Third Party & Independents Archives

Illinois Citizens Deserve Corrupt Government

The current Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich, recently charged with crimes by the federal government, just follows in the footsteps of previous convicted Illinois governors and a huge number of other Illinois officials convicted of crimes. What is remarkable is that in the 2008 election Illinois voters had the opportunity to recognize that they needed to use their constitutional convention opportunity to reform state government. They voted not to use it.

Which raises the question: How stupid or brainwashed are most Illinois citizens?

Here is the story behind the headlines. According to the Illinois state constitution, voters must be given the opportunity every twenty years to vote for or against having a state constitutional convention that can be used to amend the constitution or rewrite it altogether. Considering an incredibly long history of public corruption you would think that Illinois voters would be inclined to give serious thought to how they could improve their government by means of a state constitutional convention. Many prominent people and groups worked hard to educate citizens why they should vote in favor of a constitutional convention.

In November, two-thirds voted against having a convention. Twenty years earlier they also voted against one. But even with twenty more years of public corruption, Illinois citizens could not be convinced to pursue a path to political reform free from the chains of their corrupt state government. The last convention was in 1970.

Those advocating passage of the convention measure included: Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn, the Chicago Tribune, the Springfield State Journal Register, state representatives Mike Boland and Jack Franks, former state treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, political journalists Rich Miller and Scott Reeder, and several groups with websites.

Back in January 2008 this is what John Bambenek, who wrote a book supporting the convention, had the good sense to say: “Gov. Rod Blagojevich has done something remarkable in Illinois. He has managed to unite people across the political spectrum to create consensus that he absolutely stinks as a governor. Illinois deserves better than Rod Blagojevich. Because of his low approval in both parties and the budget fiasco of last year, legislators (even those in his own party) are talking about amending the constitution to allow recall votes of sitting politicians. The timing for such talk is opportune because on the November ballot this year there will be a question on whether to have a constitutional convention for Illinois to rewrite or amend the state constitution.” Like other pro-convention advocates, Bambenek wanted to return power to Illinois citizens. Most of them did not listen.

A key argument in favor of convention was that the cost of a no-frills convention (around $23 million) would surely be repaid by the savings to taxpayers of constitutional amendments that could get the state out of the lobbyist-run budget crisis it was in. Not to mention the possibility of an amendment that could make it easier to get rid of corrupt governors and other officials by, for example, recall by citizens. How sensible, considering that even before the charges against the current governor three previous Illinois governors had been convicted of crimes.

Otto Kerner (D) governor 1961-1968 was convicted on 17 counts of bribery, conspiracy, perjury, and related charges. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison and fined $50,000. Daniel Walker (D) governor 1973-1977 was convicted of improprieties related to a savings and loan association. He reportedly received over a million dollars in fraudulent loans for his business and repairs on his yacht. He pleaded out to three felonies and was freed after 17 months in prison because he was supposedly frail and chronically ill, but is still living 20 years later and living near the ocean in Mexico. And George Ryan (R) governor 1999-2003 was convicted on 20 federal counts that included racketeering, bribery, and extortion

And consider this amazing statistic: From 1995 to 2004, 469 politicians from the federal district of Northern Illinois were found guilty of corruption.

And then there was the famous case of Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D) who was indicted in 1994 on 17 felony charges, including the embezzlement of $695,000 in taxpayer and campaign funds. The longtime powerful House ways and means committee chairman plea-bargained his way down to just two counts of mail fraud and served only 17 months in a minimum-security prison.

So what did the opponents to the convention use to sway voters? And why did they oppose a convention? They lied a whole lot and tried to instill fear, and succeeded. But what they feared was losing political power that they had used for so long to corrupt state government. Opponents included most of the state's influential lobbying organizations: American Insurance Association, Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, Chicago Urban League, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Citizen Action/Illinois, Illinois Association of Convenience Stores, Illinois Association of School Administrators, Illinois Business Round Table, Illinois Civil Justice League, Illinois Education Association, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Manufacturers Association, Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association, Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Illinois Retired Teachers Association, Illinois State AFL-CIO, Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, League of Women Voters of Illinois, Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Businesses/Illinois, Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, Police Benevolent and Protective Association of Illinois, SEIU Illinois, State University Annuitants Association, Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois, Tooling and Manufacturing Association, Union League Club of Chicago, Illinois Rifle Association. The convention was also opposed by House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) and former governor Jim Edgar (R) who both represented the corrupt status quo political establishment.

There is an important lesson from what happened in Illinois and several other states, as well as why the US Congress has refused to obey Article V of the federal constitution that prescribes a convention of state delegates to propose constitutional amendments when two-thirds of states ask for one, which has happened long ago. It is this: those with political power fear constitutional conventions that can truly reform our corrupt political system. What Americans need to constantly remember is that “we the people” must use constitutional conventions to improve our government and political system. All constitutions are meant to be revisited and amended if necessary.

We must not depend on electing individuals to public office to truly reform the system. We have a corrupt two-party plutocracy. It is time to stop believing the lies of both Democrats and Republicans. We can keep putting many of them in prison, but all that happens is that more corrupt and dishonest politicians get elected. Just as it has happened for the Illinois governorship.

Finally, you might ask whether Illinois Senator Barack Obama supported the 2008 convention proposal. What do you think? Obama’s key advisor, David Axelrod, who crafted his “change” message, shared a multimillion dollar contract provided by opponents to the convention who feared change.

Contact Joel S. Hirschhorn through www.delusionaldemocracy.com

Posted by Joel S. Hirschhorn at December 12, 2008 4:27 PM
Comments
Comment #271898
And consider this amazing statistic: From 1995 to 2004, 469 politicians from the federal district of Northern Illinois were found guilty of corruption.
Wow! That’s 52 per year (on average).

