Last week, Utah played host to legislators from 30 states to discuss a possible state-led constitutional convention to consider a balanced budget amendment. Our “Political Insiders” are split along party lines whether this is a good idea.
Not surprisingly Republicans are for the idea while the Democrats on our panel are not. However, a majority of both groups are doubtful such a convention will ever happen.
Democrats are worried that a state-led convention might turn into a “runaway” affair, considering more proposals than just a balanced budget amendment, while Republicans are afraid any amendment proposed by Congress instead of a convention of the states would not have the desired effect.
Selected anonymous comments:
“I think the possibility for radical proposals exists, but I think the 38 state ratification bar protects against most of that. I favor the process because if a phased-in balanced budget amendment were to come out of a state-called convention, I think it would easily be approved by 38 states.”
“I think that a state-led constitutional convention would be a little more ‘dangerous’ in that most states must balance their budgets. Therefore, they could believe that balancing the federal budget is easier than it is. State legislators don’t have a firm grasp on Federal expenditures (especially defense and the actual cost of entitlements), and may put the country in a difficult fiscal position due to this lack of understanding.”
“Attacks on the 1st and 2nd amendment are common place. These primary protections are critical to our Republic and would be at risk.”
“There will never be a state-led convention. In this day and age of hyper-partisanship, the thought of state legislators from around the country coming together and agreeing on a convention is just laughable.”
“Washington has proven it is incapable of matching spending to revenue. The states need to cancel the fed credit card. There are $18 trillion reasons this needs to happen.”
“States have a responsibility to act as a check and balance on the federal government.”
“I’m terrified of what the wingnuts in our Legislature might do if they got the chance. It would be a step back to pre-Civil War status for much of the country.”
“It is asinine to think that a Balanced Budget Amendment would have any effect on spending and policy. An amendment would have to define what it means to balance the budget, and that would take books. And a budget can be balanced far more quickly by increasing taxes than by cutting spending. Why would any rational person want to require tax increases by Constitutional Amendment.”
“The terms and rules and parameters of a state convention are not clearly defined it is far too ambiguous therefore I think it leaves itself open to abuse. The reason I don’t think it will happen, is if our Congress can’t get together how would you ever get a group of liberals and conservatives to agree on anything?”
“I’m terrified especially if Utah is taking a leadership role. I like national parks, EPA & clean air, and Social Security, and I don’t want to be forced to have a gun.”
“My fear stems from the fact this has not taken in recent times and who knows how the states will react when reasserting this authority or power.”