(The first three amendments are the “trifecta”: limiting spending, limiting taxation, and limiting regulation.)
#1: The Balanced Budget Amendment
Text of the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) of 2011, proposed in Congress:
JOINT RESOLUTION Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to balancing the budget. Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States:
SECTION 1. Total outlays for any fiscal year shall not exceed total receipts for that fiscal year, unless two -thirds of the duly chosen and sworn Members of each House of Congress shall provide by law for a specific excess of outlays over receipts by a roll call vote.
SECTION2. Total outlays for any fiscal year shall not exceed 18 percent of the gross domestic product of the United States for the calendar year ending before the beginning of such fiscal year, unless two-thirds of the duly chosen and sworn Members of each House of Congress shall provide by law for a specific amount in excess of such 18 percent by a roll call vote.
SECTION3. Prior to each fiscal year, the President shall transmit to the Congress a proposed budget for the United States Government for that fiscal year in which—
(1) total outlays do not exceed total receipts;
(2) total outlays do not exceed 18 percent of the gross domestic product of the United States for the calendar year ending before the beginning of such fiscal year.
SECTION 4. Any bill that imposes a new tax or increases the statutory rate of any tax or the aggregate amount of revenue may pass only by a two-thirds majority of the duly chosen and sworn Members of each House of Congress by a roll call vote. For the purpose of determining any increase in revenue under this section, there shall be excluded any increase resulting from the lowering of the statutory rate of any tax.
SECTION5. The limit on the debt of the United States shall not be increased, unless three-fifths of the duly chosen and sworn Members of each House of Congress shall provide for such an increase by a roll call vote.
SECTION6. The Congress may waive the provisions of sections 1, 2, 3, and 5 of this article for any fiscal year in which a declaration of war against a nation-state is ineffect and in which a majority of the duly chosen and sworn Members of each House of Congress shall provide for a specific excess by a roll call vote.1
SECTION7. The Congress may waive the provisions of sections 1, 2, 3, and 5 of this article in any fiscal year in which the United States is engaged in a military conflict that causes an imminent and serious military threat to national security and is so declared by three-fifths of the duly chosen and sworn Members of each House of Congress by a roll call vote. Such suspension must identify and be limited to the specific excess of outlays for that fiscal year made necessary by the identified military conflict.
SECTION8. No court of the United States or of any State shall order any increase in revenue to enforce this article.
SECTION9. Total receipts shall include all receipts of the United States Government except those derived from borrowing. Total outlays shall include all outlays of the United States Government except those for repayment of debt principal.
SECTION10. The Congress shall have power to enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation, which may rely on estimates of outlays, receipts, and gross domestic product.
SECTION11. This article shall take effect beginning with the fifth fiscal year beginning after its ratification.
(click link to pdf)
I would like to add the following to this Amendment:
SECTION12- All budgets and future projections shall be based on actual revenues and expenditures in dollar amounts.
(No ”pipe dream” numbers, only real ones.)
SECTION13- Should the Congress fail to pass a budget for the entire next fiscal year by the last day of the current fiscal year:
- If real GDP growth for the previous year is positive, the next year shall be funded at the exact dollar amount of the previous year’s budget, and all programs and departments shall receive the exact dollar amount of funding as the previous year, and any unspent funds used to pay the debts.
- If real GDP growth for the previous year is negative, the next year shall be funded at the exact dollar amount of the previous year’s budget minus the percentage loss in GDP, and all programs and departments shall receive the exact dollar amount of funding as the previous year minus the percentage loss in GDP, and any unspent funds used to pay the debts.
(This would prevent a government shutdown, plus it would reduce the size of the budget relative to GDP because the economy would keep growing while the budget stays at the same dollar amount.)
SECTION 14- The Congress must provide the funds from the US Treasury to pay for any mandates it should place on the States.
(Congress can’t continue its big government programs by forcing States to do the job.)
SECTION 15- No Tax shall be retroactive
(In addition to being unfair, this reduces investment because people have to keep money on hand to deal with the sword of additional taxes hanging over their heads.)
