Publius-Huldah's Blog

Understanding the Constitution

Balanced Budget Amendment: The Solution? Or Deathblow?

By Publius Huldah

The BBA Made Simple

Say you want your Butler to buy some groceries; so you give him your credit card. You can:

1.  Give him an ENUMERATED LIST of what you want him to buy: 1 chicken, 5# of apples, two heads of cabbage, a 2# sack of brown rice, and a dozen eggs. Whatever amount he spends for these enumerated items will be charged to you.

2.  Tell him he may spend on whatever he wants, and ask him to please don’t spend more than 18% of your weekly income. But whatever amount he decides to spend (on pork and other things) will be charged to you.

The first illustrates how our Constitution is written: The items on which Congress is authorized to spend money are listed – enumerated – in the Constitution. To see the list, go HERE.

The second illustrates how a balanced budget amendment (BBA) works: It creates a completely new constitutional authority to spend on whatever the federal government wants to spend money on. And there is no enforceable limit on the amount of spending.

Our Constitution Limits Spending to the Enumerated Powers

Our Constitution doesn’t permit the federal government to spend money on whatever they want. If Congress obeyed our Constitution, they would limit spending to the enumerated powers listed in the Constitution. Since the Constitution delegates to Congress only limited and narrowly defined authority to spend money, excessive federal spending is not the result of a defective Constitution, but of disregarding the existing constitutional limitations on federal spending.

Because everyone has ignored these existing limitations for so long, we now have a national debt of some $20 trillion plus a hundred or so trillion in unfunded liabilities. 1

Various factions are now telling conservatives that the only way to stop out of control federal spending is with a BBA.

Obviously, that is not true. The constitutional answer is to downsize the federal government to its enumerated powers. Eliminate federal departments (Education, Energy, Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development, etc., etc., etc.), for which there is no constitutional authority. 2

Since our Constitution delegates only a handful of powers to the federal government, most of what they’ve spent money on since the early 1900s is unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers delegated.

Yet our Constitution is still legally in place; and can be dusted off, read, and enforced by a Repentant People. They can shrink the federal government to the size established by the Constitution which created it. 3

Using the Federal “Budget” to Snap the Trap on an Unsuspecting People

Our Constitution doesn’t provide for a budget.

Spending is to be limited by the enumerated powers. Pursuant to Art. I, §9, clause 7, the Treasury is to publish periodic Statements and Accounts of the Receipts and Expenditures. Since the list of objects on which Congress is authorized to spend money is so short, it would be a simple matter to monitor federal spending and receipts.

But since the unconstitutional Budget & Accounting Act of 1921, Presidents and Congress have been putting into the “budget” whatever they want to spend money on.

Do you see that if the federal government is given constitutional authority (via a BBA) to spend money on whatever they want, they are ipso facto granted constitutional authority to exert power over whatever they want?

Oh, Americans! False friends lead you astray and confuse the path you should take. Under the pretext of imposing “fiscal responsibility” with a BBA, they would legalize the totalitarian dictatorship which has been developing in this Country for 100 years.

Creating the all-powerful federal government by Amendment

A BBA changes the standard for spending from whether the object is an enumerated power to whatever the federal government wants to spend money on. 4

So a BBA would transform the federal government created by our Constitution from one of enumerated powers only, to one of general and unlimited powers because it would authorize Congress to appropriate funds for – and hence have power over – whatever they or the President decide to put in the budget!

A BBA Doesn’t Reduce Federal Spending

A BBA wouldn’t reduce federal spending because:

· all versions permit spending limits to be waived when Congress votes to waive them; and

· Congress can always “balance the budget” with tax increases. Compact for America’s “balanced budget amendment” delegates massive new taxing authority to Congress: it authorizes Congress to impose a national sales tax and a national value added tax (VAT) in addition to keeping the income tax.

Typical Misconceptions

Americans think, “I have to balance my budget; so the federal government should have to balance theirs.”

They overlook the profound distinctions between the economies of their own family unit and that of the national government of a Federation of States. Our federal Constitution sets up a system where Congress is to appropriate funds only to carry out the enumerated powers; and the bills are to be paid with receipts from excise taxes and import tariffs, with any shortfall being made up by a direct assessment on the States apportioned according to population (Art. I, §2, clause 3).

Americans also think that since States have balanced budget amendments, the federal government should have one. They overlook the profound distinction between the federal Constitution and State Constitutions: 5

· The federal government doesn’t need a budget because Congress’ spending is limited by the enumerated powers. Congress is to appropriate funds to carry out the handful of enumerated powers, and then it is to pay the bills with receipts from taxes.

· But State Constitutions created State governments of general and almost unlimited powers. Accordingly, State governments may lawfully spend money on just about anything. So State governments need budgets to limit their spending to receipts.

Conclusion

A BBA would have the opposite effect of what you have been told. Instead of limiting the federal government, it legalizes spending which is now unconstitutional as outside the scope of the enumerated powers; transforms the federal government into one which has power over whatever they decide to spend money on; and does nothing to reduce federal spending.

Twenty-eight States have already passed applications for a BBA. Go HERE to check the status of your State. Warn your friends and State Legislators. For a model your State can use to rescind its previous applications, go HERE and look under “Take Action” column, or contact me. Do not let the malignant elite complete their revolution by replacing our Constitution.

Endnotes:

1 State governments are voracious consumers of federal funds. THIS shows what percentage of your State’s revenue is from federal funds. Contrary to what RINO State Legislators say, they don’t want federal spending reduced: They want to keep those federal dollars flooding in.

2 George Washington’s Cabinet had 4 members: Secretary of War, Secretary of Treasury, Secretary of State, and Attorney General.

3 Our federal Constitution is short and easy to understand. The only way you can avoid being misled is to find out for yourself what it says. Be a Berean (Acts 17:10-12).

4 Amendments change all language to the contrary in the existing Constitution. Eg., the 13th Amendment changed Art. I, §2, clause 3 & Art. IV, §2, clause 3 because they were inconsistent with the 13th Amendment.

5 In Federalist No. 45 (3rd para from end), James Madison said:

“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; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”

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December 28, 2016 Posted by | Amendments to the Constitution, Balanced Budget Amendment, federal spending, Federalist Paper No. 45, James Madison | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

How a Balanced Budget Amendment Would Give the Federal Government Lawful Power Over Whatever They Want

By Publius Huldah

Does our existing Constitution permit the federal government to spend money on whatever they want?

