As much as I hate to admit it, the last time the United States had a balanced budget it was during the terms of Bill Clinton. However, I firmly believe that it was due to his unscrupulous ordering mortgage companies to come up with more creative mortgages in order to put more Americans into homes that they could not afford them before. The construction and housing industry boomed, causing most sectors of the economy to also boom. Sadly, by the time George W. Bush took office as president millions of Americans discovered that they could not pay the increases to their creative mortgages, causing millions of them to be foreclosed on and declare bankruptcy, causing the economy to take a nose dive. Even though many still blame Bush for the last recession, it was really caused by Clinton’s creative way to spur the economy and allowing the federal government to have a balanced budget.
Since that time, a number of politicians, mostly conservative Republicans have been calling for a balanced budget but those efforts have been blocked by either a Democratic controlled Congress or the White House. During the reign of America’s acting dictator, not only has there not been a balanced budget, but the federal deficit has been running out of control like a freight going downhill with no brakes under Bush and Obama. Inheriting the economic fiasco created by Clinton, Bush is blamed for adding $5.849 trillion to the national debt. By December 31, 2015 Obama had added $6.167 trillion to the national debt bringing the total over $18 trillion and every year he’s like Dickens’ Oliver asking for more, please. At the time of writing the draft for this post the current national debt was at $18,152,809,942,589 or $56,220.54 for every American.
It seems obvious that under our current political fiasco taking place in the nation’s capital that the chances of getting a balanced budget are nearing the odds of winning the Powerball. Yet there is another way and it’s closer to reality than many realize.
Hidden near the back end of the US Constitution is a rarely read section that may be the only hope of obtaining a balanced budget in our lifetime:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.” [Emphasis mine]
There has been some talk about the possibility of a Convention of States but most everyone seems to think it’s nothing more than conservative pipedream. However, they may be surprised to find out that the so-called pipedream is closer to becoming reality than they ever thought.
According to Article V, it would take 34 states to call for a convention to propose a constitutional amendment to establish the demand for a balanced budget. According to The Center for Public Integrity:
“So far, 27 states have passed bills since 1957 to discuss a balanced budget amendment that would prevent the federal government from running annual budget deficits. To secure the remaining seven states necessary for a convention, the ALEC-connected Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force plans to lobby in 13 more states in 2016.”
Those 13 states being targeted are: Arizona, Kentucky, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. So far at least 10 of these 13 states have bills calling for a convention for a balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution, pending in their legislatures. If just 7 of these states succeed in passing their bills, it will be the first time since 1787 that a convention of states was called. That convention some 227 years ago is better known as the Constitutional Convention that met in Philadelphia that drafted and signed the Constitution of the United States of America.
Yes, it will be a truly historic event and possibly the only thing that could save the US economy from further spiraling out of control. If you live in one of the 13 states being targeted to get a bill passed to call for a convention for a balanced budget amendment, contact your state Representatives and Senators and urge them to support and pass the bill. We owe it to our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to keep federal spending in check and give them a hope for the future.