Letters of Liberty
        Balanced Budget Amendment

 

Beginning in the early summer months of 2010 through September, I received numerous questionnaires from various groups throughout this state.  They ranged from tea party groups, 9.12 Organizations, League of Women Voters, Campaign for Liberty, etc.  Some questionnaires were submitting online while others came through the postal service and it took time to answer them as honestly and promptly as possible.

Approximately August 15, 2010, I received a survey from a group that had sent me a questionnaire in June.  What I noticed about this letter was it had only ten questions and the one that caught my eye was one concerning a balanced budget amendment.  I had to respond “for or against” this proposition.  However, before responding I decided to research this area of our Constitution briefly and came to the conclusion it was not necessary.  I sent back the survey with a letter explaining my decision not to support a balanced budget amendment.  I will attempt to summarize the attached letter I included to share my views on this subject.

To the Author of This Survey:

                Although I have never met or spoken to you, I understand your desire for a Balanced Budget Amendment.  In this part of the state, my co-workers, neighbors, and friends have both a deep concern about the growing national debt and the “out of control” spending that exists in Washington D.C.  I have heard the same frustration with our Federal officials because they seem incapable of addressing the debt issue and reluctant to make the arduous decisions of reducing spending to decrease the debt.  However, the anger has grown to such an extent that some in this area have mentioned a “Balanced Budget Amendment” as well.  One of my co-workers asked me what my position was on a “Balanced Budget Amendment” and how to add an amendment to the Constitution.  Before going into the mechanics of how to introduce an amendment and get it passed, I decide to ask him why he thought it was necessary to have such an amendment.  Now several other co-workers had made their way over to join our conversation and asked questions regarding this current event.  I then asked a simple question to set the foundation of my concerns.  What would a “Balanced Budget Amendment” do to reduce our national debt?  One man said he was watching T.V. the other evening and a candidate pledged to bring up a “Balanced Budget Amendment” if elected to reduce the nation debt.  I first reminded them that some politicians will say anything to get elected; but continued on and asked how a balanced budget would decrease our national debt.  Using my personal life, I informed them that our family reduces our debt when we spend less than we make each month; and they agreed that was the same in their lives as well.  I concurred that such an amendment would stop our federal officials from adding to the total debt, but was this is what they desired?  I reminded them that in the late 1990’s our government had balanced the budget, but our total debt did not recede.  I asked them if they wanted to balance the budget or pay down the debt; they wanted to pay down the debt.

                Another coworker said “We need a Deficit Reduction Amendment” not a balanced budget amendment to reduce our debt.  As I stood in silence, I observed my co-workers come to a unanimous decision that we need a “Deficit Reduction Amendment” to reduce the debt and then turned to me and asked how we can add such an amendment.  However when I informed them that paying down the debt is already in their Constitution, some seemed pleased but most were infuriated. They asked a simple question.  Why don’t our federal officials follow the Constitution?  I suggested they ask their respective elected officials, but warned they would not provide a suitable answer.  Sadly, they are only concerned with advancing their political agenda in lieu of their Constitutional responsibilities.

                My suggestion to reduce the debt is an amendment that would put some force into Article VI which is where all federal officials are required to take an oath to uphold and defend your Constitution.  Perhaps if it was a high crime or misdemeanor to willing and knowingly violate your Constitution, this would cause them to lose their job and pension.  I asked my co-workers if they would do something at work that would cause them to lose their jobs or pensions.  They all said no.

 

Liberty

Douglas Jamison

 

                I hope they consider my ideas to address the current fiscal problems our nation and its citizens are currently facing.

                A few weeks later I was honored to receive an email asking me to speak at an event they were having a few weeks later.  I was privileged to do so.