How the States Can Help Drain the Swamp
Washington may be incapable of fixing itself, but momentum is growing for the states to step in.

How the States Can Help Drain the Swamp

We have a pretty good idea by now that Washington is incapable of fixing itself, and Republican Congressman Ken Buck of Colorado has seen up-close just how bad things are.
Buck has written a book titled Drain the Swamp: Washington Corruption is Worse than You Think. The insider information he shared at last week’s ALEC/ACCE conference was nothing if not explosive.

Corruption Is Built Into the System

Buck argued that Washington corruption is by no means limited to a particular party. In fact, he says, “Republicans steal to help their friends and Democrats steal to help their friends.”
And these days this mutual backscratching sounds a lot less like the old smoke-filled-room deal-making and more like—in his words—”I won’t make you take a tough vote if you don’t make me take a tough vote.”
Buck is fed up with the pay-to-play committee system, whereby congressmen earn their committee and leadership positions by dialing for dollars on behalf of a partisan organization (the National Republican Congressional Committee). He tells us, “An ‘A’ Committee–an important Committee–costs $475,000 to get a seat,” and “If you don’t play by the rules, you get punished.”

The Swamp is Draining Our Pocketbooks

At the same event, former Senator Jim DeMint explained how this level of corruption is affecting our pocketbooks, “It doesn’t matter who we send to Congress, it is no longer possible for the federal government to avoid the inevitable disaster brought on by the spending and debt of the federal government.”
Consider the budget proposed in DC last week—the numbers don’t even come close to adding up. Congress wants to spend $700 billion more than the federal government has on hand.
The national debt is fast approaching $20 trillion, we’re easily on pace to reach $30 trillion by 2025, and we’re looking at least $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities.
Do those numbers take your breath away? If you’re not completely stunned, it’s only because these figures are so grand as to be incomprehensible.

Two Solutions Are In The Works

That Congress has a spending problem isn’t exactly news. What’s different today is the growing momentum for states to rein in Washington. Both Buck and DeMint spoke passionately about two similar, but separate, state initiatives that could turn things around.
Each initiative would operate under Article V of the US Constitution to amend the Constitution itself. The Balanced Budget Amendment Project aims to pass a single, but important, amendment. The Convention of States focuses on three amendments: fiscal constraints on the federal budget, jurisdictional restraints, and term limits for Congress.
Arizona will host a Balanced Budget Amendment Planning Convention—a sort of test-run for an Article V convention–on September 12, 2017.
Any state can send delegates, but 27 state legislatures, including Texas, have already passed active Balanced Budget Amendment resolutions. According to Article V, once that number reaches 34 (2/3rds of the states) the process for a formal convention to amend the Constitution can begin. Organizers don’t expect to have the necessary numbers by September, but the event will serve to clarify the process ahead of a future convention.

We Must Consider the Alternatives

There has been much discussion in conservative circles about the use of Article V. As you develop your response to these efforts to amend the Constitution, here are a few questions to keep in mind:
Should we use the method put into the Constitution by the Founders to amend the Constitution? Do you think the current trajectory is sustainable? If not, then what is the alternative to the path we’re on?
Ronald Reagan weighed in on Article V years ago, when the Balanced Budget Amendment was first being discussed. He said, “It is clear that we must rely on the states to force Congress to act on our (Balanced Budget) Amendment. Fortunately, our Nation’s Founders gave us the means to amend the Constitution through action of state legislators.”
Article V was added to the Constitution for a reason. Some argue that putting it into action is a radical step. After all, it has never been used before in our history. But then, that might be part of the problem.