Resolution on Measures to Restore Federal Fiscal Responsibility in the Event of an Article V Amendments Convention

Summary

Federal spending and debt have exploded in recent decades, with both parties expanding the budget and deficit in both good years and bad. Legislative attempts to constrain federal spending and debt and improve financial transparency and accountability have utterly failed. Our Constitution does not include rules to properly manage federal spending and debt. In the event of an Article V amendments convention being convened, this resolution calls for addressing federal financial management with a series of amendments that would comprehensively ensure proper federal financial management and accountability.

Resolution on Measures to Restore Federal Fiscal Responsibility in the Event of an Article V Amendments Convention

Whereas fiscal mismanagement has become an existential threat to the United States of America; and

Whereas federal taxation has become a tool of social and economic policy, greatly expanding federal power beyond the constitutional design; and

Whereas government deficits are hidden taxation that corrupt the representative form of government; and

Whereas the current trajectory of government debt is unsustainable and dangerous; and

Whereas federal regulatory policy greatly exceeds the proper scope of federal power and is harmful to the economy; and

Whereas the mismanagement of federal entitlement programs has created a massive and growing unfunded liability that, without changes, will result in higher taxes and unfulfilled promises; and

Whereas federal accounting procedures would be unethical and even criminal in the private sector and state and local governments.

Therefore, be it resolved that the delegates to any constitutional amendments convention called under the authority of Article V of the Constitution of the United States should propose a package of amendments to accomplish the following objectives.

AMENDMENT A – Simplify Federal Taxation

Establish that the sole purpose of federal taxation is to finance the legitimate operations of the Federal Government, not to influence taxpayers’ behavior.

Prohibit Congress from inserting inducements, credits, exemptions, exceptions, deductions, incentives, or preferential rates in any tax law.

Specify only income brackets and tax rates if a tax is to be based upon taxpayers’ incomes.

Require every citizen, legal resident alien, and every income producing enterprise to pay federal tax in addition to payroll taxes.

Abolish the entire existing Internal Revenue Code.

AMENDMENT B – Balance Revenues and Expenses

Require that expenditures by the Federal Government shall not exceed that year’s revenues, other than for national emergencies (which should require a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress and be limited to a time certain, not extending beyond that fiscal year). Should actual expenditures exceed revenues, require Congress to reduce expenditures in the following year to create an offsetting surplus and immediately repay the debt. Make it clear that the federal courts must strike down any federal law that will cause federal expenditures to exceed revenues.

Require a two-thirds vote in each chamber of Congress and the agreement of the President to declare national emergencies, which should be limited in time not extending beyond that fiscal year. Capital projects need not be included in expenditures if they are self-liquidating within the useful life of the project by dedicated revenues and sinking funds (including depreciation and amortization).

Grant the President of the United States a line-item veto over appropriations.

Require that federal expenditures provide for repayment of a portion of the outstanding national debt at a rate of at least $500 billion per year, except during a national emergency.

AMENDMENT C – Fairly Manage the Regulatory Process

Require federal regulations to state both their constitutional and statutory authority.

Require that disputes involving regulations must be adjudicated by Article III courts established and regulated by Congress as part of the judicial branch of the federal government.

Eliminate judicial or “quasi-judicial’ proceedings from within federal agencies. Eliminate “Chevron deference” to agencies.

Ensure that Administrative Court Rulings may be appealed to the federal judicial appellate courts to and including the US Supreme Court.

AMENDMENT D – Professionally Manage Federal Trust Funds

Require that federal entitlement programs (Social Security Retirement, Social Security Disability Income, and Medicare) transition into federal trust funds in compliance with federal laws and fiduciary responsibilities applicable to other public and private pension or trust funds.

Ensure that each federal trust fund be separated from other federal taxes upon receipt by the federal government and maintained in a separate account at the Federal Reserve Bank in Washington, D.C.

Separately manage each trust fund through independently appointed boards of trustees.

Allow Congress to specify contribution amounts but not benefit amounts, and to appropriate money into, but not out of, the funds.

Require an annual audit of each fund by an independent outside public accounting firm and the resulting report of the audit and the auditor’s opinion made available on the Internet for citizens to see within 120 days after the close of the conclusion of the fiscal year being audited.

Stipulate that for 25 years from the date this Amendment is ratified Congress will guarantee to Social Security and Medicare recipients that their monthly benefits will be no less than they would have received under the systems in effect immediately prior to the adoption of this Amendment.

AMENDMENT E – Utilize Proper Accounting

Require all federal agencies and expenditures, and the Federal Reserve, to operate according to generally accepted accounting principles promulgated, published, and amended from time to time by an independent Federal Accounting Standards Board to be established and appropriately funded by Congress annually and administered by The Financial Accounting Foundation.

Prohibit Congress from passing any law, or federal departments or agencies from adopting any regulation, that requires or permits any accounting treatment for any purpose that conflicts with generally accepted accounting principles as promulgated by the Federal Accounting Standards Board.

Require an annual audited by an independent accounting firm and publish independently audited financial statements.

Require that any department or agency that receives less than an unqualified opinion as a result of their annual audit shall, on the first occasion have their funding for the ensuing fiscal year reduced by 10%, and on each subsequent occasion by 25%, of the amount expended during the fiscal year for which a less than satisfactory audit was received and maintain the funding reduction of 25% indefinitely until the department or agency receives an unqualified opinion from their independent outside public accounting firm.