The National Debt Relief Amendment
Since the ratification of the Constitution in 1788, the states have never successfully convened an Article V convention to propose amendments to the Constitution. Now, however, a nationwide effort is underway to call an Article V convention to consider the National Debt Relief Amendment -- a simple eighteen-word amendment designed to take power from the federal government and restore it to the states:
An increase in the federal debt requires approval from a majority of the legislatures of the several States.
Regardless of the party in power, the federal debt continues to rise with no end in sight. The ruling class has squandered our hard-earned property, resulting in a fifteen-trillion-dollar debt. The Constitution provides two methods to propose amendments: by a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress, or by application of two-thirds of the states to convene an Article V convention. Throughout the history of the United States, all constitutional amendments were proposed by Congress; states have never convened an Article V convention to propose amendments to the Constitution.
The National Debt Relief Amendment movement was started by restoringfreedom.org and the Goldwater Institute. The amendment was adopted as model legislation by the American Legislative Exchange Council. Two states, North Dakota and Louisiana, have already passed a resolution calling for an Article V convention limited to consideration of the one amendment only.
North Dakota State Senator Curtis Olafson sponsored the resolution in North Dakota and continues to work diligently with state legislators around the country. Eight other states have primary sponsors of the resolution, and an additional fourteen states are considering it. One key aspect of the resolution is that each state submits a uniform resolution calling for an Article V convention to consider this one amendment only. If successful, only the National Debt Relief Amendment would be considered at the Article V convention.
Much rhetoric surrounds the Article V convention (commonly referred to as a constitutional convention). Some oppose an Article V convention on the grounds that the convention could turn into a runaway convention. However, a wide-open constitutional convention is a myth intended to frighten sensible people. If that were a valid argument, then why do the people making it not fear a runaway Congress? Ultimately, Washington, D.C. will not fix Washington, D.C. Regardless of the party in power, Washington, D.C. has never constrained itself.
(Constitutional scholar Rob Natelson has done considerable research into this issue, and you can read that research here.)
Moreover, the regressives and mainstream media demagogue anyone mentioning states' rights, constitutional limits on federal power, or the rule of law. Those opposing an all-powerful federal government are called terrorists, extremists, racists, and barbarians. An Article V convention is a tool provided by the Constitution that affords the states a peaceful method to restrain an all-powerful federal government. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson eloquently captured the essence of self-governance and the rights of the people to alter or abolish government (emphasis added).
That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
If states successfully convene an Article V convention to consider the National Debt Relief Amendment, it would be a watershed event in the country's history. First, it would put the federal government on notice that states are reasserting their proper role in federalism by taking power from the federal government. Secondly, if the National Debt Relief Amendment is ratified, it would be the first amendment ratified since the Bill of Rights that has actually restricted the powers of the federal government. Thirdly, if states exercise their powers over future debt limit increases, they will neutralize spending and the size of the federal government.
The citizens have tried changing those in power. In my adult life, the country has had every possible combination of Republicans and Democrats in control of the White House and Congress. In thirty years, the national debt has grown from less than one trillion dollars in 1981 to nearly fifteen trillion dollars today. Washington is broke and broken. The National Debt Relief Amendment is our best chance to limit the arbitrary and unilateral power of the federal government.