If Alaska, Louisiana, North Dakota, and other states are worse, and Illinois is only 18th on the list of most corrupt states, how many politicians have been found guilty of corruption in those other states?

With so many convictions, you’d think the politicians and people would be getting the message.
But what were to the consequences (i.e. punishment) for those crimes?
Congress persons, even if ever convicted, they may get a pardon or commuted sentence, and usually still get their multi-million dollar pensions and benefits.

We need a LOT more Transparency in government, which is now little more than a kleptocratic plutocracy.

  • Responsibility = Power + Virtue + Education + Transparency + Accountability

  • Corruption = Power - Virtue - Education - Transparency - Accountability

There is an important lesson from what happened in Illinois and several other states, as well as why the US Congress has refused to obey Article V of the federal constitution that prescribes a convention of state delegates to propose constitutional amendments when two-thirds of states ask for one, which has happened long ago. It is this: those with political power fear constitutional conventions that can truly reform our corrupt political system.

True.

Congress has refused to call a convention, despite 643+ Article V applications by all 50 states (the number keeps growing and only a fraction of all Congressional Records have been searched thus far).
They know there will be amendments for things like: term-limits; campaign finance; balanced budget; debt; taxation; citizenship; immigration; monetary system; etc.
They have an obvious conflict of interest, since some of those things would most likely reduce their power and opportunities for self-gain.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at December 12, 2008 5:24 PM
Comment #271903

Thank you for writing on this topic. It is one that is important in that it has national ramifications. I have been wondering what took you guys so long!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 12, 2008 6:54 PM
Comment #271905

Until we find a way to limit money in politics and disconnect political patronage, this problem will not go away.

Posted by: gergle at December 12, 2008 7:21 PM
Comment #271916

Joel
What are you not telling us?Looking at your list of opponents I find several reputable organizations. If it was defeated by two thirds there was something else involved. Political reform to fight coruption is NOT that unpopular even in Chicago. Were there anti-abortion groups lined up to make the procedure illegal. Was there a push to remove prevailing rate laws or make it a “right to work” state ,defund public education or any number of wacko right wing issues waiting to jump on any convention? How about the whole story.

Posted by: bills at December 13, 2008 5:54 AM
Comment #271924

When you feel like tellin a feller to go to the devil—tell him to go to Chicago—it’ll anser every purpose, and is perhaps, a leetle more expensive.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 13, 2008 10:23 AM
Comment #271931

Personally I was among the percentage that voted for the convention. I do not remember the exact reasoning but I recall viewing several commentaries previous to the election date advocating for voting against the resolution. Jim Edgar, ex governor, was probably among the most prominent advocates against that I remember seeing. If I remember correctly much of the reasoning was that some of the plausible changes that might come from such a convention could serve to make matters worse than they are.

I am very surprised to see that Il ranks only 18th in most corrupt states. I would have thought we were at least among the top ten. When we talk politics here in IL corruption is just naturally assumed to be part of the equation. It is a sad thing, but what does one do when left with little choice. Our politicians do not come with warranties. It is pretty much understood that most anyone aspiring to be a representative in this state must be a crook who is looking to get a piece of the lucrative criminal pie. I am sure we have our share of honest politicians. But to be honest I wouldn’t know how to define what a politician of integrity would be since the standard of excellence is so low now days. What you folks are viewing and judging here in Il is nothing new and really is indicative of a national problem. It centers around greed and lack of accountability. Blagojevich is probably not a lot worse than any other politician of his stature. His problem is just that he was too damned stupid to keep his mouth shut and go quietly with the flow. He pissed off the wrong people and is now paying the price. I wonder how many just like him have been sharp enough to do the same and were able to quietly leave government in possession of all their acquired wealth. If such a thing were possible a true detailed accounting of state and national politicians in todays world might just possibly find that he is more in line with the norm than not.

On a lighter note I hear that there is talk of building a special governors wing at one of our state prisons. ;-)

Posted by: RickIL at December 13, 2008 12:00 PM
Comment #271932

It looks more like people actually get caught in Illinois, whereas they might not get caught or prosecuted elsewhere, perhaps because the stakes are higher when there is more money involved. Several interesting things have occurred here that have gotten national attention lately. BHO was elected to the Presidency. A company was closed down by an out of town bank, the employees being bailed out by another out out of town bank which happens to have connections to someone named Daley, who can make some decisions locally. On the governor, we are getting a valuable national lesson in what to look for to find out what politicians actually do when they are elected, like what jobs they and their wives get. Hopefully, the lesson will also be applied in other places.

For information purposes, in the recent election, the last item on the 15th page, after all the judges, was a referendum on a recall motion for the office of Governor. There was also a vote for a referendum on a State Constitutional Convention, which came with a confusing disclaimer that it didn’t really mean what it said. I voted in favor of both. Former Gov Edgar spoke against the Constitutional convention.

Posted by: ohrealy at December 13, 2008 12:04 PM
Comment #271933


No one deserves corrupt government. That is something that has to be earned and the voters sure have earned it.

Posted by: jlw at December 13, 2008 12:09 PM
Comment #271935

jlw, Good point. It’s only deserved if it is earned.

But to be honest I wouldn’t know how to define what a politician of integrity would be since the standard of excellence is so low now days. What you folks are viewing and judging here in IL is nothing new and really is indicative of a national problem. It centers around greed and lack of accountability.
Yes, it’s wide-spread, and the root cause is greed and selfishness and a lack of transparency and accountability.
Until we find a way to limit money in politics and disconnect political patronage, this problem will not go away.
Yes, as long as government is FOR-SALE, it will be excessively corrupt.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

  • Posted by: d.a.n at December 13, 2008 1:12 PM
    Comment #271954

    As a resident of Illinois I could not agree more. We deserve what we get. The GOP is more a drinking and social club than any substanative organization. Dems get to roam and run free.