No! It contains precise limits on federal spending.

Federal spending is limited by the enumerated powers delegated to the federal government. If you go through the Constitution and highlight all the powers delegated to Congress and the President, you will get a complete list of the objects on which Congress is permitted to spend money. Here’s the list:

♦ The Census (Art. I, §2, cl. 3)

♦ Publishing the Journals of the House and Senate (Art. I, §5, cl. 3)

♦ Salaries of Senators and Representatives (Art. I, § 6, cl. 1)

♦ Salaries of civil officers of the United States (Art. I, §6, cl. 2 & Art. II, §1, cl. 7)

♦ Pay the Debts (Art. I, §8, cl. 1 & Art. VI, cl.1)

♦ Pay tax collectors (Art. I, §8, cl.1)

♦ Regulate commerce with foreign Nations, among the several States, and with Indian Tribes (Art. I, §8, cl.3)

♦ Immigration office (Art. I, §8, cl.4)

♦ The mint (Art. I, §8, cl. 5)

♦ Attorney General to handle the small amount of authorized federal litigation involving the national government (e.g., Art. I, §8, cls. 6 & 10)

♦ Post offices & post roads (Art. I, §8, cl. 7)

♦ Patent & copyright office (Art. I, §8, cl. 8)

♦ Federal courts (Art. I, §8, cl. 9 & Art. III, §1)

♦ Military and Militia (Art. I, §8, cls. 11-16)

♦ Since Congress has general legislative authority over the federal enclaves listed in Art. I, §8, next to last clause, Congress has broad spending authority over the tiny geographical areas listed in this clause.

♦ The President’s entertainment expenses for foreign dignitaries (Art. II, §3); and

♦ Since Congress had general legislative authority over the Western Territory before it was broken up into States, Congress could appropriate funds for the US Marshals, federal judges, and the like for that Territory (Art. IV, §3, cl. 2).

That’s what Congress is authorized by our Constitution to spend money on. Did I leave anything out? Take a few minutes and, armed with a highlighter, read carefully through the Constitution and see for yourself.

Congress is to appropriate funds to carry out this handful of delegated powers; and it is to pay the bills with receipts from taxes. 1

Pursuant to Article I, §9, clause 7, the federal government is to periodically publish a Statement and Account of Receipts and Expenditures. Citizens could use this Statement and Account – which would be so short that everyone would have time to read it – to monitor the spending of their public servants.

So that’s how our existing Constitution limits federal spending:

♦ If it’s on the list of enumerated powers, Congress may lawfully spend money on it.

♦ But if it’s not on the list, Congress usurps powers not delegated when it appropriates money for it.

It was unconstitutional spending and unconstitutional promises (Social Security, Medicare, etc., etc., etc.) which got us a national debt of $19 trillion, plus a hundred trillion or so in unfunded liabilities.

Since the Constitution delegates to Congress only limited and narrowly defined authority to spend money; the Constitution doesn’t provide for a budget.

We never had a federal budget until Congress passed the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921. By this time, the Progressives controlled both political parties and the federal government.

The Progressives wanted a federal budget because they wanted to spend money on objects which were not on the list of delegated powers.

A balanced budget amendment (BBA) would substitute a budget for the enumerated powers, and thus would legalize the current practice where Congress spends money on whatever they or the President put in the budget.

The result of a BBA is to change the constitutional standard for spending from whether the object is on the list of enumerated powers to a limit on the total amount of spending.

♦And to add insult to injury, the limits on spending are fictitious because they can be waived whenever Congress 2 votes to waive them.

And because a BBA would permit Congress to lawfully spend money on whatever is put in the budget, the powers of the federal government would be lawfully increased to include whatever THEY decide to put in the budget.

So a BBA would fundamentally transform our Constitution from one of enumerated powers only to one of general and unlimited powers – because the federal government would then be authorized by the Constitution to exercise power over ANY object they decide to put into the budget!

You must read proposed amendments and understand how they change our Constitution before you support them.

All federal and State officials take an oath to support the federal Constitution (Art. VI, clause 3). When people in Congress appropriate funds for objects not listed in the Constitution; and when State officials accept federal funds for objects not listed, they violate their oath to support the Constitution. According to the PEW Report, federal funds provided an average of 30% of the States’ revenue for FY 2013. Look up your State HERE. Were those federal funds used to implement unconstitutional federal programs in your State?

Power over education, medical care, agriculture, state and local law enforcement, environment, etc., is not delegated to the federal government: those powers are reserved by the States or the People. Congress spends on objects for which it has no constitutional authority; and bribes States with federal funds to induce them to implement unconstitutional federal programs. It was the unconstitutional spending which gave us this crushing $19 Trillion debt.

How do we go about downsizing the federal government to its constitutional limits?

We stop the unconstitutional and frivolous spending one can read about all over the internet.

We begin the shutdown of unconstitutional federal departments and agencies by selecting for immediate closure those which serve no useful purpose or cause actual harm such as the Departments of Energy, Education, Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency. 3

Other unconstitutional federal departments and agencies must be dismantled and their functions returned to the States or The People.

An orderly phase-out is required of those unconstitutional federal programs in which Citizens were forced to participate – such as social security and Medicare – so that the rug is not pulled out from American Citizens who became dependent.

The federal government is obligated (Art. I, §8, cl. 11-16) to provide for service related injuries suffered by our Veterans.

The Constitution delegates to Congress the power to appropriate funds for “post Roads” (Art. I, §8, cl. 7). While there may be room for argument as to what is included within the term, “post Road”; clearly, some federal involvement in road building is authorized by our Constitution. State dependence on federal highway funds might be reduced by eliminating or reducing federal fuel taxes, and the substitution of fuel taxes collected by individual States. And there is nothing immoral about toll roads.

Since our Constitution was written to delegate to the federal government only the few and defined powers enumerated in the Constitution, we don’t have to change the Constitution to rein in federal spending. The Constitution isn’t the problem – ignoring it is the problem. Let us begin to enforce the Constitution we have.

Endnotes:

1 Our original Constitution authorized only excise taxes & tariffs on imports (Art. I, §8, clause 1), with any shortfall being made up by an apportioned assessment on the States based on population (Art. I, §2, clause 3).

2 Compact for America’s (CFA) version of a BBA permits spending limits to be waived whenever Congress and 26 States agree. CFA’s version also authorizes Congress to impose a national sales tax and a national value added tax in addition to keeping the income tax! See THIS Paper.