Even though I think the Fair Tax (see below) would vastly increase liberty, the BBA would prevent what we have from being lost. Think of it this way: the lifeblood of the nation is currently bleeding out faster than it can be replaced. The Fair Tax would greatly increase the volume of blood, but the massive debt we have taken on is like a slashed artery. We are going to bleed out and the patient will die (i.e. the US government will collapse) and the result will be tens of millions of people out of work, starvation, oldsters dying from not getting social security and medical care, those workers remaining being taxed at 80% (why bother at that rate?), not being able to pay for a military (opening us up to all sorts of people who want to hurt us), funding the Chinese People’s Liberation Army through our interest payments, and the eventual default on debt and devaluing of the dollar, which will make your savings, retirement, and 401k accounts worthless. That’s a massive loss of liberty, so this is important to get passed.
#2: The Fair Tax
This would be the most massive return of power from government to the people ever. It eliminates (1) the estate tax, (2) FICA taxes, (3) the corporate income tax, which at present, is the most expensive in the industrialized world, regressive, and a Godzilla-sized drag on the economy which greatly increases expenses on companies doing business here and causes them to go and stay overseas – which loses jobs, and (4) the personal income tax, which is the biggest drag on the economy and has tens of thousands of pages that no one understands completely, but that we all have to spend a lot of time working on our returns for. The cost to comply with this Byzantine system is $409 billion for all Americans. Another way to put it: getting rid of the current system and the IRS would allow that $409 BILLION to go right into the economy instead of being wasted on tax compliance. That’s a colossal stimulus. The current tax system gives special tax breaks to those who have gamed the system with their lobbyists to reward people for doing all sorts of things that are none of any government’s business, like buying electric cars. The Fair Tax replaces these taxes with a sales tax on retail goods that also sends everyone a monthly check for taxes paid under the poverty level every month, so it is a progressive tax. It would allow money offshore (which is many $trillions) to come back without being taxed so it could be invested in creating new businesses and jobs. (Did you support President Obama’s stimulus? Think it wasn’t enough? What would happen if trillions came back onshore? Or do you have a problem with it being PRIVATE capital?) The US would become THE haven for capital in the world. You would have to hide under a rock to not have a (good paying) job, and then get to spend or not spend it on what you want. You could avoid taxes when you are broke, because you could just choose not to buy anything over necessities and thus pay no tax. Is this a GREAT idea, or is this a GREAT idea?
#3: Clarification of the Commerce Clause
In Article I, Section 8, the line “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes” shall be clarified thus:
Each State shall have the sole Power to create laws regulating the economic activity solely within its borders.
(The “interstate commerce” cases I have seen [which are admittedly few, since I’m not a lawyer] don’t involve a State government. The wording of this would cause the States to jealously guard their turf, which would throw roadblocks in front of Federal usurpation, such as Wickard vs Filburn. More info on this absurd ruling which gutted intrastate commerce and empowered the federal government here, here, and here.)
Only when transport or trade crosses over the border of one state into another shall Congress have Power to set the rules therefor. This Power shall be solely to remove obstructions to trade erected by one State against another and shall not include the Power to prohibit any interstate transport or trade. Congress shall act only in response to the complaint of one involved state.
(“Only when…” doesn’t leave much room for Judicial interpretation.)
No government shall mandate (directly, indirectly, or effectively) the production, transport, barter, sale, or purchase of any good or service, nor shall it dictate prices, set quotas, nor demand certain classes of goods or services be produced, but may only create standardized rules for those times when such acts occur, which it must show to be absolutely necessary, reasonable, and have a positive cost-benefit ratio, or it shall not be implemented, and must be reviewed every ten years, and if found to still be necessary, may be reauthorized, otherwise it shall expire.
