Monday, April 19, 2010

The Contract from America

The Tea Party issued its “Contract from America” on April 15 (Tax Day! Very appropriate). Here are the 10 Items with commentary and position.

1. Protect the Constitution
Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does.

And who decides if they’re right? This provision, while well meaning, simply highlights the naiveté of the movement. This doesn’t change anything beyond adding a “…based upon Article X of the U.S. Constitution the following law…” etc, etc, ad infinitum.

The intent is good, but the proposed solution is worthless. - OPPOSED

2. Reject Cap & Trade
Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation’s global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures.

This assumes Global Warming is a myth and accepts, with no evidence, the assertion that Cap & Trade will have significant negative economic impacts without any positive environmental impacts. They said the same thing about Air Pollution regulations way back when. It was bullshit then and its bullshit now. - OPPOSED

3. Demand a Balanced Budget
Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike.

This is utterly ridiculous. You will NEVER get this done. We can’t wait and I don’t think a two-thirds majority for a tax increase makes any sense. I agree we need a balanced budget but this isn't going to get you there. - OPPOSED

4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words—the length of the original Constitution.

The idea of a Tax Code less than 4,543 words is utterly ridiculous and naïve. Yes the Constitution is only 4,543 words long but consider the thousands upon thousands of pages of court decisions interpreting what the Constitution MEANS.

Tax reform is an excellent idea. I think the income tax needs to be replaced by some sort of consumption or goods and services tax but limiting the reform to 4,543 words is idiotic – OPPOSED

5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington
Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities, or ripe for wholesale reform or elimination due to our efforts to restore limited government consistent with the US Constitution’s meaning.

And who chooses this Blue Ribbon task force and who decides whether or not to accept its recommendations? I don’t have a problem with doing the study, but it’s unclear where this leads. Still, the audit makes a lot of sense. Didn’t I say a while back that something like this was needed? – In Favor

6. End Runaway Government Spending
Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth.

Lots of luck in getting agreement on the formula. This is another naïve statement. If you have a congress that wants to exceed the limit, they can simply change the statutory cap like they keep changing the debt limit.

Again, the intent is noble, but the proposed solution is useless. - OPPOSED

7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling a competitive, open, and transparent free-market health care and health insurance system that isn’t restricted by state boundaries.

This is a really bad idea. I like eliminating the state boundary restrictions but other than that this is really dumb. To rein in the budget deficit you have to get Health Care costs under control and Health Care Reform was the first step. Also, let's not forget those 32 million uninsured Americans who are (1) not getting proper health care and (2) driving the cost of it up for all the rest of us who have to foot the bill when they get sick or injured.

This is by far the dumbest idea in the contract - OPPOSED

8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy
Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs.

What proven energy reserves? These folks seem to believe the nonsense that the U.S. has vast untapped energy resources which just flat out isn’t true.

Nor am I willing to give the oil companies a “do whatever you want” blank check. Some energy sources have severe negative consequences and I’m not about to deregulate the industry.

It’s also highly unlikely that this will generate competition and jobs. It’s more likely to stifle competition and eliminate jobs because it will continue to allow the entrenched oil companies to control the market and they have zero incentive to develop alternative sources. - OPPOSED

9. Stop the Pork
Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark.

Oh I like this idea. Let’s also add that earmarks need to be separate pieces of legislation and can’t be riders. – In Favor

10. Stop the Tax Hikes
Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011.

This is just pure ignorance, naiveté and stupidity. If we’re going to get the budget deficit under control some tax increases are going to be necessary and rolling back the idiotic tax cuts of the Bush Administration is a damn good place to start.

Besides, "Permanently" can only mean until another congress decides to put them back. This is another example of ignorance.– OPPOSED

So, in the final analysis, I can only support two out of the ten but I do sympathize with the intent on four other items I just think the proposed approach is useless.

It’s really a shame that for so much noise there was so little useful output.

I thought at one time this movement might evolve into something useful but after seeing this, it's clearly composed of ignorant assholes that don't have a clue and given the chance would just make things worse. I really don't believe that 37% college graduates number. What college? Liberty University?

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