    John Harris was his Chief of Staff and first to resign. If you are going to jail through the Feds, you want to be the first on the Fed bus. Harris gets to pick his seat and you can be assured he is selecting who will go down next. Jesse Jackson Jr is falling all over himself to get his name back. Good luck with that Jr.

    In the spirit of Gilbert & Sullivan I hope Blogo nominates “himself” to the Senate seat to continue this live Holiday comedy.

    Posted by: Honest at December 13, 2008 7:36 PM
    Comment #271960


    Can Blogo nominate a republican or is that against the law? Ha ha ha.

    Posted by: jlw at December 13, 2008 8:04 PM
    Comment #272013

    Nobody wants to be nominated by Gov Worthless at this point, although Roland Burris would like to be appointed by somebody, with a promise not to run in 2010. He might be a good compromise.

    Posted by: ohrealy at December 14, 2008 3:42 PM
    Comment #272025

    Blue column … cricket … cricket … cricket.

    Seriously, I believe there is more to come here and I hope Obama is not dragged down by this. I guess that is why the blue column pudits have not added their comments here.

    Obama is our President, and whether I like his possibly policies he deserves the chance to start his Presidency clean and without the burden of something going on in his home state. Thus far it looks like he was on another branch of the Chicago political corruption tree.

    Posted by: Honest at December 14, 2008 5:53 PM
    Comment #272031

    There is really nothing to discuss. Obama’s presence on the tapes is not only not incriminating, it’s absolutely exculpatory; he wouldn’t play ball.

    There really isn’t much in the way of controversy on the left as to what do with Blagojevich. Offer a referendum on recall votes now, or start talking about it, and you’ll probably get it.

    As for the subject of this entry? Even state politics has just one solution, according to Joel.

    The real problem is that people look so much for simple solutions, like electing a single person, or holding a convention, that they neglect both the difficult, but necessary and rewarding business of setting up checks and balances, and the possiblities that lie along simpler, but more clever routes.

    Folks should know by now, also, that calling people idiots and telling them they deserve bad leadership, you’re not exactly endearing yourself to them. People need more than negative pain and suffering. They need inspiration. They need words that help form their desires into motivations to act.

    American politics needs more cynicism like heroin addicts need more smack to shoot up.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 14, 2008 8:05 PM
    Comment #272034

    Stephen good points. To your point, a more complex solution, or realistic solution that avoids mistakes like this would be a stronger multiple party system in Illinois. It is a blue state through and through, and without the check and balance we see on this very web page, it is difficult for corruption not to continue.

    It would be nice to see a more honest discussion in politics in Illinois. We are leaning too left in our state. Hopefully this will bring some balance.

    “calling people idiots” true, would seem like a great time for Obama to represent his own, home state that has delivered him (in large part) to the world. Let’s see Obama take on a leadership role and advance the State of Illinois if he is truly innocent he can do this. He can heal us, and somewhat shame us, into being better than Blogo.

    He needs to say the words that make the residents of Illinois “desire” a better form of politics. He could be Illinois’ Gorbachev.

    Question for you Stephen as someone I respect on thsi blog (not agree with that much). If Illinois politics remains the way it is past four or eight years of President Obama … is that representative of him?

    Posted by: Honest at December 14, 2008 8:51 PM
    Comment #272040


    The Klepto-Plutocracy will always be against any measure that goes toward cleaning up government corruption. These guys can rake off several millions of dollars and with the remote possibility of being apprehended expect to do six or seventeen months in a light duty prison. Many folks wouldn’t mind sitting in a light duty prison and watch TV for a month for a million dollars. Seems all the commotion is about government officials and little about the lobbyist and business folks. Is there no law against the two Indian businessmen who were willing to put up something like $1M to buy to the senate seat? If not, should there be? The most perplexing thing to me is why people are so willing to put up with such crap for government. They say all politics is local. Well, if something like this happened in my county I believe, I would hope, that people would turn out in the street. I would probably be disappointed. Saw an article on CNN recently where Nigerian militia is physically fighting against big oil and their dictatorship government. Instead of helping the Nigerian people develop their country the oil companies choose to pay of the big man and suck up as much oil as they possibly can. This is a common thread that runs through governments of the developed world when it comes to dealing with the natural resources of under developed countries. Globalization is touted as a must so that the less developed economies of the world can be improved and bring billions out of poverty. BS. Just as big oil has paid the big man at the expense of the local populations the developed countries have followed suite. I recall when NAFTA opened the doors to trade with Mexico many of the businesses bailed for Mexico. Then, when China opened up most of the businesses left Mexico for China. I don’t think they had any plans to help Mexico develop. I think they were driven by greed and corruption. Strange that no one has tried to regionalize the economies of the African states. Still, the IMF sends monies to the various dictators and it hits the Swiss banks before the ink is dry. If they wanted to help Africa they would show up with lots of agriculture and food processing equipment with appropriate management provided. Build schools and churches, sanitation systems, etc. Instead, the EU has paid the dictators for fishing rights and has proceeded to suck up every fish in the African coastal waters, except maybe a big one that got away. Sucked up the oil, diamonds, tantalum, etc. And what have the African people got out of it? Aids, cholera, malaria, genocide, etc. There is your globalization. Business as usual. Status quo.
    I don’t expect the American voter/taxpayer to change any time soon. I think Dan is right in that it will take way more misery and pain to get their attention
    Joel suggests that government reform can be achieved through Article V Convention. I support Article V Convention and I am in partial agreement with Joel. However, I believe we need to promote a more focused reform mechanism. The government of Illinois cannot reform itself and neither can the Federal government. Reform will require an outside countervailing force that can take on the klepto-plutocracy and win. What is needed is a new 3rd party that provides for citizens’ oversight of elected and appointed officials. A party with an agenda targeted at real reform of government. Abolish corporate personhood, money is free speech and run all campaign donations through a reorganized FEC. A party that can achieve reform of government and keep it that way.

