By Publius Huldah
Q: How are amendments to the federal Constitution made?
A: Article V of our Constitution provides two method of amending the Constitution:
- Congress proposes amendments and presents them to the States for ratification; or
- When 2/3 of the States apply for it, Congress “calls” a convention to propose amendments.
Q: Which method was used for our existing 27 amendments?
A: The first method was used for all 27 amendments including the Bill of Rights which were introduced into Congress by James Madison. 3
Q: Is there a difference between a constitutional convention, con con, or Article V Convention?
A: These names have been used interchangeably during the last 50 years.
Q: What is a “convention of states”?
A: That is what the people now pushing for an Article V convention call it.
Q: Who is behind this push for an Art. V convention?
A: The push to impose a new Constitution by means of an Article V convention (and using a “balanced budget” amendment as justification) started in 1963 with the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. 1 Today, it is pushed by:
- Hundreds of progressive (Marxist) groups listed at https://movetoamend.org/organizations
- George Soros
- Michael Farris, Esq., of “Convention of States” (COS), and author of the “parental rights” amendment which delegates power over children to the federal & state governments.
- Nick Dranias, Esq., of the Compact for America, Inc., whose “balanced budget” amendment authorizes the imposition of a new national sales or VAT tax on the American People.
- Former law professor, Rob Natelson.
- Nullification denier and law professor, Randy Barnett, who proposes an amendment which delegates to Congress the power to regulate “emissions” [EPA now exercises usurped powers].
- Nullification denier and birther denier, Mark Levin, Esq., whose “balanced budget” amendment legalizes Congress’ unconstitutional spending and does nothing to control the debt or increased federal spending.
Q: Why do they want an Article V Convention?
A: The only way to get rid of our existing Constitution and Bill of Rights is to have an Article V convention where they can re-write our Constitution. Jordan Sillars, Communications Director for Michael Farris’ “Convention of States”, said:
“… 3. I think the majority of Americans are too lazy to elect honest politicians. But I think some men and women could be found who are morally and intellectually capable of re-writing the Constitution…” [boldface mine].
Q: How can they impose a new constitution if ¾ of the States don’t agree to it?
A: Only amendments require ratification by ¾ of the States (see Art. V). But a new constitution would have its own new method of ratification – it can be whatever the drafters want. For example, the proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America is ratified by a referendum called by the President (See Art. XII, section 1).
Q: Can a convention be stopped from proposing a new Constitution?
A: No. Once the delegates are duly appointed & assembled, they are acting under the inherent authority of A People to alter or abolish their form of government [Declaration of Independence, 2nd para]; and have the sovereign power to do whatever they want at the convention.
Q: Is this what happened at the Federal Convention of 1787?
A: Yes. Pursuant to Article XIII of The Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress resolved on February 21, 1787 (p 71-74) to call a convention to be held at Philadelphia “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”. But the delegates ignored this limitation and wrote a new Constitution. Because of this inherent authority of delegates, it is impossible to stop it from happening at another convention. And George Washington, James Madison, Ben Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton won’t be there to protect you.
Q: Did the delegates at the Convention of 1787 introduce a new mode of ratification for the new Constitution?
A: Yes. The Articles of Confederation required the approval of all 13 States for amendments to the Articles to be ratified. But the new Constitution provided it would become effective if only 9 of the 13 States ratified it (Art. VII, cl. 1, U.S. Constitution).
Q: Who would be delegates at a Convention?
A: Either Congress appoints whomever they want; or State governments appoint whomever they want.
Q: Who would be chairman at a convention?
A: We don’t know. But chairmen have lots of power – and George Washington won’t be chairman.
Q: But if the States appoint the delegates, won’t a convention be safe?
A: Who controls your State? They will be the ones who choose the delegates if Congress permits the States to appoint delegates. Are the people who control your State virtuous, wise, honest, and true?
Q: But aren’t the States the ones to rein in the federal government?
A: They should have been, but the States have become major consumers of federal funding. Federal funds make up almost 35% of the States’ annual budgets. The States don’t want to rein in the feds – they don’t want to lose their federal funding.
Q: Did Thomas Jefferson say the federal Constitution should be amended every 20 years?
