On Tuesday, I received an email to attend Compact Commission Meeting and Inquiry into H. Con. Res. 73: Partnering with the States on a Federal Balanced Budget Amendment from BalancedBudgetCompact.org. While making “conservative and constitutional sounding” statements, they are promoting the same non-action of most of the push by BBA supporters for an Article V Con-Con, only this time they are doing it through a resolution.
The email read in part:
Abuse of the federal government’s unlimited borrowing capacity threatens fiscal calamity as the Baby Boom increasingly becomes the Retirement Boom. There is, however, a solution.
Unlike any other federal Balanced Budget Amendment effort, H. Con. Res. 73 and its forthcoming Senate counterpart can be passed at any time with just simple majorities of each House of Congress either as a standalone concurrent resolution or incorporated into the House Budget Resolution. H. Con. Res. 73 gives Congress a uniquely plausible opportunity to partner with the States to fix the national debt. And you could make the difference.
The Commission is the first interstate agency formed to represent the States in uniting to advance and ratify a federal Balanced Budget Amendment through a binding interstate agreement known as the “Compact for a Balanced Budget.” H. Con. Res. 73 is the Congressional resolution needed to activate the Compact for a Balanced Budget.
Over 20 national and state-based organizations as well as subject matter experts have united in a coalition to support H. Con. Res. 73 and to urge Congress to partner with the states to advance the Compact for America Balanced Budget Amendment effort. Both the U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees have entertained testimony on the merits of the effort respectively from constitutional scholars Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute and Nick Dranias of Compact for America Educational Foundation (formerly of the Goldwater Institute).
This growing coalition includes not only Compact for America, but also Americans for Tax Reform, the Goldwater Institute, ALEC Action, the Coalition to Reduce Spending, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, the MacIver Institute, Kansas Policy Institute, Cascade Policy Institute, Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Alaska Policy Forum, the Granite Institute, Mississippi Center for Public Policy, Heirs of the Republic and the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. You can read the coalition letter here.
Now, if you aren’t really thinking on what is going on in DC and how these people operate there, and the fact that they ignore the restraints of the limits of Constitutional spending, this might sound good.
I responded to Chair Mead Treadwell with an email of my own and note what I pointed out.
“And this BBA will just continue the same old same old with open ended ties to states wanting federal money, while hypocritically calling for a balanced budget instead of limiting spending to the Constitutional requirements. This is the skirt you people are hiding behind. Enforce the Constitution instead of writing more words these people will just trample on, or disolve DC altogether and let’s go back to the Articles of Confederation and simply govern our own sovereign states and eliminate DC spending totally.”
I was met within minutes with a response from Mr. Treadwell.
“Hi Mr. Brown,
There are no spending limits in the constitution. The constitution designates spending authorities, but spending can be unlimited within those authorities. Of course, not even the limits on authority will be enforced when a limitless credit card is placed in the hands of those expected to hold the line on spending. It just is not human nature. The status quo leads to bankruptcy. There is no way to fix the problem by enforcing the constitution when the constitution is designed with this flaw in place. As for the balance of your comments, we disagree respectfully. It will be much more difficult to obtain additional borrowing authority if the states are required to approve any increase proposed by congress within 60 days. Two hurdles are harder to jump than one. Engaging the states in this decision process is no different than engaging the states in populating and controlling the senate under the Constitution’s original design. It is a check and balance on centralized power and inherently makes it easier to prevent the abuse of power. Why? Because centralizing power makes it easier to abuse power than decentralizing power. Logistics. Finally, states are prohibited by our amendment from engaging in quid pro quos and doing so imperils any bond issuance’s marketability because illegally issued bonds are expressly deemed void. In all likelihood, no wheeling and dealing will happen.
All the best.”
Now, do you see what he just did?
He missed my entire point. The issue is UNCONSTITUTIONAL spending which are limits on the authority of areas to spend. Not once does he address that and this is the issue.