    Otherwise we have the NAU we deserve.

    Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 14, 2008 9:50 PM
    Comment #272057

    Joel,
    I’m surprised I haven’t seen this in an earlier comment, but what’s to prevent the same corrupt interests that already control Illinois government from controlling a constitutional convention?

    Bills, obviously coming from a liberal perspective, was making a valid point when he wrote of the prospect of conservative interests intruding on the process. It applies to corruption as well. Why would the corrupt interests not be MORE impowered after a convention?

    That is what terrifies people about an Article V convention, Joel. No agenda. No rules. No oversight. (A libertarian paradise…)

    Posted by: Lee Jamison at December 15, 2008 10:06 AM
    Comment #272063
    I’m surprised I haven’t seen this in an earlier comment, but what’s to prevent the same corrupt interests that already control Illinois government from controlling a constitutional convention?
    Ohio is also requesting the US Congress to call an Article V Convention for the purpose of proposing amendments (and a BALANCED BUDGET amendment).

    The fear of run-away conventions is completely unfounded, because no amendments can become law without ratification by 3/4 (i.e. 38) of all 50 states.

    That is what terrifies people about an Article V convention, Joel. No agenda. No rules. No oversight. (A libertarian paradise…)
    Not true. But that sort of fear-mongering is very effective. But those fears are unfounded.

    The States can submit all the amendments they want, but any amendments that can not be ratified by 3/4 of all 50 states can never become law.
    See more about it here.

    For an Article V Convention to be called, 2/3 of the 50 states must submit an amendment application.
    That occurred a long time ago.

    To date, all 50 states have submitted over 644 (we keep finding more every week) Article V Amendment Applications.

    While subject matter of any amendment is not an Article V Requirement, below is a partial list of 135 BALANCED BUDGET amendment applications (not counting Ohio’s new BALANCED Budget amendment) and GENERAL Article V Convention applications from 37 different states (far in excess of the 2/3 (i.e. 34) states required):


    • (001) CR 128 Pg 02917 Yr 1982-AK-Balanced Budget

    • (002) CR 128 Pg 00798 Yr 1982-AK-Balanced Budget

    • (003) CR 121 Pg 28347 Yr 1975-AL-Balanced Budget

    • (004) CR 122 Pg ???? Yr 1975-AL-Balanced Budget

    • (005) CR 112 Pg 00043 Yr 1966-AL-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (006) CR 125 Pg 05368 Yr 1979-AL-Balanced Budget

    • (007) CR 125 Pg 04861 Yr 1979-AL-Balanced Budget

    • (008) CR 121 Pg 05793 Yr 1975-AR-Balanced Budget

    • (009) CR 109 Pg 02768 Yr 1963-AR-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (010) CR 125 Pg 03906 Yr 1979-AR-Balanced Budget

    • (011) CR 125 Pg 04372 Yr 1979-AR-Balanced Budget

    • (012) CR 123 Pg 18873 Yr 1977-AZ-Balanced Budget (continued to: Page 18874)

    • (013) CR 125 Pg 07920 Yr 1979-AZ-Balanced Budget (continued to: Page 07921)

    • (014) CR 123 Pg 18869 Yr 1977-AZ-Balanced Budget

    • (015) CR 125 Pg 08108 Yr 1979-AZ-Balanced Budget

    • (016) CR 045 Pg 07113 Yr 1910-CO-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (017) CR 122 Pg 04329 Yr 1976-DE-Balanced Budget

    • (018) CR 122 Pg 05572 Yr 1976-DE-Balanced Budget

    • (019) CR 125 Pg 03427 Yr 1979-FL-Balanced Budget

    • (020) CR 122 Pg ???? Yr 1975-FL-Balanced Budget

    • (021) CR 125 Pg 03655 Yr 1979-FL-Balanced Budget

    • (022) CR 125 Pg 03007 Yr 1979-FL-Balanced Budget

    • (023) CR 107 Pg 04454 Yr 1961-GA-General Call for an Article V Convention, State Legislative Review of Supreme Court Rulings

    • (024) CR 122 Pg 03161 Yr 1976-GA-Balanced Budget

    • (025) CR 122 Pg 02740 Yr 1976-GA-Balanced Budget

    • (026) CR 107 Pg 04715 Yr 1961-GA-General Call for an Article V Convention, State Legislative Review of Supreme Court Rulings

    • (027) CR 125 Pg 15792 Yr 1979-IA-Balanced Budget

    • (028) CR 045 Pg 07114 Yr 1910-IA-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (029) CR 125 Pg 16351 Yr 1979-IA-Balanced Budget

    • (030) CR 125 Pg 15227 Yr 1979-IA-Balanced Budget

    • (031) CR 045 Pg 07119 Yr 1910-IA-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (032) CR 125 Pg 03657 Yr 1979-ID-Balanced Budget

    • (033) CR 125 Pg 03522 Yr 1979-ID-Balanced Budget

    • (034) CR 045 Pg 07114 Yr 1910-ID-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (035) CR 109 Pg 03274 Yr 1963-ID-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (036) CR 109 Pg 03982 Yr 1963-IL-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (037) CR 111 Pg 18999 Yr 1965-IL-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (038) CR 045 Pg 07114 Yr 1910-IL-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (039) CR 125 Pg 09368 Yr 1979-IN-Balanced Budget

