The Compact Commission challenged me to create 6 bullet points that capture the benefits of the Compact for a Balanced Budget's compact “vehicle” for delivering its federal Balanced Budget Amendment “payload.”
So here goes!
Three bullets on the compact “vehicle”:
Certainty: The Compact for a Balanced Budget delivers certainty by empowering the states to pre-commit 38 states and simple majorities of Congress to everything involved in advancing, proposing and ratifying a specific federal Balanced Budget Amendment before an Article V convention is organized.
Safety: The Compact for a Balanced Budget delivers safety by ensuring member states control the quorum and limit the Article V convention it organizes to a 24 hour up-or-down vote on a pre-specified federal Balanced Budget Amendment.
Speed: The Compact for a Balanced Budget empowers each state to join with its sister states to fix the national debt problem with the speed it needs by consolidating into one bill everything the states do in the amendment process and everything Congress does into one resolution.
Three bullets on the compact “payload”:
Restraint with Oversight: The Compact's Balanced Budget Amendment enforces a glide path to balanced budgets by limiting Washington’s borrowing capacity to 105% of the outstanding debt on ratification and otherwise restricting federal spending to cash revenue at all times, all while restoring the original constitutional principle of outside oversight of national policy by the states, whose legislatures must approve any subsequent increase in federal borrowing capacity within 60 days of the request.
Flexibility without Evasion: The Compact's Amendment handles wars and national emergencies with three release valves that do not enable easy evasion: (1) Washington can pay down the debt and free up borrowing capacity for emergencies, (2) the President can reprioritize spending to address emergencies when a “red zone” of borrowing capacity is reached, subject to simple majority override by Congress, and (3) a majority of state legislatures can approve an increase in federal borrowing capacity within 60 days of a congressional proposal.
Spending Reductions First: The Compact's Amendment keeps all responsible revenue options on the table, but encourages spending reductions before tax increases to close deficits by requiring supermajority approval for new or increased income or sales taxes, while retaining the current simple majority rule for revenue measures that will cause the least harm and prompt the most special interest pushback: (1) eliminating tax exemptions, deductions and credits, (2) completely switching to a consumption tax from the income tax, or (3) relying moreso on tariffs, fines or fees.
Armed with these six bullets, I am confident that anyone who is open to persuasion will see that the Compact is the most powerful and plausible effort to fix the national debt out there!