Balanced Budget Amendment conference draws state support

An Oklahoma delegation of state Senators Micheal Bergstrom, Nathan Dahm and Julie Daniels as well as Reps. Mark Lepak and John Bennett, former Rep. Gary Banz and attorney Mark Nuttle was in Phoenix, Arizona, last week attending the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) Planning Convention.

The gathering was preparing the rules and guidelines for a future Article V Convention of the States for proposing amendments.

“The national debt just surpassed $20 trillion this week, and it is projected to increase by a trillion dollars a year for the next decade. This is just not sustainable,” said Bergstrom, R-Adair. “Since Congress has failed to restrict its spending, it is up to the states to act, and that is what we are doing.”

Article V of the United States Constitution provides two methods for proposing amendments to the Constitution. It may be either a resolution adopted by two-thirds of both houses of Congress, or by the states at a convention called for that purpose. Currently, 27 states, including Oklahoma, have signed on to the convention, with seven more needed for the convention to be called.

“What we are preparing for is a convention which will focus on only one amendment, one that will limit our federal government from spending more than it takes in,” Bergstrom said. “At this time, we are spending more than our nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), which is the size of the U.S. economy. We are borrowing trillions of dollars from foreign countries. We have had the Federal Reserve Bank printing money to pay our bills. We have looted all of our Federal trust and pension funds, including our military retirement funds, to pay for our government.

“We are on the path to a financial disaster that will make the Great Recession of 2008 seem like an economic speed bump in comparison.”

In 1990, foreign entities owned six percent of the nation’s gross debt. That has climbed to more than 34 percent. The United States is beholden to China, Japan, Russia and many other countries for loans that finance the government.

“Congress has put our nation in a dangerous position, where we are subject to the political influence of other nations over U.S. foreign and trade policy because of its willingness to run up an insane amount of debt and take money from nations who do not have our best interests in mind,” Bergstrom said. “That is why states like Oklahoma are stepping forward to force Congress to change its behavior. We must do this to protect our children, grandchildren and future generations from a crippling national debt, and I’m proud to be a part of this process.”