A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment May Be Our Only Hope

A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment May Be Our Only Hope

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

Over the last few decades, no force on earth has been able to halt the explosive growth of U.S. federal debt.

At the conclusion of WWII, fiscal conservatives were aghast that our national debt had ballooned to $259 billion. By the end of the Vietnam War, it stood at $533 billion and, despite urgent warnings, was over $5.6 trillion by the end of the century. Today it stands at $30 trillion after the Biden administration’s horrific spending spree conducted on the pretext of limiting the fallout from COVID.

The reason is pretty simple. Spending other peoples’ money is politically popular. Taxes are not and budget cutting is risky.

We have developed a political culture in which the reelection of incumbents is the highest of all priorities. It is considered perfectly acceptable to just kick the can down the road and let future generations sort out the consequences of our selfishness.

So, for example, when Bush 43 attempted to propose desperately needed reforms for Medicare and Medicaid, he was mercilessly demagogued for “pushing granny over the cliff.” His Republican allies deserted him, and the effort collapsed. Nobody has tried any such thing since, although debt reduction is mathematically impossible without entitlement reform.

It doesn’t take a genius to see where this is going. Interest rates are rising while serious geopolitical threats are forming. We’re backing ourselves into a position of severe internal and external weakness at just the wrong time.

Yet the political class remains unmoved. Some pay lip service to fiscal discipline, but the spending goes on unabated. Student loans, accommodations for illegal immigrants, and missiles for Ukraine on the condition that no Russians will be harmed by their use are all embraced as if unlimited funds are available.

Fortunately, our forefathers anticipated that the government they created would attempt to exceed its limited constitutional powers. They gave the states a powerful tool to defend themselves—the right to amend the Constitution on their own.

Article V of the Constitution mandates that Congress “shall” call a constitutional convention when requested to do so by 2/3 of the states and that any amendments proposed, when ratified by 3/4 of the states, become “Part of this Constitution.”

The founders would be disappointed to know that the states have never exercised this extraordinary privilege. Thomas Jefferson, knowing how these things go, thought a convention of the states would be needed every generation or so to reign in federal government encroachments.

Instead, the states have stood meekly by as the federal government has far surpassed them in power and prestige to the point where calling a convention of the states is seen as an act of rebellion against authority.

But nothing else has worked to restrain federal spending. Millions of dollars have been spent to elect self-described fiscal conservatives, yet it’s beyond obvious that Congress will never reform itself.

Of course, the convention-of-the-states idea has its enemies. Opposition from the spenders on the Left is understandable because they don’t want to end their gravy train. But it is the alliance between the Left and conservative stalwarts like the Eagle Forum and John Birch Society which have effectively stalled progress.

Their arguments are inspired by fear. Their principal objection is the perceived threat of a “runaway convention,” the fear that in a constitutional convention, there would be nothing to stop special interest groups from pushing their agendas from banning abortion to banning guns.

Hogwash. Even if the state legislatures fail to limit the authority of Convention delegates, 38 states must ratify any proposed amendments. That historically has been a very strong protection.

Right-wing opposition seems mostly concerned that the convention could inflict lasting damage to the sanctity of our Constitution. The opposite is the truth.

Nothing could honor and strengthen the Constitution more than using its own provisions to enable us to address our most urgent modern threat. The other option is the Left’s practice of declaring a “living” Constitution that says whatever judges say it does.

It’s time for us to flex our democratic muscles and fulfill our destiny as free, optimistic, and proud Americans. Our republic may be in the balance.

Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.

A Gas Tax Holiday Is a Gimmicky Talking Point with No Real Long-Term Benefit

A Gas Tax Holiday Is a Gimmicky Talking Point with No Real Long-Term Benefit

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

With Bidenflation guzzling through the pockets of all Americans, especially at the gas station, we have heard more and more politicians promoting the idea of a gas tax holiday. Regardless of how popular the idea has become or how good it sounds among Republicans and Democrats alike, it’s still nothing more than a gimmick and talking point for campaigns.

A tax holiday isn’t a new idea. Several states have permanent sales tax holidays, commonly occurring for a week or two each year around the time kids return to school and parents are busy shopping for clothes and classroom items. But these permanent recurring tax holidays don’t accomplish what they seek to accomplish.

