Tea party hilarity: Randy Barnett promotes Constitutional Convention to repeal federal income tax
The leaders of the tea parties are more hilarious - and incapable of doing math - than ever, as Randy Barnett takes to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to offer "The Case for a Federalism Amendment/How the Tea Partiers can make Washington pay attention" (link). He proposes a feint involving a Constitutional Convention which would then encourage Congress to do away with the federal income tax:
Article V provides that, "on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states," Congress "shall call a convention for proposing amendments." Before becoming law, any amendments produced by such a convention would then need to be ratified by three-quarters of the states... it is precisely the fear of a runaway convention that states can exploit to bring Congress to heel... Here's how: State legislatures can petition Congress for a convention to propose a specific amendment. Congress can then avert a convention by proposing this amendment to the states, before the number of petitions reaches two-thirds...
The short version of my reply was offered by Monty Python forty years ago: link.
The longer version involves someone sitting down with Barnett to repeat to him over and over: "you don't have the numbers." That same kind, patient person can explain to him that his plan requires a huge amount of support, yet all the tea parties could muster was around 0.2% of the U.S. population. By my count, there are less than 30 red states. He wouldn't get all of those and he almost certainly wouldn't get any blue states. Yet, he'd need 34 states just to get it called and 38 to get anything from it ratified. His feint has absolutely no chance of being taken seriously; all he'd do is waste peoples' time.
In other words, this is in no way, shape or form a realistic plan. Barnett subtitles this a "how" article, but it's more like a "how they could do it in a fantasy world where basic numerical realities no longer apply". He is, in brief, living in a dream world.
On the plus side, he's showing yet again just how clueless those who support the tea parties are.