- By David Van Dyk
- Published: April 15th, 2014
In a move that sent a constitutional conundrum to the front pages of Congress, Michigan signed the Balanced Budget Amendment Petition, forcing lawmakers to ask the question: Should a constitutional convention be initiated to discuss a balanced budget amendment for the United States?
According to Article V of the Constitution, there are two ways to propose amendments to the United States Constitution. The first and most often used is two-thirds vote of both the Senate and House of Representatives. The second technique, according to an article from the Washington Times, has never been done. It involves two-thirds of the state legislatures calling for an amendment, which equates to 34 states.
Michigan happens to be lucky number 34.
I personally would love to see a balanced budget come to this nation. I believe we desperately need fiscal responsibility to come to our government, and soon. With our national debt of approximately $70 trillion and climbing, we are digging a financial hole we cannot get out of, no matter how tall the ladder.
You might be saying to yourself “Ah, this writer obviously doesn’t know his economics, because the national debt is $17.5 trillion, not more than $70 trillion.” Actually, it is more than our transparent government has been telling you. Should we include our unfunded liabilities and our current debt, it reaches quite a staggering number.
“…the government is miscalculating what it owes by leaving out certain unfunded liabilities that include government loan guarantees, deposit insurance, and actions taken by the Federal Reserve as well as the cost of other government trust funds,” James Hamilton, an economics professor at University of California, San Diego, said in a Fox News report.
“Factoring in those figures brings the total amount the government owes to a staggering $70 trillion.”
California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter recently sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner asking for a formal examination into the possibility of a constitutional convention and a balanced budget.
“With the recent decision by Michigan lawmakers, it is important that the House — and those of us who support a balanced budget amendment — determine whether the necessary number of states have acted and the appropriate role of Congress should this be the case,” Hunter wrote.
I believe this country cannot continue to sustain itself holding to the same spending practices we are currently applying. If we truly want to see this nation prosper and escape the dark shadow of our debt, we need to understand fiscal responsibility does not stop at the state level.
Unfortunately, some people argue that it is too late for anything substantial to be done. Dr. Edwin Vieira, constitutional attorney, scholar and author, has been a leading voice in calling for America’s economic collapse. He believes that the constitutional convention will do close to nothing in stopping America from sure financial collapse and ruin. With four degrees from Harvard and an uncanny knowledge of law and economics, many are taking heed.
I do not believe him. When the depression hit in the 1930s, financial ruin was rampant, stockbrokers jumped out of windows and many thought relief would never come. However, World War II reignited heavy industrial cities and brought us out of the pit. Since 1854, America has been through 32 cycles of expansions and contractions, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.
We have been through recessions, wars and difficult times when our mettle and perseverance was tested. Ronald Reagan pulled us out of a time when American patriotism was everything but alive, and we toiled through the Great Recession from 2007-2009. This country has taken its hits.
But like Rocky Balboa has said, “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward.”
We as a nation have taken a lot. But we move forward. We persevere, because our Founding Fathers knew we would have tough times. They knew there would be rough waters, so they modeled a government stronger than any other.
We can climb out of this fiscal pit, but it is going to take some doing. This can start with a constitutional convention, discussing the idea of a balanced budget and trying to get this nation in ship shape. It will be tough, and it is going to take sacrifice. Sometimes, all we need is some inspiration from the Italian Stallion.