(Neither RomneyCare nor ObamaCare would be legal under this clause, because “no government” [fed, state, local] can force you to buy a product, whether health insurance, cars, potato chips, etc. It also outlaws price controls, which never work and ALWAYS result in shortages and high prices. Government doesn’t know better than the market what style [say, small cars] should be produced. I actually believe this is the most important amendment to get passed, because NO ONE has the right to tell you what to do with your life or your body, through forcing you into some healthcare scheme, etc. ObamaCare would cause some people to be able to get care while others don’t, in effect giving them power over life and death for you and members of your family, which means those who are connected or who kiss a bureaucrat’s ass live, and those not in that situation don’t. This is OUTRAGEOUS…this alone is worth fighting a Revolution over! Sheep get free health care, too. Humans should be free to figure it out for themselves. The only reason I have ranked it third is because there are still suits pending to get this evil law overturned. Barring that, Congress can still repeal it.)
Congress shall treat foreign trade exactly the same as interstate, with the following four exceptions:
1. A retaliatory tariff shall be imposed on each country’s imports, equal to their tariff on exports from the United States, and restrictions equal to that nation’s restrictions of U.S. goods;
2. Subsidized imports shall be fined for the amount of their subsidy, which shall be given to consumers as a rebate when they buy goods from a competitor;
(Tariffs just hurt the consumer by making all products more expensive. Doing it this way punishes the subsidizer while promoting the domestic company and making goods cheaper for consumers. Doing it the normal way, as they are talking about in Congress for Chinese imports, would make the goods I buy at Wal-Mart more expensive for ME and for millions of other people. How does that help all of us? Congressional geniuses come up with this, and we have to pay for it? No, thanks.)
3. For those nations that the United States is not allied with, or has extremely good relations with, as determined by the President or Congress, a ban on exports which have Military, or dual Military and Civilian use, shall be imposed;
(Dual use goods, such as supercomputers, which can be used for atomic bomb modeling as well as weather, couldn’t be sold to the P.R. of China.)
4. For those nations that either the President or Congress should determine to be hostile, a complete embargo.
(There are currently a lot of protectionist tariffs, quotas, and restrictions, which I completely prohibit here, but if the President or Congress should determine a nation is hostile [like Iran], there is no need to pussyfoot around it: just cut off ALL trade.)
Congress shall create no governmental or quasi-governmental entity to directly promote or facilitate commerce, shall create legislation to dissolve such existing entities after a period of time, and shall not guarantee any debt of such an entity undertaken after the adoption of this amendment.
(This wouldn’t prevent the backing of current Fannie/Freddie debt, but would prevent the creation of a new Fannie or Freddie, or the backing of its debt.)
Four years after their implementation, regulations from any government that it cannot prove by a clear preponderance of the evidence to be effective in their stated purpose shall expire.
(Businesses shouldn’t be burdened with a buildup of regs. Consumers shouldn’t be burdened by ineffective regs.)
No government shall create new regulations if quarterly GDP growth is negative, or less than half of its 10 year quarterly moving average.
(New regs just make a weak economy weaker by adding new burdens to commerce.)
The President shall have the privilege of unilaterally striking two regulations per regulatory agency per year.
The Congress shall create a board which shall review all federal regulations from all federal regulatory agencies and have the Power to strike those regulations that are unneeded or conterproductive.
- Regulatory Agencies, being a delegation of Congress, may have that delegation recalled, suspended, or abolished by Congress at any time, effective immediately. Congress shall have plenary power to prevent, alter, or abolish any regulation at any time by a majority vote of both houses.
- Congress must provide an intelligible principle and outline the general goals the Department is to pursue, and the Department may then make reasonable (non-arbitrary or capricious) rules for their attainment, based on specific science or data. Congress may not allow too wide a latitude in creating rules. Agencies must create a formal process for the promulgation of rules and may never make ad hoc decisions, and must abide by their own rules and regulations.
- Agencies must always perform a cost-benefit analysis of all regulations and consider them in their decisions. An unfavorable cost-benefit shall prevent the regulation from being implemented.