A: No! In his letter to Samuel Kercheval of July 12, 1816, Jefferson wrote about the Constitution for the State of Virginia, which he said needed major revision. And remember James Madison’s words in Federalist No. 45 (3rd para from the end):
“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce … The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which … concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” [boldface mine]
The powers delegated to the feds are “few and defined” – what’s to amend? All else is reserved to the States or the People – so State Constitutions would need more frequent amendments. Do you see?
Q: Did Alexander Hamilton say in Federalist No 85 (next to last para) that a convention is safe?
A: No! He said, respecting the ratification of amendments, that we “may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority”. But today, our State legislatures don’t protect us from federal encroachments because:
- We have been so dumbed down by progressive education that we know nothing & can’t think;
- State legislatures have been bought off with federal funds; and
- Our public and personal morality is in the sewer.
Q: Did Our Framers – the ones who signed The Constitution – think conventions a fine idea?
- Mr. Pinckney said on September 15, 1787:
“Conventions are serious things, and ought not to be repeated.”
- Alexander Hamilton wrote of:
“…the utter improbability of assembling a new convention, under circumstances in any degree so favorable to a happy issue, as those in which the late convention met, deliberated, and concluded…” Federalist No. 85 (9th para)
- James Madison said in his letter of Nov. 2, 1788 to Turberville: 2
“3… an election into it would be courted by the most violent partizans on both sides; it … would be the very focus of that flame which has already too much heated men of all parties; would no doubt contain individuals of insidious views, who under the mask of seeking alterations popular in some parts but inadmissible in other parts of the Union might have a dangerous opportunity of sapping the very foundations of the fabric. … it seems scarcely to be presumable that the deliberations of the body could be conducted in harmony, or terminate in the general good. Having witnessed the difficulties and dangers experienced by the first Convention, which assembled under every propitious circumstance, I should tremble for the result of a Second, meeting in the present temper of America…” [boldface mine]
Q: Do we have “violent partizans” or “individuals of insidious views” who seek a “dangerous opportunity to sap the very foundations of the fabric” of our country?
A: Yes, and they have been pushing for an Article V convention since 1963.
Q: What did our Framers say about the purpose of amendments to the Constitution?
- the novelty and difficulty of what they were doing would require periodic revision (Mr. Gerry on June 5, 1787);
- remedy defects in the Constitution (Hamilton on Sep. 10, 1787);
- useful amendments would address the “organization of the government, not … the mass of its powers” (Federalist No. 85, 13th para); and
- “amendment of errors” & “useful alterations” suggested by experience (Federalist No. 43 at 8.) 3
Q: But those pushing for a convention say the remedy for politicians who violate the Constitution is to amend the Constitution.
A: Yes, that is their crazy claim: that even though for over a century, the feds have been usurping hundreds of powers not delegated in the Constitution, all we have to do is amend the Constitution, and everyone will start obeying it. 4
Q: But they say the feds would obey future amendments because the feds haven’t violated recent amendments, such as women’s suffrage.
A: Of the 15 amendments ratified since the 12th in 1804; 10 increased the powers of the feds (13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 23rd, 24th, 26th); and 4 were “housekeeping” amendments (20th, 22nd, 25th, 27th) – so of course the feds “obeyed” those. 5
Q: What about their claim that the feds violate the Constitution because they don’t understand it?
A: Rubbish! Our Constitution is so simple that Hamilton said The People were “the natural guardians of the Constitution”. The Oath of office at Art. VI, clause 3, implicitly requires the feds to learn it. For phrases the feds have perverted – such as the “interstate commerce”, “general welfare” & “necessary and proper” clauses, a quick look into The Federalist Papers reveals the original intent. I illustrate that here and elsewhere.
Q: How do we get rid of the bad amendments such as the 16th &17th?
A: Repeal them the same way we repealed the 18th amendment. Instead of sending to Congress people who don’t know the Constitution; send people who know the Constitution and commit to repealing the bad amendments. And if they don’t act to repeal them, fire them!
Q: Why was the “convention method” put in Article V?
A: We don’t really know why it was put in because Madison’s Journal of the Convention does not tell us. This chart compiles the references in Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention of 1787 to what became Article V.
