Convention of States: Term Limits, Fiscal Restraint and Limitation of Power of the Federal Government

There are a lot of things wrong with our country, and many of them start with those who lead us in Washington D.C.. Oftentimes we hear them talk about the need for term limits, fiscal restraint, and limitation of federal government power, but very rarely do we see them put their money where their mouth is. 

Currently, there are no term limits for how long federal lawmakers can stay in office. They can hold their positions indefinitely if elected over and over again. Some might say, ”If the people keep on electing them, then why is that a problem?” Well, it wouldn’t be if these elected officials were Jesus, but they’re not. I don’t think it would be a surprise to anyone if I said that politicians can be influenced by money, power or greed. Afterall, the sole purpose of lobbyists and special interest groups is to dangle some goodies in front of politicians in order to get them to do what they want. Unfortunately, many of our political leaders take the bait, but term limits would help to solve this. Knowing that their time in office is short would likely force politicians to think more about their constituents instead of keeping the fancy office they have in the Capitol.

Going on spending sprees is another way federal politicians gain and hold power. They use people’s hard earned tax dollars to give handouts and provide funding for a whole host of projects and groups that provide no benefit to the taxpayer. In many cases, as we have seen recently, using our tax dollars is not even enough – they also print new money out of thin air, inflating the currency and destroying our purchasing power. Our federal deficit is increasing exponentially with no end in sight because our federal lawmakers have no intention of controlling themselves as it relates to fiscal discipline. Yet there is a solution to this as well. By instituting spending caps and completely changing the federal income tax structure, the government would be forced to spend the massive chunks they take out of our paychecks on us. No longer would NY federal tax revenue go to pay for some arbitrary project in Milwaukee or other nonsensical federal government programs.

If you haven’t realized by now, our federal government just loves to wield its power, but this was not the intention of our founding fathers. This country was not designed to be like other countries where the people would be ruled from the top down – instead, it was designed to be the opposite. States were to be more autonomous, not needing to be dictated to by federal governing bodies. This is the concept of federalism. Unfortunately, once again, we have lost our way and have allowed the genius of the founding fathers to be undone by power hungry bureaucrats who make their living wielding pens of power and executive orders. This too must change…and it really can.

Now, this is where one might say, “no politician would ever vote themself out of a job, curtail their spending, or limit their own power. You’ll never get them to vote on that.” Without a doubt this is true, however, that’s why our founding fathers added Article V to the U.S. Constitution with what is called the Convention of States. In order to accomplish the goal of bringing term limits, fiscal responsibility, and a limitation of powers to the federal government, amendments would need to be added to the Constitution. Normally, this would be done via a 3/4 vote from the members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, but we know that would never happen. Brilliantly, though, our founders devised a way to give individual representatives from each state the ability to vote on these amendments, thus bypassing the federal congressman and senators who would never even allow the bill to reach the floor of either chamber.

Currently there are 17 states in the country who have agreed to hold the Convention of States. A total of 34 states are needed to bring it to a vote in which all 50 states will participate. 38 states will need to vote in favor of the amendments in order for them to be ratified and adopted into the Constitution. As it stands right now, New York has not yet voted for this, but the resolution to bring it to a vote currently resides in Albany. If elected, I will happily cosponsor bringing it up for a vote.

Full disclosure: Even before deciding to run for office I have been serving on a volunteer basis as a district captain for the Convention of States organization. I have attempted numerous times to meet with the current assemblyman, Steven Englebright, to discuss gaining his support for this measure but have been ignored. Go figure.

It should be noted that if these amendments are adopted they will not have any effect on the way state governments run their political offices. That being said, if I’m going to push for these amendments on federal offices, specifically term limits, I will lead by example and limit myself to serving no longer than four terms (eight years) as a state assemblyman if elected that many times.

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