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Stopping a Runaway

The New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, representing the values, economic principles, and way of life of the state’s agricultural families, recently held their annual meeting in Albuquerque. It was a characteristically optimistic, forward looking, get-down-to-business gathering displaying the opportunities and challenges of an economic segment vital to us all, befitting the truism that “if you eat, you are involved in agriculture.” The assembly also discussed that all too familiar obstacle to freedom and prosperity: our own runaway federal government.

Among the most pernicious and costly threats to an already low-margin business is a federal government out of control. Unreasonably burdensome federal regulations are being imposed across the board at record rates with direct adverse impacts on not only our family ranchers and farmers, but all Americans. This country’s overall economy and prosperity sits vulnerable under “Damocles’ Sword” of almost $20 trillion in national debt plus $104 trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities, all of which, sooner or later, is going to be called in. Meanwhile, presidents “rule” by executive fiat, courts “rule” by judicial fiat, and congress consistently proves ineffective at reining in the absconded powers of the other two branches, preferring to resort like addicts to a boundless spending habit that plunges the country into an ever tightening economic tailspin.

In these days of contentious partisanship, we must be reminded that the rain is falling “on the just and the unjust alike” (I’ll leave it to the reader to determine which is which). Over-reaching federal power and crushing national debt are no respecter of political affiliation, adversely affecting every family farm, every small business, every service provider, every wage earner, every Republican, every Democrat, every conservative, every liberal, every “none of the above.” Meanwhile the federal government, by its numb indifference to the damage being dealt American citizens, is obviating the need for the states to exercise their own constitutional prerogative, irrespective of political winds.

Last week the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau recognized all this and took their stand, adopting a strong statement of position:

“WHEREAS, the federal government continues to create a crushing national debt putting the nation’s viability at risk and obligating future generations to unacceptable financial uncertainty; and

“WHEREAS, unnecessary and burdensome federal regulations continue to accumulate, causing unreasonable operational, economic, and cultural stresses on agriculture and family farms in New Mexico, and

“WHEREAS, the States have the authority under Article V of the Constitution of the United States to protect their citizens by preparing amendments to the Constitution that would place clear restraints on these and related abuses of power;

“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau supports action by the New Mexico Legislature to apply to Congress, under the provisions of Article V of the Constitution of the United States, for the calling of a convention of the states limited to proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States that:

[1] impose fiscal restraints on the federal government,

[2] limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and

[3] limit the terms of office for its officials and for Members of Congress”

Article V of the Constitution of the United States gives direct, unambiguous authority to the state legislatures to step in and make a way for structural adjustments if and when the congress refuses to act. Perhaps today’s federal dysfunction is precisely what the founders had in mind when they wrote into Article V a mechanism, by way of a Convention of the States, to bypass the congress when necessary. Eight state legislatures have already passed resolutions calling for a Convention of the States, and proposed legislation is in play in nearly thirty other states to do the same. When 34 state legislatures call for a Convention to consider constitutional amendments that restrain unaccountable fiscal and regulatory abuse of power by the federal government, it will indeed take place; and then, all the states will have an opportunity to ratify or reject what the convention proposes. If 38 (3/4 of the states) ratify, then real constitutional limitations can be placed on an otherwise stiff-necked runaway federal government, and the process of national restoration can begin.

Speaking for agriculture and all the families who raise our food and fiber, the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau seized the moment by resolving its support for legislation that will place New Mexico in the column of states protecting all their citizens, by demanding federal accountability.

Complete information regarding Article V of the Constitution and the calling of a Convention of States can be found at .

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