- Law professor John A. Eidsmoe suggests the convention method of Article V was added rather hastily, at the time when the delegates were closing their deliberations, and this provision did not receive the careful attention given to most other provisions of the Constitution.
- It may also have been a compromise designed to induce George Mason & Randolph to sign the Constitution. 6
Q: Why can’t what happens at the convention be controlled by federal or State laws?
A: We are naïve and tell ourselves that people will “play by the rules”. So we assume all we have to do is make some laws saying delegates can’t exceed the scope of the call, and everyone will obey it.
But if they don’t, who is going to enforce these laws you have so much faith in? The feds? Obama would love the constitution for the Newstates of America – it makes him dictator! He won’t prosecute delegates who violate the call. Your State government? They sold you out to the feds long ago. Errant delegates will be protected by the feds. It doesn’t matter what a law says if it isn’t enforced.
Ever since 1963, globalists have intended to use an Article V convention as the means for imposing a new Constitution on us. Today, George Soros – the destroyer of countries – is financing the push for a convention. Don’t let him and his minions destroy America.
This little chart illustrates our Constitution & Declaration and the enumerated powers delegated to the federal government. For 100 years, we elected politicians who ignore them. We don’t understand that the amendments proposed by Michael Farris, Mark Levin, Randy Barnett, & Nick Dranias increase the powers of the federal government because we don’t know the list of enumerated powers in the Constitution. You could remedy that: Print out the chart and read the Constitution & Declaration!
As The Blue Tail Gadfly said, even though “the Constitution is not being enforced, it still declares this federal government LAWLESS! The true rule of law is still on our side, but not for much longer if the Constitution is allowed to be foolishly altered.”
2 Those pushing for a convention are not telling the truth about what Madison said in his letter to Turberville. The only way you can know who is telling the truth is to study the letter.
3 Madison did not endorse the “convention method” of proposing amendments. He always said that when States want amendments, they should instruct their congressional delegation to pursue it:
- In his letter of 1788 to Turberville, he speaks of the two methods of proposing amendments:
“2. A Convention cannot be called … without the previous application of ⅔ of the State legislatures…The difficulties … must …be much greater than will attend the origination of amendments in Congress, which may be done at the … [instruction] of a single State Legislature… ”
- How was the Bill of Rights handled? On May 5, 1789, Rep. Bland (p. 258-261) introduced into Congress a petition from Virginia for an Art. V Convention to propose amendments. On June 8, 1789, Madison (p. 448-460) circumvented Bland and introduced the amendments for Congress to propose to the States. On September 24, 1789, Congress sent them to the States for ratification.
4 If your spouse violates the marriage vows, amend the vows and your marriage will be saved!
If motorists violate the speed limit, amend the speed limit and safety will be restored!
When people violate the Ten Commandments, amend the Ten Commandments!
When politicians violate the Constitution, amend the Constitution, and all will obey it!
5 It is important to understand that the proposed amendments drafted by Randy Barnett, Mark Levin, Nick Dranias, and Michael Farris all increase the powers of the federal government by legalizing powers they have already usurped – or they delegate new powers to the federal government.
6 The Constitution was a product of compromise: Alexander Hamilton was an abolitionist – but the Constitution permitted slavery. James Madison wanted to stop the importation of slaves immediately (Federalist No. 42, 6th para); but Art. I, Sec. 9, clause 1 permitted it to continue 20 more years. Hamilton said the Constitution wasn’t perfect, but “is the best that the present views and circumstances of the country will permit” (Federalist No. 85, 6th – 8th paras). The “convention” provision of Art. V seems to have been added – on the last day of deliberations (Sep. 15, 1787) – to induce Mason & Randolph to sign the Constitution. But they still refused to sign. PH
Note: This last series of Questions and Answers was suggested by an esteemed colleague:
Q: Are there unanswered questions about an Article V Convention?
A: Yes! Article V is utterly silent about the following and more:
- How would delegates be selected? And who would select them: Congress? The States? A national Referendum?
- Would the States even be represented at the convention? If so, how many delegates and/or how many votes would each State have at a convention?
- Would a convention be open or closed to the public and the media? (The Convention of 1787 was closed.)
- Could a convention be limited to consideration of a single amendment, or several amendments? [The plural language of Article V, “a convention for proposing amendments,” suggests the convention could not be limited to a single amendment.]