    • (040) CR 045 Pg 07114 Yr 1910-IN-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (041) CR 103 Pg 06475 Yr 1957-IN-Balanced Budget (continued to: Page 06476)

    • (042) CR 125 Pg 09188 Yr 1979-IN-Balanced Budget

    • (043) CR 122 Pg 01400 Yr 1975-IN-Balanced Budget

    • (044) CR 122 Pg 00931 Yr 1975-IN-Balanced Budget

    • (045) CR 124 Pg 14584 Yr 1978-KS-Balanced Budget

    • (046) CR 045 Pg 07119 Yr 1910-KS-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (047) CR 045 Pg 07115 Yr 1910-KS-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (048) CR 041 Pg 03072 Yr 1907-KS-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (049) CR 124 Pg 14193 Yr 1978-KS-Balanced Budget

    • (050) CR 121 Pg 25312 Yr 1975-LA-Balanced Budget

    • (051) CR 045 Pg 07119 Yr 1910-LA-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (052) CR 125 Pg 19470 Yr 1979-LA-Balanced Budget (continued to: Page 19741)

    • (053) CR 121 Pg 24412 Yr 1975-LA-Balanced Budget

    • (054) CR 042 Pg 05906 Yr 1908-LA-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (055) CR 045 Pg 07115 Yr 1910-LA-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (056) CR 125 Pg 19359 Yr 1979-LA-Balanced Budget

    • (057) CR 125 Pg 13387 Yr 1979-MD-Balanced Budget

    • (058) CR 123 Pg 02545 Yr 1977-MD-Balanced Budget (continued to: Page 02546)

    • (059) CR 035 Pg 00117 Yr 1901-MI-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (060) CR 111 Pg 03714 Yr 1965-MO-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (061) CR 129 Pg 10594 Yr 1983-MO-Balanced Budget

    • (062) CR 129 Pg 04942 Yr 1983-MO-Balanced Budget

    • (063) CR 045 Pg 07116 Yr 1910-MO-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (064) CR 121 Pg 12169 Yr 1975-MS-Balanced Budget

    • (065) CR 121 Pg 12168 Yr 1975-MS-Balanced Budget

    • (066) CR 121 Pg 12175 Yr 1975-MS-Balanced Budget (continued to: Page 12176)

    • (067) CR 046 Pg 02411 Yr 1911-MT-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (068) CR 125 Pg 03007 Yr 1979-NC-Balanced Budget

    • (069) CR 125 Pg 10144 Yr 1979-ND-Balanced Budget

    • (070) CR 111 Pg 24720 Yr 1965-NE-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (071) CR 125 Pg 04152 Yr 1979-NE-Balanced Budget

    • (072) CR 125 Pg 04702 Yr 1979-NE-Balanced Budget

    • (073) CR 125 Pg 11288 Yr 1979-NH-Balanced Budget

    • (074) CR 125 Pg 11203 Yr 1979-NH-Balanced Budget

    • (075) CR 123 Pg 20659 Yr 1977-NH-Balanced Budget

    • (076) CR 125 Pg 11584 Yr 1979-NH-Balanced Budget

    • (077) CR 112 Pg 00044 Yr 1966-NM-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (078) CR 125 Pg 03657 Yr 1979-NM-Balanced Budget

    • (079) CR 125 Pg 03656 Yr 1979-NM-Balanced Budget

    • (080) CR 125 Pg 03322 Yr 1979-NM-Balanced Budget

    • (081) CR 126 Pg 00909 Yr 1980-NV-Balanced Budget

    • (082) CR 126 Pg 01104 Yr 1980-NV-Balanced Budget (continued to: Page 01105)

    • (083) CR 109 Pg 10241 Yr 1963-NV-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (084) CR 124 Pg 12011 Yr 1978-OK-Balanced Budget

    • (085) CR 045 Pg 07117 Yr 1910-OK-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (086) CR 101 Pg 08397 Yr 1955-OK-Balanced Budget (continued to: Page 08398)

    • (087) CR 124 Pg 12397 Yr 1978-OK-Balanced Budget

    • (088) CR 125 Pg 05953 Yr 1979-OR-Balanced Budget

    • (089) CR 035 Pg 00117 Yr 1901-OR-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (090) CR 125 Pg 05368 Yr 1979-OR-Balanced Budget

    • (091) CR 125 Pg 04627 Yr 1979-PA-Balanced Budget

    • (092) CR 124 Pg 14911 Yr 1978-SC-Balanced Budget

    • (093) CR 122 Pg 04090 Yr 1976-SC-Balanced Budget

    • (094) CR 111 Pg 03714 Yr 1965-SC-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (095) CR 122 Pg 04329 Yr 1976-SC-Balanced Budget

    • (096) CR 043 Pg 02667 Yr 1909-SD-General Call for an Article V Convention; over 2/3 of all states requirement already met (continued: Page 02688)

    • (097) CR 125 Pg 03427 Yr 1979-SD-Balanced Budget

    • (098) CR 125 Pg 03656 Yr 1979-SD-Balanced Budget

    • (099) CR 124 Pg 11438 Yr 1978-TN-Balanced Budget

    • (100) CR 123 Pg 18419 Yr 1977-TN-Balanced Budget

    • (101) CR 124 Pg 11437 Yr 1978-TN-Balanced Budget

    • (102) CR 112 Pg 00044 Yr 1966-TN-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (103) CR 112 Pg 00199 Yr 1966-TN-General Call for an Article V Convention (continued to: Page 00200)

    • (104) CR 125 Pg 05223 Yr 1979-TX-Balanced Budget (continued to: Page 05224)

    • (105) CR 125 Pg 00134 Yr 1979-TX-Balanced Budget

    • (106) CR 125 Pg 00134 Yr 1979-TX-Balanced Budget, Reaffirming Application of 1979