It’s simple, Mr. Treadwell, like all those pushing for a BBA are just fine with unconstitutional spending. The solution in Mr. Treadwell’s mind is to make sure that Congress cannot spend money it does not have, regardless if it is constitutional or not.
First, we must ask, when has Congress ever shown restraint in spending money it doesn’t have?
Furthermore, I ask, when has Congress actually followed the Constitution and did what was written? They violate the Bill of Rights all that time with pretended legislation.
While he claims it will be difficult for states to pass additional spending and debt within 60 days, I think he is simply being naive.
Remember, these are the states taking the federal money now and will not hold them to account when they have the authority to do so. They have become dependent on federal fiat money. They are, in reality, slaves of the central government.
Here’s some of the things that Mr. Treadwell, and those like him, never address, unconstitutional spending and unauthorized agencies.
TheBalance.com provides a Fiscal Year 2018 Discretionary Budget that looks like this:
FY 2018 Discretionary Budget (in Billions)
Department Budget Emergency Total Dept of Defense $574.5 $64.6 $639.1 HHS $65.3 $0.4 $65.7 Education $59.0 $59.0 VA $78.8 $78.8 Homeland Security $44.1 $6.8 $50.9 Energy Dept $28.0 $28.0 NNSA $13.9 $13.9 HUD $31.2 $31.2 Justice Dept $16.4 $16.4 State Dept $28.2 $12.0 $40.2 NASA $19.1 $19.1 All Other Agencies $120.8 $1.5 $123.7 Adjustments $93.3 TOTAL $1,065.4 $85.3 $1,244.0
(Source: “2018 Budget, Summary Tables, Table S-8,” OMB, March 22, 2017.)
Now, consider several things here. Except for the Defense Department and maybe the Justice Department and the State Department, all of these other agencies are not authorized in the Constitution.
Congress was not given authority over Health and Human Services, Education, Energy, NASA, “All Other Alphabet Agencies,” HUD, nor the NNSA. And while I understand that people want to claim Homeland Security is defense, the fact of the matter is they are unconstitutional and only came into effect to enforce constitutional violations of the rights of citizens after 9/11 through the Patriot Act under President George W. Bush.
The real enforcers of the law and the defenders of the US, according to the Constitution, are the Navy, the armed forces (which were never thought to be needed as a standing army, but must be renewed every two years), and the citizen militia.
Now, consider the budget items above and costs. The Total is $1.244 trillion for FY 2018. Now, eliminate the departments that are clearly not a part of constitutional spending and you have a total of $773.7 billion. That’s nearly $500 billion in savings, but the BBA people aren’t worried about that as long as Congress has the money to pay for it.
Further, as we have seen in the past, that money gets spent on waste like:
- $516,000 to create a video game called “Prom Week” so people can relive their high school prom experiences;
- $15 million for recruiting scientists for Russia’s weapons institutes;
- $505,000 to a pet shampoo company;
- $13,000 to paint a large mural of a carrot in order to deter obesity;
- $10,000 for talking urinal cakes to deter drunk driving;
- $1.5 million to vineyards;
- $700,000 to develop beef jerky at the Pentagon;
- $20,000 on circus classes;
- $666,905 to research people watching reruns on TV;
- Professional athletes overseas vacations;
- School tax credits for prisoners who did not attend school;
- Medicaid audit program costs more than it brings in, $30,000;
- $939,771 to research male fruit flies’ attraction to younger female fruit flies;
- $74 million for an electric vehicle tax credit that will not reduce emissions;
- $750,970 to a brewery in New Hampshire;
- $547,430 for a dancing robot named Shimi to serve as a disc jockey for smartphones;
- $24,995 grant to develop a course entitled, “Should we want to be happy?”
- $49,990 to a potato chip company for advertising;
- $25,000 to promote the Alabama Watermelon Queen around the state;
- $1.2 million to study older people playing the video game World of Warcraft;
- $99,000 to a new distillery that will produce vodka and other hard alcohols; and,
- $548,731 to study whether young people who drink alcohol feel immature
- $325,000 contributed to the construction of robotic squirrels to observe their interaction with rattlesnakes and described it as “When robot squirrels attack.”
