Vice President for State Fiscal Policy
Michigan lawmakers are considering signing on to an interstate compact that would write a series of imprudent provisions into the U.S. Constitution related to the national debt, spending, and taxes. The compact, which a group called Compact for America is promoting and other states will likely consider in the coming year, would:
Fortunately, a series of unlikely events must occur for the compact to take effect. First, 38 states must enact identical bills endorsing it; only four have so far. Second, Congress must certify the compact, which will be a tough sell since, for one thing, it would significantly reduce Congress’ power. Third, the President must sign off on the compact, too. That’s another major hurdle, given that the compact’s harsh spending restrictions would greatly diminish the President’s ability to meet the country’s needs, let alone champion new investments.
Finally, legislators still would need to meet at a constitutional convention – the first since 1787 – to pass the compact and avoid the temptation to alter the Constitution in other, unpredictable ways. While the compact lays out ground rules for a convention, delegates may be able to change those rules after a convention opens because the Constitution provides for no power above that of a constitutional convention itself.
But even apart from the risk of a “runaway convention,” the compact itself would radically alter the country’s future for the worse.