Free Markets, Free People

GOP ginning up new Contract With America?

That’s the word in “Washington Whispers”:

With public and internal polls showing the likelihood of a huge Republican voter swing in the fall, party officials are now testing the need for and the issues that would be included in an election agenda like the 1994 Contract With America.

One of the key findings by party officials quizzing the public so far: Voters would like a list of changes the Republicans would bring if installed as the majority in the House or Senate or both. “There would be a market” for a new contract, says a top official.

The issues and themes will include cutting the deficit, the size of the government, limiting spending, and boosting liberty and the military.  They’re apparently looking outside DC for some ideas (wow … there’s a novel idea). 

Here’s your chance … any suggestions?



26 Responses to GOP ginning up new Contract With America?

  • While I like the idea of listing what they will work for I see a new contract as a loser unless your party has the Presidency. They don’t need both houses, just one, but if things are not signed into law then they are worthless.

  • No more deficits! Let’s start living in our means!
    Decreased revenues-Cut & lay-off governement workers. Just like the private sector!
    Reduce federal employees wages – They are 30% higher than the private sector
    Reduce federal employees benefits
    Nobody in the private sector gets a pension-Eliminate theirs
    16 Holidays-Private sector gets 8 days
    30 vacation days-Cut to 2 weeks for 1st 7 years and cap at 15 days
    The recession resulted in lost jobs and pay cuts-Why haven’t govt. employees gotten pay cuts?

    In short, Government employees should have the same wages and benefits as the private sector.

    China-We are in an economic war with them. Time to realize this fact. No more trade with them until they stop pegging and manipulating their currency, subsidizing their industries, and they start enforcing patent and trademarks.

    Middle East – Start using their oil revenues to pay for our military presence and aid. No more money for them!

    Healthcare- No to the current plan.
    I am for healthcare reform but not this bill. The upper Midwest medical systems are more efficient than other states. Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota are in the top 5 best states for best healthcare. But we receive the 3 lowest amounts for reimbursement from the Feds for Medicaid/Medicare based on formulas from 1965. Hey that was 50 years ago and times have changed.

    I am tired of subsidizing areas of this country that DON’T pull their weight. The bill needs to be restructured so that the other states get the same amount that the upper Midwest states get. This will lower the cost of the bill and force these states to become efficient.

    Energy – This is national security issue and not an enviornmnetal issue. WE need a national energy program- Too much american money goes to our enemies in the middle east and other dictators. This money is used to arm countries that hate us. We need to adopt a variety of solutions – Pickens Plan, Wind & Solar, Natural Gas, Energy efficiency, Fuel efficient cars, Coal, Public transportation, etc.
    Why not develop a team similar to the Manhatten project to develop fission/fusion? We can do IT!

    Economy – Make the playing field level for foreign trade. Tariffs, foreign govt subsides, harrasment when US products are sent overseas, American ownership in foreign countries, etc. Enough negoiating: Failure to comply – NO trade with them. Level the playing field! WE are tired of losing jobs.

    No more special priviledges – On welfare – Go to college for free? Mom is a single mother – Go to college for free? You are a minority or some other class of people that had hardships in the past- Go to college for free. Some one else always has to pay more for these freebies-Basically a hidden tax. It’s time to go to a merit system! Everyone has to compete equally without special rights or priviledges.


  • McQAny suggestions?

    Oh, yeah…

    — An unequivocal statement of support for our Constitution, our traditions of liberty, the rule of law, the free market economy, individual responsibility and achievement, and American exceptionalism.

    — An unequivocal statement that the government exists to serve the people, uphold the rule of law, and protect our nation from foreign aggression, not to order or structure their lives or turn them into wards of the state.  To this end, our Constitution limits the powers of the federal government to limit its potential for corruption and abuse.  The pledge should explicitly state that the “general welfare” clause of the Constitution does not give the government power to appropriate or spend funds for the benefit of any individual American or group of individual Americans.

    — A pledge and plan to rebuild our military and intelligence forces not only to defeat al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations but also any other threat or potential threat to our national interests.  This will include explicit statements that we will have the best military force in the world; that we will provide the finest training and equipment to our military and intelligence forces; and that America will accept nothing short of victory in war. 

    — A pledge and plan to reduce the size and intrusiveness of the federal government by eliminating departments, agencies, laws, regulations and programs that have no explicit basis in the powers enumerated in Constitution.

