Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tea Party "Contract from America" Contradicts itself with Doublespeak

Further illustrating the Tea Party links to the right wing, following the Contract with America and The Ten Commandments, they have created the "Contract From America" to indicate their principles. Their 10 point contract includes the following:

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."

I realize protecting the Constitution is important, but our policymakers are just that... policymakers, which is why we have the Supreme Court, to make sure the policies are constitutional. I am not sure exactly what benefit comes from writing the constitutional clause in the bill considering the Supreme Court determines the constitutionality of bills already.

2. Reject Cap and 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."

While I believe Cap and Trade is a bad policy too, the way this lays out means that any bill that someone can randomly claim will impact these areas must be rejected by the party; nevermind that teabaggers don't believe global climate change exists which would stop any changes on environmental issues.

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."

Need I remind anyone that these are the same people who voted for Reagan's big deficit budgets and GW's tax cuts that took us from an annual surplus to deficits instead of paying off the $5 trillion in debt that existed at the time? Their track record isn't great in what they support.

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."

This is an example of the problem as they insist on a 2/3 vote to get a tax hike, and in the next step put forth a flat tax which would be a tax hike on 47% of American households who paid $0 in income taxes last year. Given the consistency of demographics between Americans and teabaggers in terms of economics, it is likely it would increase taxes on about the same number of teabaggers.

5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility and Constitutionally Limited Government: "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."

I guess this is a review of bills already passed and applying the first tenant to it, but anytime a politician appoints a taskforce or commission it is generally doublespeak for "give me your vote, I won't do much in the end but you won't be focused on it by then anyway."

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."

I just have to wonder how this provision would have worked out in World War II or under Reagan's "arms race" to win the Cold War. And if it is statutory, can't each Congress simply waive it?

7. Defund, Repeal, and 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."

Notice, while many of the teabaggers are on Medicare and Social Security, they only want to repeal "recently passed" health care, not their own government run health care plans. Conservative Scholar Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute pointed out the recently passed plan was actually made up of predominantly Republican health care plans of the past as laid out by the Heritage Foundation, Mitt Romney, and moderate Republicans in the 1990s. It actually creates a framework for competition, not government run health care.

8. Pass an "All of the Above" Energy Policy: "Authorized 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 creation competition and jobs."

I am not sure exactly what regulatory barriers there are considering Exxon made $34 billion in profits but only paid somewhere between $0 and $46 million in federal income taxes or less than half of one percent. It seems that energy corporations are already given excessive breaks. Maybe it is time to realize that necessity is the mother of invention and as prices rise, a necessity to adapt to new forms of energy like fourth generation nuclear power and microgeneration will move America to lead the world in energy technology instead of relying on 19th century technologies. And yes, that will require government help, just as oil gets government help to avoid their taxes and write off their development.

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."

Remember, the Democrats cut "pork" by 15% last year alone but Republicans have led the way to keep it (as have some Democrats) but that is really a small portion of the budget compared to its totality. It is like foreign aid, under $20 billion out of a $3.5 trillion dollar budget. It is like shooting at the guys who clean the toilets in war as a strategy to win a war, it ignores the real problems.

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

In other words, make the Bush Tax Cuts that gave us these deficits permanent. But at the same time, create a flat tax (which would be a tax increase for 47% of Americans). It is as if someone tossed darts at ideas on a wall and came up with this list, even if its own items contradict each other.

Next time you decide to put together a list of your core ideas, make sure they actually make sense together.

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