- Could a convention consider an entirely new constitution?
- How would state calls for a convention be tabulated? For example: If 20 states call for a convention to consider a balanced budget amendment; 10 states call for a convention to consider a term limits amendment; and 4 states call for a convention to consider a right-to-life amendment, will these all be counted together to constitute 34 state calls for a convention? And will the convention be authorized to consider all three amendments even though none of them individually have been called for by 34 states? May it consider other amendments? Must all of the state calls for a convention agree on the precise wording of the amendment to be considered? And could a convention alter the wording of the proposed amendment, or must it be passed or rejected in exactly the form the states called for? Will state calls for a convention many years ago be counted in determining whether 34 states have called for a convention? For example, in the 1970s and 1980s about 32 states called for a convention to consider a balanced budget amendment. If two more states called for a convention today, would that constitute 34 states? Article V says nothing about any time limit on such calls.
- If a state calls for a convention, may the state later rescind its call? Article V is silent about this question. Several of the states that called for a convention in the 1970s and 1980s later rescinded their calls, but no court has ever determined whether those rescissions are valid.
- What rules would a convention follow, and who would make those rules? Article V says if two-thirds of the states apply for a convention, “Congress … shall call a convention.” Since Congress and Congress alone calls a convention, presumably Congress and Congress alone has authority to make rules for a convention — rules for delegate selection, voting, election of officers, agenda, scope of business, and other matters. What if the Senate and the House cannot agree on rules for a convention? Nothing in Article V gives the states any authority whatsoever to demand that a convention follow certain rules, or to condition their calls for a convention with the requirement that certain rules or limitations be followed.
- If Congress can make rules for a convention and does so, what guarantee exists that the convention will abide by those rules?
The plain fact is, the Constitution is utterly silent about all of these questions. As convention proponents confidently and dogmatically proclaim their answers to these questions, please ask yourself: Do they have any authority for their claims? Are you willing to just take their word for it?
Q: Why are convention proponents so certain that a convention will be run by constitutional conservatives?
A: This is a complete mystery. There is no such guarantee. Considering liberal dominance of the media, law schools, well-funded legal foundations, and state and federal governments, liberal dominance of a convention is not only possible but probable.
Q: Is the drive for a convention led by conservatives?
A: Some conservatives support a convention, along with numerous liberals and liberal organizations who are waiting in the wings to jump in and dominate a convention once it has been called. But many conservatives strongly oppose a convention. So please do not be misled into thinking support for a convention is the “default” conservative position.
Revised June 23, 2014
By Publius Huldah
Q: Doesn’t our Constitution already provide for controlling federal spending?
A: Yes. It lists the purposes for which Congress may spend money. Spending is limited by the “enumerated powers” listed in the Constitution:
- If it’s on the list of powers delegated to Congress or the President, Congress may lawfully appropriate funds for it. Read the Constitution and highlight the delegated powers – then you will know what Congress may lawfully spend money on.
- If it’s not listed, Congress may not lawfully spend money on it.
Q: What is the connection between the Oath of office (Art. VI, cl. 3) and federal spending?
A: All federal and State officials take an Oath to support the federal Constitution. The Constitution lists what Congress may lawfully spend money on. When people in Congress spend money on objects not listed in the Constitution; and when State officials accept federal funds for objects not listed (race to the top, common core, etc.) they violate their Oath to support the Constitution.
Q: Are the federal departments of Education, Agriculture, Labor, Energy, Housing & Urban Development, Health & Human Services, DHS, etc., etc., constitutional?
- Power over education, agriculture, labor relations, energy, etc., etc., was NOWHERE in the Constitution delegated to the federal government. Those powers were reserved by the States or the People.
- DHS – a national police force under the President’s control – is becoming our version of the East German STASI. Yet the States colluded with the feds in nationalizing law enforcement because they wanted the federal funds and military equipment.
Q: How did we get a national debt of over $17 trillion, plus trillions more in unfunded liabilities?
A: Congress spent on objects for which it has no constitutional authority, such as teaching Chinese prostitutes how to drink responsibly, bailouts of private businesses, welfare handouts, farming programs, education schemes, and grants paid to States to bribe them into implementing unconstitutional federal programs. It was the unconstitutional spending which gave us this crushing debt.