The Congress shall reorganize regulatory agencies in the following manner:
- The agency shall have a Head, and 15 members of a rulemaking board. The board shall create rule proposals, which must go through a suitability process, and shall approve rules with a three-fifths vote, which must then be approved by the Agency Head, who shall have the power to strike those rules he disagrees with. The members of the Board shall have the power to reinstate stricken rules with a two-thirds vote. Internal Administrative Law Judges shall have the Power to invalidate any regulation and may not be removed from their position except by impeachment and removal for bad conduct by an authority outside the agency for which they adjudicate in a manner prescribed by the Congress.
- The Department Head shall be nominated by the President in the same manner as other executive Officers, and shall serve at his pleasure.
- Three Board members shall be chosen every year to serve a non-consecutive five-year term and be replaced after their term of service ends, or resignation, or Impeachment bu the House and expulsion by a two-thirds vote of the Senate for incapacity, neglect of duty, malfeasance, or other good cause as Congress shall determine. Each Board member shall have at least two years of experience working in the industry or subject being regulated. They shall be chosen in the following manner: the names of each U.S. Representative of the majority Party (or coalition) shall be put in a lottery, and a winner chosen. The same shall be done for U.S. Representatives not of the majority Party (or coalition), and a winner chosen. Each winning Representative shall nominate three persons, and the winner of a roll of a die shall become a Member of the Board. Representatives may not nominate themselves, and no person shall simultaneously serve as a member of the Board and another elected or appointed position. Members of the Board shall be subject to the same rules as, and treated in the same manner as, members of the House of Representatives, but paid from the Budget of the Department being regulated at twice the median national income (per the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
(I figure it this way: Regulatory Board members are rulemakers, like legislators, so why not treat them that way? Since they are delegated their powers by Congress, why not have Congress pick the people? To make it decisive, and so the majority can’t trample the minority, why not randomly choose from the nominees? It struck me as somehow wrong that the Board members are currently executives, which gives the President a huge amount of pull on the promulgation of regulations through appointments, as well as their enforcement. This way, they are legislators of a sort, and the Agency Head serves as the executive, and they can check each other’s power the same way the President and Congress check each other. It also prevents Presidents with sweeping agendas from kicking over the applecart [and all would-be totalitarians have sweeping agendas.]
Why 15 members? It allows for 3/5 and 2/3 votes, and doesn’t allow any one member to be too important. Being a non-consecutive term also prevents any member from getting too powerful. It allows for continuity between Presidential elections, which prevents the abrupt changes that interfere with business planning. The manner of choosing members doesn’t allow either political party to completely dominate the process, and avoids endless fights over who gets the position because he is selected at random. Being chosen from 6 candidates means it is hard for any faction to ‘rig’, and the Congressman can ‘pay back’ his supporters with a nomination, and shrug his shoulders when they don’t get the job- “I tried.” )
#4: Source of Authority, No Omnibus Bills, Line-item Veto
Article I, Section 7, shall be clarified or changed thus:
Congress must specify the exact source of authority under the United States Constitution that empowers it to enact a law, and for all other purposes.
(This clarifies the “Source of Authority” that Congress is acting under when proposing a Bill [Legitimate Powers in Article 1, Section 8, or other section of the Constitution]. If Congress cannot cite its Power, it does not have that power, and may not make a law regarding it. Such a law would also not be “proper” under the “necessary and proper” clause.)
Every Bill, Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary shall relate to but one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title. Should any of the aforementioned be presented to the President with multiple subjects, the President shall have ten additional days to divide it into multiple Bills, Orders, Resolutions, or Votes each having one subject.
(While the Consitution doesn’t give the President a line-item veto, I also can’t believe that the Framers itended to give Congress the ability to write bills with an unlimited number of subjects included, which completely frustrates a Presidential Veto. If I were President, I would take this to the Supreme Court…this is just waiting to be knocked out of the park. The only problem is that there is over a hundred years of precedent of Congress doing this. Of course, there was a lot of precedent backing up the “Dred Scott” case, and that was also incorrect. This amendment would take it out of the hands of the Court and just ensure One Subject for Each Bill, and not have bills with 2000+ pages on every subject under the sun.)
