It hasn't stopped the Political Class from abusing their unlimited borrowing capacity and treating future generations like a cash machine for doling out favors, buying votes, and promising the unsustainable and impossible.
We now face an $18 trillion debt. That's nearly $10 trillion more than when a young U.S. Senator from Illinois, by the name of Barack Obama, opposed lifting the federal debt limit. That's more than 107% of the Gross Domestic Product. That's as big a percentage of the American economy as during the height of World War II. Today, only 10 countries out of world’s 193 have a higher total debt to G.D.P. ratio than does the U.S. (107%). That list includes: Greece – 159%, Jamaica - 147%, Italy - 127% and Portugal - 123%. And that is the tip of the iceberg of unfunded and underfunded entitlement programs, which have been estimated to exceed $205 trillion.
Is this unsustainable deficit spending something that can be fixed by sending a new team to DC? Not likely given that the total U.S. debt has increased every year but 5 since 1930 (1947-1948, 1951, & 1956-1957). The total debt paid off in those 5 budget surplus years was a whopping (joke) $22 billion, which would not cover 5% of our current annual roughly $500 billion deficit.
The real problem is that the country faces an overconcentration of power in Washington, D.C. to incur limitless amounts of debt. The power to incur limitless amounts of debt is what enables unprincipled politicians to get away with promising to spend limitless amounts of money. That power is easily leveraged by special interests to enrich themselves at the expense of our kids. As a result, Washington has not and will never control its addiction to debt.
Fortunately, the Founders gave us the power to intervene in Article V of the United States Constitution.
Article V empowers state legislatures to originate constitutional amendments. This power was meant to be used as a crucial failsafe to protect our liberty from an overconcentration of power in Washington, D.C. In Federalist No. 85, which was the last Federalist Paper, Alexander Hamilton urged skeptical states to ratify the Constitution because they retained ultimate authority over the federal government through this state-initiated constitutional amendment process under Article V.
Hamilton urged the states to realize that this was a practical power to restrain the federal government if it were targeted to the “general liberty or security of the people,” rather than merely “local interests.” And he reassured the states that they could “rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority” through state-initiated constitutional amendments.
Because of this “closing argument” of the Federalist Papers, which was echoed by advocates of the Constitution at various ratification conventions, the Constitution was eventually ratified.
It is now time for the states and the American People to prove the Founders right. The Compact for a Balanced Budget makes it possible. It uses an agreement among the states to advance a powerful balanced budget amendment in as little as one year, with a target of July 4, 2017, and a do or die date of April 12, 2021.
With Alaska and Georgia already on board, we are only 36 state enactments, one congressional resolution, and one 24-hour-long convention away from a federal Balanced Budget Amendment. The effort is further down the road to real reform than any other Article V movement.
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by Nick Dranias