limited government

We Need A Tax Code That Makes Sense

Mitt Romney’s tax rate continues to be the topic of much debate over whether or not he paid his “fair share”, but the fact is that this debate is backward. The debate should not be about if what someone is paying is fair, it should be about if the tax code itself is fair. To that end, the whole country should be in agreement that it is NOT fair.

In 1895 the Supreme Court of the United States declared the income tax unconstitutional. Since then, the Congress has overruled the court and consequently the tax code is currently 2,500 pages long; nearly 7 times the length of the bible. Not only is this insane, but it is truly unfair!

The tax code is full of holes, punishes success and even punishes inheritance after a family member’s death! It needs to go. The Contract From America seeks to change this. We want to enact real tax reform, and make the code flatter and fairer. Less people would point fingers about others’ tax rates if they fully understood the tax code and felt that everyone was treated fairly, something which currently can’t be said.

WSJ: A Tea Party Manifesto

The movement is not seeking a junior partnership with the Republican Party. It is aiming for a hostile takeover.

By DICK ARMEY AND MATT KIBBE

On Feb. 9, 2009, Mary Rakovich, a recently laid-off automotive engineer, set out for a convention center in Fort Myers, Fla. with protest signs, a cooler of water and the courage of her convictions. She felt compelled to act, having grown increasingly alarmed at the explosion of earmarks, bailouts and government spending in the waning years of the Bush administration. President Barack Obama, joined by then-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, was in town promoting his plan to spend a trillion dollars in borrowed money to “stimulate” the economy.

Mary didn’t know it, but she was on the front lines of a grass-roots revolution that was brewing across the nation. More than 3,000 miles away, Keli Carender, a young Seattle school teacher and a member of a local comedy improv troupe, was feeling equally frustrated. She started to organize like-minded citizens. “Our nation’s fiscal path is just not sustainable,” she said. “You can’t continue to spend money you don’t have indefinitely.”

Today the ranks of this citizen rebellion can be counted in the millions. The rebellion’s name derives from the glorious rant of CNBC commentator Rick Santelli, who in February 2009 called for a new “tea party” from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. By doing so he reminded all of us that America was founded on the revolutionary principle of citizen participation, citizen activism and the primacy of the individual over the government. That’s the tea party ethos.

The tea party movement has blossomed into a powerful social phenomenon because it is leaderless—not directed by any one mind, political party or parochial agenda.

The criteria for membership are straightforward: Stay true to principle even when it proves inconvenient, be assertive but respectful, add value and don’t taking credit for other people’s work. Our community is built on the Trader Principle: We associate by mutual consent, to further shared goals of restoring fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government. These were the principles that enabled the Sept. 12, 2009 taxpayer march on Washington to be one of the largest political protests in the history of our nation’s capital.

The many branches of the tea party movement have created a virtual marketplace for new ideas, effective innovations and creative tactics. Best practices come from the ground up, around kitchen tables, from Facebook friends, at weekly book clubs, or on Twitter feeds. This is beautiful chaos—or, as the Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek put it, “spontaneous order.”

Decentralization, not top-down hierarchy, is the best way to maximize the contributions of people and their personal knowledge. Let the leaders be the activists who have the best knowledge of local personalities and issues. In the real world, this is common sense. In Washington, D.C., this is considered radical.

The big-government crowd is drawn to the compulsory nature of centralized authority. They can’t imagine an undirected social order. Someone needs to be in charge—someone who knows better. Big government is audacious and conceited.

By definition, government is the means by which citizens are forced to do that which they would not do voluntarily. Like pay high taxes. Or redistribute tax dollars to bail out the broken, bloated pension systems of state government employees. Or purchase, by federal mandate, a government-defined health-insurance plan that is unaffordable, unnecessary or unwanted.

For the left, and for today’s Democratic Party, every solution to every perceived problem involves more government—top-down dictates from bureaucrats presumed to know better what you need. Tea partiers reject this nanny state philosophy of redistribution and control because it is bankrupting our country.

While the tea party is not a formal political party, local networks across the nation have moved beyond protests and turned to more practical matters of political accountability. Already, particularly in Republican primaries, fed-up Americans are turning out at the polls to vote out the big spenders. They are supporting candidates who have signed the Contract From America, a statement of policy principles generated online by hundreds of thousands of grass-roots activists.

