The politicians in Washington are never going to balance the budget, and it is highly unlikely they will pass a Balanced Budget Amendment for the states to ratify.  But the people can do it by getting another ten states to call for a convention of states and start the process of taking control of our own destiny. 

It’s time for a Balanced Budget Amendment before our grandchildren are burdened with such a huge debt that the American Dream is no longer obtainable. 

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America’s finances have eroded into an unmanageable mess. $18,100,000,000,000 — that’s what our government owes someone else. And since the government’s only source of money is through taxes, it’s more accurate to say that’s how much we owe someone else. 

During President Obama’s most recent State of the Union address, he bragged about “shrinking deficits.” But he was being totally disingenuous because he knows this is a temporary abating of our annual deficits, and we face a mountain of new debt right after he leaves office.  How convenient. 

While he was slapping himself on the back with his bogus self-accolade, the nonpartisan budget experts at the Congressional Budget Office were putting the final touches on their yearly report. Their analysis? Obama may be right today, but he’s ignoring the treacherous reality that’s on the horizon. 

Over the next 10-years, budget deficits are set to balloon. The main drivers are spending programs that push the big payments off until after the President leaves office and huge liabilities from unfunded entitlement programs that continue to be ignored.  America’s publicly held debt will soon consume 78 percent of the economy – double the 39 percent average of the past four decades. 

The movement underway to revive the Balanced Budget Amendment through an Article V Constitutional Convention of the States is the only card the people have left to play.

The Balanced Budget Amendment is not a new idea. 45 states have a constitutional requirement for a balanced budget, with four additional states having the requirement in the form of a state statute. 

Unfortunately, we’ve been waiting for leaders in D.C. to act for too long. I can remember back during the Jimmy Carter years when it was a Democrat, California’s Governor Jerry Brown, calling for a Balanced Budget Amendment. Then President Reagan endorsed the Amendment in 1982, and in 1995 the Amendment was part of the Contract for America and passed the House of Representatives, but came up one vote short in the Senate. 

History has taught us that asking Congress to tighten their belts may be too big of a request. Thankfully, our founding fathers anticipated this conflict of interest and provided our nation with an alternative to passing a constitutional amendment—the procedure is defined in Article V of the U.S. Constitution.

Article V allows for 2/3rds of state legislatures (34) to pass a resolution that calls for a Convention of States. Once called, representatives chosen by each legislature are sent to a convention that is tasked with drafting a Constitutional Amendment pertaining to the specific topic indicated in the resolution—in this case, it’s a Balanced Budget Amendment. The amendment is then sent back to the states where 3/4ths of the state legislatures (38) must vote to ratify the proposed Amendment. 

It’s not surprising that Americans overwhelmingly want a balanced budget amendment. If our citizens can live within our means, so should the government.

According to a CNN/ORC poll from 2011, Democrats (63 percent), Independents (65 percent), and Republicans (73 percent) all favor a balanced budget amendment. The only ones that seem to disagree are the politicians in Washington, D.C. that use taxpayer dollars like a personal slush fund. 

Currently, 24 states have passed a resolution calling for an Article V Convention. Last week, South Dakota’s House passed the resolution and sent it on to the Senate for final approval. South Dakota is among 15 states that are being targeted by a national grassroots campaign that’s quickly gaining momentum. 

America has the opportunity to remain as the world’s beacon of hope, but it must first ensure financial stability. For future generations to benefit from the unrestricted opportunities our country offers, the government must learn to live within its means. It’s only common sense to start with a balanced budget. 

Russo is the co-founder and chief strategist of Tea Party Express, which endorsed the Balanced Budget Amendment through an Article 5 Convention of States.