3 George Washington’s Cabinet had four members: Secretary of State, Secretary of War, Secretary of Treasury, and Attorney General.

Feb 2, 2016

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February 2, 2016 Posted by | Balanced Budget Amendment | , , , | 17 Comments

The Plot to Impose a National Sales Tax or Value Added Tax

By Publius Huldah

A devilish plot is afoot to impose new national taxes on the American People. It is a masterful piece of trickery because the authorization for the new national taxes is buried within Compact for America’s version of a balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution.

Furthermore, the balanced budget amendment does nothing to control federal spending; and transforms our Constitution from one of limited and defined powers to one of general and unlimited powers. 1

Yet this monstrosity is pending in Michigan as SB 306 2 and in North Carolina as HB 366. 3 Legislators in four States, Alaska, Georgia, Mississippi and North Dakota, have already passed it.

Let’s look at Sections 1-6 of Compact for America’s balanced budget amendment:

It does Nothing to Control Federal Spending

Section 1 allows Congress to spend as much as they take from us in taxes and add to the national debt. That’s a good idea?

Sections 2 and 3 permit Congress to raise the debt whenever 26 States agree.  States are addicted to federal funds. Will 25 States agree not to take more federal funds?

Section 4 is a joke:  Who believes Congress will impeach a President for refusing to “impound” an appropriation made by Congress? Congress won’t even impeach a President for Treason.

How Authorization for the New Taxes is Hidden

Section 5 says:

“No bill that provides for a new or increased general revenue tax shall become law unless approved by a two-thirds roll call vote of the whole number of each House of Congress….” [italics mine]

What is a “general revenue tax”? Section 6 defines it:

“…’general revenue tax’ means any income tax, sales tax, or value-added tax levied by the government of the United States…” [italics mine]

Now go back to Section 5 and substitute the definition of “general revenue tax” for that term:

“No bill that provides for a new or increased income tax, sales tax, or value-added tax levied by the government of the United States shall become law unless approved by a two-thirds roll call vote of the whole number of each House of Congress….”

There it is: All that’s needed is approval of two-thirds of the members of each House and a new national sales tax and/or value added tax is imposed on us. And they can increase it, along with increasing the income tax, whenever they get two-thirds of the members to vote for it.

Section 5 also permits Congress to make laws to impose a new “end user sales tax” 4 which would replace the income tax – this “end user sales tax” is passed by a simple majority of both houses.

So! Compact for America’s balanced budget amendment provides two options to Congress:

· Two-thirds of the members of both Houses can impose a new sales tax and/or value-added tax in addition to the income tax; or

· A simple majority of both Houses can impose “a new end user sales tax” which replaces the income tax.

Which option will Congress choose?

Our Constitution Doesn’t Now Authorize a National Sales Tax or Value-added Tax

Article I, §8, clause 1 says:

“The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises…”

Principles of Compact for America say this clause already authorizes a national sales tax or value added tax. Board Vice-President Chip DeMoss said on Feb. 12, 2014:

“a national sales tax would be an “impost” (defined as a tax or similar compulsory payment) that is authorized under Article I, Section 8, Clause 1…” [see comments and scroll down after comment 19 till you see Chip DeMoss’ name].

We may not properly use DeMoss’ redefinition of “impost”!

We must use the definition of “impost” our Framers used: The Federalist Papers say an “impost” is a tax or duty on imports. Type imposts in the search box [at the link] and the Papers discussing imposts will come up. See for yourself that an “impost” is a tax or duty on imports.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “impost” as:

“…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.”

Do you see?

National sales taxes and value-added taxes are also not “excise” taxes. Excise taxes are a tax on a unit of goods – such as the infamous whiskey excise tax of 1791 which led to the Whiskey Rebellion. 5 It imposed a flat tax per gallon. The tax was payable for domestic whiskey at the distillery (§17 of the Act) and the casks were numbered and marked to show the tax had been paid (§19 of the Act).

“Taxes” at Art. I, §8, clause 1 refers to the apportioned direct tax provided for at Art. I, §2, clause 3 of our Constitution.

Our Framers were specific about the kinds of taxes Congress is permitted to impose. Congress does not have the power to impose any kind of tax it wants. Our Framers limited Congress’ taxing power to:

· the apportioned direct taxes at Art. I, §2, clause 3;

· the duties or imposts on imports at Art. I, §8, clause 1; and

· the excises at Art. I, §8, clause 1.

A sales tax is none of the above. A sales tax is a percentage of the retail price of goods. A value-added tax is a “turbo-charged national sales tax on goods and services that is applied at each stage of production, not merely on retail transactions” and raises a “gusher of revenue for spendthrift governments worldwide”.

We have never had a national sales tax or value added tax in this Country. Why? Because they are not authorized by the Constitution.

We were manipulated into supporting the 16th Amendment. We were told the income tax would “soak the rich” – and the envious drooled at the prospect.

And so again today, statists are seeking to trick us into supporting a national sales tax or a value added tax: first, by concealing it within the verbiage of the bill; 6 and then, once the trickery was exposed, by claiming the Constitution already authorizes these new types of taxes.

There is a Better Way: Downsize the Federal Government!

Our Constitution limits federal spending to the enumerated powers. The list of objects on which Congress may lawfully spend money is a short list. See the list HERE.

Most of what the federal government does today is unconstitutional as outside the scope of the powers delegated by the Constitution. Let’s cut federal spending by downsizing the federal government to its enumerated powers and constitutional limits.

Endnotes:

1 Congress’ spending is limited by the enumerated powers: If an object is on the list of enumerated powers (e.g., the patent & copyright office authorized by Art. I, §8, cl. 8), Congress may lawfully spend money on it. That’s how our Constitution already controls federal spending.

All versions of a balanced budget amendment change the constitutional standard for spending FROM whether an object is on the list of enumerated powers TO a limit on total spending where Congress may spend money on whatever they or the President put in the budget. This is what transforms our Constitution FROM one of enumerated powers only TO one of general and unlimited powers. And that is the true purpose of a balanced budget amendment. It has nothing to do with limiting federal spending – the pretended spending limits are fictitious since they may be waived whenever the feds [and 26 of the States] want to waive them.

2 Leon Drolet’s article of July 10, 2015, and Sam Easter’s article of July 8, 2015, about SB 306 pending in Michigan don’t mention the new national taxes.

