Letters to the Editor

LETTER: Miller Hudson: Regarding your article on the Article…

Miller old buddy…
 
I just read your April 4 story in The Colorado Statesman about the March 27 Symposium on Article V. Great writing!

It has been many years now, but you will remember me from the years I edited and published LIFE on Capitol Hill, and we worked on various community activities together. These days I am focusing a lot of my “retirement years” time on furthering the Article V efforts around the country.

I have noticed that most writers don’t really get what Article V is all about. Your writing evidences a much higher understanding of Article V than most writers.

With your tolerance, I would like to make a couple comments about your piece…

Sadly the headline referred to the Article V process as leading to a “Constitutional Convention.” I did not find any such misnomer in the body of your story, so I am guessing that headline was composed by some editor, not you. In your story you correctly referred to the proposed convention as one “to propose amendments.” Obviously there is a big difference.

You mentioned that, “Following the election of Ronald Reagan, much of the steam escaped from this movement.” That sort of implied that Reagan did not support the use of Article V. The truth is that throughout his presidency and the following years, Reagan aggressively pushed for Americans to use Article V to force Congress “to discipline Washington through the power of state resolutions.”

In a 1994 letter to his old friend (and staff member in both California and Washington, DC… Lew Uhler… he was specifically addressing the need to rein-in “the big-spending leaders of Congress… (to end) their reckless spending and deficits.” Lew is still working to use Article V to propose a balanced budget amendment through the use of Article V. I have the good fortune to be working with Lew through the BBA Task Force.

Your article said: “Delegates would be free to consider and debate any and all proposals…” Actually, the history of interstate conventions shows that delegates to such conventions are always limited to consideration of pre-assigned topics… topics defined by the state legislatures that send them to such conventions of states. Happily you tempered your statement by pointing out the practical restraint that any amendment they might propose will require ratification by three-fourths of the states.

While I have your ear (eyes?), let me challenge you on one other statement you made. 

You noted that: “Each speaker referenced onerous, federal infringements on our personal liberties. The well-dressed crowd nodded in agreement, although precisely what these incursions on our freedoms might be was never explained. It seemed to be presumed that these thefts are self-evident.

I am sure you are aware that our federal government has run up a debt of more than $17 trillion in recent years. That doesn’t count the many, many trillion dollars in unfunded future liabilities for such things as Social Security, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. That gross debt clearly infringes on the freedoms of you, me, our children and our grandchildren. I think you will agree that such “thefts” are self-evident. And, that is but one area where the federal government has overstepped its constitutionally-designed bounds.

Your friend,

Stu MacPhail

Denver