MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

April 2024 Newsletter

by | Apr 1, 2024 | AVC Newsletter | 0 comments


By the Numbers: Three Progressive Reasons to Support a Fiscal Responsibility Amendment

by Vickie Deppie

Last month, we talked about Scott Pelley’s interview with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who described the national debt as both “worrisome” and “urgent.” We also touched on Dr. David Primo’s observation that a constitutional amendment is the only way to impose ongoing fiscal restraint on Congress. Most advocates talk about these matters in a way that speaks to conservatives but alarms progressives, who fear that cuts to federal spending will hit our most vulnerable neighbors the hardest. This month, we’ll examine some of the ways continued deficit spending imperils social safety net programs. 

  1. Waste, fraud, and abuse: Mismanagement of taxpayer dollars is ubiquitous in Washington. Exposés have been published for decades by everyone from United States Senators to Politico to watchdog groups. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services data show that 2023 Medicaid improper payments totaled over $50 billion. In its 2023 Prime Cuts report, Citizens Against Government Waste identified hundreds of recommendations with potential savings of over $400 billion in the first year and $4 trillion over five years, none of which jeopardizes quality governance or social safety net programs. A fiscal responsibility amendment will force Congress to scrutinize spending, slash pork, and eliminate waste instead of coasting along with incremental increases to every. single. thing. they spent money on last year. What is your state’s share of $4 trillion? 
  1. Sovereign debt throttles economic growth: The World Bank has estimated that for every point above a 77% debt-to-GDP ratio, economic growth is throttled by .017%. Our debt-to-GDP ratio is currently over 100%, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects it to reach 202% by 2051. This means that over the next 25 years, the United States’ economic growth will be slowed by approximately .5-2% every year. Slower economic growth means fewer jobs and less tax revenue, which puts added stress on our social safety net programs
  1. Income inequality has increased as the national debt has grown: The CBO reports that inflation-adjusted after-tax household income for the wealthiest 1% more than doubled from 1979-2019; at the same time, that of other Americans had grown by only 33-75%. These trends are projected to continue going forward. Worse, according to an International Monetary Fund study surveying economies from 1950-2006, greater income inequality further throttles economic growth, combining with high levels of sovereign debt to create a downward spiral that most severely impacts economically vulnerable families. Higher debt correlates with greater income inequality. Income inequality is a drag on economic growth. 

Americans—particularly our most vulnerable neighbors—need state legislators to work together…yes, across the aisle…to impose spending reforms on Washington. They’re not going to do it themselves. They can’t do it themselves. Left to itself, Congress has engineered a system that transfers ever-increasing levels of wealth to the already wealthy while creating a massive burden of sovereign debt that does the most harm to those who can least afford it. 


Article V News

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University will host a Model Constitutional Convention for proposing amendments May 23-26. Students from across the country will gather to consider five amendments proposed by the National Constitution Center’s Constitutional Drafting project, as well as submit amendments of their own as time allows. 

The Phoenix Correspondence Commission hosted former Governor Mike Huckabee speaking on “The Critical Role of the States.” More than thirty states were represented. The next meeting of the PCC featuring Dr. David Primo will take place on June 14. To find out whether your state is represented or learn more about becoming a delegate, please contact Executive Director W. Bruce Lee.  

Balanced Budget Amendment/Fiscal Restraints 

In Idaho, SCR 115 has been reported out of committee with a do-pass recommendation and awaits a floor vote. In South Carolina, H 3676 passed in the House and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Convention of States Project 

In Hawaii, SR 168 & SCR 196 were passed in the Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs Committee. HCR 54 awaits a hearing in the House Judiciary & Hawaiian Affairs Committee. 

In Idaho, SCR 112 has been reported out of committee with a do-pass recommendation and awaits a floor vote. In Iowa, an amendment regarding in vitro fertilization has been proposed for HJR 7

Delegate Selection and Oversight 

In Kansas, the House Federal and State Affairs Committee recommends passage of HB 2807. In Missouri, SB 1310 received a do-pass vote in the Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee. In Maryland, HB 1202 and in Mississippi, HC 48 have been filed and await attention from their respective Rules Committees. The Maryland and Mississippi DSOs are notable in that they do not require any member of the delegation to be a sitting legislator. To learn more about this important development, please read Observations from the Simulated Article V Convention by guest contributor James Kallinger, President of the National Association of Former State Legislators. 

Term Limits 

In Kansas, the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee recommends adoption of SCR 1609. In Tennessee, HJR 5 has been passed by the State Senate and Local Governance Committee and awaits assignment by the Senate Calendar Committee. 

Rescission 

In New Hampshire, HCR 9 has been voted out of the House State-Federal Relations & Veterans Affairs Committee as amended. In Connecticut, HJ 230 has been reported favorable with substitute language by the Joint Committee on Government Administration and Elections. In New York, B 1460 rescinding all Article V applications has passed in both the House and the Senate. 

Other 

In Florida, applications for a convention to propose a constitutional amendment granting a line-item veto for the president (H 7057) and one to prohibit Congress from exempting its members from laws imposed on the citizenry (H 7055) have passed in both the House and the Senate. In Missouri, HCR 61, an application to repeal the 16th amendment, has been filed. 

Article V Legislative Progress Report 

Many thanks to our friend David Guldenschuh for his tireless efforts to keep us abreast of Article V legislation moving throughout the country. 


Media 

The Dominion Post offered coverage of debate in the West Virginia House Judiciary committee. 

Chuck Malloy checks in on a convention to propose a fiscal controls amendment with former United States Senator Larry Craig and Idaho House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel for the Idaho State Journal

Former Comptroller General David Walker and economist Barry Poulson continue their media tour advocating for fiscal reform in the Las Vegas Review-Journal

The Telegraph has picked up Barry Poulson’s “A Quiet Revolution by the States.” 

Retired judge and former Tennessee Attorney General Paul Summers is working his way through the Constitution in The Tennessean. This month, he covered Article V

The Topeka Capital-Journal offers coverage of Kansas’ Delegate Selection and Oversight legislation as well as a lawsuit to challenge the state’s supermajority requirement for Article V applications

The Watertown Daily Times provides coverage of New York’s successful rescission effort. 


Constitution Boot Camp

Having laid the groundwork of who’s in Congress, it’s time to move on to what they do: Article I, Section 7: Legislative Process beginning on page 11. 


Who Said It?

…our country’s Declaration of Independence from England was not only a political Declaration of Independence from a foreign country but also an act of economic rebellion against monopoly power. 

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)