July 25, 2024

Is America Ready for a Constitutional Solution to Debt?

The potential for a financial crisis in the United States looms large as the government’s spending habits continue unchecked, threatening the stability of the nation’s economy. The urgency to address this issue has never been greater, as evidenced by the alarming rise in national debt coupled with persistent inflationary pressures. This fiscal irresponsibility not only elevates interest rates but also burdens taxpayers with the eventual repayment of these expenditures through increased taxes.

Remarkably, in the previous fiscal year, the government expended an astounding $882 billion on interest payments alone, surpassing the national defense budget of $816.7 billion. This stark comparison underscores the gravity of the situation, where the cost of debt servicing eclipses the allocation for national security.

At the heart of a groundbreaking initiative to confront this challenge is Loren Enns, the president of the Center for State-led National Debt Solutions. Enns shared insights with the Washington Examiner on the concerted effort to enact the 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, aiming for a balanced budget. He criticizes Congress for exploiting the global confidence in the American economy, a risky game that may falter as economic indicators worsen, potentially triggering a global financial crisis reminiscent of Japan’s economic downturn in the 1990s.

Enns advocates for a dramatic halt to congressional borrowing, warning against the dire consequences of continued fiscal irresponsibility. He argues for the necessity of a state-led convention to propose this vital amendment, citing Article 5 of the Constitution which allows for such a measure when two-thirds of the states agree. Despite the polarized political landscape, Enns is optimistic about garnering sufficient support, with 27 states already on board and efforts underway to secure additional commitments.

The strategy involves rallying a bipartisan coalition to draft a cohesive amendment proposal. Should the movement achieve its target of 33 state pledges, it will present the amendment to the House Judiciary Committee, essentially forcing Congress to address the issue or face a convention. Enns predicts that the prospect of direct state intervention will compel Congress to take action, emphasizing the amendment’s necessity to ensure fiscal discipline.

This amendment, if ratified, would mandate Congress to curtail its spending, presenting it with stark choices: raising taxes amidst widespread dissatisfaction with economic policies, cutting essential welfare programs, or leveraging the nation’s abundant natural resources to revitalize the economy. The consensus leans towards the latter as the most viable solution.

Enns perceives the balanced budget amendment as a unifying cause, transcending partisan divides. He highlights the existential threat of national bankruptcy as a rallying point, noting the prevalence of balanced budget provisions in state constitutions. With broad bipartisan support, the amendment could be proposed imminently, addressing the root causes of high consumer prices and leveraging state power to rectify congressional fiscal mismanagement. This initiative stands not just as a political maneuver but as a crucial step towards securing the financial future of the United States.

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