3 Matthew Burns’ article about the hearing on HB 366 before N. Carolina’s House Judiciary Committee (which passed HB 366) doesn’t mention the new national taxes. Burns quotes the Bill’s sponsor, Rep. Chris Millis, as saying the problem is “Washington is unwilling or unable to limit itself.” So the solution is to massively increase Congress’ taxing powers?

4 “End user sales tax” is not defined in the balanced budget amendment.

5 Apparently, the practice of tarring & feathering “revenuers” began with the Whiskey Excise Tax.

6 The trickery was exposed over a year ago HERE. Since then, Compact for America has claimed the Constitution already authorizes the new taxes. Are we too gullible to be free? PH

August 26, 2015

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August 26, 2015 Posted by | Amendments to the Constitution, Balanced Budget Amendment, Chip DeMoss, Compact for America, enumerated powers | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

BEWARE of the trickery behind a “balanced budget” amendment!

By Publius Huldah

Our federal Constitution is one of enumerated powers only. If you spend 20 minutes to read through the entire Constitution and highlight all the powers delegated to Congress and the President, you will get a complete list of the objects on which Congress is authorized to spend money. THAT is how our Framers controlled federal spending. If it’s on the list of delegated powers, Congress may lawfully spend money on it.  But if it’s not on the list, Congress may not lawfully spend money on it.

Few people know of the existence of this list of delegated powers – no one in Congress seems to be aware of it.  Most of what Congress spends money on is not on the list.

The solution is to downsize the federal government back to the powers on the list.

All versions of a balanced budget amendment (BBA) fundamentally change the constitutional design – they create a new standard for spending: They change the constitutional standard for spending FROM whether the object is on the list TO a limit on total spending – where Congress may lawfully spend money on whatever they want.

To add insult to injury, the limits on spending are fictitious because the limits can be waived whenever the government votes to waive them.

So a BBA does nothing to reduce federal spending.

Why the push for a BBA? Because a BBA transforms our federal government FROM one of limited and narrowly defined enumerated powers – the items on the list – TO one of general and unlimited powers. This is because a BBA permits Congress to spend money on WHATEVER they want.

God gave you a brain. You have a moral obligation to use it. Look behind the curtain those agitating for an Art. V convention have put up.

And learn what’s on the list.

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July 30, 2015 Posted by | Article V Convention, Balanced Budget Amendment, not on the list, on the list | , , , | 25 Comments

States Need Budgets – but Enumerated Powers Limit Federal Spending

By Publius Huldah

We will never solve our political and fiscal problems if we continue in our present state of ignorance of the fundamental distinction between the federal Constitution and the State Constitutions.

With our federal Constitution, we created a national government to which we delegated only a handful of enumerated powers. If you would trouble yourself to read the federal Constitution, this fact would jump out at you and hit you over the head. [THIS simple chart will get you started.]

The federal government doesn’t need a budget because Congress’ spending is limited by the enumerated powers. Congress is to appropriate funds to carry out the handful of delegated powers, and then it is to pay the bills with receipts from taxes. 1

And if you read your State Constitution, you will see that those who ratified it [foolishly] created a State government of general and unlimited powers subject only to the exceptions carved out by its Declaration of Rights. 2

Since State governments were created to possess general and unlimited powers, State governments may lawfully spend money on just about anything they want. 2 Accordingly, State governments need budgets to limit their spending to receipts.

But Federal Spending is limited by the Enumerated Powers

The federal Constitution lists the items Congress is permitted to spend money on. If you read through the federal Constitution and highlight the powers delegated to Congress and the President, you will have a complete list of the objects on which Congress is lawfully authorized to spend money. Here is the list:

· The Census (Art. I, §2, cl. 3)
· Publishing the Journals of the House and Senate (Art. I, §5, cl. 3)
· Salaries of Senators and Representatives (Art. I, § 6, cl. 1)
· Salaries of civil officers of the United States (Art. I, §6, cl. 2 & Art. II, §1, cl. 7)
· Pay the Debts (Art. I, §8, cl. 1 & Art. VI, cl.1)
· Pay tax collectors (Art. I, §8, cl.1)
· Regulate commerce with foreign Nations, among the several States, and with Indian Tribes (Art. I, §8, cl.3) 3
· Immigration office (Art. I, §8, cl.4)
· The mint (Art. I, §8, cl. 5)
· Attorney General to handle the small amount of authorized federal litigation involving the national government e.g.,  Art. I, §8, cls. 6 & 10)
· Post offices & post roads (Art. I, §8, cl. 7)
· Patent & copyright office (Art. I, §8, cl. 8)
· Federal courts (Art. I, §8, cl. 9 & Art. III, §1)
· Military and Citizens’ Militia (Art. I, §8, cls. 11-16)
· Since Congress has general legislative authority over the federal enclaves listed in Art. I, §8, next to last clause, Congress has broad spending authority over the tiny geographical areas listed in this clause.
· The President’s entertainment expenses for foreign dignitaries (Art. II, §3); and
· Since Congress had general legislative authority over the Western Territory before it was broken up into States, Congress could appropriate funds for the US Marshalls, federal judges, and the like for that Territory (Art. IV, §3, cl. 2).

So! That’s about all Congress is authorized by our original Constitution to spend money on. 4 Did I leave anything out? To find out, take 20 minutes and, armed with a highlighter, read carefully through the original Constitution and see for yourself.

Let’s look at some of the appropriations bills passed by the First Congress: 5

HERE is the Act for the establishment and support of Lighthouses, Beacons, Buoys, and Public Piers, of August 7, 1789 (expenditure authorized by Art. I, §8, next to last clause);

HERE is the Act providing for the Expenses which may attend Negotiations or Treaties with the Indian Tribes, and the appointment of Commissioners for managing the same, of August 20, 1789 (expenditure authorized by Art. I, §8, clause 3 & Art. II, §2, cl. 2);

HERE is the Act providing for the establishment of the Post Office, of September 22, 1789 (expenditure authorized by Art. I, §8, cl. 7); and

HERE is the Act providing for the compensation of federal judges and the Attorney General, of September 23, 1789 (expenditure authorized by Art. III, §1 for the federal judges; & for the AG, Art. I, §6, cl. 2 & Art. II, §2, cl. 2 & Art. I, §8, last clause)

Read these appropriations bills: They are single subject, short, easy to understand, and illustrate how appropriations bills ought to be written.

