are opposed, and will fight it to the death.  Congress has never, and will never, propose such an Amendment.  It will have to come from the States, through Article V.

Almost without exception, Congressional Republicans say they want a BBA.  And they know the 2/3 vote they need to propose it is out of reach.  Therefor, I would argue that Ryan and McConnell, and all of their horses and all of their men, should be assisting us in getting this done.  It’s in their own political self interest.

With most politicians, most of the time, the most important consideration is always the same.  What’s in it for me?  If you’re a Republican running for Congress in 2018, you want Article V to succeed.

Unfortunately, they don’t take the Article V BBA campaign seriously.  The idea is old.  It’s been around and kicking for 42 years.  What makes anyone think that now is the time for the first use of Article V in our history?

This is the question we hope to answer at the Phoenix Convention of States.  The goal of this meeting is simple and straightforward:  kill the myth of the runaway.  Michael Farris, in his cleverly named Defying Conventional Wisdom, in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, has made the academic and historical case as well as it can be done.  In Phoenix we hope to prove that, as a practical matter, the idea that an Article V BBA Convention called next year would turn into a runaway Convention is laughable.

Who are these people that are going to lead a Convention to run away?  There won’t be any in Phoenix, and the three hundred or so Commissioners in attendance will have been hand picked by either a State Legislature or or by the presiding Officers of such a legislature.  These men and women will be the same people, by and large, who would attend an actual Article V Convention.

Where are the bogey men?  Where are the threats to the Constitution?  Who’s going to propose that they ignore their instructions, and disregard the limitations in the call of the Convention?  Who’s a danger to the Bill of Rights?

There are none, or won’t be in Phoenix.  The runaway convention scare is nothing but a big lie.

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