    • (107) CR 033 Pg 00219 Yr 1899-TX-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (108) CR 033 Pg 00280 Yr 1899-TX-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (109) CR 125 Pg 05368 Yr 1979-TX-Balanced Budget

    • (110) CR 125 Pg 04372 Yr 1979-UT-Balanced Budget

    • (111) CR 125 Pg 04071 Yr 1979-UT-Balanced Budget

    • (112) CR 122 Pg 08335 Yr 1976-VA-Balanced Budget

    • (113) CR 125 Pg 05450 Yr 1979-VA-Balanced Budget

    • (114) CR 121 Pg 04730 Yr 1975-VA-Balanced Budget

    • (115) CR 122 Pg 08336 Yr 1976-VA-Balanced Budget

    • (116) CR 122 Pg 08019 Yr 1976-VA-Balanced Budget

    • (117) CR 121 Pg 05793 Yr 1975-VA-Balanced Budget

    • (118) CR 111 Pg 00094 Yr 1965-VA-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (119) CR 046 Pg 03035 Yr 1911-WA-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (120) CR 045 Pg 07119 Yr 1910-WI-General Call for an Article V Convention; over 2/3 of all states requirement already met (continued to: Page 07120)

    • (121) CR 071 Pg 02590 Yr 1929-WI-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (122) CR 047 Pg 01842 Yr 1911-WI-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (123) CR 047 Pg 01872 Yr 1911-WI-General Call for an Article V Convention, Initiative, Referendum, and Recall (continued to: Page 01873)

    • (124) CR 047 Pg 02188 Yr 1911-WI-General Call for an Article V Convention, Initiative, Referendum, and Recall

    • (125) CR 071 Pg 03856 Yr 1929-WI-General Call for an Article V Convention; over 2/3 of all states requirement already met

    • (126) CR 047 Pg 01842 Yr 1911-WI-General Call for an Article V Convention, Initiative, Referendum, and Recall

    • (127) CR 047 Pg 03087 Yr 1911-WI-General Call for an Article V Convention, Initiative, Referendum, and Recall

    • (128) CR 071 Pg 03369 Yr 1929-WI-General Call for an Article V Convention; over 2/3 of all states requirement already met

    • (129) CR 047 Pg 02000 Yr 1911-WI-General Call for an Article V Convention, Initiative, Referendum, and Recall

    • (130) CR 109 Pg 04900 Yr 1963-WY-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (131) CR 045 Pg 07120 Yr 1910-WY-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (132) CR 107 Pg 02799 Yr 1961-WY-Balanced Budget

    • (133) CR 109 Pg 05014 Yr 1963-WY-General Call for an Article V Convention

    • (134) CR 107 Pg 02759 Yr 1961-WY-Balanced Budget

    • (135) CR 107 Pg 02742 Yr 1961-WY-Balanced Budget
    Perhaps this nation would not be facing the huge debt problem it has now (i.e. $10.7 Trillion National Debt; $67 Trillion nation-wide debt; 95% of all money in existence is Principal Debt; nation-wide debt has almost quintupled from 100% of GDP in year 1956 to 483% of GDP in year 2008), had Congress obeyed the Constitution and allowed the states the right to vote on a federal BALANCED BUDGET Amendment

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 15, 2008 11:31 AM
    Comment #272064
    People need more than negative pain and suffering. They need inspiration. They need words that help form their desires into motivations to act.
    Pain and misery is inspiration.

    It’s possibly the most effective type of inspiration.

    When mere “words” and logic fail, pain and misery is the potential built-in self-correction mechanism (provided the lesson(s) are not learned too late).

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect, and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 15, 2008 11:37 AM
    Comment #272079

    As a number have said often in this column beginning with d.a.n, the people get the government their votes deserve. Illinois citizens do indeed deserve the corruption they have in their state.

    And by the same logic, tax payer’s children deserve the enormous tax burden their parents put on their work lives, through failure to hold their representatives accountable and responsible for what will be a near tripling of the national debt in 16 years time, 2001 through 2016.

    But, the voters still haven’t a clue how to uphold their civic duty in this regard, do they? They have not yet taken up the Vote Out My Own Incumbents mantra when federal government fails to meet their expectations.

    The rationalization that it is other’s representatives, not mine, that are the cause, is the cause the problem. When government fails, it is ALL representatives who are INEFFECTIVE in setting it right, and therefore deserving of replacement with new politicians who by virtue of unseating the incumbent receive the mandate, do NOT as the incumbent before you did, with regard to ineffective governance.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 15, 2008 3:07 PM
    Comment #272088

    Hear Hear!

    After all, repeatedly rewarding incumbent politicians with 85%-to-90% re-election rates isn’t working (yet) is it?

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 15, 2008 5:11 PM
    Comment #272099

    I’ve been trying to vote out my congressman for the last 3 elections, but the people here keep putting the jerk back in office. Your right, we get the government we deserve.

