If the founders were here today, they would say, “We gave you Article V..."
Since our Article V COS bill is pending in the Texas State legislature, this week I want to address how and why we should use the Article V process to amend the constitution and get this country back on track. Some may be surprised at how simple, yet powerful, this process is. Mark Meckler calls it a solution hidden in plain sight.
Article V is a tool the founders gave us to combat federal government tyranny that we have never used. Fortunately, the founders were insightful enough to write this safety mechanism into the Constitution, to protect the people against future abuses by the federal government.
Many of us are seriously concerned about the direction America is headed, and we don’t see a big difference in that direction regardless of which party is in power. The problem is that there is a disconnect between Washington D.C., and the rest of the country: Washington no longer answers to the people. Politicians in both parties now answer to the special interests that can help them get re-elected. Since Washington politicians on both sides of the aisle put their own political careers ahead of the welfare of the country, they recklessly persist in driving America deeper into record debt, with no regard for the inevitable dire consequences.
In Mark Levin’s book, The Liberty Amendments, he explains how Article V contains the solution to many of today’s problems and suggests 11 different Constitutional amendments that we should pass with an Article V COS. Below are a few ideas from Mark’s book.
Government spending: Many people, both Democrats and Republicans, balance their own budgets and understand that running trillion dollar deficits will eventually lead to a financial collapse. But Washington politicians continue to run huge deficits, despite the demands of the people.
Taxing: No one likes the current income tax system. Most of us want a simplified flat tax that is fair for all. But Washington feathers their own nest and bows to the special interest groups and gives us 81k pages of indecipherable tax code written by and for special interest groups. Crony capitalism is alive and well in both parties.
Solution: Mark Levin proposes an amendment that will limit taxing and spending.
Taxing: Congress cannot collect more than 15% of a person’s income.
Shall not collect on the estate of a decedent.
Shall not impose a VAT.
Spending: Congress must submit an annual budget or an automatic 5% reduction will occur.
Total outlays cannot exceed receipts for that fiscal year (balanced budget).
Total outlays cannot exceed 17.5% of the GDP of the previous year.
Term limits: Most voters from both parties see the need for term limits because incumbents, no matter how inept, have an 85% chance of being re-elected. We want to change this, but it is in the best interest of the Washington politicians to ignore the wishes of the people and create lifetime security for themselves.
Solution: Levin recommends we call a COS to amend the Constitution to limit Congressional terms to 12 years max.
(Someone said that every politician deserves two terms? One in Congress and one behind bars.)
Levin also proposes we limit the Supreme Court to one 12-year term. The 22nd amendment already restricts the president to serving no more than two terms. It seems very logical to place similar restrictions on Congress and the Supreme Court as well.
Bad legislation: Even term limits won’t solve all the damage that Congress can do with bad legislation.
Solution: Levin recommends that we pass an amendment under Article V to provide for states to be able to override Congress with a 3/5 vote. That means thirty states can overturn bad legislation.
We could do the same thing with bad Supreme Court decisions. Why should 5 people on the court be able to foist their views on us if 60% of the states object? It makes sense to return the power to the people.
Federal overreach and overregulation: Another problem we face is Federal overreach and overregulation. In their never-ending quest for power, the Feds have set up an unconstitutional fourth branch of government that is not accountable to the people. The Executive branch uses the EPA, NLRB, USDA, IRS, and hundreds of other agencies to bypass the duly elected Congress and instead act as their own de facto congress.
Solution: Levin recommends an amendment to limit federal bureaucracy. All agencies expire in three years, unless reauthorized by a majority vote of Congress. Executive branch regulations exceeding $100m must be approved by Congress.
These are the kind of problems that can gain bipartisan support and be solved through an Article V COS. We can stop the federal government from enforcing unconstitutional policy on the states. We can find a reasonable balance to federal judicial power and stop federal agencies and presidents from legislating rather than executing the laws written by Congress.
We know what the problems are, but we have not had much luck finding real solutions. We have tried to fix our broken system through elections, reason, and persuasion to no avail. But things just get worse and worse because Washington no longer listens to the people; they listen only to the lobbyists, unions, and big money corporations.
It’s high time we try something different, now! By getting involved in the Article V COS project, we can divest a tyrannical federal government of the powers it has unconstitutionally usurped from the states and return those relinquished powers back to the states and the people, where they belong.
If the founders were here today, they would say, “We gave you Article V.” We gave you the power to stop federal tyranny. Why haven’t you used it?”
Allen Tharp is President of the San Antonio Tea Party.
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