So, do you see? Congress is to make the appropriations for the objects of the enumerated powers delegated to the national government.

Pursuant to Art. I, §9, clause 7, Congress is to periodically publish a Statement and Account of Receipts and Expenditures.

We don’t need a federal budget because the Constitution delegates to Congress only limited and narrowly defined authority to spend money.

Accordingly, the federal Constitution doesn’t provide for a Budget. We never had a federal budget until Congress passed the unconstitutional Budget and Accounting Act of 1921.

We got the crushing federal debt because for 100 years, Congress has been IGNORING the existing constitutional limits on its spending. Most of Congress’ spending is unconstitutional as outside the scope of the delegated powers.

The Answer to our political and fiscal problems is already laid out in the federal Constitution: Downsize the federal government to its enumerated powers and return the usurped powers to the States or the People.

Why are Some Pushing for a Federal Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA)?

Many of those clamoring for a federal BBA don’t know about the fundamental distinction between the federal and State Constitutions. But they want to do something about the out of control federal spending; they are told a BBA is the answer; and so, without giving it much thought, they jump on the bandwagon.

But others have an evil agenda in pushing for a BBA – an agenda so evil that if they disclosed it, most Americans would reject it:

All versions of a BBA transform our federal Constitution from one which created a national government with only a few enumerated powers to a national government of general and unlimited powers. This is because BBAs substitute a “budget” for the enumerated powers; and accordingly, the national government would become lawfully authorized by the Constitution to spend money on whatever they put in the Budget!

That unlimited spending power on whatever they want is what would transform the national government into one of general and unlimited powers.

To add insult to injury, while all versions of a BBA pretend to limit spending; they actually permit increases in spending and increases in debt whenever the government body votes to do so. 6

Conclusion

 When the history of our time is written, do not let it be said that the American People were too ignorant and lazy to be free. Do not let tricksters take away our glorious Heritage. Wake up! Stop applications for a convention for a BBA from being passed in your State. If your State has already passed such an application, urge your State legislators to rescind it.

Endnotes:

1 The constitutional powers of the national government were supposed to be exercised with the proceeds of excise taxes & impost tariffs, with any shortfall being made up by an apportioned assessment on the States based on population.

2 The powers of State governments are also restricted by the federal Constitution: The list of prohibited powers at Art. I, §10, and by those few powers delegated exclusively to the national government.

3 HERE is the proof of the original intent of the interstate commerce clause.

4 The 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th, 24th, and 26th Amendments increased the powers and spending of the federal government by expanding federal powers over the States and The People. It was necessary to amend the Constitution to remedy the defect of slavery and to extend citizenship to freed slaves; but there was a better way than the 13th -15th Amendments.

5 HERE is a helpful site for locating early Acts of Congress. Once you have the title and date of an Act, you can find the official source at the Library of Congress: e.g., THIS provides what one needs to find the official edition HERE.

6 Compact for America’s pretended BBA is actually a tricky device for imposing a national sales tax or value added tax on the American People – on top of the income tax – and does nothing to limit federal spending. Yet deluded State Legislators are now proposing it in Michigan as SB 306. You can find a short and simple section by section analysis of Compact for America’s BBA HERE.

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June 24, 2015 Posted by | Balanced Budget Amendment, enumerated powers, Enumerated Powers of Congress | , , , , , | 31 Comments

Behind The Mask of Convention Supporters – “whacking away” at our Constitution

quote

Representative Sickles may have meant this as a warning of what would be the attitude of Delegates to a convention – as opposed to what he himself would  do as a Delegate to a convention.

But the point is: We don’t want anyone “whacking away” at our Constitution – and Delegates to an Art. V convention would have the power to do just that….

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February 6, 2015 Posted by | Amendments to the Constitution, Article V, Article V Convention, constitutional convention, Convention of States project, re-writing the Constitution | , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Straight Talk About An Article V Convention

By Publius Huldah

This speech was presented to Campaign For Liberty – Memphis on March 24, 2014. It exposes some of the false claims made by those pushing for the so-called “convention of states”. 1

Below are hyperlinks to the exhibits referred to in the speech. Additional resources are also included.

The one page Chart which illustrates our Declaration, Constitution, and federal system is HERE.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report 2 cited in the speech was dated March 7, 2014. CRS’s revised Report, dated April 11, 2014, is HERE.   The Report exposes as false the assurances that the States would be in control of a convention. The Report says:

“First, Article V delegates important and exclusive authority over the amendment process to Congress…” (page 4)

“Second . . . Congress has traditionally laid claim to broad responsibilities in connection with a convention, including . . . (4) determining the number and selection process for its delegates; (5) setting internal convention procedures, including formulae for allocation of votes among the states; . . .” (page 4) 3

“. . . [In previous bills filed in Congress] [a]pportionment of convention delegates among the states was generally set at the formula provided for the electoral college, with each state assigned a number equal to its combined Senate and House delegations. Some bills included the District of Columbia, assigning it three delegates, but others did not include the federal district. . .” (page 37; see also page 41)

“. . . A related question concerns vote allocation in an Article V Convention. Would delegates vote per capita, or would each state cast a single vote, during the convention’s deliberations, and on the final question of proposing amendments?. . .” [then follows a discussion of different views on this undecided issue] (page 41)

“Article V itself is silent on membership in an Article V Convention, so it is arguable that Congress, in summoning a convention to consider amendments, might choose to include the District of Columbia and U.S. territories as either full members at a convention, or possibly as observers. As noted previously, some versions of the Article V Convention procedures bills introduced in the late 20th century did provide for delegates representing the District of Columbia, although not for U.S. territories . . .” (page 42)

Page 40 of the Report shows there doesn’t seem to be any:

“. . . constitutional prohibition against [U.S.] Senators and Representatives serving as delegates to an Article V Convention. . . “

So! As the CRS Report states on page 27:

“In the final analysis, the question what sort of convention?” is not likely to be resolved unless or until the 34-state threshold has been crossed and a convention assembles.”

Do you see? But by then, it will be too late to stop it. HERE is former US Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger’s letter confirming this. 4

The text of the “parental rights” amendment is HERE. For two papers showing how Michael Farris’ proposed amendment delegates power over children to the federal and State governments, go HERE  and, for the follow up paper, HERE.

To see how six of Mark Levin’s so-called “liberty amendments” do the opposite of what he claims, go HERE.