Continue reading at the Wall Street Journal

Tea Party Movement Celebrates Colorado Triumph

By Anna Fifield, Financial Times

America’s rambunctious “tea party patriots” were in celebration mode on Wednesday, after their man Ken Buck beat the Republican establishment candidate for the party’s Senate nomination in Colorado, handing the movement its fourth victory of the primary season.

Mr Buck, a gaffe-prone county district attorney, narrowly beat Jane Norton, the former lieutenant-governor backed by the Republican party, who had out­fundraised Mr Buck by more than $2m.

“Get a good night’s sleep, because for the next 83 days we are going to unite the Republican party,” Mr Buck told supporters on Tuesday night, referring to the time left until November’s midterm congressional elections. Reunite it under the tea party banner, that is.

“Tea party patriots” – a burgeoning movement pressing for limited government and lower taxes, with Sarah Palin as their poster girl – are having a profound impact on the face of the Republican party.

In addition to Mr Buck, they have propelled their candidates to win primaries in Utah, Kentucky and Nevada, as well as in Florida – by default when the presumptive Republican nominee pulled out.

“We’re trying to take back the parties and put responsible people in control of them,” says Stephen Sabolich, a conservative activist from Cleveland, Ohio, who this week attended a tea party boot camp organised by FreedomWorks, a conservative group promoting “grassroots” opposition to the Obama administration.

“We’re taking over the parties. We’ve been very successful with the Republican party so far, but it’s a little more difficult with the Democrats,” says Mr Sabolich, 66.

In one of the training rooms was a board with a quote by Samuel Adams, one of the founding fathers: “It does not require a majority to prevail but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people’s minds.”

Last August, tea party activists dominated the political news agenda, organising rowdy protests round the country and taking over the “town hall” meetings that lawmakers hold in their home districts during the summer recess.

Although healthcare, a lightning rod issue, is not at the top of the agenda this year, the looming midterms mean tea parties will be a potent political force in the next three months.

The activists are drawing up scorecards in electorates, knocking on doors and setting up phone banks to spur voters to support candidates who have vowed to uphold tea party principles.

They ask candidates to sign their “Contract from America”, a tea party manifesto designed to hold politicians responsible, formulated in response to the top-down “Contract with America” written by the Republican leadership when they took over Congress in 1994.

Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, is optimistic that conservatives can win the House, and perhaps the Senate, in November.

“Politically the elections will be a repeat of 1994 but it will be fundamentally different because these [tea party] folks are organised and are in all 50 states so it’s sustainable after the election,” he says.

The activists say they are aiming not just to install their preferred candidates on Republican tickets but to “shift the centre of gravity” within the party.

Continue reading the article at the Financial Times

AOL NEWS: Will Populist Backlash Stand Up in Court?

WASHINGTON (Aug. 4) — Voters in Missouri show Congress what they think of a federal mandate to purchase health insurance. Lawmakers in Arizona take immigration enforcement into their own hands. And senators in Washington talk about amending the U.S. Constitution to block children born to those here illegally from automatic citizenship.

“We’re looking at the greatest showdown on states’ rights that we’ve had in a couple of generations,” said Richard Reuben, a University of Missouri law professor. “This is a historic time.”

Arizona conservatives sing the national anthem at a rally against illegal immigration Sunday in Phoenix.

Republicans have issued a tea party-friendly Contract From America based on “individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.” Democrats have countered with a parody whose No. 1 priority is to repeal health insurance reform, their No. 1 achievement.

Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution, said the current revolt encompasses the tea party but is broader than that. He sees the prevailing public mood as the latest in a series of American populist movements. But unlike, say, the prairie populism of the 1890s that gave rise to the progressive movement, today there are more ways to express discontent, whether at the ballot box or on the Internet.

This time the growing number of lawsuits, ballot initiatives and legislation is part of a grassroots conservative movement that disapproves of the liberal political establishment in Washington. Said Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor and founder of The Volokh Conspiracy blog: “They are trying to have their voice heard — to mixed results.”

