Stopping the runaway federal government


COMMENTARY: The bipartisan passage of a national spending bill might be seen as a welcome piece of news, mostly because we finally saw enough members of the established order cross the aisle to take an action. All in, it might be a reasonable compromise on a number of fronts, but the question of fiscal responsibility remains unanswered.

Myles C. Culbertson

Courtesy photo

Myles C. Culbertson

More and more families and small businesses are recognizing an erosion of their values, economic principles and way of life because of the monster in the corner in the form of our national debt. It is a liability nurtured by our runaway federal government, and neither side of the aisle can boast much of a record of addressing it.

Among the most pernicious and costly threats to the wellbeing of families and small businesses is a federal government out of control. A few of the government’s unreasonably burdensome federal regulations, imposed over the recent decades, have been removed or reduced, but not yet to an appreciable extent, and there remain direct adverse impacts on working and enterprising Americans.

Although on something of a rebound, this country’s overall economy and prosperity remains vulnerable under the Damocles’ Sword of a direct national debt approaching $21 trillion at a rate of $20,000 per second, plus over $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities, all of which, sooner or later, is going to be called in.

Meanwhile, for decades, presidents have often “ruled” by executive fiat, courts have routinely “ruled” by judicial fiat, and Congress has consistently proven feckless at reining in the absconded powers of the other two branches, preferring to resort like addicts to their boundless spending habit that drives the country toward 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, 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, in 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.

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.

Twelve state legislatures have already passed resolutions calling for a convention, and proposed legislation is in play in nearly 30 other states to do the same. 

When 34 state legislatures have called for a convention under similar language to consider constitutional amendments that restrain unaccountable fiscal and regulatory abuse of power by the federal government, it will indeed take place. If amendments are actually proposed, all the states will have the opportunity to ratify or reject them. If 38 (three-fourths 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.

Legislation is expected in the 2019 New Mexico Legislature that can place New Mexico in the column of states protecting all their citizens by demanding federal accountability.  Between now and next year, New Mexicans have the opportunity to declare to their representatives and senators that it is time to take a stand, regardless of political affiliation or philosophy, and protect our working families from the specter of an all-consuming national debt and government over-reach.

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

In his varied career, Myles Culbertson has been engaged in agriculture, banking, international trade, border economic and technological development, regulation and law enforcement, and specialized projects for both industry and government. He is a former executive director of two state agencies, the N.M. Border Authority and the N.M. Livestock Board, and is presently the owner of Myles Culbertson Partners LLC, a business strategy firm. Agree with his opinion? Disagree? welcomes your views. Learn about submitting your own commentary here.

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