To see – on one page – proof of the original intents of the “interstate commerce”, “general welfare”, and “necessary and proper” clauses, go HERE.

The proponents of a convention portray the States as victims of federal tyranny. But the Truth is that the States voluntarily surrendered their retained powers, and the natural rights of The People, TO the federal government. And they did it for federal funds. Today, States get from 20% (Alaska) to 45.3% (Mississippi) of their State budgets from the federal government. State governments don’t want to rein in the feds! The people who run your State will do anything to keep their federal funds. HERE is the Pew Report.

Our Framers – those who actually signed the Constitution – NEVER said the purpose of amendments is to rein in the feds if they usurp powers. What they actually said is:

  • amendments remedy defects in the Constitution (Hamilton at the federal convention 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” would be suggested by experience (Federalist No. 43 at 8.)

HERE are the Articles of Confederation. Note that Art. XIII required approval of amendments by every State.

HERE is the Resolution, made by the Continental Congress 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”.

HERE is James Madison’s letter of Nov. 2, 1788 to Turberville. Copy it to word processing, make paragraph breaks, & highlight it. Madison NEVER supported the convention method of amending our Constitution.

HERE is Joe Wolverton’s article about the Socialists’ involvement in the push for a convention.

HERE is the Constitution for the Newstates of America. Article XII addresses ratification by a referendum called by the President. Read HERE about the proposed Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. Read them and see what is being planned for you by people you think are on your side.

HERE is the screen shot of Jordan Sillars’ comment re re-writing the Constitution.

For Q’s & A’s on this issue, go HERE.

Endnotes:

1 There is no such thing as a “convention of states” to propose amendments. The term is a marketing gimmick used by proponents of an Article V convention to manipulate people into believing that the States would control an Article V convention – from start to finish.

Article V, US Constitution, provides two methods for proposing amendments to the Constitution:

1. Congress proposes amendments and submits them to the States for ratification [the method we used for our existing 27 Amendments]; or

2. Congress calls a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments [for good reason, we have never used this method].

2 Even though we have never had an Article V convention; Congress has examined procedures for “calling” a convention so as to be ready if the need arises. The CRS Report proves that Congress has historically viewed its powers respecting “calling” a convention as exclusive and extensive. I thank Robert Brown for bringing the CRS Report to my attention.

3 The position Congress has historically taken in this regard is totally consistent with Article I, Sec. 8, last clause, which delegates to Congress power to make all laws “necessary and proper” to carry out the power vested in Congress at Art. V to “call” the convention.

4 Folks! For the sake of your Posterity, you must understand this: After a convention is convened, the delegates can do whatever they want – including coming up with an entirely new Constitution with its own new method of ratification. Chief Justice Burger wrote in his June 22, 1988 letter to Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly:

“… there is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit the Convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey. After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the Convention if we don’t like its agenda. The meeting in 1787 ignored the limit placed by the Confederation Congress “for the sole and express purpose. . .”

The federal convention of 1787, which was called by the Continental Congress “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”, should serve as a warning: The delegates to the 1787 convention ignored their instructions from the Continental Congress [and from their States]; ignored Art. XIII of the Articles of Confederation which required the States to obey Congress on matters covered by the Articles, and wrote an entirely NEW Constitution with a NEW method of ratification which required only 9 of the 13 States for ratification.

Credits:  Many thanks to Devvy Kidd, Blue Tail Gadfly, and M. Craig Elachie, from whom I lifted the very best lines in the speech. PH

Posted October 11, 2014.

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October 11, 2014 Posted by | Amendments to the Constitution, Article V, Article V Convention, constitutional convention, Convention of States project, Federal Convention of 1787, James Madison, Jordan Sillars, Liberty Amendments, Mark Levin, Michael Farris, Necessary and Proper clause, Phony right wing, re-writing the Constitution, Retained Powers, The Liberty Amendments | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Balanced Budget Amendments (BBA) Gut Our Constitution And Don’t Reduce Spending

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?
A:  No!

  • 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?
A:

  • 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:

https://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/balancing-the-budget-or-adding-a-national-sales-tax-to-the-income-tax/

https://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/why-the-balanced-budget-amendment-is-a-hoax-and-a-deadly-trap/

https://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/why-the-balanced-budget-amendment-is-the-worst-idea-ever/

Endnotes:

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

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February 19, 2014 Posted by | Balanced Budget Amendment | , , , | 6 Comments

Balancing the Budget? Or Adding A National Sales Tax To The Income Tax?

By Publius Huldah

The stated purpose of Compact for America, Inc. is to get a balanced budget amendment (BBA) ratified.  Here is their proposed BBA.  State Legislators recently introduced it in Arizona. 1

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 taxin 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.

Endnotes:

 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.

Rubbish!

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.

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February 10, 2014 Posted by | Balanced Budget Amendment, Compact for America, Kevin Gutzman, Nick Dranias | , , , | 57 Comments

The “Convention of States” Scam, the War over the Constitution, and how the States Sold the Reserved Powers to the Feds.

By Publius Huldah

Our Constitution is a glorious document. This one page chart depicts the Structure of the federal government we created when we ratified our Constitution; and lists the “limited & enumerated powers” we delegated to the federal government over the Country at Large.

In a nutshell, our Constitution authorizes the federal government to handle the following objects for the Country at Large:

  • Military defense, international commerce & relations;
  • Control immigration & naturalization of new citizens;
  • Domestically, to create a uniform commercial system:  weights & measures, patents & copyrights, money based on gold & silver, bankruptcy laws, mail delivery & some road building; and
  • With some of the amendments, secure certain civil rights.

Basically, that’s it.  As stated in the 10th Amendment, all others powers are reserved by the States or The People.

But for 100 years, almost everyone in our Country has ignored our Constitution.  Thus, instead of restricting spending to the enumerated objects of its powers, the people WE send to Congress spend money on what anybody wants – and so gave us a debt of $17 trillion.  Instead of restricting lawmaking to the enumerated objects of its powers, the people WE send to Congress make laws on whatever they like. The President WE elected tramples all over the Constitution; and due to the connivance, cowardice, and ignorance of Congress, the supreme Court, State governments, and the American People, is seizing totalitarian power.

WE are in terrible trouble.

And it is the phony right wing which is seducing the American People into taking the final jump off the cliff.

