George Will Promotes Plan to Grant President Legislative Powers
Written by Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
In an April 9 opinion piece published in the Washington Post, commentator George Will praises the Goldwater Institute’s Compact for America and its component calling for an Article V constitutional convention.
Will points out a few of the proposal’s “benefits,” insisting that the balanced budget amendment (BBA) that it aims to enact “delivers immediate benefits to constituents.” Unfortunately, Will’s analysis of the Compact for America ignores several of its distinctly unconstitutional provisions.
First, before state legislatures vote for an Article V con-con proposal such as the Compact for America that could cause real and radical damage to our Constitution, they should first consider whether a balanced budget amendment is necessary and whether it would actually repair the damage already done by a Congress committed to ignoring the constitutional limits on its power.
The fact is that determined citizens and state legislators could rescue the United States from its financial peril without resorting to opening up the Constitution to tinkering by 38 or more state-appointed delegates, many of whom would be bought and paid for by special interests and corporations.
Imagine for a moment the brand of “conservative” delegates that might be chosen by state partisans to represent them at an Article V convention. It isn’t unlikely that Arizona might choose John McCain, Jan Brewer, or Sandra Day O’Connor. New York might send Michael Bloomberg. South Carolina could appoint Lindsey Graham. Similar selections could be predicted in every state.
Next, there is no historical proof that a balanced budget amendment would drive Congress back to within its constitutional corral. Even the most conservative estimates indicate that about 80 percent of expenditures approved by Congress violate the U.S. Constitution. That fact wouldn’t change by adding an amendment to the Constitution.
Whether these bills spend our national treasure on unconstitutional and undeclared foreign wars, billions sent overseas in the form of foreign aid, expanding the so-called entitlement programs, or redistributing wealth via corporate and individual welfare schemes, none of these outlays is authorized by the Constitution.
And don’t forget, a committed, concerned, and constitutionally aware citizenry can balance our budget more quickly than any balanced budget amendment and without the danger of letting the wolves of special interests and their political puppets into the constitutional hen house.
Third, rather than forcing Congress to adhere to spending money in only those areas specifically permitted by the Constitution in Article I, the Compact for America’s Balanced Budget Amendment specifically allows Congress to spend money on anything, no matter how unconstitutional, so long as the amount does not exceed the limits set in Section 2 of their BBA. If approved, the CFA’s BBA would do nothing to break Congress of its unconstitutional spending habits, habits that have nearly ruined the economic might of this Republic.
In fact, under the CFA’s budget-balancing scheme, Congress could continue spending on projects and programs not authorized by the Constitution.
Section 3 of the CFA’s BBA explicitly authorizes an increase in the federal debt limit to 105 percent of the actual debt level on the effective date of this amendment. That hardly sounds like a balanced budget and is not something true conservatives should support as a remedy to a runaway federal government.
Or Adding A National Sales Tax To The Income Tax?
The gap between what this BBA pretends to do – and what it actually does – is enormous. It has nothing to do with “balancing the budget” – it is about slipping in a new national sales tax or value-added tax in addition to the existing federal income tax.
We have become so shallow that we look no further than a name – if it sounds good, we are all for it. We hear, “balanced budget amendment”, and think, “I have to balance my budget; they should have to balance theirs.” So we don’t read the amendment, we just assume they will have to balance theirs the same way we balance ours – by cutting spending.
But that is not what the BBA does. In effect, it redefines “balancing the budget” to mean spending no more than your income plus the additional debt you incur to finance your spending. To illustrate: If your income is $100,000 a year; but you spend $175,000 a year, you “balance” your budget by borrowing the additional $75,000. See?
Under the BBA, Congress may continue to spend whatever it likes and incur as much new debt as it pleases – as long as 26 States agree. And since the States have become major consumers of federal funding, who doubts that they can’t continue to be bought? Federal grants make up almost 35% of the States’ annual budgets! The States are addicted to federal funds – who thinks they won’t agree to get more money?
