Contract from America

Following Europe Will Lead To Collapse

In the Eurozone Spain is bracing for yet another round of painful austerity as a result of its unsustainable debt. These cuts will cripple entitlement programs that people built lives around, they will cause a spike in unemployment, and put the national security of its people at risk. This is the path big government takes you down; ballooning debt, then a crash where the bottom is not discernable.

Then why does this administration feel that the best way to fix our problems at home is to follow the same path that Europe has? Our budget deficit continues to balloon with no signs of stopping or slowing down. Historically when a nation’s debt reaches 90% as a share of GDP, economies will stagnate. Currently we are at 70% and will hit 90% in under 10 years.

This is unacceptable and can be avoided by adopting the Contract for America’s terms to pass a balanced budget amendment. This amendment will ensure spending does not accelerate at the rate it currently is and spending growth will be capped as a percentage of GDP.

Until this amendment is passed, politicians will continue to tax and spend faster and faster. When money is not coming physically out of their pockets they see no reason they can’t spend it. American government deficit spending needs to stop immediately.

$1,200 Per Family In New Taxes

On Wednesday the Associated Press reported that over 6 million uninsured people will get hit by a tax penalty as a result of Obamacare. This tax penalty works out to about an average of about $1,200 per family in 2016. Even more concerning is that this tax will hit mostly middle class households.

Obamacare is flawed legislation based on a flawed premise. Although it was well documented that the main complaint about health care was the cost and addressing the problem, the government instead got involved and created a massive federal entitlement program that is hurting those it should be helping.

Citizens all over the country have spoken out for the repeal of Obamacare by voting to include it as a main pillar of the Contract From America. Wednesday’s findings simply add more evidence to the core argument that Obamacare is financially unsustainable, does not address the main problem of private healthcare, and makes more people dependent of the government.

If we want to return to fiscal responsible governing we must repeal Obamacare and replace it with a plan that works and we can afford so our children don’t spend their whole lives paying for it.

NYT: The Tea Party Plans Its Own Debt Panel

By Kate Zernike

While the Tea Party movement has led the charge for cutting the national debt, its supporters have often struggled to explain how, exactly, they would do so.

Now some are out to change that, joining a Tea Party Debt Commission that plans to hold hearings over the summer, in the hopes of delivering recommendations to lawmakers by January.

The commission is being organized by FreedomWorks, the libertarian advocacy group that helped grow the Tea Party movement and mobilize it for the midterm elections. And its recommendations are likely to line up with the goals of that group, which in turn tend to reflect those of libertarian organizations like the Cato Institute. (FreedomWorks’ motto is Lower Taxes, Less Government, More Freedom, and it has worked against environmental regulations and for increased privatization of health care.)

“If you look if you look at the landscape in Washington, D.C., there’s a lot of Democrats who control two-thirds of the process who are now sitting on their hands, waiting to point fingers at Republicans who propose something, and there’s too many Republicans who are afraid that the public won’t understand a serious proposal to solve the budget deficit,” said Matt Kibbe, the group’s president.

“We think, like with the first days of the Tea Party movement, that the only way we will ever reduce the debt and balance the budget is if America beats Washington and Tea Party activists take over this process, take over the public debate and engage the American people in the hard work of making tough choices.”

FreedomWorks held training for about 150 activists from 30 states at its headquarters in Washington over the weekend, with sessions dedicated to educating them about the budget proposals by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, both Republicans who strongly embrace libertarian economic principles.

The activists, along with FreedomWorks staff, came up with parameters for their budget proposals, declaring that they would have to balance the federal budget within 10 years, reduce federal spending to 18 percent of the gross domestic product, reduce the national debt to no more than 66 percent of the G.D.P., assume that revenue accounts for no more than 19 percent of the G.D.P., reduce federal spending by at least $300 billion in the first year and reduce federal spending by at least $9 trillion over 10 years.

All this is a tall order; for example, the debt now equals nearly 100 percent of the gross domestic product. And with its limits on revenue — and the politics behind those limits — it is unlikely that the Tea Party commission will allow anything that looks like a tax increase.

The commission, to be formally announced Monday, is intended as a rebuke to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform that President Obama named, which delivered its recommendations last year. Those recommendations were met with generally negative reviews from both parties, who were unwilling to make the sacrifices that were called for. But the Tea Party commission is modeled after President Obama’s, in one way — it, too, will have 18 members (though this one is unlikely to be bipartisan, as the president’s was).

The members will be chosen from 18 swing states, and will hold hearings in those states over the summer, Mr. Kibbe said.

Continue reading at the New York Times

U.S. Senate Candidate, George Allen (R-VA), Signs Contract from America

The Contract from America Foundation announced today that U.S. Senate candidate George Allen (R-VA) has joined over 70 currently elected Senators and Congressmen nationwide by listening to the wishes of his constituents and signing the “Contract from America,” a Main Street, tea party-driven legislative blueprint for 2011 and beyond. He is the first to do so in Virginia for the 2012 election cycle.

