Andrea Kaminski
Op Ed

Scrap the Constitutional Convention

Assembly will vote on convention that could put at risk every right of the people.

By - Jun 9th, 2017 10:56 am
We The People

We The People

The Wisconsin Assembly is tentatively scheduled to vote Wednesday on proposals calling for a federal constitutional convention for the purpose of adding a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We respect people’s concerns about the federal debt, but this is the wrong way to tackle that problem. It is also a particularly dangerous path to take.

First, a balanced budget requirement would weaken our ability as a nation to respond to unforeseen emergencies, such as a natural disaster, attack from the outside or economic recession. The federal government would not be able to respond without increasing taxes – just at a time when fewer people might be working.

Second, a constitutional amendments convention could go in many different directions. It would put at risk every citizen right currently protected in the Constitution, including such things as voting rights and freedom of speech.

Proponents note that one of the proposals before the Assembly would restrict the role of our own state’s delegates to voting only on a budget amendment at the convention, but that ignores the fact that our state would be only one of fifty at the convention. Besides, some constitutional experts say that such rules could easily be considered irrelevant once the gathering convenes.

Proponents of these disastrous proposals say that a constitutional convention is needed because we can’t count on Congress to pass a balanced budget. They point out that the elected representatives of the people, including many who are all for a balanced budget when they are running for office, shy away from enacting it once elected. Come to think of it, that seems to happen at both the federal and state level.

It is ironic that these proposals are being promoted in Wisconsin by the party that is in the majority in both Congress and the state legislature. Why should the U.S. Constitution be at risk for complete revision just so these politicians can accomplish what they already have the power to do legislatively?

I would like to believe there are enough members among their ranks who know that a balanced budget requirement is not a responsible measure for protecting the safety and economic security of our nation or state. But if they are that wise, why would they risk what could be a catastrophic assault on our Constitution?

Maybe they think it would never really happen. However, if the Wisconsin legislature passes these proposals, our state would be number 30 out of the 34 states needed to force a constitutional convention.

Our nation is changing, and that change is taking place in every state and every district. With a provision to add amendments individually as needed, the U.S. Constitution has afforded us the flexibility for more than 200 years to keep up with the ever-changing needs of the American people.

Assembly lawmakers who take their responsibility of governing seriously should reject these foolhardy proposals, which would endanger our citizen rights and our nation’s ability to respond to emergencies.

Andrea Kaminski is executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for informed and active participation in government. The League welcomes women and men across the state as members. There are 18 local Leagues in Wisconsin. Follow @LWV_WI on Twitter.   

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

15 thoughts on “Op Ed: Scrap the Constitutional Convention”

  1. Rita Brunkow says:

    Absolutely! The secrecy and below the radar machinations the GOP has used to further these bills are reason enough to suspect their motives and stated intent of this risky maneuver. Several amendments were considered in my lifetime through the one amendment method and I remember no such secrecy such as has been used here. Amendments were debated and discussed at length and all pros and cons discussed for months, even years in every state and every community. People were well aware of the issues and generally informed as could before asked to vote on it. This is a hoodwinking we will live to regret if this GOP Legislature is successful.

  2. Colin Stuart says:

    Balanced budgets DO NOT WORK WITH GOVERNMENT FINANCES!!! NEVER EVER!! The GOP can take their personal finance pipe dream and shove it, as it’s got nothing to do with the gov.

  3. Jeremy says:

    Colin – Municipalities and Counties are required to have balanced budgets…which part doesn’t work?

  4. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Actually Jeremy, you are the fool here. States and local governments also run deficits- they just list it as “borrowing”. The Feds are more honest about accounting for spending in the year they spend it. What states and locals say is that buying something on your credit card isn’t “spending” till you start to pay it off.

    In fact, it is absurd that Scott Walker claims to support this ALEC garbage bill, but then says we should borrow MORE for roads instead of raise taxes or cut spending. Our debt us at a record level under the same WisGOPs that are pushing this “balanced budget Convention” BS.

    If you don’t understand that “borrowing” and “deficit” are the same things, you need to shut it until you do.

  5. I would think liberals would rejoice at a balanced federal budget. Most of our budget is Social Security, Medicare, Disabililiy, , Medicaid , defense and debt. In the case of a balanced budget defense is on the chopping block. The author does not clearly state this. Most of our citizens directly our affected by government pay outs and indirectly by defense.

  6. Rita Brunkow says:

    This Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land that gives people rights and freedoms. Regardless of how you feel about budgets and borrowing and debt, I would ask all of you to remember what is in danger here with a call for a Constitutional Convention. A one at a time amendment effort is a good way to approach the thought and debate and discussion so EVERYONE can participate in the amendment process. In addition, the The Wisconsin governor and the GOP legislature thinks you should not have ANY input into this amendment. That’s not right. Do you suppose they do not care what you think? I do.

  7. MollyO says:

    I know they don’t care what we think. I’m forever writing my reps just to them know someone is paying attention.

  8. Robert Stephen forrey says:

    I support the Constitution of the US
    I support the pledge of allegiance to the US
    I support the flag of the US
    I support the declaration of independence of the US
    I support the bill of rights of the US
    I support the office of the president of the US
    I support defense of our homeland “by all means necessary.”
    I love America and think we remain the greatest nation in the world, to think otherwise is both un-American and the result of brainwashing, we r yet free because of blood shed by our forefathers, our fathers, our mothers, our brother’s, our sister’s and our children, those disrespecting our great nation should feel great shame and remorse for their profound lack of gratitude! Signed: Robert S. Forrey, Reno, Nevada, PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!!!

  9. Jake says:

    It’s a bait and switch by the fascist party.

    What do you think Republicans will do to rewrite tax law, that’s right funnel it up to the wealthy and corporations. Not a question it’s a fact.

    All you right wingers who are not in the top three percent are tools. You’ll never see anything for your support.

    Oh wait I’m wrong, you can masturbate yourself while your hatchet men bash and go after your political enemies to satiate the small area of your reptilian brains.

  10. Rita Brunkow says:

    Have you fellas ever read the Lincoln-Douglas debates? There were some powerfully persuasive and effective tactics used there.

  11. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Can anyone translate into English what that copy-paste crap was in post 9. Including the “author”?

  12. Troll J says:

    Democrats idea of a balanced budget is taking twenty magic beans proclaiming there worth a trillion a piece and calling it a day. Budget balanced .

  13. Troll J says:

    All I can gather is he presumes Republicans are ultra wealthy and yet we know the top five US billionaires donate to the Democrats.

  14. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    What party were the last 2 presidents that reduced the deficit during their time in office, Troll Jason? And both raised taxes on the rich and had unbroken job growth throughout the last 7 years they served.

    Why do you keep making a fool of yourself? How lame is your life, dude?

  15. Vincent Hanna says:

    Look at TJ’s solid evidence. A whopping five people prove something to be true.

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