Convention of states is one method of addressing government problems


The UVU chapter of Turning Point USA’s presentation held on March 6, in the Sorensen Center, encouraged students to get involved with the problem of the U.S. national debt by suggesting students use a convention of states, in an attempt to force the federal government to correct the growing issue.

Sarah Clark, Turning Point USA’s UVU chapter’s president and a political science sophomore, began the presentation with a clip from the television series Parks and Recreation. Clark then showed the U.S. national debt clock. According to, the national debt is nearing $21 trillion.

Clark used videos created by Prager University to explain the national debt, what causes it and what the implications are for coming generations.

Michael Tanner, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute, was the presenter in the first two videos. In the first video, Tanner provided a basic description of national debt and what it means. In the second video, he identified Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act as the biggest expenses for the United States.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Social Security accounted for 24 percent of the federal budget in 2016, and Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and health care marketplace subsidies accounted for 26 percent of the budget.

According to Tanner, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare have been receiving ever-increasing funding each year. He recommended cutting the funding increase and allowing the programs to operate with the level of funding that they currently receive.

Clark also mentioned that programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act are not entirely subject to the free market system and that those programs operate largely with government subsidy.

Jacob Johnson, a political science sophomore, spoke about President Trump’s announcement in which he said that the individual mandate within the ACA would be removed.

Johnson expressed concern that the change would only accomplish taking away a major funding mechanism for the ACA, without removing the entire ACA program that continues to consume tax dollars.

The second part of Clark’s presentation focused on how attendees can take action to address national debt and other issues.

In the third video presented, Jim DeMint, former U.S. Senator for South Carolina, cited Article 5 of the U.S. constitution and suggested that a convention of states would be the best way to address major problems in the government.

A convention of states would be initiated by a majority of states and would allow temporarily appointed state representatives to vote on legislation, such as an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, according to DeMint. DeMint also pointed out that the convention of states process would force the federal government to take action in way that it has not already done.

Along with the video, Clark encouraged attendees to get involved in the political process and to communicate with their elected officials about their opinions and concerns.

Clark’s presentation cautioned attendees that the national debt issue is one that will have to be addressed, and if it is not, a future generation will have to bear the burden.