Ryan Hecker, one of the organizers of the Contract from America, elaborated: “George Allen, by signing the Contract from America, has shown himself to be a true champion of Main Street and tea party values. He has illustrated that, if elected, he will listen to his constituents and be a true grassroots conservative leader in the Senate. We are especially glad that George is the first candidate in Virginia to sign the Contract in the 2012 cycle.”

In signing this bottom-up call for economic conservative and good governance reform, George Allen stated:

“Virginians are anxious about the struggling economy, out-of-control spending, and growing debt that is threatening to rob our children of the opportunities we had. Rather than the dictates, mandates and tax hikes coming out of Washington we need a pro-growth agenda based on our foundational principles of freedom, personal responsibility and opportunity for all. In the U.S. Senate I pledge to protect and build upon the basic principles of the Contract from America – individual liberty, limited government and economic freedom.”

Visit Mr. Allen’s campaign website: www.georgeallen.com

HUMAN EVENTS: Adam Hasner Signs the Contract From America

By John Hayward

Adam Hasner, one of the candidates striving to join Marco Rubio as a United States senator from Florida, signed the “Contract From America” today. This is a sequel of sorts to the “Contract With America,” a package of policies and principles that helped Republicans nationalize congressional elections back in 1994. Hasner is the first of the Florida Senate candidates to sign it.

“I’m proud to sign the Contract from America without hesitation,” said Hasner in a press release. “The foundational values represented in the Contract are the same pillars of liberty, economic freedom, and limited government that are the foundation of our campaign in Florida. With America facing generational challenges on spending, the debt, and entitlement reforms, values like the ones contained within the Contract are needed now more than ever.”

The importance of a document like the Contract From America extends beyond elevating a House or Senate race into a part of the national narrative. It is a sign of big-picture thinking, attractive to voters who want some idea of a candidate’s core principles, and his grand strategy for addressing the challenges facing the nation. Detailed policy should flow from big ideas.

“The purpose of our government,” the Contract declares, “is to exercise only those limited powers that have been relinquished to it by the people, chief among these being the protection of our liberties by administering justice and ensuring our safety from threats arising inside or outside our country’s sovereign borders. When our government ventures beyond these functions and attempts to increase its power over the marketplace and the economic decisions of individuals, our liberties are diminished and the probability of corruption, internal strife, economic depression, and poverty increases.”

Continue reading at Human Events

The Contract from America

We, the citizens of the United States of America, call upon those seeking to represent us in public office to sign the Contract from America and by doing so commit to support each of its agenda items and advocate on behalf of individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.

  1. Protect the Constitution
  2. Reject Cap & Trade
  3. Demand a Balanced Budget
  4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
  5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government
  6. End Runaway Government Spending
  7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
  8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy
  9. Stop the Pork
  10. Stop the Tax Hikes

——————–

Click here for the full text version.

Trade Deals Unite Left and Right in Opposition

By Ambreen Ali, Roll Call Staff

Some tea party organizations have been quietly trading notes with left-leaning advocacy groups as both sides work to derail a series of upcoming free-trade agreements.

Together, they hope to deliver what one opponent of the deals described as a “one-two punch” to proposed trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. As liberal groups and labor unions lobby Democrats, tea party members have been calling the Republican freshmen they helped elect.

Some tea party groups have a protectionist slant, opposing pacts that might increase competition faced by U.S. producers, but other groups oppose trade deals because they oppose “big government.” For this faction, free trade should simply be freedom to trade with anyone, instead of a detailed treaty written by governments.

Those concerns differ from labor rights issues and offshoring concerns raised by labor unions and liberals, but Public Citizen’s Lori Wallach said many of the arguments are “different sides of the same issue.”

“I’ve certainly talked to them. We’re not working with them, but I have called them at different times to ask how it’s going,” said Wallach, who is director of the left-leaning group’s Global Trade Watch.

The alliance is less surprising when viewed in light of a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll from last fall that found a majority of Americans believe free-trade agreements have hurt the U.S. In that poll, 90 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of Democrats agreed that outsourcing is a reason the domestic economy is struggling and people are not being hired.

Coordination between liberal and conservative advocates could be the opposition’s best hope to overcome a strong bloc of support for the trade agreements. Top Republican leaders including Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) have urged the president to deliver these deals, and the White House strongly favors the deals.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers and Heritage Action — the advocacy wing of the conservative Heritage Foundation — are all pushing for passage.

Even FreedomWorks, which works closely with the tea party movement, has argued, “Protectionism only robs Americans of their income and their freedom of choice. The cost of trade tariffs are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.”

Some tea party members agree. Ryan Hecker — who helped devise the tea party’s policy platform, dubbed the Contract From America — said he is “100 percent for free trade and for anything that opens up trade barriers.”

Continue reading at Roll Call

CASE STUDY: Tea Time in America?