The President may delete any item or reduce any appropriation in a bill. He shall include his reasons for any changes and return the signed bill to the House in which the bill originated. The Bill shall then be handled in the same manner as for other bills disapproved by the President, and if not passed in its original form by a two-thirds vote of both Houses, the President’s modifications shall stand.
Congress, by a simple majority vote of both houses, shall have plenary Power to repeal any law or regulation.
(The Line-item Veto would let the President to get into the “nitty gritty” of a Bill and eliminate those sections he disagrees with [and reduce lines of appropriations.])
#5: No Public Sector Unions
No labor union shall represent an employee of the Federal Government.
(Public Sector Unions were first allowed after President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10988 in 1962. Government employees are well protected against workplace abuse without unions, but the main problem is that there is no one looking out for the taxpayer’s money (i.e. there is no one acting as company management…and politicians actually buy their vote with promises of higher pay, and we the taxpayers foot the bill). They now average $120,000 in total compensation while equivalent private sector employees average $60,000. So they get all the job security of working for a government, yet get paid by people poorer than them, and a government can’t go out of business, and you don’t have the choice of paying taxes, so they can hang a millstone around our necks, and we have to pay it. Until now, of course, because we can’t afford it. The current situation is extremely unfair. They have been doing this for 50 years, and every year government payroll expenses have gotten bigger at a rate far exceeding inflation. Public Sector Unions, even today, are actively obstructing reducing the size of our gargonda sized government and are actually pushing for higher taxes and even bigger government, making them a threat to the nation’s finances, and they are extremely powerful, making them hard to resist…so much so that they are a threat to the democratic process. Public-sector labor unions are godawful expensive and should be strictly private sector, so those of us not of the public sector can keep our kids out of the poorhouse. As a calculation, there are 2 million civilian federal employees excluding the post office, which, at being overpaid by $60,000 per head, comes to $120 billion wasted. Yes, there are many factors that work into this, but assuming the rough math is roughly true, this is a huge loss of taxpayer dollars.
[Source: Cato Institute]
Approximately 19 million people also work for the State and Local Governments. I don’t know what they are paid. Do some rough math, and you will gasp.
#6: Clarifications of the 14th Amendment
No Person born in the United States shall be a citizen of the United States by right of birth unless at least one parent was a citizen of the United States at the time of birth.
(This shouldn’t even be needed, because the 14th Amendment says that a person born in the U.S. has to be “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” i.e. owes loyalty to that jurisdiction (the U.S.), which a foreigner doesn’t.
“Amendment 14, Section 1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
So it is only by a misreading/misunderstanding of this Section that babies born to aliens [not just illegal ones] become citizens.
Historically, the 14th Amendment clarified that slaves who were legally in the country “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” as property were, after emancipation, legally in the country as citizens. A foreigner who breaks into our country [trespasses] who then has a baby, is NOT legally in the country, and should not gain something legally from an illegal act, any more than a person who breaks into your house and has a baby there can claim that she now owns half your house.)
Only citizens shall vote in elections, and only after providing proof of eligibility with a voter registration document and proving identity with the presentment of a government-issued photo identification to an election official.
(Citizens have loyalty to the place they live and are not just passing through. They suffer the consequences of their votes. A person not meeting these and other criteria for citizens shouldn’t be making any decions for them through their votes.)
The Bill of Rights and all other amendments recognizing other Rights shall apply to the State, Local, and all other governments the same as to the Federal.
(This is recognized in the “incorporation doctrine” of the courts, but it is explicitly stated here.)
No individual or organization shall receive unequal protection of the laws by receiving a privilege or waiver that others do not receive or are not eligible for (or their eligibility is so inconvenient as to effectively make it impossible), nor shall one person or organization receive money from the government through a method that is not available to everyone else.