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The Left’s New Ballot Measure Would Make It Easy to Cheat and Hard to Catch in Arizona Elections

The Left’s New Ballot Measure Would Make It Easy to Cheat and Hard to Catch in Arizona Elections

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

Since the 2020 election, the left has been accusing conservatives of spreading the “Big Lie”—a label attached to anyone who believes that voter fraud does occur and that there are legitimate election integrity reforms that require legislative attention. Every reform that lawmakers have introduced has been labelled “Jim Crow 2.0,” and the left has rallied hundreds of organizations to prevent them from becoming law.

Yet while decrying legitimate election reforms from conservatives, liberals have been busy pushing their own election bills, such as HR1, which would have federalized our entire election process and completely changed the way we vote. It was a radical bill that fortunately stalled in the U.S. Senate due to a lack of votes.

But their defeat in Washington hasn’t stopped the left in their quest to undermine the security of our elections and chill our speech rights. A coalition of liberal organizations have decided to bring HR1 to Arizona with a new ballot measure called “Arizonans for Free and Fair Elections.” Suffice to say, there is nothing free or fair about it…

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An Open Letter on the Tragedy in Uvalde from a Mom and Grandma

An Open Letter on the Tragedy in Uvalde from a Mom and Grandma

By Cheryl Todd |

I am heartbroken over the evil that has overcome Uvalde, Texas. And I, as a mom and a grandma who has grandchildren in the Litchfield Elementary School District, am outraged that our system has continued to fail us. Over the last twenty years, we’ve taught kids to hide, protect, and wait for help. More must be done. 

Gun-free zones are dangerous, and it is time to protect schools like we protect airports, hospitals, courthouses, and banks and we must stop threats with equal or greater force. I support the Second Amendment and believe that education is the key to gun safety, not legislation. In an era of increased crime, reduced funding for police, and long response times – I must be my own first responder to protect myself, my family, and my community, which is why I carry a firearm.  The evil in Uvalde was not caused by a gun, it was caused by a broken system that continues to push paper, policies, and legislation versus solving the root issue. We must heal the pain in our communities, strengthen families, and improve economic opportunities. Most importantly, it is TIME to fund meaningful programs that address mental health, safety, and firearm awareness and training.

Cheryl Todd is the Arizona State Director for the DC Project.

Arizona Lawmakers Have Passed Key Bills to Prevent Future COVID Overreach

Arizona Lawmakers Have Passed Key Bills to Prevent Future COVID Overreach

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

The overwhelming majority of people are done with COVID restrictions. Just look at the reaction when mask mandates were put to an end on airplanes last month. Cheering. Celebration. Throwing masks away. There’s nothing surprising about this—unless of course you’re a member of the liberal media.

With a desire to tackle COVID overreach head on, our own state lawmakers got to work last year. And through a series of Budget Reconciliation Bills, they took important steps to protect Arizonans from more COVID mandates.

But then in November, some of the protections were thrown out in court on procedural grounds. Thankfully, the Arizona legislature didn’t ignore the problem and got back to work this year. Now, they have passed several significant bills that are officially signed into law to protect against future COVID and government overreach…

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How to Stop An Active Killer

How to Stop An Active Killer

By Charles Heller – Co-Founder, AzCDL |

We have been struck by another tragedy this week in Texas. The cries go up, “Something must be done!” And indeed, it must. If we do not take active measures to stop this killing, the momentum will continue. Copycat actors will duplicate previous shootings, as we have seen since Columbine.

While some factions of the country will attempt to advance a political agenda, others will go about securing the most vulnerable places in our society. What if there was a model we could use to end the carnage? There is.

In several school districts across the country, a program called “F.A.S.T.E.R” exists. You can read about it at fastersaveslives.org. It stands for Faculty and Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response. It is a program, taught by the most highly qualified police officers and trainers to willing and qualified school administrators, staff, and educators, to equip them with the tools and skill set to save lives in the event of an active killer amongst them.

The program teaches only volunteers who are qualified how to neutralize the threat, and then just as importantly, the lifesaving first aid for gunshot trauma and the tourniquets and chest seal patches to get the victims to the ER with a pulse. Did you know that 90% of shooting victims who make it to the ER with a pulse survive?

The “F.A.S.T.E.R” program is taught through the AzCDL Foundation, a 501© 3 non-profit. All a school district has to do is green light the project. AzCDL Foundation will train the staff to do the rest. In addition, the program teaches those responders how to communicate with arriving police, so it doesn’t create new problems, too.

You can learn more about the “F.A.S.T.E.R.” program right here.

Charles Heller is the Co-Founder and Communications Coordinator for the AzCDL.