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Omnibus budget tops $1.1 trillion, states must regain control

Written By | Dec 13, 2014

WASHINGTON, December 13, 2014 — “We’re fighting anybody who is lobbying to tell people to vote for this bill,” said an angry congresswoman Maxine Waters of President Obama and Speaker John Boehner’s paltry $1.1 trillion Omnibus budget.

If you spent one dollar a day, it would take you 32,500 years to get through $1 trillion. If you stacked dollar bills one upon another, one trillion of them would rise 63 miles into the sky. If each of those dollars were seconds, and you went back in time, one trillion seconds would take you back to the Paleolithic to witness our Ice Age ancestors struggling to stay warm and hunting woolly mammoths with obsidian-tipped spears.

The omnibus spending measure passed the House by thirteen votes, averting a dreaded government shutdown. Federal employees, “non-essential personnel,” can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

“We’ve done this in a bipartisan fashion,” said the proud and perpetually tanned Boehner, “and frankly it’s a good bill.”

All one trillion dollars of it.

It funds Obamacare, the president’s partial immigration amnesty and eliminates the Dodd-Frank “push-out rule,” which prevents banks from gambling on derivative investments like toxic mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps. Boehner and company just saddled taxpayers with future bail-outs when these investments go awry.

Financial institutions can get back to partying like it’s 2008!

The insanity of President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and Maxine Waters is surpassed only by the mental deficiencies of their enablers – the American people.

The outcome of two midterm elections has resulted in significant change, right? Wrong.

Many Americans are devolving into a familiar state. “There are some nations in Europe whose inhabitants think of themselves in a sense as colonists… that they belong to a powerful stranger called ‘the government,’” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville in his 1835 book Democracy in America. “They are so divorced from their own interests that even when their own security and that of their children is finally compromised, they do not seek to avert the danger themselves but cross their arms and wait for the nation as a whole to come to their aid… They submit, it is true, to the whims of a clerk, but no sooner is force removed than they are glad to defy the law as a defeated enemy. Thus, one finds them ever wavering between servitude and license… When a nation has reached this point, it must either change its laws and mores or perish, for the well of public virtue has run dry: in such a place one no longer finds citizens but only subjects.”

Our elected representatives have given future generations of “subjects” a staggering national debt, $18 trillion and counting, that exceeds the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

As the Heritage Foundation’s Romina Boccia noted, “Eighty-five percent of the projected growth in spending over the next decade is due to entitlement spending and interest on the debt. Obamacare is the largest driver of increasing federal health care spending, and it alone will add $1.8 trillion in federal spending by 2024… Without further spending reforms, rising debt threatens to impede growth, harm Americans’ economic opportunities, and even threaten the nation’s security.”

The very naive among us thought last November’s electoral shellacking of Democrats meant big changes under the direction of big “R” politicians. Thursday’s vote in the Republican-controlled House should disabuse the gullible of that wrong-headed notion.

“It is folly to believe that Congress and the president, on their own, will make the necessary and difficult decisions to address the impending financial debacle,” wrote attorney, conservative talk radio host and author Mark Levin in his book The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic. “After all, they and their predecessors engineered the approaching tsunami. As the situation becomes dire, the federal government’s actions will grow more oppressive.”

The solution to America’s fiscal and political decline, say Levin and others, is written in the U.S. Constitution. Article V to be exact:

On the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States.

It is a safeguard for the “several States” against an out-of-control national government, a precaution never invoked since the Constitution’s ratification in 1787. Thirty-four state legislatures, the size of their populations notwithstanding, have it in their power to rein in the federal government – Congress, the executive and the courts – by reasserting state control over Washington.

Crafting Constitutional amendments that more clearly define and narrow federal powers expanded by activist courts and unilateral declarations by lawless chief executives will accomplish what Washington never will.

“Rather than calling a convention for a specific amendment,” advises Citizens for Self-Governance, an Article V advocacy group, “a convention of states needs to be called to ensure that we are able to debate and impose a complete package of restraints on the misuse of power by all branches of the federal government.”

The budget agreement hammered out last Thursday night, as well as those of the past and the ones sure to follow, prove that no matter which political party holds sway in Washington, government power grows unabated – as does its recklessness. Or, as Gov. Sarah Palin put it, “The Republican leadership… just flipped American voters the bird by sidelining the new Congress we just elected.”

Palin gives the next Congress far too much credit. All indications are that the new Republican majority will vote to keep the same, tired, double-dealing Republican leadership. You know, the same guys that “just flipped… voters the bird.”

It may take a more profound crisis than that which occurred in 2008 to shake some sense into the American people.

Obama’s “hope and change” is hardly revolutionary. It’s the logical conclusion of allowing Washington to seize too much of our individual sovereignty. Taking it back won’t happen through national elections, but those within the “several States.”

“There are four thousand legislative districts on the state level that are really crucial to us,” said Michael Farris, a senior fellow at the Convention of States in a video posted on the organization’s website. “We want to have grassroots organizations in four thousand legislative districts across the country. These are state house legislative districts… the state legislature is what matters.”

“Washington is broken,” is an often-heard phrase. Washington, it should be said, has broken faith with the American people by breaking free of the restraints placed upon it by the U.S. Constitution.

“Sometimes what you need is not a change of personnel, you need a change of structure,” said Farris. “The Founders understood the importance of structure and they gave the power to the states to create a new set of rules when the federal government overstepped its boundaries – we could recalibrate the rules to take power away from Washington, D.C. and give it back to the people and to the states.”

Whether America’s “well of public virtue has run dry,” as de Tocqueville once warned; a nation where one “no longer finds citizens but only subjects,” remains an open question.

An Article V convention of states may decide whether Americans still have it in them to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

Steven M. Lopez

Originally from Los Angeles, Steven M. Lopez has been in the news business for more than thirty years. He made his way around the country: Arizona, the Bay Area and now resides in South Florida.