Q: The 10th Amendment says all powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution are reserved to the States or to the People. What happened to these reserved powers?
A: The States sold them to the federal government. The States have become administrative subdivisions of the federal government, and their aim is to siphon as much money as possible from the federal government.
Q: What should we do about the unconstitutional spending?
A: We must eliminate pork. We must systematically dismantle unconstitutional federal departments & agencies. Except that the Department of Education should be shut down, and its bureaucrats sent home, by this Friday at 5:00 p.m. All these functions must be restored to The States or The People.
Why BBAs Are Destructive
Q: Why won’t a BBA fix our debt problem?
A: They don’t address the cause of the problem: Congress spends where they have no constitutional authority to spend. The BBAs don’t eliminate the unconstitutional spending; and they place no limits on the amount of the unconstitutional spending.
Q: Is a BBA harmful?
A: Yes. All versions of the BBA legalize spending which is now illegal and unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers delegated to Congress or the President.
Q: Would a BBA fundamentally transform our Constitution?
A: Yes. All versions of the BBA amend out the enumerated powers limitations on the federal government and transform the federal government into one of general & unlimited powers where the feds may spend money on whatever they want as long as they don’t exceed the spending limits “imposed” by the BBA.
Q: So a BBA changes the constitutional criterion for spending?
A: Yes! All versions of the BBA change the criterion from:
- WHAT Congress spends money on (it must be an enumerated power), to
- A LIMIT on total spending where Congress can spend money on whatever they want.
Q: How are spending limits in the various versions of the BBA set?
- by the amount they take from us in taxes, or
- by a certain percentage of the GDP, or
- by the additional amounts they borrow to finance their spending.
Q: Can these limits on spending be raised?
A: Yes! In all versions of the BBA, Congress can vote to raise the spending limit (just as they vote every few months to raise the debt limit). In the version of the BBA by Nick Dranias and Compact for America, Congress and at least 26 States can vote at any time to raise the spending limit.
Not only do the BBAs fail to address the cause of the problem (Congress spends on unconstitutional objects); none of them limit the amount of Congress’ spending because the spending limits can be raised whenever they want to raise them.
So! Just as Congress votes every few months to raise the debt ceiling; they can vote whenever they want to raise the spending limit.
Q: What about Mark Levin’s amendment “to limit federal spending” (page 73 of his book)?
A: Levin’s amendment makes lawful the spending which is now unconstitutional. And his amendment does nothing to control spending:
- Levin substitutes a “budget” [which permits spending on whatever people in the federal government want] 1 for the enumerated powers listed in the Constitution; and,
- While it pretends to limit spending to income, it actually permits Congress to suspend the spending limit and to continue to raise the national debt limit.
So! Like all other BBAs, Levin’s legalizes the present unconstitutional spending and does nothing to curb spending. It legalizes the status quo. And it guts our Constitution by erasing the enumerated powers limitations on spending.
Q: What about Randy Barnett’s version of a BBA? [See Barnett’s 8th amendment here.]
A: Randy Barnett, law professor, redefines “unbalanced budget” to mean a budget where the national debt is greater than it was the previous year. [Yes, you read that right.]
Barnett’s amendment doesn’t address the unconstitutional spending which caused the massive debt.
And it delegates sweeping new powers to the President to stop funding anything he doesn’t want funded. E.g., it permits him to ban appropriations authorized by the Constitution, such as all funding for our military (which is authorized by Art. I, Sec. 8, clauses 11-14).
Q: What is the real purpose of all versions of the BBA?
A: The sole purpose is to remove the enumerated powers limitations on the federal government and give it general & unlimited powers.
Folks! You must read the texts of the proposed BBAs and see what they actually say. Do not stop with the name and just read in your own understanding of what it means to “balance a budget”.
For more information on various versions of the BBA see:
1 The federal government didn’t have a budget until the Budget Act of 1921, which purported to grant budget making power (taxes & appropriations) to the President.