The BBA enshrines Debt as a permanent feature of our Country; gives it constitutional approval; does nothing to reduce spending or “balance the budget”; authorizes a new national tax; and wipes out the “enumerated powers” limitation on the federal government.
Let’s look at the BBA, section by section, using plain and honest English. And then let’s look at how our Framers wrote our Constitution to strictly control federal spending.
Compact for America’s BBA
Section 1 says the federal government may not spend more than they take from you in taxes or add to the national debt. [Yes, you read that right.]
Section 2 accepts debt as a permanent feature of our Country – the “Authorized Debt”. This is the maximum amount of debt the federal government may incur at any given point in time.
- Initially, when the Amendment is ratified, the “authorized debt” may not be more than 105% of the then existing national debt. So! If the national debt is $20 trillion when the Amendment is ratified, the federal government may not initially add more than 105% of $20 trillion [or $1 trillion] to the national debt.
- After that initial addition to the national debt, the “authorized debt” may not be increased unless it is approved by State Legislatures as provided in Section 3.
Section 3 says whenever Congress wants, it may increase the national debt if 26 of the State Legislatures agree. [Yes, you read that right.]
Section 4 says whenever the national debt exceeds 98% of “the debt limit set by Section 2”, the President shall “impound” sufficient expenditures so that the national debt won’t exceed the “authorized debt”. And if the President doesn’t do this, Congress may impeach him!
This is a hoot, Folks! I’ll show you:
- No debt limit is set by Section 2! The national debt can be increased at any time if Congress gets 26 State Legislatures to agree. Can 26 States be bought?
- Section 6 defines “impoundment” as “a proposal not to spend all or part of a sum of money appropriated by Congress”. Who believes Congress will impeach the President 2 for failing to “impound” an appropriation made by Congress?
Section 5 says any new or increased federal “general revenue tax” must be approved by 2/3 of the members of both houses of Congress.
Now pay attention, because this is a monstrous trick to be played on you: Section 6 defines “general revenue tax” as “any income tax, sales tax, or value-added tax” levied by the federal government.
And when you read the first sentence of Section 5 with the definition of “general revenue tax” in place of “general revenue tax”, you see that it says:
“No bill that provides for a new or increased income tax, sales tax, or value-added tax shall become law unless approved by a two-thirds roll call vote…”
Do you see? This permits Congress to impose a national sales tax or value added tax in addition to the income tax, 3 if 2/3 of both houses agree. [Yes, you read that right.]
- Balanced Budget Amendments (BBA) Gut Our Constitution And Don’t Reduce Spending
- How to Balance the Budget
- Constitution Restrains Obama Spending Authority
- The Federal Debt Lunacy in Real Life Terms
- DeMint: Tax Hikes and Debt Isn’t ‘Rocket Science’
Q: How are amendments to the federal Constitution made?
A: Article V of our Constitution provides two method of amending the Constitution:
- Congress proposes amendments and presents them to the States for ratification; or
- When 2/3 of the States apply for it, Congress calls a convention to propose amendments.
Q: Which method was used for our existing 27 amendments?
A: The first method was used for all 27 amendments including the Bill of Rights which were introduced into Congress by James Madison. 3
Q: Is there a difference between a constitutional convention, con con, or Article V Convention?
A: These names have been used interchangeably during the last 50 years.
Q: What is a “convention of states”?
A: That is what the people pushing for an Article V convention now call it.
Q: Who is behind this push for an Art. V convention?
A: The push to impose a new Constitution by means of an Article V convention (and using a “balanced budget” amendment as justification) started in 1963 with the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. 1 Today, it is pushed by:
- Hundreds of progressive (Marxist) groups listed at https://movetoamend.org/organizations
- George Soros
- Michael Farris, Esq., of “Convention of States” (COS), and author of the “parental rights” amendment which delegates power over children to the federal & state governments.
- Nick Dranias, Esq., of the Compact for America, Inc., whose “balanced budget” amendment imposes a new national sales or VAT tax on the American People.
- Former law professor, Rob Natelson.
- Nullification denier and law professor, Randy Barnett, who proposes an amendment which delegates to Congress the power to regulate “emissions” [EPA now exercises usurped powers].
