The states are powerful enough to stand up to the federal government when it violates citizens’ rights. Learn how we can better leverage the power of states.
This year, I made just one New Year’s Resolution: to press for an Article V Amendments Convention.
Talk of a convention has brewed in political circles for years. But given the massive growth of the federal government in recent years, with spending nearly doubled from $2.1 trillion in 1995 to $4 trillion in 2010, an amendments convention cannot come too soon.
A new Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives fulfilled a campaign promise when it voted 245-189 late Wednesday to repeal President Obama’s health care reform law. But Democrats who still control the U.S. Senate have pledged to prevent the repeal from moving any further.
Arizona and five other states are considering use of their power under Article V of the U.S. Constitution to initiate an amendments convention. With the federal debt exceeding $14 trillion, I believe nothing short of state-initiated constitutional reform will stop the impending fiscal train wreck.
The National Debt Relief Amendment would amend the U.S. Constitution to require any increase in the federal debt be approved by a majority of state legislatures. This would bring planning, transparency, and accountability to any more federal borrowing. The amendment would force the federal government to make the case for adding debt early in the budget process to secure approval by 26 states. Congress could never again impose a multi-trillion dollar mortgage on our children with a last-minute scramble to raise the debt limit.
A central feature of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is an option for each state to establish a health insurance exchange. In its simplest form, an exchange would be a website on which individuals and business people could shop for health insurance. However, insurance policies offered on the exchange must be heavily regulated by the state to apply federal standards and price controls.
Recently the Goldwater Institute hosted a standing-room only policy forum to discuss the ins and outs of states initiating the Article V process to amend the U.S. Constitution. If you weren’t able to attend the forum, you can watch the video here. During the question and answer session, a handful of questions were raised about the details of the amendments convention “process,” namely who will select the delegates to an amendments convention and what will the rules be once the delegates are there?
One year ago, President Obama signed “Obamacare” into law, the greatest expansion of federal involvement in medicine since the creation of Medicaid and Medicare and one of the greatest intrusions into individual liberty our country has seen. A majority of Americans opposed it when it passed and a year later a majority of Americans want it repealed.
With the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting an immediate review of the state of Virginia’s challenge to the federal health care law, the Obama administration can be expected to accelerate its effort to force citizens to buy federally-approved health insurance. At the same time, pressure will mount on states to integrate the individual mandate into the fabric of state law. If states yield, it will become impossible for them to challenge the individual mandate with a straight face.
Huge segments of state budgets are driven by federal spending. Few roads are built without federal matching funds. Large shares of states' budgets are spent on social programs initiated by the federal government such as Medicaid, KidsCare, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children.