George Will recommends a path toward a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Using Article 5, the states can make this happen even if the Congress refuses to act.
Congress, which relishes deficit spending, would not, unilaterally and unpressured, send this amendment to the states for ratification. Hence theGoldwater Institute’s recourse to Article V.
It provides, in the same sentence, two amendment procedures, one of which has never been used — the calling of a convention by two-thirds of the state legislatures. Many prudent people — remembering that the 1787 Constitutional Convention’s original purpose was merely to “remedy defects” of the Articles of Confederation — recoil from the possibility of a runaway convention and the certainty that James Madison would not be there to make it turn out well. The compact, however, would closely confine a convention: State legislatures can form a compact — a cooperative agreement — to call a convention for the codified, one-item agenda of ratifying the balanced-budget amendment precisely stipulated in advance.