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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 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

   

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