(Waivers for ObamaCare should be illegal, because some people/companies are able to get them, while others are not. Just this should invalidate the law. The fact that they are even needed should scream that this is not a “just” law. It also allows the government to play favorites, because “you don’t have a right to a waiver.” I also see subsidies as the government playing favorites, where some bureaucrat/politician’s buddies can get paid your and my tax money – money that we worked hard for, but we can’t enjoy the same thing, which is an unequal application of the law. Say, Joe has a coffeshop, and Jane has a coffeeshop. Why is it that Joe can get a payoff…err…subsidy, part of which his competitor, Jane, has to pay for, but Jane can’t? This is just wrong, and I daresay, illegal, under not just the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment, but the general welfare clause, too, because this promotes specific welfare, not general…the people don’t generally benefit from this, only specific people do.)
No government shall make any unwarranted distinction between people.
(Why is not okay to negatively discriminate against a race or group, but it IS okay to positively discriminate through affirmative action? Isn’t giving 10 points to someone because of race/ethnicity/gender/etc the same as taking 10 points away from persons who don’t fit that criterion? This is unequal application of the law and illegal.)
No government may effectively strip a person of a guaranteed right or immunity indirectly, by compelling the waiver or abridgement of one Constitutional right as a condition of a privilege which that government threatens otherwise to withhold.
(Many government subsidized programs, like university admissions, requires people to waive some rights, like privacy, in order to enjoy the privilege of school, which “you don’t have a right to. You shouldn’t have to give up any rights.)
No government may compel the acceptance of unreasonable conditions to exercise a privilege.
All Persons must receive equal treatment for privileges that apply to them the same as Rights.
A privilege may not be revoked without a stated legal reason and an impartial hearing to prove the fact of its occurrence, correct application, and its relevance, and for the person affected to plead his case and to have a reasonable chance of retaining the privilege.
(Since you don’t have a “right” to privileges, they can yank them from you for frivolous reasons. They should need a good reason, and allow you to defend yourself.)
#7: Loser Pays
The non-prevailing side in any suit at law must pay all the legal and other expenses of the prevailing side, within a reasonable period of time.
(“Loser Pays” prevents frivolous lawsuits. It also prevents denial of your right to restitution to the expenses you incur as a result of the court action. As it stands, you can be screwed out of your money in defending against a specious suit (or have your settlement eaten into by having to pay the legal expenses). As it stands, there is little disincentive to bring a specious suit using a trial lawyer who works on contingency, and this would rectify that: the plaintiff will be liable for expenses, and considering many of them are poor people looking for a jackpot, they won’t have it, and the lawyer might have to act as some sort of guarantor, which will ensure they take only the most meritorious cases. Many other countries take “loser pays” for granted. It would also make barratry, maintenance, or outright champerty far less rewarding and thus less likely to be engaged in. I have read about some grumbling by trial lawyers that this would discourage some meritorious cases for lack of funds, but I think this is overblown for the following reasons:
1. Many lawyers already do a lot of pro-bono work
2. There are already many legal charites and foundations
3. Legal insurance for this (akin to malpractice insurance for doctors) would likely spring up to cover costs
The cost to society of these lawsuits is arguably over a trillion dollars per year. Many have merit, and many don’t. Many can be handled by mediation or arbitration, but those avenues don’t produce big legal bills for attorneys. This amendment would put some controls on suits and make simple justice [but not big awards] more likely and less expensive.)
#8: Election of the Comptroller, Attorney General, and Inspector General
 The Comptroller of Public Accounts, Attorney-General, and Inspector General shall be elected in like manner to the President.
(None of these Officers can really do his job when he is an at-will employee of the President. Iran/Contra and Lewinskygate come to mind for the AG. The IG needs to be able to yank agencies back into behaving according to their charter and uncover fraud, waste, and abuse. Many States have Comptrollers, who are more accountable and independent than a Secretary of the Treasury and able to force fiscal accountability on State Legislatures and Governors, so why not the Federal Government? The current Comptroller at the Treasury Department is a mere shadow of the State Comptrollers. I modeled this on the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.)
