LIMA — With the U.S. government facing a current outstanding debt of over $18 trillion, former Allen County state representative Matt Huffman believes that now is the time for the country to learn to live within its means.
At the Allen County Republican Party luncheon Friday at the Lima Elks Club, Huffman outlined his efforts to create a convention of the states to enact a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“A convention is one of the ways we can amend the U.S. Constitution, by having states get together and say how it should be amended,” he said. “But you have to have 34 out of the 50 states, or two thirds, call for that.”
Currently, 24 states have called for a convention, and efforts are continuing to reach out to the others, including Ohio Gov. John Kasich touring states to support the amendment. These efforts have never been needed more, according to Huffman.
“The situation is more desperate than most of the public knows, and until the Social Security checks stop coming, I don’t know that we’ll truly get the attention of the public,” he said.
Having the states enact this amendment is the ideal choice, with legislators in Washington focused on funding programs that benefit their constituents.
“Their incentive is every two years to do what is best for their local folks, not to solve a long-term debt problem,” he said. “That’s why a separate group, the states, need to step in.”
Allen County Republican Party Chairman Keith Cheney echoed Huffman’s sentiments, noting that America has not had a balanced budget in almost 20 years.
“If any individuals operated their home like that, they wouldn’t be able to put food on their table,” he said.
Huffman recognizes that cutting back spending would have an impact on programs used by many Americans, but that is the sacrifice needed to get the nation’s fiscal house in order.
“If this problem doesn’t get solved, there won’t be anything left for anybody,” he said. “It’s like anything else where you’re going to have to do without some things when you’ve overspent.”