Forty-nine States, including Virginia, require their budgets to be balanced. They do so because of a fundamental law of economics. That law says that if you spend more than your income, you will go bankrupt. And when a government becomes bankrupt its citizens are wrecked.
Let’s look at history. Czarist Russia went bankrupt because of reckless spending on World War I. Germany went bankrupt trying to pay off its reparations debt from World War I. Greece recently declared de facto bankruptcy because it borrowed more than it can repay.
Reckless spending is the harbinger of debt. And unpayable debt is a killer.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte is a proponent of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. In public meetings here in the Valley, Congressman Goodlatte speaks passionately about the need to limit the out-of-control spending in Washington.
The Constitution may be amended in two ways. One way is for two-thirds of Congress to draft a proposed amendment. The other way is for two-thirds of the States to hold a convention to draft a proposed amendment. Whichever way is utilized, three-quarters of the States must ratify a proposed amendment for it to become law.
The three-quarters ratification process is the Founders’ check to keep unwise proposals from becoming part of the Constitution. Several times, Congress has proposed amendments that were not ratified by three-quarters of the States. The most recent example of the Founders’ check was the Equal Rights Amendment of 1972.
What Congressman Goodlatte knows, and you know also, is that Congress will never reform itself. Never.
Since Congress will not pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to control its profligate spending, the only option to end the perilous behavior is for the States to draft a proposed Balanced Budget Amendment. And that is Bob Goodlatte’s message to us and our elected representatives in the General Assembly.
So far, twenty-seven States have called for a convention to draft a Balanced Budget Amendment. Over half of the States recognize the need to exercise that Constitutional option because Washington refuses to limit the national debt.
Currently, the Federal government debt is $18 trillion. When the President took office the debt was $10 trillion. Every year, the national debt increases by over $1 trillion. Without a Balanced Budget Amendment, America will become like Czarist Russia, the Weimar Republic and insolvent Greece.
In the 2015 session of the Virginia General Assembly, the Delegates and Senators did not pass a resolution calling for a Convention of States. The resolution was debated, but was regretfully defeated.
The good news is that every member of the General Assembly is up for election in November. You have an opportunity to make your voice heard. I urge you to follow the leadership of Congressman Bob Goodlatte and support a Balanced Budget Amendment. And, I urge you to convey that message to your Delegate and to your State Senator.
The 2016 session of the General Assembly should approve a resolution for Virginia to join the majority of the States and call for a convention to draft a Balanced Budget Amendment.
If Congress is not restrained, unsustainable spending will ultimately wreck the country. And you.
Ken Adams is the Chairman of the Waynesboro Virginia Republican Committee.