 The chief Power for all revenue collections and disbursements shall be vested in a Comptroller of Public Accounts, who shall only be eligible to his Office if he has attained the Age of thirty-five Years, been fourteen Years a Citizen of the United States, and been a senior-Level Accountant for at least one year.
 The chief Legal Power shall be vested in an Attorney General, who shall only be eligible to his Office if he has attained the Age of thirty-five Years, been fourteen Years a Citizen of the United States, and been a senior-Level Attorney for at least one year.
 The chief Integrity Power shall be vested in an Inspector General, who shall only be eligible to his Office if he has attained the Age of thirty-five Years, been fourteen Years a Citizen of the United States, and been a senior-Level Investigator for at least one year. He shall ensure Departments and Agencies are performing their duties faithfully, and detect and punish fraud, waste, and abuse.
 The Attorney General, Comptroller, and Inspector General shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate and the approval of a majority of their members voting, shall appoint the officers of their own Departments. They may remove officers of their Departments for cause with the approval of a majority of the Senate.
 The terms of the Attorney General and Comptroller shall end at noon on the 20th day of January.
 No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law for legitimate Federal government functions in Article I Section 8;
 At the start of the Congressional session, the Comptroller of Public Accounts shall certify to the Congress the amount of available cash on hand in the Treasury and anticipated revenues for the next year. The Congress is not permitted to appropriate any funds in excess of the Comptroller’s certified amounts (except in time of declared war with the approval of both Houses and the President, with the excesses spent directly on the military or in support thereof), and any Budget approved by the Congress must then get the approval of the Comptroller, who must reject and return to the Congress any Budget in violation of this requirement.
 When the Comptroller refuses a disbursement, Congress may insist that he pay it by showing him the legal authority for it, and the Comptroller is then obliged to research the explanation and reconsider. Should the Comptroller find evidence for the explanation given by Congress, he shall pay it, and if not, he shall again reject the expenditure. If within 10 days afterwards a simple majority of both Houses of the Congress and the President should then approve the expenditure, the Comptroller is obligated to pay it.
 Congress shall appropriate no money from the Treasury after the adoption of this amendment except by a vote of three-fifths of both Houses, taken by yeas and nays, unless one of the following three conditions should apply, in which cases only a simple majority of both Houses shall be necessary: (1) it is asked for by the Heads of Departments and submitted to Congress, with a clear breakdown and justification for amounts; (2) it is used to pay its own expenses; (3) it is used for the payment of contracts, salaries, expenses, and other claims against the United States, the validity of which shall have been certified after an investigation by the Comptroller.
 The following shall be paid by the Comptroller first, automatically, from revenues, at the previous year’s levels, which Congress may not stop: (1) valid Debts (2) the Armed Forces (3) Intelligence services (4) Federal Law Enforcement. Amounts exceeding the previous year’s dollar amounts must be approved by Congress.
 If, at the end of the fiscal year (not during declared war) the Federal deficit has exceeded 10% of Gross Domestic Product, or outstanding debt instruments exceed 100% of GDP, the Comptroller must declare a state of financial emergency (and shall be in violation of his oath and removed within 30 days of the end of the fiscal year if he does not). The President and Congress shall clear all other business to focus solely on the crisis, and have 90 days to reduce federal spending, which shall include the merging or reduction of still needed Departments and elimination of the least needed Departments up to and including the reorganization of all civilian departments (except security services and law enforcement) of the Federal government. All contracts shall be terminated and be renegotiated. If a plan is not approved by a majority of both Houses of Congress and the President during that time, new elections shall be held in 120 days for all Congresspersons and the Presidency, and the Comptroller shall have sole authority to implement his own plan.
#9: Eminent Domain
Private property shall not be taken for public use, without compensation at the market rate, nor be taken by any government to be transferred to another private person, company or industry, nor be taken in order to aid any government in increasing the amount of taxes or other revenue to be collected, but only to serve the interests of the People;
(Clarification of eminent domain and the right to your home, necessary because of the incoherent Supreme Court decision “Kelo vs. New London.” Basically a clarification of the 5th Amendment.)