Christopher F. Karpowitz, Brigham Young University
J. Quin Monson, Brigham Young University
Kelly D. Patterson, Brigham Young University
Jeremy C. Pope, Brigham Young University

The Impact of the Tea Party Movement on the 2010 Midterm Elections
Given the extensive media attention that Tea Party rallies and other aspects of the movement have received, a key question is: How have Tea Party efforts translated into votes? Specifically, in the 2010 midterm elections, did a Tea Party endorsement lead to an increase in vote share for Republican candidates?1 One of the challenges of studying this movement is that by philosophy and design, it lacks a central leadership structure that coordinates nationwide efforts. Instead, the Tea Party is a far-flung patchwork of organizations, some local and some national, with a related set of issue concerns and positions. Some of these organizations—the Tea Party Patriots, the Campaign for Liberty, or Glenn Beck’s 9/12 Project, for example—choose not to endorse candidates. Other Tea Party–affiliated groups do offer official or public endorsements, although their efforts do not appear to be coordinated, and, as will become evident, patterns of endorsement vary widely across the different groups.

We identified several organizations or political leaders that either explicitly adopt the Tea Party label or are often identified by news organizations as affiliates of the movement. Groups that endorsed numerous candidates in numerous states and thus seemed to acquire a national presence included the Tea Party Express, the Independence Caucus, the Boston Tea Party, and Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks. Based on information from Tea Party organizations themselves and local and national press accounts, we compiled a dataset of variables charting whether each of these organizations endorsed the Republican candidate in every congressional district in the country.2 Because of her high profile within the movement and the fact that her candidate endorsements were heavily publicized,we also included a measure of whether Sarah Palin endorsed the Republican candidate. In addition to these national organizations and individuals,we searched the major newspapers within every state for any evidence of endorsement of congressional candidates by local Tea Party groups.

However, affiliation with the Tea Party also mattered in other important ways. Candidates endorsed by the Tea Party Express and Sarah Palin garnered approximately 8 to 9 percentage points more than candidates who did not receive an endorsement. Candidates who adopted the Tea Party label themselves by signing the Contract from America did even better, with their vote shares increasing by more than 20 points.11 In the 2010 Republican primaries, either bearing a Tea Party stamp of approval or showing a willingness to affiliate with Tea Party principles clearly improved a candidate’s electoral prospects.

Read the whole study here

Collapse of the omnibus spending bill: rise of the ‘tea party Congress’?

On the anniversary of the actual Boston tea party some 237 years ago – when pesky colonists dressed up as Indians and threw the King’s tea into Boston Harbor – the modern invocation of that revolutionary spirit tossed another expensive package overboard Thursday: a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill.

After leading a Republican charge into the House in the Nov. 2 midterm elections, the anti-debt, anti-federalist tea party movement notched its first major legislative victory Thursday by standing up to big-spending Democrats and Republicans and forcing Republican leadership to revoke its support of a bill laden with $8.3 billion worth of legislative earmarks – lawmakers’ pet projects known as pork-barrel spending.

Among other spending priorities, the bill included a total of $1 billion to kickstart the first phase of the federal health-care reform law passed in April, meaning that its defeat likely lays the groundwork for Republicans to follow through on their promise to gut funding for the landmark legislation – per the tea party’s wishes, by the way.

Beer museum? Five famous ‘pork barrel’ projects

The failure of the omnibus bill “is a reminder for Democrats that their ‘historic’ legislation may be short-lived,” writes Washington Post conservative commentator Jennifer Rubin.

Sen. Harry Reid, who had to shelve the bill when Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, under grassroots pressure, swayed nine critical Republican lawmakers to resist it, complained that its failure indicated that Republican leadership has become “a wholly-owned subsidiary of the tea party.”

Faint praise, perhaps, but tea party activists across the country clearly took the repudiation of the pork-laden spending bill as its first major legislative victory and a sign that the grassroots movement will be able to wield influence over the Republican agenda.

“The sun rises tomorrow on a new political landscape” said commenter “reheiler” on National Review, in response to the failure of the omnibus bill. “I grew up on a horse farm. They behave differently after they’ve been broken.”

“The Republicans recognized the lesson from the election: that the grass roots, the tea party, does not want unnecessary federal spending, and they realized that they ignore that sentiment at their own peril,” adds Wendy Schiller, a political scientist at Brown University in Providence, R.I. The Democrats, meanwhile, “miscalculated the internal pressure that fiscal conservatives are putting on Republicans – they didn’t think that some of these Republicans … would be willing to walk away from these earmarks,” she says.

Earlier this week, Reid apparently believed he had locked in nine key Republican votes that would have ensured passage of a bipartisan spending package before the government officially runs out of money on Saturday.

Continue reading at the Christian Science Monitor

NATIONAL REVIEW: Gingrich Weighs in on GOP ‘Pledge to America”

The former speaker comments on the Pledge:

Like with the Contract with America in 1994, a new generation of reform Republicans is offering the American people a clear choice about America’s future. Reconnecting Congress to the Constitution and based on listening to citizens in every part of the country — especially the 2010 Contract FROM America — the reform Republicans offer a choice between the job killing, big government, high tax agenda of the Democratic Party and a Republican Party agenda to reverse out-of-control spending, restore fiscal accountability leading to a balanced budget, create confidence in the private sector to spur new job creation, and strengthen the family.

Be sure to visit the National Review’s ‘The Corner’ for frequent updates on Washington politics.