    — A pledge and a plan to eliminate federal budget deficits and eliminate our national debt by 2050, by constitutional amendment if necessary.

    — A pledge and a plan to simplify the legislative process by eliminating “omnibus” bills and generally reducing the size and scope of any bill by requiring that all legislation be read in full and in a single sitting of the Congress prior to voting.  All members of Congress will be required to be present in the chamber during the entire reading unless excused for illness.

    — A pledge and a plan to require all members of Congress to vote “yea” or “nay” on all pieces of legislation unless excused from voting due to illness.

    —  A pledge and a plan to enhance the transparency of the government by requiring that all bills under consideration by the Congress be available in writing and in searchable electronic form for one full week prior to voting except in cases of national emergency.

    — A pledge and plan to enact laws strengthening penalties for corruption on the part of federal elected officials and a transfer of the investigation of charges of corruption or other malfeasance from congressional committees to the Department of Justice.  This will include an explicit statement that corruption is an individual crime that will be punished under the rule of law, not a collective problem that will be “eliminated” by trampling or limiting or regulating the rights of the American people.

    — A pledge and plan to reduce taxes and simplify the tax code, eliminating the brackets, credits, and other devices that allow increasing numbers of people to avoid paying federal income taxes.  This pledge will include a promise that any new taxes, including tax increases, rate increases, penalties, fines, or other devices to raise money for the federal government must be approved by 2/3 majorities of both houses of Congress and approval by the president.

    — A pledge and plan to reduce the federal government’s role in the health care system and the economy in general to eliminate its ability to distort the market or allow politicians to favor or punish various people and groups.

    — A pledge and a plan to eliminate the federal government’s role in labor relations to one of enforcing interstate contracts or providing arbitrators WHEN ASKED BY BOTH PARTIES in a labor dispute.  

    — A pledge and plan to enact laws regarding the capture, interrogation, prosecution and punishment of terrorist suspects and other unlawful combatants.  This plan should include and explicit statement that foreigners committing acts of war / terrorism against the United States are NOT to be considered common criminals entitled to constitutional protections.

    — A pledge and plan to eliminate the federal government’s ability to interfere with the First Amendment right to free speech by interference or regulation of broadcast media, the internet, or any other means of communication.

    — A pledge and plan to eliminate special perks given to members of Congress, including elimination of special Congressional retirement plans and medical benefits.  Members of Congress shall be responsible for providing for their own health care and retirement.

    The devil will be in the details, of course, but if the Congress can do these things AND WE MAKE SURE THAT THEY DO, then I think it’ll make a very good start toward getting our country back on the track our Founding Fathers intended.

    • one full week prior to voting
      I think that is a bit extreme, how about …
      available 48 hours, except one week for cases of anything affecting more than $100 billion of taxes or commerce over the life of the bill.

      • I don’t think it’s extreme to post bills a week prior to voting.  How often does it come up that the Congress really need to vote RIGHT NOW without a moment to lose?  Granted, very few Americans will actually read any bill unless they are total policy whonks or else suffer from insomnia, but posting the bills with a lengthy review period would hopefully discourage the Congress larding them up, cutting backroom deals, and especially ramming things through.

        • Maybe, we should not wait a week for Declarations of War?
          Oh, right, we don’t do those anymore, never mind.

  • I have one too.  How about the Republicans make a pledge to stick to the new contract even after the warm flush of power and those taxpayer billions go to their heads.

  • Mitch Daniels in 2012.  Conservative, pragmatic not dogmatic, and experienced.

  • “One of the key findings by party officials quizzing the public so far: Voters would like a list of changes the Republicans would bring if installed as the majority in the House or Senate or both. “There would be a market” for a new contract, says a top official”

    No Sh**, Sherlock!
    About dam time those $#^*^ morons actually stated reading all those surveys they have been sending out.
    Some of us have been advocating this for years.  It certainly worked well in 1994, but I have no doubt that those clowns will find some way to screw it up.

    • Perhaps we should have some member of Congress cut off a finger each time they go back on a promise.
      A fingerless politician .. now that has real appeal.

  • We can come up with a nice list of things, but I’m skeptical that it will do any good. No such items will be enacted without boldness and the completely willingness to face up to Obama and tell him he gets nothing – nothing at all – until he gives some ground on those items. I don’t think the current GOP, even with some new blood, is up to the boldness required.