The Budget Act is unconstitutional. Article I, Sec. 8, cl. 1, delegates to Congress Power to lay and collect Taxes; and Art. I, Sec. 9, next to last clause, delegates to Congress Power to make appropriations:
“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”
Before the Budget Act of 1921, Congress made appropriations for items listed in the Constitution as the need arose; determined the taxes, and kept records of both. PH
By Publius Huldah
The gap between what this BBA pretends to do – and what it actually does – is enormous. It has nothing to do with “balancing the budget” – it is about slipping in a new national sales tax or value-added tax in addition to the existing federal income tax.
We have become so shallow that we look no further than a name – if it sounds good, we are all for it. We hear, “balanced budget amendment”, and think, “I have to balance my budget; they should have to balance theirs.” So we don’t read the amendment, we just assume they will have to balance theirs the same way we balance ours – by cutting spending.
But that is not what the BBA does. In effect, it redefines “balancing the budget” to mean spending no more than your income plus the additional debt you incur to finance your spending. To illustrate: If your income is $100,000 a year; but you spend $175,000 a year, you “balance” your budget by borrowing the additional $75,000. See?
Under the BBA, Congress may continue to spend whatever it likes and incur as much new debt as it pleases – as long as 26 States agree. And since the States have become major consumers of federal funding, who doubts that they can’t continue to be bought? Federal grants make up almost 35% of the States’ annual budgets! The States are addicted to federal funds – who thinks they won’t agree to get more money?
The BBA enshrines Debt as a permanent feature of our Country; gives it constitutional approval; does nothing to reduce spending or “balance the budget”; authorizes a new national tax; and wipes out the “enumerated powers” limitation on the federal government.
Let’s look at the BBA, section by section, using plain and honest English. And then let’s look at how our Framers wrote our Constitution to strictly control federal spending.
Compact for America’s BBA
Section 1 says the federal government may not spend more than they take from you in taxes or add to the national debt. [Yes, you read that right.]
Section 2 accepts debt as a permanent feature of our Country – the “Authorized Debt”. This is the maximum amount of debt the federal government may incur at any given point in time.
- Initially, when the Amendment is ratified, the “authorized debt” may not be more than 105% of the then existing national debt. So! If the national debt is $20 trillion when the Amendment is ratified, the federal government may not initially add more than 105% of $20 trillion [or $1 trillion] to the national debt.
- After that initial addition to the national debt, the “authorized debt” may not be increased unless it is approved by State Legislatures as provided in Section 3.
Section 3 says whenever Congress wants, it may increase the national debt if 26 of the State Legislatures agree. [Yes, you read that right.]
Section 4 says whenever the national debt exceeds 98% of “the debt limit set by Section 2”, the President shall “impound” sufficient expenditures so that the national debt won’t exceed the “authorized debt”. And if the President doesn’t do this, Congress may impeach him!
This is a hoot, Folks! I’ll show you:
- No debt limit is set by Section 2! The national debt can be increased at any time if Congress gets 26 State Legislatures to agree. Can 26 States be bought?
- Section 6 defines “impoundment” as “a proposal not to spend all or part of a sum of money appropriated by Congress”. Who believes Congress will impeach the President 2 for failing to “impound” an appropriation made by Congress?
Section 5 says any new or increased federal “general revenue tax” must be approved by 2/3 of the members of both houses of Congress.
Now pay attention, because this is a monstrous trick to be played on you: Section 6 defines “general revenue tax” as “any income tax, sales tax, or value-added tax” levied by the federal government.
And when you read the first sentence of Section 5 with the definition of “general revenue tax” in place of “general revenue tax”, you see that it says:
“No bill that provides for a new or increased income tax, sales tax, or value-added tax shall become law unless approved by a two-thirds roll call vote…”
Do you see? This permits Congress to impose a national sales tax or value added tax in addition to the income tax, 3 if 2/3 of both houses agree. [Yes, you read that right.]
But the trickery of the drafters of this evil piece of work is even worse. Section 5 also says that any bill for a new sales tax which would replace the federal income tax need only be approved by a simple majority of the members of both houses.
This makes most readers believe that the income tax would be replaced by a sales tax.
But the Amendment does not require Congress to introduce a sales tax to replace the income tax. [Remember, that sales tax requires only a simple majority to get passed.]
Whereas it authorizes Congress to impose a sales tax or value-added tax in addition to the income tax! [This sales tax requires a 2/3 majority to get passed.]
