Article V of the United States Constitution: “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof . ..”

The federal government is never going to solve its debt problem. It doesn’t even intend to. The hard-fought-for sequester that took effect in 2013 cut federal spending in that year by $85.3 billion. In that same year, the government still ran a $680 billion deficit. In 2014, we went another $483 billion into debt. In two years of alleged austerity, we accumulated a trillion dollars of new debt. Welcome to the new normal.

When it was signed into law in 2011, the argument against the sequester was that we didn’t want to make spending cuts in a weak economy. Last week, President Obama suggested we should ease the sequester in the coming year as, with the economy picking up, there is no need for such austerity. Congressional Republicans talk a lot about the need for spending cuts – except those that would affect their own districts. Round and round we go.

Fortunately, despite their fetish for knickers, our Founding Fathers were wise men. Don’t try to make their intent a point in a political conversation anymore, though. We’re far beyond that in our national dialogue. The people who don’t agree with what the Founders meant also don’t care what they meant, and the silent disinterested majority wince at a James Madison reference. In the Constitution, however, all such people were foreseen, and that was the real wisdom.

Our Constitution serves two main purposes: First to create a federal government and second to limit that federal government. At the time, the States, meaning the people and their local governments, were concerned about maintaining their own autonomy. The Tenth Amendment, leaving the States all powers not explicitly granted to the federal government, wasn’t a throw-in to make the Bill of Rights a nice round number. It was a demand without which the States, meaning the people, would not have consented to a federal government.

But the Tenth Amendment can be overridden by activist federal courts. That last sentence pretty much sums up the last 60 years of Supreme Court jurisprudence.

Article V is the final line of defense against what has happened and is happening. It allows the States, through their own legislatures, to call a national convention to amend the Constitution. If former Ohio Rep. Matt Huffman of Lima and his allies in our state’s government are successful, an Article V convention is on its way.

Huffman, who is now back in his private law practice after serving his allotted terms in the Ohio House, sponsored a successful initiative while in office for the Ohio General Assembly to call for a constitutional convention. The purpose behind the convention would be to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. Despite being term-limited off the Columbus scene for now, Huffman is still a lead sponsor of the project.

That initiative now has the support of 24 states. Two-thirds of the States, or 34, must call for a convention for it to be held. Ohio’s Governor John Kasich could be found in recent weeks touring some western states trying to drum up support. Once called, a convention can propose an amendment to the constitution and present it to all the states. If three-fourths, or 38 states, approve the amendment through their legislatures, then the Constitution is amended.

Although a convention of the states has never amended the constitution, Huffman is quick to point out that several times in the past, when momentum for a convention has gathered, Congress has been forced to take some initiative itself and get legislation accomplished. The income tax, the repeal of prohibition, and the direct election of Senators all were constitutional amendments that resulted in part by pressure from the possibility of an Article V convention.

States’ rights have hovered on the backburner of political debate for the last few decades. The doctrine took a moral shellacking when it was used to defend first slavery, and then Jim Crow. Everything good about state government and local control got thrown aside based on laws that intended to fix only these problems.

Now, the federal government is involved in most decisions in our lives, including how our children are educated and where we get health care. The only reason it doesn’t make every decision for us is that it hasn’t found a way to yet, but it’s looking. States, save California, have never made such presumptions.

The federal government is crippling its population for the following century with debt. The numbers are too big to seem real, which is kind of how they are successfully ignored in Washington. If we always had a balanced budget and suddenly came up a half trillion short one year, it would be a scandal. In your personal life, if you get a bill for a thousand dollars it’s painful because you can eventually pay it. If you get a bill for a million dollars, it’s a joke because you can’t.

Critics worry that such a convention could roll out of control in amending our fundamental document. With the requirement of the approval of three-quarters of States compared to the two-thirds of Congress, it’s hard to see how such shenanigans could develop.

As the idea gains steam, you’ll begin to hear criticism. Listen carefully. You will find the echoes of Washington politicians and lobbyists, both of whom only want the game to stay the same. If anyone saves us from these people, it will be the States.