    Obama may not be much like George Bush in most respects, but he is stubborn, especially about his religious faith, i.e., collectivism. So he’ll fight until and maybe beyond the point where his re-election is in serious jeopardy. I don’t think he will bend the way Clinton did and actually do something productive like welfare reform.

    The result is an impasse, where nothing much gets done. Establishment Republicans will be scared to death of such a result, because those meanies at the New York Times and the Washington Post will do their darndest to blame it all on the Republicans. Newt Gingrich will tell them how he got screwed by the media, and counsel them to be more flexible. Bill Frist will explain to those fire-breathing new representatives that he was once like them but he had to bend to reality, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

    I personally don’t believe those arguments should carry much weight. The media landscape is vastly different from 1994, and mistrust of government has grown dramatically. I think Republicans would be rewarded in 2012 for standing firm. But they certainly won’t be hearing that from lobbyists, the media, grand old men of the party, or their own political consultants.

    Of course, that group comprises the same people who encouraged Bush the Elder to go back on his “Read my lips” pledge, and got us George Bush the Younger’s Compassionate Conservatism (which is very hard to distinguish from Compassionate Collectivism, at least for me). That group is determined to ignore that the biggest successes for the Republicans in the last fifty years are when they unabashedly stand up for limited government. Reagan did it best and was re-elected in a landslide.

    Though it’s impossible for blithering idiot political science professors cosseted in faculty lounges to see, there is a critical mass of people in the United States who are ready for a signicant change. If the GOP has the courage to effect that change, they will come out in control for a long time. If they don’t, we’ll be back to effective one-party-with-two-factions rule, we’ll continue to see expansion of government and even worse expansion of debt, and the next debt crisis will be far worse than 2008.

    • I think what Republicans ought to do is say that if they get majorities in the House and (longer shot) the Senate, they will produce clean legislation that’s designed to be difficult for Democrats to counter, publicize it, and dare the Democrats to keep striking it down.  Take the legislative initiative and don’t let up.  Best of all, force Obama himself to veto legislation.  Make the Democrats swallow their Party of No shtick.

      Republicans can dismantle the Democratic brand and harness Tea Party support (or not get burned by it) by adopting a broad strategy of proposing good-government legislation and market reforms that help the “disadvantaged” first, neither of which the Dems can counter without embarrassing themselves.

      Two years of disciplined, methodical strategy of pushing these proposals, over and over again, will break the Dems down:

      All manner of budget and transparency reforms:

      • Line-item budgeting
      • Requiring all legislation to cite the part of the Constitution giving them the power to pass it
      • Not going anywhere near pork/earmarks, and making the earmark process more transparent
      • Simplifying the tax code — get rid of tax credits, targeted tax cuts, obscure provisions/loopholes in exchange for revenue-neutral cuts in broader rates
      • Publishing bills in machine-readable form (text!  HTML! with links to the previous legislation being altered) well before passing them.  The delay should be longer for bills that are longer and/or modify older legislation.
      • Open meetings: any meeting that doesn’t compromise national security should be video-broadcast to TV and/or web.  Independent body determines what meetings or parts of meetings are too security-sensitive for public.
      • Automatic sunsetting of legislation/regulation unless it is re-passed.  Perhaps every 4 years.
      • I also like the idea of regular Question Time

      Simple fiscal conservatism (spending cuts far preferable to tax cuts)

      • Automatic cuts if there’s a deficit
      • Spend all the time they care to spend on the ridiculous waste, fraud, and abuse stuff.  Even if only to show how little potential for savings there is.
      • Progressively push back the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare, i.e., the youngest people have the eligibility age pushed back the most.  Encourage people to hold off on benefits longer with bigger rewards for those who wait.  Index benefit increases to prices, not income.
      • Any bill that increases the deficit, at this point, should come with an ironclad promise to cut spending or raise taxes when the economy is growing again (say, two or three consecutive quarters of growth over 2%) to pay back our creditors

      Energy proposals: not subsidizing green jobs or “alternative energy” — promote enterprise/markets, not specific businesses

      • I still think trading a broad-based carbon tax for at least one side of the payroll tax would be terrifically difficult for the Dems to counter, and would move us substantially in the direction of a consumption tax
      • As part of the exchange for a carbon tax, which benefits the competitiveness of “greener” energy, perhaps we can cut subsidies to solar, ethanol and other technologies, get offshore drilling passed, and remove regulatory barriers to nuclear energy

      School choice pilot programs, everywhere they can push it.  Unroll it so that Dems have maximum trouble opposing the pilot programs, then expand them:

      • Restore the DC voucher program first.  Cutting the DC voucher program was embarrassing for Dems.
      • Then incentivize programs for “disadvantaged” students all over the place — e.g., public schools only get DoE money if the district provides vouchers for disadvantaged kids up to the variable cost of a student. 
      • Easiest to start in cities, helping dropouts, poor kids, minorities (particularly blacks — the literature I’ve seen shows that their performance improves the most from voucher programs), special needs students, kids with a history of disciplinary problems and kids who score in the lower half of the test-score distribution.  Why not foster kids and adoptees too.  Get everyone that Dems treat as a victim or use as an excuse for why public schools perform worse, and show that private schools can do better with them.  Make the market as big as possible.
      • I say “variable cost” because that allows public schools to lower class sizes without losing infrastructure.  Dems push for more funds ostensibly to cut class sizes, thereby to improve performance.  So their only arguments against this program are bound to be embarrassing and/or complex.

      Push free-market health care reform in a shotgun blast of small packages, so Democrats have to reject every idea by itself:

      • tort reform (loser-pays?)
      • a bill mandating equal tax rates for employer and individual health insurance
      • removing any other federal roadblocks to health-status insurance and interstate competition
      • stop favoring the industrial-model hospitals over smaller clinics (with subsidies and regulation)

      Symbolic stuff: making federal employees (including Congress) get less special treatment

      • e.g., when economy shrinks, federal employees get accordingly lower pay and benefits

      Judicial rollback: Only voting for judges who are willing to overturn precedent that contradicts the Constitution.

      The transparency/budget reforms are designed to constrain the government from doing the kinds of things that favor Democrats and big spenders.  The other things are designed to force the Democrats off their game with proposals that they’re not well-positioned to oppose.

      • Mind you, I’d love for a significant bloc of Republicans to be more bold about restricting government to its constitutional bounds.  That’s good stuff, and they can bring bigger ideas to the table.

        But the above items are positive proposals for all Republicans to embrace to seize the initiative from Dems (who will still have the White House as well as significant numbers in Congress) and get the ball moving in our direction again, and still make the electoral gains necessary to win even bigger in 2012.

      • “Two years of disciplined, methodical strategy”


        • I use “disciplined” and “methodical” in the context of Congress.  Obviously I don’t mean anything like military discipline: just basic smart whipping from people who want to cement bigger gains in 2012.

  • Outlaw mandates to state and local governments .. better yet .. outlaw all mandates.

    • Or require the POTUS sacrifice his/her first-born (or runner up) on the steps of Congress each time they create a mandate.

  • Term limits… no one should be in Washington, with the same job, for more than around a decade.

  • What a daunting task.

    Offer a few insignificant gestures this time and you just sink back into meaninglessnes, at best maintaining the Democrats’ social democracy plantation until they take over again.

    Really lay it out, with blockbuster reforms that actually turn the Titanic around with the hope of getting her somehow, against any reasonable odds, back into the port of limited government and you embark on a journey that would make the travails of Jason and the Argonauts seem trivial.

    You have no leaders who can even think like that, let alone talk like that. It takes the capacity to end the “through a glass darkly” view that Americans have come to have of America, with all the complications of upside down values and generations, as Billy Beck puts it, raised at the lip of the cannibal pot.

    And then there’s the big obstacle: the other side. It takes at least two to have a civil war, hot or cold. It almost seems the better opportunity to stay out of power until the thing collapses, but that itself is an evanescent theme, because by then the middle class will be left scratching at the ruins for survival.

    Reagan came 20 years late. Maybe if he had been able to end the entitlement state after 1960. But even by then Americans had settled in with it.

    Now we’re here, with these insane people: Obama, Pelosi, Reid, this reprehensible thug Schumer, the grey eminences in the backround — Soros and that crowd.

    Really, the barbarians are inside the gate, and they are working unseemly political sodomy on the Republic. But we did not get here overnight. This has been a long process. This crew just took the tarp off of the foundation and started to finish the plantation house.

  • Whatever you do, make sure that Obama gets blamed when he vetoes it. Then toss him out in 2012.
    1) Economy – Create Jobs
    2) Healthcare Reform – Fix the bill
    3) Smaller Government – Serious cutting
    Keep it simple.

  • Index Congressional and President/Vice-Presidential salaries to the GDP/national debt ratio.  You want to talk the accountability talk, time to walk the accountability walk.