Friday, April 3, 2015

COS: Which Way To A Better Constitution?

Did we start out with a bad constitution?

Or did it just get worse with each amendment we added?
Or did the social pressures and bad jurists corrupt it?
  Whatever the cause, our system is failing (or are we failing our system?). Of late we've been mulling over additional solutions. For 30+ years we have been calling for a Balanced Budget Federal Amendment. Recently there has been a formidable push for the state legislatures to bypass the federal congress and draft their own proposal, to be circulated for the necessary ratification.


  The Convention of States idea has fans and foes. There are worries of a runaway process creating a terrible proposal. There are speculations that nothing could meet the approval of the required 3/4 of states needed to ratify an amendment.
  There are also those who think the rift between states could blow up into a dissolution of our current republic. Some constitutional scholars wonder if the process originally designed for 13 states, can remain workable for 50?

It's easier to say 'no' to ideas we either don't understand or don't have a certain level of comfortable experience with. To some degree we need to make sure we know what we are experimenting with before committing to it. If we send a delegation to a convened group, can we recall them and stop the process? Is there a need to?

Suppose a convention of state delegations actually drafts a proposed amendment for a mandated balanced federal budget? What's next? How many states have to ratify it?

More importantly, what happens to states who refuse to ratify it? Is there a political will to force them into compliance? Will we see massive demonstrations and riots like other nations in default have experienced?

It sounds like a risky thing to do, doesn't it?

But what are the other options? We could wait for our current system to go into default. That seems to be fairly eminent, given the annual spending binges of the past 14 years. Congress seems far less interested in balancing the budget than ever. Sure, our own politicians make stump speeches about it, but when has it ever passed even one congressional house?

So our future in this republic looks difficult and we are all sorting through the options of what process of reform to advocate.

One thing I am certain of...

  We will be deciding on some scary options in the next decade, and as each year of this current trend does it's damage, our options for avoiding fiscal pain become smaller. Perhaps there is a safer solution than a Convention of States? If so, I really want to know what it is and what are the chances of it's success? If we soon accept a Convention of States before a fiscal emergency, we have the luxury of more time to draft and ratify a well-planned solution. But if it has to be produced during an economic collapse, we may end up with a horrible fix and far more social unrest in the streets. The only option I find inexcusable is... doing nothing. Will we be complicit in stealing more wealth from our grandchildren? None of us think it's our own fault. And the funny thing is that when an avalanche wipes out a mountain village, no single snowsfake ever thinks he is responsible for the casualties.

1 comment :

  1. A balanced budget amendment can be very misleading. The assets and liabilities must be defined in very exact terms to eliminate loopholes that can be wiggled through. For example the assets should only be the last fiscal year of tax revenues. Liabilities should be all annual needs for cash with a 6 month reserve on any future liabilities. Total demands for cash must be within the limits of last year's tax revenues. A war clause can be inserted to allow a 2/3 vote to wave the balanced budget requirement for 12 months but if a second 12 months waver is required then no elected official that voted for the waiver will be allowed to run for office in the next election. If it truly is a national emergency to run a deficit then our elected reps should have no regrets about falling on their sword to save the republic.
    Present and future liabilities like Social Security and welfare should be self funded and separate from the Federal budget if it is to survive at all.
    You mention riots when the money runs out and I agree but there are methods of bankruptcy that can enable a quicker comeback.
    If we don't do anything to cut spending our tax rates will need to be higher than 100% and to collect that much tax, America will need a totalitarian police state with central planners rationing food, energy, and wages for everyone. We will sink into communism to support the ruling elite's demands for social equality.
    On the other hand If we cut the federal budget back to pre WWII spending levels our tax rates will be lower and the free market will re emerge as a powerful jobs engine which I think could bring prosperity back to the middle class within 3 years.
    There is one amendment in our constitution that I think must be repealed above all other amendment proposals. The Income Tax amendment has damaged the intent of the framers of our constitution beyond reconciliation. By declaring the State has an obligation to collect a tax on the fruits of every citizens labor we have given up our rights to be free from government intrusion into our personal privacy. The State must track every citizens personal business so it can enforce the income tax. All commerce needs to be regulated for the required purpose of collecting the tax. Personal property becomes collateral for payment of income tax and in effect our personhood now exists as a tax payer with an assumed tax liability and thus we accept the constant threat of prosecution for tax evasion. This is so twisted from anything our founders could have imagined that if we are to restore the republic we must throw the shackles of the Income Tax off our shoulders. It literally enslaves all Americans.
    There is a wonderful alternative to the Income Tax and it's called the FairTax. A flat tax collected anonymously at the time of sale with an equal voucher check going back to every American citizen regardless of economic status. The voucher is a tax refund to remove the FairTax from the cost of a minimum standard of living so in effect those that choose to live at a minimum living standard pay no Federal tax.