The Balanced Budget Amendment looks like a great idea on the surface but, in reality, is a recipe for disaster. I feel like this is a move that would most likely be seen in a State like Illinois and should never see the light of day. At this point you are probably asking why would I say this?
To start, consider Section 4 of the amendment:
“No bill to increase revenue shall become law unless approved by a majority of the whole number of each House by a roll-call vote.”
OK, so hypothetically the balanced budget amendment is in place and there is a deficit. This would naturally be addressed by proposing an increase in taxes to generate revenue as our Government has shown no inclination to cut spending. Increasing taxes would only need to be approved by a simple majority vote. It would be naïve to think that this would not go through regardless of which party is in control.
On the plus side I don’t believe the states would ratify this as an amendment to the Constitution, so it should wind up being a moot point. I urge you to look beyond the attractive title and consider the overall implications. Neither party works to curb spending and the Republican controlled house has continued to drive us toward financial disaster. Contact your representatives and tell them not to support this proposal.
On the other hand, an ill-conceived move of this magnitude could accelerate the growing movement across the Nation for an Article V Convention of States.
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, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
Since Congress seemingly continues to be running away from the will of the people and shows no willingness to contain its ever-increasing power, we must consider the recourse provided by Article 5 of the Constitution. The Founding Fathers had seen big government and had the foresight to put this mechanism in place to allow the States to call a convention and propose and ratify Constitutional Amendments without the approval of Congress. Bottom line, it provides the means to reign in runaway Government. For more information on the current Convention of States Project click here.