Do you see? Are they tricky or what!
And which option will Congress choose?
Section 6 sets forth the definitions for the amendment. As you see, you must always read the definitions and apply them to the text.
Section 7 says the Amendment is “self-enforcing”. Rubbish! No Constitution or amendment is “self-enforcing”. There is only one way to enforce our Constitution: WE THE PEOPLE, who are “the natural guardians of the Constitution” (Federalist No. 16, next to last para), enforce it by learning it and by throwing out politicians who ignore it. And we must always be on guard against the wolves who seek to destroy it.
Nick Dranias, on the Board of Directors for the Compact for America , is a constitutional lawyer. History professor, Kevin R. C. Gutzman, on the Advisory Council, is a lawyer. Other prominent lawyers and a 5th Circuit Court Judge, are on the Council. They all know what their BBA really does. For a chilling disclosure of who some of these people are on the Council, see investigative journalist Kelleigh Nelson’s paper on News With Views.
How Does Our Constitution Control Federal Spending?
Our Constitution lists – itemizes – every power WE THE PEOPLE delegated to the federal government when we ratified the Constitution. These are the “enumerated powers”. Article I, §8 lists most of the powers delegated to Congress for the Country at large: 4
- immigration office (Art. I, §8, cl.4)
- mint (Art. I, §8, cl. 5)
- a few criminal laws (e.g., Art. I, §8, cl. 6)
- post offices & post roads (Art. I, §8, cl. 7)
- patent & copyright office (Art. I, §8, cl. 8)
- federal courts (Art. I, §8, cl. 9)
- military and citizen militia (Art. I, §8, cls. 11-16)
Various other Articles, sections, and clauses list additional objects of Congress’ spending, such as payment of the salaries of persons on the civil list (Art. I, §6, cl.1; Art. II, §1, next to last clause; and Art. III, §1).
Do you get the idea? The Constitution lists what Congress is permitted to spend money on. Its spending is limited to the enumerated powers, and the salaries of those on the civil list. If you will go thru our Constitution and highlight every power delegated to Congress and the President, you will see ALL the objects on which Congress has constitutional authority to appropriate funds. THAT is ALL – ALL – they may lawfully spend money on.
We have a debt of $17+ trillion (plus unfunded liabilities) because WE ignored our Constitution for 100 years; and Congress spent money on objects outside the scope of the enumerated powers.
This one page chart depicts the Constitution We established, and most of what Congress may lawfully spend money on. Is it not a thing of beauty? Do you want it back? Then Restore it!
Understand this: All versions of a BBA eliminate the enumerated powers limitations on the federal government. Under all versions, the Constitution is “fundamentally changed” to permit the federal government to do anything they want and to spend money on anything they please.
Amendments are a tricky business. And tricksters abound in our Land.
1 Compact for America is also trying to use the “compact of the states” provision & is calling for an Art. V convention. Red Flag, Folks! But for now, let’s look just at their dishonest BBA.
2 Congress always had authority to impeach and remove a President for usurpations of power – see this short Primer.
3 Section 5 also says Congress may reduce or eliminate existing income tax exemptions, deductions, or credits by a simple majority vote.
4 This paper lists all the powers delegated to Congress by our Constitution. You can learn them!
Postscript added Feb. 13, 2014:
Nick Dranias and others at Compact for America are posting here & there insisting that their BBA does not impose a new tax, because Congress already has authority to impose a sales tax or VAT tax. They say Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 1, authorizes Congress to impose “imposts”, and that an “impost” is any kind of tax.
We must go by the original intent of “impost”. Ten or so of The Federalist Papers discuss “imposts”, and they are a tax on imports. That is quite clear. It is easy to find these Papers. The edition of The Federalist I use has a search function: just type in imposts and the list of Papers will come right up and you can read them all.
Webster’s 1828 dictionary also defines “imposts” as a tax on imports: http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/word/impost
“1. Any tax or tribute imposed by authority; particularly, a duty or tax laid by government on goods imported, and paid or secured by the importer at the time of importation. Imposts are also called customs.”
So a national sales tax is most manifestly NOT an “impost”! And yes, Dranias’ BBA imposes a new national sales or VAT tax.