- $1000 Taxpayer Grants For Zombie Apocalypse Training At Resort & Spa
But don’t worry, BBA people are just fine with this as long as Congress has the money to support it and they get that money from you in taxes, and don’t think they won’t raise your taxes to pay for it and don’t think the states won’t sell you out in order to get that federal money, which also comes from you.
This does not even begin to address the plethora of social welfare programs and socialist dependancy programs like Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, food stamps or the student loans program.
Matt Trewhella, author of The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates, spoke at the Senate Committee on Financial Services, Constitution and Federalism’s public hearing back in March of this year and his words are aimed at the logic of people supporting BBA amendments because they do not deal with the real issue. Take a listen.
I forwarded this video and heard no response. Why? Because there is no answer when the emperor is exposed for wearing no clothes.
Publius Huldah has broken this BBA issue down so easily that a child can understand it, but apparently, BBA supporters cannot. Here are several of her articles on the matter:
- BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT: THE SOLUTION? OR DEATHBLOW?
- HOW A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT WOULD GIVE THE GOVERNMENT LAWFUL UNLIMITED POWER
- WHY THE BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT IS A HOAX – AND A DEADLY TRAP
- BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENTS (BBA) GUT OUR CONSTITUTION AND DON’T REDUCE SPENDING
- HOW DO YOU BALANCE THE FEDERAL BUDGET? RESTRICT SPENDING TO THE ENUMERATED POWERS
- BALANCING THE BUDGET? OR ADDING A NATIONAL SALES TAX TO THE INCOME TAX?
- STATES NEED BUDGETS – BUT ENUMERATED POWERS LIMIT FEDERAL SPENDING
- COMPACT FOR AMERICA’S SCHEME FOR PRE-RATIFICATION OF A MASSIVE NEW TAXES AMENDMENT
They are not thinking far enough ahead nor are they considering that when Congress doesn’t have enough money to cover spending, they’ll just come up with a new tax for Americans to cover it.
Do you really think those who don’t follow the Constitution now will follow more words you write for them to follow?
If you do, I’ve got some beachfront property in Arizona to sell you.
While Mr. Treadwell claims there is a need for BBA, Publius Huldah has argued against such thinking, stating that while states need budgets, the central government needs to remain within the limits of its spending, which Treadwell did acknowledge there were in the Constitution, but which he is unwilling to enforce.
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.
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.
Since State governments were created to possess general and unlimited powers, State governments may lawfully spend money on just about anything they want. 2Accordingly, State governments need budgets to limit their spending to receipts.
But Federal Spending is limited by the Enumerated Powers.
The real issue in dealing with all the troubles we face contains really only two solutions that will work, and here they are:
- We start arresting representatives for violating their oath to uphold the Constitution, which also means only allowing spending within the authority granted in the Constitution, or
- Each state begins to secede and wash their hands of a corrupt central government
Both of these will eliminate the issue for the states with regard to unconstitutional spending, debt and deficit spending.
However, like Trewhella stated, these people want to hide behind the skirts of more words when representatives are already trampling under foot the words already written, which they swore to God and the people to uphold.
Update: Mr. Treadwell did reply to my last email in which I encouraged him to listen to Mr. Trewhella’s comments and I wrote back to encourage him to read this article. Here’s his response.
With all due respect, your position is illogical. You appear to believe that there is no inherently greater risk of excessive spending and government expansion when there is unlimited borrowing capacity under the total control of one institution, than if you had limited borrowing capacity under the control of two independent institutions. Likewise, it does not make much sense for you to be arguing in favor of enforcing the constitution at the same time that you argue that no one enforces the constitution. The best explanation for your illogical positions are that you have an emotional attachment to opposing this effort. That’s just not something that we can address.
All the best.
I’m hardly emotional, just realistic and logical. Something the BBA proponents are not in their approach.