Michael Farris, head of the Convention of States 1 project, begins his video with this spiel:

“We all know that our government is way off track. The debt is astronomical and is going to cripple not only our own freedom and our own economy, but our children and our grandchildren are going to be effectively slaves, paying for all the things that we’re spending money on today.”

That part of his video is true.

But the purpose of their spiels is to make you believe they are on your side.  You must look behind the spiels and think carefully about what they are proposing as “solutions”.  Much is at stake:

THIS IS THE WAR over our Constitution and Country.  And here are the two sides:

Learn & Enforce our Existing Constitution!

One side proposes that we learn & enforce our existing Constitution of limited & enumerated powers.  We show that our Framers advised us to enforce our Constitution by (1) electing better representatives to annul the acts of the usurpers, 2 or by (2) nullification of unconstitutional acts.

To illustrate: What would our Country’s financial condition be if WE THE PEOPLE had enforced the enumerated powers on Congress?

It is the enumerated powers which list the objects on which Congress may appropriate funds:

  • immigration office (Art. I, §8, cl.4)
  • mint (Art. I, §8, cl. 5)
  • Attorney General (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 (Art. I, §8, cls. 11-16)
  • the civil list (Art. I, §6, cl.1)
  • [and other objects listed in various other articles, sections, &clauses]

Do you get the idea?  The Constitution itemizes what Congress is permitted to spend money on. See also the two geographical areas over which Congress was delegated “general legislative powers”: Art. I, §8, next to last clause, & Art. IV, §3, cl. 2.

The reason we have a debt of $17 trillion is because everyone ignored the Constitution; so Congress spent money on objects outside the scope of its enumerated powers.

Amend Away our Existing Constitution?

But the Randy Barnett 3/ Rob Natelson/ Michael Farris/ Mark Levin camp want a “convention” so they can gut our existing Constitution by amending out the limited & enumerated powers with new amendments which grant general powers to the federal government; or they seek to re-write the Constitution altogether. 

Here are illustrations of how the limited & enumerated powers can be amended out of our Constitution:

It has already been shown how the so-called balanced budget amendment would transform our Constitution from one of enumerated spending powers to one of general spending powers, where spending would be limited only by the amount of revenue the federal government generates or a certain percentage of the GDP. 4 But under our existing Constitution, the federal government’s expenditures are limited by the constitutional grants of authority – the enumerated powers.  The problem is everyone ignores the enumerated powers – they never even bothered to learn what they are!

Here is another illustration:  Michael Farris, the grand master of The Spiel, has managed to convince many parents that the only way to protect their parental rights is an amendment to the Constitution which delegates to the federal and State governments constitutional power over their children!

And Mark Levin’s suggested amendments would gut our Constitution.  Most increase the powers of the federal government by making constitutional what is now unconstitutional because it is not an enumerated power.  The amendments pertaining to “overrides” undermine the Constitution as the objective standard of what is lawful and what is not – and substitute majority vote therefor.  These “overrides” would erase the Constitution and replace it with majority (mob) rule.

Or is “re-writing the Constitution” their actual goal?

Farris says in the video:

“…sometimes what you need is not a change of personnel, you need a change of structure. The Founders understood the importance of structure…”

Does that give you cold chills?

How does Farris seek to change the structure?

Please – all of you – look at this one page chart which depicts The Structure of the federal government our Framers gave us:  What needs changing?  Isn’t enforcement what we need?

Jordan Sillars, Communications Director for Farris’ Convention of States Project, let the cat out of the bag:

On September 15, 2013, a discussion on my Face Book page was started about Mark Levin’s clamoring for a “convention of states”.

On or before September 19, Jordon Sillars posted a comment wherein he 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].

On September 19 at 1:20 p.m., I responded:

“So, this really is about “re-writing the Constitution”, isn’t it?

And could you name these individuals who are “morally and intellectually capable of re-writing the Constitution”?”

Sillars thereafter deleted his comments, but not before I obtained a screen shot of his quoted comment which you can see here.

Why did he delete his comments?

Now let’s look more at what Farris says in his video:

The False Statements & Silly Arguments of the Proponents of a “convention of States”

1.  After his introduction about the $17 trillion debt, Farris goes on to say:

The States have the power under Article V to call a convention of the States for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution…”

His statement is false.

The Truth is the States have no authority to call the convention.  That power is delegated to Congress.  Article V says:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments…” [emphasis mine]

Congress calls it.  Not the States.

Furthermore, Dr. Edwin Vieira has pointed out:

 ‘The language “shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments” sets out a constitution duty in Congress. It embraces a constitutional power as well. That brings into play Article I, Section 8, Clause 18, which delegates to Congress the power “[t]o make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers [that is, in Article I, Section 8, Clauses 1 through 17], and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof”. The power to “call a Convention for proposing Amendments” is one of those “all other Powers”. Therefore, pursuant to that power, Congress may enact whatever “Law[ ] which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the * * * Power [to call a Convention]’.

So!  Since Article V vests in Congress the power to call the convention; and since Article I, §8, last clause, vests in Congress the power to make all laws necessary & proper to execute its delegated powers; 5 Congress would be  within its constitutional authority to organize the Convention anyway it wants, and to appoint whomsoever it wishes as delegates. 6

Now look at this:  The chart on Article V shows that James Madison, Father of our Constitution, remarked on the vagueness of the term, “call a Convention for the purpose”:

How was a Convention to be formed? – by what rule decide? – what the force of its acts?” (Sep. 10); and “difficulties might arise as to the form, the quorum, &c., which in constitutional regulations ought to be as much as possible avoided” (Sep. 15, 1787).

Phyllis Schlafly also raised Twenty Questions about a Constitutional Convention.

Congress, pursuant to Article V and Article I, §8, last clause, has the constitutional power to answer all these questions by means of a law.

Folks!  The Farris/Natelson/ Levin camp is not telling you the truth when they say the States decide these issues!

2. Farris then says in his video:

“…in Article V of the Constitution [the Founding Fathers] gave us the solution…”

“…they gave the power to the States to create a new set of rules when the federal government overstepped its boundaries. We can recalibrate the rules to take power away from Washington D.C. and give it back to the people and to the States.”

His statements are both false and silly.

Here is the false part of what he said:

It was not the consensus at the Federal Convention of 1787 that the purpose of Article V was so States could make amendments to the Constitution in order to take power away from a federal government which had usurped power by violating the Constitution.

This chart shows what happened at the Federal Convention of 1787 re development of Article V.

