H.3473 – Convention of States

H.3473 calls for an Article V convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution to mandate a federal balanced budget.

Article V of the Constitution establishes two ways to amend the Constitution: one through Congress and one through a convention of states. For the latter method, two-thirds of the states must request a convention. Any amendments adopted by the convention must be ratified either by three-fourths of the state legislatures or by state conventions in three-fourths of the states, the method being determined by Congress.

Among the problems with this idea: (a) many of the solutions these resolutions call for already exist at the state level, with no effect on high taxes, increased spending, or massive debt. Of equal importance, (b) no law will stop federal overreach as long as state officials keep requesting, accepting, and spending billions of federal dollars (and abiding by the accompanying mandates) every year. And (c) the delegates who would be altering the U.S. Constitution would be chosen by our state legislature – the same ones who empower and continue the practice of federal control through federal subsidies.

Sadly, there is no pain-free way for the states to take on federal tyranny and out-of-control federal spending without kicking their addiction to federal money. The only way for states to affect the (admittedly dangerous) trends referenced in these bills is to reject both federal money and the accompanying mandates.

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