    Posted by: KAP at December 15, 2008 6:47 PM
    Comment #272121

    D.A.N.
    I usually do not respond to your post as it usually results in deluge. Whats the saying from Herst days,”Never pick a fight with anyone that buys ink by the barrel.”How ever I need to point out some problems with a “Balanced Budget Amendment”. Although fiscal responsibility is usually a good idea there are times when the government must over spend. To fail to do so would be a disaster. Unfortunately this is one of those times. Major wars are one example,of course but so is recession/depression. You might read Krugman to gain an understanding of what occurs at such times and why the usual rules simply do not work. Major stimulus programs are the only way to climb out. This will be made more difficult by the past profigate spending but the real danger is that the stimulus will not be big enough. If its too big it will cause inflation from an overheated economy. This can be dealt with by interest rate increases without too much difficulty. In other words it better to err on the side of larger programs. This is a temporary need but a need no less. A not great anology would be a guy living beyond his means ,spending more money than he has of booze and broads etc. He has a stroke. That is not the time to start watching his money by not buying medications etc. Not great but I hope you see my point.In a normal economy I would agree with you on the need for responsibility. These are not normal times and a balanced budget amendment would make things far worse without this kind of flexibility.
    Regards from the Philippines

    Posted by: bills at December 16, 2008 6:33 AM
    Comment #272138

    Having a balanced budget amendment is highly desirable. Needed to prevent the klepto-plutocracy from running us into the red like the current situation. My third party agenda calls for a law whereby the government can’t run a deficit two years in a row. Of course, there would be a war clause or perhaps some type of emergency clause.
    Was watching Andrew Natios, ex-Special US Envoy, on cspan this morning. He said that USAID was mostly funded by Congressional earmarks and that no agriculture or infrastructure funding had been in their budget since the 70’s. Nearly all earmarks go to health programs. Said when AID had tried to put agriculture or infrastructure requests into the budget congress would shoot it down. Which means the lobbyist are against it. I assume it’s the same as the opposition to prisioners making car tags or doing anything that could be seen as commercial activity. I’ve wondered for years why it was ok to give the dicators cash but never any programs that could actually sustain a people or promote development. Hell, you can’t eat condums. Well, you could eat them, drug smugglers, etc. but your not going to gain any weight off them.
    Poverty is good business for capitalism. If Goldman Sacs Exec’s can make a billion a year and keep wages in China at .50/hr that’s a good thing. Should be an easy task to accomplish what with the billions in poverty in India and China. Their goal is not to lift folks out of poverty. Their goal is to make 2 billion a year.

    Otherwise, we have the NAU we deserve.

    Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 16, 2008 12:35 PM
    Comment #272140
    bills wrote: d.a.n… . How ever I need to point out some problems with a “Balanced Budget Amendment”. Although fiscal responsibility is usually a good idea there are times when the government must over spend. To fail to do so would be a disaster. Unfortunately this is one of those times. Major wars are one example,of course but so is recession/depression.
    Most BALANCED BUDGET amendments already make exceptions for national emergencies.
    bills wrote: You might read Krugman to gain an understanding of what occurs at such times and why the usual rules simply do not work. Major stimulus programs are the only way to climb out. This will be made more difficult by the past prof[l]igate spending but the real danger is that the stimulus will not be big enough.
    The real problem is a massive debt-bubble, which took many decades to develop due to the following:
    • (1) MASSIVE DEBT: Fiscal irresponsibility; $10.7 Trillion National Debt; $12.8 Trillion borrowed from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 Million baby boomer bubble approaching; and nation-wide debt of $54-to-$67 Trillion, which grew from 100% of GDP in 1956 to 483% of GDP in 2008 (for 52+ consecutive years).
    • (2) LEVERAGING OF DEBT to CREATE NEW MONEY: 95% of all U.S. money in existence is Principal debt (due to a highly leveraged creation of new money via loans with a 9-to-1 debt-to-reserves ratio frational banking system), which begs the question: Where will the money come from to merely pay the Interest, much less stop the Principal debt from growing ever larger, when that money does not yet exist?
    • (3) INCESSANT INFLATION: Incessant inflation for 52 consecutive years is economically destabilizing, and fuels bust-to-boom bubble-after-bubble, as everyone runs about looking for someplace to protect their money from the non-stop erosion of exponential CPI (inflation)
    • (4) WARS: Wars (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, etc.; some probably unnecessary);
    • (5) DEREGULATION:
      • Commodities Futures Modernization Act of year 2000
      • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999
      • In year 2004, the SEC reduced the leverage constraints of the largest investment banks. Therefore, Bear Stearns or other Wall Street firms only needed $1 in assets for every $30 in liabilities (i.e. very risky leveraging). Previously the limit was $1 to $15. When Bear Stearns folded this year their ratio was at 1-to-33!
      • A lot of looking the other way; diminished Transparency; a lot of cookin’ the books (e.g. Fannie Mae fined record $400 Million for accounting violations); fraud, and many other manifestations of unchecked greed;
    • (6) BAD MONETARY POLICY: The monetary system is also another contributing factor for boom-to-bust bubble-after-bubble. Also, thanks to Greenspan and the Federal Reserve, they made it too easy to get credit. Of course, the Federal Reserve has an obvious conflict of interest. It makes money by creating money out of thin air (at a 9-to-1 ratio of debt-to-reserves), and receiving interest on the total loan (to member banks). Excessive money supply creates incessant inflation, which creates economic instability, which creates nervous and risky investors who are all running around like a chicken with their head cut-off, looking for someplace to put their money so that it is not eroded by the incessant inflation. As a result of this Ponzi-scheme (i.e. the Federal Reserve’s 9-to-1 debt-to-reserve fractional banking), we now have a huge debt-bubble, in which 95% of all U.S. money in existence is Principal debt, and nation-wide debt has grown from 100% of GDP in year 1956 to 483% of GDP in year 2008. And pumping money into the banks doesn’t do much good for a 70% consumer-driven economy when most Americans are already so deep in debt ($54-to-$67 Ttrillion of nation-wide debt), they most consumers can’t carry more debt.
    • (7) CORRUPTION, the DISPARITY TREND, and other ABUSES: the middle class is shrinking; the wealth disparity gap is growing; median incomes are falling; savings are disappearing; unemployment is rising; there are 10,000 foreclosures per day (AUG-2008); inflation is too high (and rising year-to-year) and too persistent (positive for 52 consecutive years); lawlessness; illegal immigrationl; regressive taxation; etc., etc., etc.
    • (8) SLUMBERING ELECTORATE: Voters aren’t paying close enough attention. Also, repeatedly rewarding incumbent politicians with 85%-to-95% re-election rates does not make much sense when most voters polled give Congress dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings.
    bills wrote: If its too big it will cause inflation from an overheated economy.
    True. Have you ever wondered about what causes an overheated economy (i.e. bubble-afer-bubble)?

