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Coburn on USA Today: A convention of states can restore our Constitution

The following excerpt was originally published on USA Today.

From the very beginning of our country, Americans have wrestled with how best to govern ourselves within the framework of the Constitution. Do we want a strong federal government, or a weaker one? Do we want decisions made closer to home, or in a faraway capital? Does the Constitution itself mean what it says, or have interpretations over time stripped it of its original meaning?

Republicans and Democrats in Congress and in the White House have agreed time and time again to keep spending more money we do not have to pay for things we do not need.

Today our national debt exceeds $18 trillion which equates to more than $220,000 for a family of four. That's in excess of $30,000 more than the median home price in this country. In other words, Washington has saddled every family in the country with a debt far exceeding their own home before they've even gotten out of bed in the morning, and that's before we even get to the $127 trillion in unfunded liabilities that faces our children and grandchildren.

At the same time, the federal government is reaching into every area of American life in ways previously unthinkable: federal takeovers of banking and student loans, costly bailouts of the auto industry and burdensome regulation of the internet, reams of new regulation put on the books every single day, not to mention a health care law so onerous and complex that it had to be passed before it was even read.

The president has admitted numerous times he did not have the legal authority to impose executive amnesty yet the Congress relinquished its check and balance opportunity and funded it. Just last month, the Supreme Court heard a case that will decide whether Obamacare means something different from the text Congress passed and the president signed.

Now ask yourself this question: no matter who is in charge, will Washington ever rein itself in? More than 200 years of history tell us no.

Fortunately, the Founders knew their history and provided the people a safeguard against the tendency of government to consolidate power and authority. It is built into the Constitution in Article V. It provides a mechanism for the states to call a convention to consider specific amendments to the Constitution. A convention of states could consider only that which the states authorize, including measures to ensure fiscal restraint and other curbs on federal power.

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