I got into a conversation with a proponent of the “Convention of States” this week.
If you are not aware, the writers of the Constitution left us two routes to amend our agreement. Either Congress can initiate the process or the people can work through their state legislatures to do it.
The latter process is the one the convention of states proponents have decided is the answer to fixing what is wrong with the U.S. government. A few years back, the Georgia legislature enacted a law in favor of the convention of states, and more have approved the idea since. It takes 2/3 of the states to hold a CoS and 3/4 of the states to ratify any amendment that might result from its workings.
The CoS proponents are all good people. They see we have problems with the government not following the letter of the Constitution. On that we all agree. And when asked how we might expect the courts to follow any new amendments when they don’t follow the one’s we have already I hear them respond simply, “amendments work.”
Recently, I asked one CoS leader to give me an example of an amendment that actually worked. He cited the 13th and 14th Amendments. To save you the trouble, the 13th Amendment officially ended slavery, an institution that was already ended in practical terms. The 14th Amendment extended the rights protected by the U.S. government to the level of the states and guaranteed equal treatment of the laws for all U.S. citizens.
As I said, the 13th Amendment simply ended an institution that was already ended, and which had virtually no political opposition following the Civil War.
That being the case, how did the 13th Amendment really work? It didn’t. It simply put a period at the end of a very long sentence.
Secondly, if the 14th Amendment really worked, then where did Jim Crow Laws come from? If the 14th Amendment really worked, how in 1896 did Homer Plessy, a black man, lose his case against Mr. Ferguson, claiming to be entitled to the same rights as whites, his entire argument centering directly on the terms of the 14th Amendment?
How as a result of Plessy v. Ferguson did the effective law of the land henceforth become “separate but equal” rather than simply “equal,” and for the next 58 years? If the 14th Amendment was so effective, how is it that a Civil Rights Act of 1964 was even necessary?
Ah, but on the other hand, and to the point of my CoS friend, the 16th Amendment surely has worked.
Americans have been paying taxes on income ever since. And that is an excellent example of why it is not wise to conduct a CoS. The proponents of the CoS do not understand how the American monetary system works. For more than 100 years now, Americans have been forced to deal with an unconstitutional private banking system in charge of issuing our currency — at interest.
The banking system owns our currency, prints it out of the air and loans it into circulation. As a result, Federal Reserve Banks receive interest on each dollar in circulation for as long as the system is allowed to operate. Where does the Constitution allow that? It doesn’t.
The Constitution requires that our government issue the currency. The Constitution handed Congress that power, intending that the government issue the American money supply, not a private banking system. Yet right after the wonderful 16th Amendment became ratified, Congress followed right behind it and gave away the government’s ability to create and issue interest-free currency. And ever since, the government has become the collection agent for the banks, using our income tax dollars to pay the private banking system its interest. Can you see where our wonderful amendment process has brought America to? $22 trillion in government debt and more than $70 trillion in overall U.S. debt. That’s what we get when we start messing with the U.S. Constitution.
The proponents of the CoS obviously do not understand what they are dealing with here. In pushing for a balanced budget amendment, they want to install a ’68 Buick carburetor in a ’66 Mustang. They don’t understand the very reason American government is $22 trillion in debt. They do not understand that without somehow repealing the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and the 16th Amendment, their amendment would either impoverish the American people through additional taxation, or run America and the world out of currency, causing a depression making the early 1930s seems like a trip to the zoo.
The proponents of the convention of the states are playing doctor here. They have a sick patient but don’t know how to diagnose the real problem prior to cutting away at the patient’s arteries. Unfortunately, there are no James Madisons among us. There are no Benjamin Franklins or George Washingtons within their mix. Thus, the CoS proponents are not up to the task of effectively amending the U.S. Constitution. While many of us share the concerns of the CoS advocates, our answer is not more words in our constitutional document. Our answer is to truly abide by what is already there.
And by working through the federal court system and replacing failed judges and Supreme Court justices with true Constitutionalists, President Trump is methodically restoring the Constitution many of us agree needs to be restored.
My advice to the CoS is, back off. Allow our president to work to restore the Constitution the right way. When he is done, you will see the results you desire.
Hank Sullivan is a Forsyth County resident, businessman, author and speaker on American history, economics and geopolitics.