Orlando, FL — Every legislative session has its signature moment when a piece of landmark legislation is signed into law by the governor. This year will be no different. State legislatures across the country are meeting to decide such issues as Medicaid expansion, Common Core implementation, 2nd Amendment protection, budget priorities and the transfer of western lands.
One of the most important issues which has been gliding under the radar is the campaign for a federal balanced budget amendment (BBA). This year, twelve states will introduce and consider Article V applications that call for an Article V convention limited to proposing a BBA. This authority empowers the States, upon the application of two-thirds (34) the State legislatures, to call a convention to propose amendment(s) which three-quarters (38) of the States must ratify.
Two states, Utah and South Dakota, have already passed BBA resolutions this year. That makes twenty-six states that have joined the call for a convention to propose a balanced budget amendment. Similar resolutions are making their way through the following legislatures: Idaho, Oklahoma, Arizona, West Virginia, Wisconsin, South Carolina, North Dakota & Oregon. While it remains a long-shot, if every state were to approve their resolutions, the BBA campaign could reach thirty-four states by July 4, 2015. If not, the campaign will likely reach that goal in 2016.
Aligned against this campaign are the usual suspects, long known for their paranoid opposition to a convention of the states. The Eagle Forum, the John Birch Society, and most recently, the Ron Paul Campaign for Liberty, have saddled up for another conspiracy-theory ride. The true puppet-master behind the scenes of course, is the tin-foil-hat-wearing JBS which has long been known for its obsession and paranoia regarding a convention which it claims will ‘runaway’ and destroy the Constitution. All that, despite the fact that our founders limited the power of convention delegates so that they could only PROPOSE amendments, not RATIFY them.
The opposition of the Ron Paul Campaign for Liberty is odd because his son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, is a strong supporter of the campaign to propose a BBA via an Article V convention. Senator Paul even testified before the Kentucky legislature in support of the campaign when he said, “Our Founders, in their enduring brilliance, provided the states with a mechanism to amend the Constitution should the U.S. Congress fail to act. Congress has not acted on a Balanced Budget Amendment despite the overwhelming feeling of the American people that it would help put our nation’s fiscal house in order.”
The Campaign for Liberty and the John Birch Society have long enjoyed a friendly relationship. Former Congressman Ron Paul has spoken at numerous JBS events and has long been a favorite of the Appleton, Wisconsin based organization which shares his penchant for odd-ball conspiracy theories. For example, the John Birch Society’s founder, Robert Welch, once called President Dwight D. Eisenhower a “conscious, dedicated agent of the communist conspiracy,” and claimed that Eisenhower was under the control of Soviet agents.
Over the last few weeks, the Campaign for Liberty has disseminated a JBS propaganda piece to thousands of its members which warns of the threat posed by all Article V resolutions. Their opposition is so blanket, it wouldn’t matter if you proposed an amendment to end the FED, or protect traditional marriage—issues near and dear to the Campaign for Liberty and the JBS—they would automatically tell you to oppose these resolutions, no matter what their purpose.
This unimaginative mentality makes sense when tied to the ‘copy and paste’ look of the letters that were sent out by the Campaign for Liberty. This lack of originality has characterized the JBS anti-convention tripe for over thirty years—its misinformed minions mindlessly ranting about the same old tired-out ‘Runaway Convention’ claim.
This disproven anti-Article V attack was first launched by leftists such as Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg and then again by Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger. They did so in order to protect a number of activist Supreme Court decisions from Republican state lawmakers who were threatening to repeal them via their power under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
The ‘Runaway Convention’ myth was later employed by liberal Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, ‘Tip’ O’Neil, who had his son, Lt. Governor of Massachusetts, Thomas O’Neil, organize a cabal of leftist groups to scare Republican state lawmakers away from calling a convention in order to propose Ronald Reagan’s balanced budget amendment. The BBA campaign eventually reached 32 states in 1983 (just 2 shy of the 34 required) before it ran out of steam in Ohio due to the endless ‘Runaway Convention’ attacks emanating from the left-wing propaganda machine.
That was the same year in which John Birch Society President, Congressman Larry McDonald, who was strongly in favor of the Article V convention process, passed away. Without his leadership, the tin-foil hat wearing JBS brigade quickly bought into the leftist ‘Runaway Convention’ farce. Overnight, the John Birch Society became the greatest national anti-convention group, despite the fact that Ronald Reagan dismissed this hysteria in a radio interview:
“Voices have been raised warning of danger that a convention would open the door to all manner of proposed amendment. In my view, those who warn of this show little faith in our democratic procedures.”
Sadly, the JBS was duped by those on the far left into attacking the only constitutional vehicle by which the small right-leaning states it represents, could push back against the overreaching policies of liberals in Washington. Rather than promote the use of the Article V convention where each state (large or small) gets one vote, they insisted that Congress, where smaller states are critically hamstrung by their lack of numbers in the House, should be the only body trusted to propose amendments! You’d think they’d see the simple error in their logic, but apparently not.
All the while they naively proclaim nullification as the cure for all that ails us, despite the fact that any state law (including nullification laws) can be declared unconstitutional by the federal courts. Just look at how many state marriage laws have been ruled unconstitutional by federal district court judges. Or how about Roe V. Wade? In one fell swoop, the Supreme Court ruled the anti-abortion laws of 48 states, unconstitutional.
The only true way for the states to push back against the big-governments liberals in D.C. is to pass legislation like the Article V / BBA resolutions currently being sponsored in AZ, ID, ND, OK, OR, SC, WI, & WV. These Article V applications seek to propose a balanced budget amendment that has one singular purpose: to send the debt-addicts in Congress to a constitutionally mandated financial rehab clinic!
For the first time in thirty years, the JBS is being opposed by a broad coalition of well-informed groups that are pushing various Article V resolutions. Their purpose: to bring the power-hungry federal beast back to heal at the foot of its true master, ‘We the American People!’
One of the greatest general in American history, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, said it best when he described his own belief in the Article V convention.
“Through their state legislatures and without regard to the federal government, the people can demand a convention to propose amendments that can and will reverse any trends they see as fatal to true representative government.”
The time has come for ‘We the American People’ to take the advice of the man who led us to victory over the NAZIS in WW II. In Ike’s own words, ‘we must demand a convention to propose amendments that can and will reverse any trends we see as fatal to true representative government!’ And if national bankruptcy isn’t fatal to true democracy, I don’t know what is!
In order to prevent a national financial meltdown, I encourage you to heed the advice of Ronald Reagan, Rand Paul and Dwight D. Eisenhower by supporting the campaign for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution to be proposed via a Convention of the States!
Loren J. Enns is the author of ‘The Sword of Liberty’ and Co-Founder of the BBA Task Force.
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