#10: Prevention of Frustration of Democratic Process
Article I, Section 5, shall be changed or clarified thus:
Any Member of Congress who should deliberately absent himself from his House shall be counted as present for quorum to do business and for votes.
(Legislators who run away [like in Wisconsin or Texas] frustrate the democratic process. This would prevent them from doing that at the federal level. If they want to derelict their duty, all they will accomplish is to screw their constituents under this amendment.)
#11: Additions to Rules for Congresspersons and Officers of the US
Congresspersons and Officers of the United States shall be immediately removed from their position upon conviction of any felony.
(Being proven crooked in a court of law should be the final straw.)
The total compensation of Representatives shall be three times the national median income per the Bureau of Labor Staistics, Senators shall be five times, The President ten times, The Vice President six times, Judges of the supreme Court eight times, and all other officers shall be defined by the Congress as a multiple of median income.
(When the economy improves, they do better in their pay. When it doesn’t, they share the pain. They can’t vote themselves raises, either.)
No Member of Congress shall ever receive a pension.
(No pension makes them less likely to be career politicians.)
Each Representative and Senator shall, after the adoption of this amendment, be limited to two terms, but each State shall be free to change this provision for itself.
(This guarantees that they won’t be career Legislators, but they could move to other political positions. I actually prefer the method stated in the anti-federalist papers: that an elected official can’t serve consecutive terms, but must return to private life for a term so he can become reacquainted with life in the private sector. It also means that there would never be an incumbent, so both parties would be a challenger.)
The Congress, and all its members, shall be subject to exactly the same legislation, penalties, privileges, and immunities as all other citizens. No member shall receive a special perquisite or exemption.
(Does it gall you that they have platinum health plans on our nickel? Or that they exempt themselves from laws that apply to rest of us oxen? This helps restore them a tiny bit to being our servants.)
#12: Runoff Election for the Presidency
Article 2, Section 1, shall be changed thus:
If no candidate for the Presidency receives more than 50% of the popular vote, a run off election of the two candidates receiving the highest number of electoral votes shall be held the first Tuesday in December.
(This would have prevented Clinton from being elected in 1992, and probably Bush in 2000. There can’t be rancor because it is fair.)
#13: Codification of the Right of Self-Defense
Each Person shall have Immunity from criminal prosecution, civil suit, or any other sanction, for defending his person or property against an actual or intended criminal act, regardless of whether deadly force was employed or not.
(This is basically an addition to the 2nd amendment. I think self defense is basic, and the only reason this isn’t number one is because it seems pretty well protected at the moment. However, many areas of the world [like England] and some liberal States poo-poo this idea, and this amendment would be prophylactic in ensuring your right before they can deny it to you. Think it’s impossible? The English thought this, too…and now their courts routinely prosecute people who defend themselves…not the criminal!)
And finally, Congress ought to pass a law (amendment not necessary) providing for the bankruptcy of State governments
–which it appears to have the Power for under Article I, Section 8: “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States”; This would allow the captive and long suffering citizens of profligate-spending States to be rescued.
Relevant Text of the U.S. Constitution
Article V Convention
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, 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, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
Amendments to the Constitution
PROPOSED BY CONGRESS, AND RATIFIED BY THE LEGISLATURES OF THE SEVERAL STATES, PURSUANT TO THE FIFTH ARTICLE OF THE ORIGINAL CONSTITUTION
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.
The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice- President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;–The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;–The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. (See Note 14)–The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,(See Note 15) and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
Section. 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Section. 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
Section. 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
Section. 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.
Section. 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.
Section. 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.
Section. 6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three- fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.
Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
Section 2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three- fourths of the several states within seven years from the date of its submission to the states by the Congress.
Section 1. The District constituting the seat of government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct:
A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a state, but in no event more than the least populous state; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the states, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a state; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.