- Nullification denier and birther denier, Mark Levin, Esq., whose “balanced budget” amendment legalizes Congress’ unconstitutional spending and does nothing to control the debt.
Q: Why do they want an Article V Convention?
A: The only way to get rid of our existing Constitution and Bill of Rights is to have an Article V convention where they can re-write our Constitution. Jordan Sillars, Communications Director for Michael Farris’ “Convention of States”, said:
“… 3. I think the majority of Americans are too lazy to elect honest politicians. But I think some men and women could be found who are morally and intellectually capable of re-writing the Constitution…” [boldface mine].
Q: How can they impose a new constitution if ¾ of the States don’t agree to it?
A: Only amendments require ratification by ¾ of the States (see Art. V). But a new constitution would have its own new method of ratification – it can be whatever the drafters want. For example, the proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America is ratified by a referendum called by the President.
Q: Can a convention be stopped from proposing a new Constitution?
A: No. Once the delegates are duly appointed & assembled, they are acting under the inherent authority of A People to alter or abolish their form of government [Declaration of Independence, 2nd para]; and have the sovereign power to do whatever they want at the convention.
Q: Is this what happened at the Federal Convention of 1787?
A: Yes. Pursuant to Article XIII of The Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress resolved on February 21, 1787 (p 71-74) to call a convention to be held at Philadelphia “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”. But the delegates ignored this limitation and wrote a new Constitution. Because of this inherent authority of delegates, it is impossible to stop it from happening at another convention. And George Washington, James Madison, Ben Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton won’t be there to protect you.
Q: Did the delegates at the Convention of 1787 introduce a new mode of ratification for the new Constitution?
A: Yes. The Articles of Confederation required the approval of all 13 States for amendments to the Articles to be ratified. But the new Constitution provided it would become effective if only 9 of the 13 States ratified it (Art. VII, cl. 1, U.S. Constitution).
Q: Who would be delegates at a Convention?
A: Either Congress appoints whomever they want; or State governments appoint whomever they want.
Q: Who would be chairman at a convention?
A: We don’t know. But chairmen have lots of power – and George Washington won’t be chairman.
Q: But if the States appoint the delegates, won’t a convention be safe?
A: Who controls your State? They will be the ones who choose the delegates if Congress permits the States to appoint delegates. Are the people who control your State virtuous, wise, honest, and true? [Tell PH if they are, so she can move there.]
Q: But aren’t the States the ones to rein in the federal government?
A: They should have been, but the States have become major consumers of federal funding. Federal funds make up almost 35% of the States’ annual budgets. The States don’t want to rein in the feds – they don’t want to lose their federal funding.
Q: Did Thomas Jefferson say the federal Constitution should be amended every 20 years?
A: No! In his letter to Samuel Kercheval of July 12, 1816, Jefferson wrote about the Constitution for the State of Virginia, which he said needed major revision. And remember James Madison’s words in Federalist No. 45 (3rd para from the end):
“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce … The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which … concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” [boldface mine]
The powers delegated to the feds are “few and defined” – what’s to amend? All else is reserved to the States or the People – so State Constitutions would need more frequent amendments. Do you see?
Q: Did Alexander Hamilton say in Federalist No 85 (next to last para) that a convention is safe?
A: No! He said, respecting the ratification of amendments, that we “may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority”. But today, our State legislatures don’t protect us from federal encroachments because:
- We have been so dumbed down by progressive education that we know nothing & can’t think;
- State legislatures have been bought off with federal funds; and
- Our public and personal morality is in the sewer.
Q: Did Our Framers – the ones who signed The Constitution – think conventions a fine idea?
- Mr. Pinckney said on September 15, 1787:
“Conventions are serious things, and ought not to be repeated.”
- History Does not Agree with the Article V Apologists
- Article V Constitutional Convention Bills in South Dakota Legislature
- Let the End be Legitimate
- Propaganda And The Conspiracy Against Our Constitution
- The ‘Convention of the States’ Scam