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Proposition Twenty

With the debt ceiling fight heating up, there’s talk of a Balanced Budget Amendment again, but some don’t think it goes far enough. Here’s an interesting idea from John McClaughry that he calls Proposition Twenty. It’s a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would limit the national debt to $20 trillion:

Sec. 1. The total amount of gross federal debt shall not exceed the greater of twenty trillion dollars, or the amount outstanding as of the date this Article is ratified.
Sec. 2. No officer or employee of the United States, nor of any institution created by the United States, shall authorize the emission, issuance, sale or purchase of any security or obligation of the United States, its agencies or instrumentalities, which would increase the gross Federal debt above the foregoing limit.
Sec. 3. Any citizen of the United States shall have standing to enjoin the action of any officer or employee of the United States, or his or her successors in office, where such action is alleged to be in violation of Section 2. The Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction to hear and decide any action brought under this section. If after one hundred and eighty calendar days following the filing of such an action, the Supreme Court has rendered no decision thereupon, Article XVI of the Amendments to this Constitution shall stand repealed at the beginning of the next ensuing calendar year.
Sec. 4. If the rate of increase of total receipts of the federal government for any fiscal year exceeds the average rate of increase in national income over the four year period ending not less than six months nor more than twelve months before such fiscal year, the Secretary of the Treasury shall within the ensuing fiscal year use the excess amount of such receipts to purchase and retire outstanding federal debt; and the limitation imposed by section 1 shall be reduced by a like amount.
Sec. 5. Congress may, by adopting a joint resolution declaring a state of war, suspend the effect of Sections 1 to 3 of this Amendment, but such suspension shall continue in force only during such period as the armed forces of the United States are engaged in actual armed hostilities against the armed forces of the nation against which the war was declared, and six months following the conclusion of those hostilities.

Now that’s shifting the debate.