Two delegates (Randolph & Mason, who didn’t sign the Constitution) supported the notion that amendments might be used if the national government should become oppressive.  And they didn’t want Congress to have any power over amendment procedures. Their view was the minority view.

Other delegates (Gov. Morris, Hamilton & Madison) thought Congress ought to be able to propose amendments.  One delegate (Mr. Gerry) worried about States obtaining a convention and binding the Union to innovations which subverted State Constitutions.  Hamilton spoke of amendments to correct defects which would probably appear in the Constitution.

So the final version of Article V provides two methods of proposing amendments to the Constitution.  Congress either:

  • Proposes the amendments; or
  • “Calls” a convention when the Legislatures of 2/3 of the States apply for it.  [Now see Art. I, §8, last clause.]

Now for the silly parts of what Farris said (and there are two silly parts):

3.  Farris tells us the solution to a federal government which “overstep[s] its boundaries” [violates the Constitution] is to amend the Constitution.

He proposes “to take power away from Washington D.C.” [power the federal government has usurped] by “recalibrate[ing] the rules”.

In other words, the solution to a federal government which violates the Constitution is to amend the Constitution.

Do you see how silly this is?

4.  Farris and his camp also imply that the States are victims of federal tyranny, and are the virtuous & wise ones who can fix our Country if they can just get a convention to propose amendments.

But the States are the ones who sold you out to the federal government in the first place!  I’ll show you:

The 10th Amendment says:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”.

What happened to these reserved powers?

The States sold them to the federal government.

Let’s use education as an illustration of how the States sold to the federal government your reserved power to educate your own children in the way you see fit.

The Creator God who, as recognized by our Declaration of Independence, endowed us with unalienable rights; assigned to parents the responsibility to provide for the education & moral instruction of their children:  Proverbs 1:8-9, 6:20-21, 13:1, 22:6 & 23:19-22; Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 4:9-10 & 6:1-7; Ephesians 6:1-4; 2 Timothy 1:5  & 3:15-17.

Is “education” one of the enumerated powers delegated to the federal government for the Country at large?  No.  So the federal government has no constitutional authority to get involved.  Accordingly, all acts of Congress pertaining to education for the Country at Large, the federal Department of Education, and all their rules & programs are unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers delegated to the federal government.

So why does the federal government dictate all things respecting education?

Because your States sold your God-given responsibility to educate your own children – and your reserved power to do so to the federal government.  This has been going on for a long time; but most recently your State sold you out for federal grants with the federal government’s “race to the top” and “common core” schemes. 7

You have to be ignorant, unthinking, & gullible – a greenhorn – to believe that The States are the men in the white hats who can fix all this with a convention to propose amendments.

Conclusion

The federal government is not the problem – it is the result of our own ignorance, pride and folly.

WE THE PEOPLE, who are “the natural guardians of the Constitution” (Federalist No. 16, next to last para) didn’t trouble ourselves to learn the enumerated powers of Congress and the President.  Do you know them?

I ask my Readers who have been supporting the “convention of States” scheme:  Have you studied our Founding Principles set forth in The Declaration of Independence? Have you studied the text of the Constitution so that you know what it says?

If not, how are you qualified to know how to “fix” a Constitution you never learned?

Are you willing to stake your lives & liberties, and those of your progeny, on whether those in the Barnett/Natelson/Farris/ Levin camp (1) know what they are talking about, and (2) are telling the truth?

Why? Because you like them?  Because they provide a scapegoat which permits you to blame-shift?  And you think you can “get even”?

Wise voices in this Country are warning you about the scam.  Foremost among them is Phyllis Schlafly, who has been warning of this danger for decades. Yet, such is the ignorant conceit of the greenhorns that they sneer at those who are warning them.

I trust you now see the connection between the moral corruption of a People and tyranny.

Endnotes:

1 Use your own head!  Do not be manipulated by other peoples’ choice of words. Rob Natelson formerly referred to what he wants as a “constitutional convention”.  Now, he calls it a “Convention of the States” – that is the term his cohorts & minions now use.  Why did they change what they called it?

2 But our elections are no longer honest. The States took federal grant money to buy voting machines which can be rigged.

3 Randy Barnett’s “Bill of Federalism” is ten proposed amendments which would transform our Constitution from one of enumerated powers to one of general & unlimited powers.  Mark Levin’s proposed amendments are similar to Barnett’s.

4 The GDP is computed by an agency in the Executive Branch. So under the BBA, spending would be limited by numbers under the control of the federal government:  By how much they tax you; or by a number (GDP) the Executive Branch computes. You think that is a fine idea?

5 The Federalist Papers tell us what the “necessary & proper” clause (Art. I, §8, last clause) means:  The clause delegates to Congress power to pass all laws necessary & proper to execute its declared powers (Federalist No. 29, 4th para); a power to do something must be a power to pass all laws necessary & proper for the execution of that power (Federalist No. 33, 4th  para); “the constitutional operation of the intended government would be precisely the same if [this clause] were entirely obliterated as if [it] were repeated in every article” (Federalist No. 33, 2nd para); and thus the clause is “perfectly harmless”, a tautology or redundancy. (Federalist No. 33, 4th para).  See also Federalist No. 44, 10th -17th paras.  In other words, the clause permits the execution of powers already declared and granted.

Do not be misled by Rob Natelson’s post on the “necessary & proper” clause!  Why did Natelson ignore what The Federalist Papers say about this clause?  Why did he fabricate the song & dance set forth in his post?

6 Think this through also: Even if Congress, as a matter of grace, permitted the States to appoint delegates, how would delegates from your State be chosen? Who controls your State? Would the powers in your State choose you?  Or do you believe Michael Farris would choose the leaders?

7 This happened in your State because The People in your State elected to State government people who sold you out.  See this website on federal grants:  http://www.ffis.org/database   You think your State Legislators, who have been gobbling up all the federal grant money they can get, will fix our Country at a “convention” to propose amendments? PH.

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December 18, 2013 Posted by | 10th Amendment, Amendments to the Constitution, Amendments: Parental Rights Amendment, Article V, Article V Convention, constitutional convention, Convention of States project, Edwin Vieira, Federal Convention of 1787, Jordan Sillars, Mark Levin, Michael Farris, Necessary and Proper clause, Phony right wing, Phyllis Schlafly, re-writing the Constitution, Retained Powers, States Retained Powers, Tenth Amendment, The Liberty Amendments | , , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

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