Mike Kueber's Blog

September 27, 2010

The Republican legislators’ Pledge to America

Filed under: Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 2:41 pm
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I previously expressed my disappointment with the Tea Party’s Contract from America in a blog entry – https://mkueber001.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/the-tea-party-and-a-contract-from-america/.  I was especially disappointed with its focus on constitutional arguments because I think constitutional arguments should be presented to the courts, not to the voters.  But the Contract from America was generated by voters, so what could I expect.  

Last week, Republican legislators in Washington attempted to fine-tune the Contract by developing a Pledge to America with philosophically similar provisions that are more amenable to legislative action in Washington.  Although the legislator’s Pledge is more sophisticated than the Tea Party’s Contract, it has been criticized for containing nothing new.

The Pledge comprises four sections:

  1. Jobs
  • Stop job-killing tax hikes
  • Allow small businesses to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income
  • Require congressional approval for any new federal regulation that would add to the deficit
  • Repeal small business mandates in the new health care law

     2.  Cutting spending

  • Repeal and Replace health care
  • Roll back non-discretionary spending to 2008 levels before TARP and stimulus (will save $100 billion in first year alone)
  • Establish strict budget caps to limit federal spending going forward
  • Cancel all future TARP payments and reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

     3.  Reforming Congress

  • Will require that every bill have a citation of constitutional authority
  • Give members at least 3 days to read bills before a vote

     4.  Defense

  • Provide resources to troops
  • Fund missile defense
  • Enforce sanctions in Iran

To summarize – after repealing ObamaCare and cancelling the TARP, the Republican legislators are pledging to cut taxes, cut domestic spending, and increase defense spending.  That sounds like Reagan all over again.  But Reagan took office at a time when taxes were much higher and our national defenses were much weaker.  Today, our taxes are already much lower, our defenses are much stronger, and the USSR doesn’t exist.  Applying the Reagan playbook to a different situation is dumb. 

Even dumber is the reiteration of the nonsensical Tea Party plank that requires each bill to cite its constitutional authority.  Does any legislator seriously claim to not know the constitutional authority for a bill?  Or to need three days to read the bill before a vote?

The biggest flaw with the Pledge is its failure to say anything new or creative, which is what many people are demanding.  A few days ago, when I wrote about Kevin Brown’s three-pronged conservatism of a balanced budget, a national sales tax, and term limits, I suggested that the 2nd and 3rd items – the national sales tax and term limits – were  risky, but the voters wanted to take a chance.  https://mkueber001.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/a-three-pronged-conservatism-balanced-budget-national-sales-tax-and-term-limits/.  Well, the Republican legislators have meekly declined to take a chance.  Although they give lip service to fiscal restraint needed to balance the budget, they actually implicitly ensure Reaganesque deficits by cutting taxes and increasing defense spending. 

The Pledge totally ignores a national sales tax or any significant tax reform.  At least the Tea Party’s Contract addressed this issue by nonsensically asking for a tax code no longer than the U.S. Constitution. 

And finally, the Pledge said nothing about term limits.  At least the Tea Party could explain that term limits was 11th highest in its voting for favorite provisions and only the top-ten provisions were included in its Contract.

Based on my understanding of the Republican legislators’ Pledge, I think that Americans have an excellent understanding of the November election – i.e., they have no confidence in the ability of the Republicans, but they know that they want the Democrats out of power.

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