    Current (DEC-2008) inflation is 1.07% , which is better.
    Even if we had 1.07% delfation, that would be better too.
    However, year-to-year inflation for year 2008 is 4.01%, which is too high (up from 1.59% for year 2002), not to mention that inflation is probably higher based on pre-1983 and pre-1998 inflation calculation methods: www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data
    We will see oscillations of deflation and inflation, but long-term, creating massive amounts of new money can easily create another economic terror:hyperinflation… which will make a bad situation worse.
    Spending tens of Trillions could easily cause that.
    We can not spend our way to solvency, much less prosperity.

    bills wrote: This can be dealt with by interest rate increases without too much difficulty.
    Not with most Americans already deep in debt; 95% of all U.S. money in existence is Principal debt; nation-wide debt is up from 100% of GDP in year 1956 to 483% of GDP today (GDP for year 2007=$13.86 Trillion and will be less for year 2008); GDP is falling; National Debt is $10.7 Trillion (excluding $12.8 Trillion borrowed from Social Security); unfunded liabilities for entitlements are over $53 Trillion; 10,000 foreclosures per day; incessant inflation for 52 consecutive years; falling tax revenues; rising unemployment; a 77 Million baby-boomer bubble; interest on the National Debt in year 2007 was $429 Billion dollars; and the economy is 70% consumer driven. Where will the money come from, when it does not yet exist? How will the money be removed from circulation, when 95% of all money in existence is Principal debt, and the money to merely pay the Interest on so much debt does not yet exist?

    The debt problem is worse than we all thought, and part of the reason is due to misreporting of economic statistics (e.g. inflation, GDP, unemployment, debt, so-called Social Security surpluses, deficits, spending, etc.).

    bills wrote: In other words it better to err on the side of larger programs. This is a temporary need but a need no less.
    Some government spending should be done to create value (e.g. energy efficiency, infrastructure, education, etc.).

    However, HUGE spending cuts are required for the extremely over-bloated, wasteful federal government.
    The U.S. government is the biggest employer.
    The U.S. has more jobs in government than all manufacturing.
    DRASTIC cuts in worthless government spending is required, and new jobs must be created that produce long term benefits and savings.
    Fair taxation is a must, and the current tax system is regressive and unfair to middle-income Americans: One-Simple-Idea.com/DisparityTrend.htm#Taxes
    Hopefully, Barack Obama and Congress will realize this, but their apparent surprise and incredulity when Paulsen and Bernanke came begging for $700 Billion is not a good sign.

    bills wrote: A not great anology would be a guy living beyond his means ,spending more money than he has of booze and broads etc. He has a stroke. That is not the time to start watching his money by not buying medications etc. Not great but I hope you see my point.In a normal economy I would agree with you on the need for responsibility. These are not normal times and a balanced budget amendment would make things far worse without this kind of flexibility.
    Again, there should be provisions for emergencies.

    However, waste and bloat must be cut to produce jobs that create real value, benefits, and savings.
    Spending tens of Trillions of money created out of thin air is very risky if that money is created as debt, when 95% of all U.S. money already in existence is Principal debt.
    Inflation is controlled by removing excess Money Supply from circulation.
    How can that be accomplished when 95% of all U.S. money already in existence is Principal debt, and nation-wide debt has quintupled from 100% of GDP in year 1956 to 483% of GDP today?

    Until those questions are answered and realistically dealt with, and the true magnitude of the debt problem is realized, we are likely to try to spend our way to prosperity, which will not only fail, but make things worse by debauching the currency, and by making the massive debt problem untenable (if it isn’t already).

    Roy Ellis wrote: Having a balanced budget amendment is highly desirable. Needed to prevent the klepto-plutocracy from running us into the red like the current situation.
    Exactly. Total federal debt ($10.7 Trillion + $12.8 Trillion borrowed from Social Security = $23.5 Trillion) is 170% of $13.86 GDP (year 2007), which has never been worse ever.

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 16, 2008 1:02 PM
    Comment #272150


    We know that the bailout is going to be a serious deterent to a balanced budget. We know that the democrats have a pent up desire to increase funding for some of their favorite programs as well as new programs. The defence dept. has already announced that it wants a large increase in defence funding. Of course, defence is asking for more than it knows it will get and democrats can claim they cut defence by not giving all it wants. I am sure other dept’s want large increases as well.

    I assume that tax revenues will be down because of the recession. Obama has promised the middle class a tax break and has said he is not in favor of an immediate roll back of the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy.

    There is also evidence to suggest that consumers are wising up to the threat that debt poses to their families and they are using stimulus packages or tax reductions to pay down debt or increase savings.

    Less than a year ago the democrats in Congress said they would balance the budget by 2012. Bush has made similar pronouncements for his fiscal policy.

    The democrats also said they were reimplementing Pay Go and then sent Bush a budget with a $450 billion deficit which he signed.

    I think it is safe to say that a balanced budget is off the table for Obama’s first term and possibly longer.

    Posted by: jlw at December 16, 2008 2:51 PM
    Comment #272169

    Yes, tax revenues are down.
    GDP is down.
    A balanced budget doesn’t seem likely; especially now, and especially after 52 consecutive years of deficit spending.
    38 (over 34 required) different states want it proposed as an amendment to that effect.
    Congress will probably continue to ignore it, as it ignores other Constitutional Violations and abuses.

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 16, 2008 6:59 PM
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