Continue reading at AOL News

NEWSMAX: Rubio Backs Contract From America

y David A. Patten, Thursday, July 8, 2010 01:25 PM

Newsmax has learned that conservative Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio has pledged to support the pro-liberty, anti-tax agenda known as Contract From America, which appears to be emerging as a major political force in the midterm elections.

In an e-mail response to Newsmax, Rubio, a Republican, confirmed that he has signed the contract, which presents 10 key platform planks that promote “individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.”

“I’m proud to sign the Contract From America, which is a restatement of the principles and values that have made America exceptional for centuries and that are needed in Washington today,” Rubio’s e-mail stated Thursday. “At a time when Washington is spending money that we don’t even have to expand government, the Contract From America is a reminder that America deserves leaders who will be a check and balance on the direction this president and Congress are pursuing.”

Several high-profile Republicans have joined Rubio in signing the contract during the past 48 hours, including Senate candidate Dan Coats of Indiana, Rep. Tom Rooney of Florida, and Senate candidate Ken Buck of Colorado.

“Due to your efforts, these candidates have chosen to be champions of Main Street values and have joined with you in signing the Contract From America,” declared a post on the group’s Web site, TheContract.org.

But Rubio’s commitment lends the contract perhaps its highest-profile supporter among those running in November.

“We’re very pleased,” tea party activist and Houston attorney Ryan Hecker, who originally came up with the Contract concept, tells Newsmax. “By signing the Contract From America, Marco Rubio is saying he’s listening, he’s really adopted this very Main Street agenda. He’s saying this is a powerful grassroots document, that is very much a mainstream document, that should be adopted for everyone. It should be helpful to him in the general election race, but beyond that it represents the values of a majority of Americans.”

FreedomWorks, the D.C.-based facilitator of the conservative grass-roots movement sweeping the nation, also heralded Rubio’s decision to sign onto the contract.

“This just confirms the grass-roots instincts in backing Rubio” over Gov. Charlie Crist, FreedomWorks spokesman Adam Brandon tells Newsmax. “It shows that he’s dead serious about policy. If he’s elected to the Senate, you can bet he’ll be a policy innovator, and that’s just what this country needs. In the coming budget battle, it’s not going to be policy for the timid, and he’s shown that he’s a leader.”

A Rasmussen Reports poll on Thursday showed that Rubio has taken a 36 percent-to-34 percent lead over Christ, who left the Republican Party to become an independent after it became clear that his chances of defeating Rubio in a GOP primary were slim. Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek is running a distant third with 15 percent, according to Rasmussen.

Rubio’s commitment means that more than 130 candidates have now signed onto the list of 10 key principles, which are designed to reduce the pervasive influence of the federal government in the lives of everyday citizens — rapid progress, considering the fact that the contract was unveiled only on April 15.

“We’re more getting candidates every day,” Ryan Hecker, the tea party activist who came up with the contract concept, tells Newsmax.

The contract urges members of Congress to cite the specific clause in the Constitution that gives them authority to pass any new legislation. It rejects cap and trade, which it says will hurt the nation’s economy and global competitiveness. It aims for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, and would require a two-thirds majority to pass any tax hike.


Continue reading this article at Newsmax.com

Senate Candidates Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dan Coats (R-IN), and Ken Buck (R-CO) Sign the “Contract from America”

The Contract from America Foundation announced today that Senate Candidates Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dan Coats (R-IN), and Ken Buck (R-CO) have joined over 130 Senate and Congressional candidates nationwide by listening to the wishes of their constituents and signing the “Contract from America,” a Main Street grassroots legislative blueprint for 2010 and beyond.

In signing this bottom-up call for economic conservative and good governance reform, Marco Rubio stated: “I’m proud to sign the Contract From America, which is a restatement of the principles and values that have made America exceptional for centuries and that are needed in Washington today.  At a time when Washington is spending money that we don’t even have to expand government, the Contract From America is a reminder that America deserves leaders who will be a check and balance on the direction this president and Congress are pursuing.”

Ken Buck further noted: “This contract reflects my conservative values and record.  I’m proud to stand-up with grassroots Americans as we fight the Washington establishment.”

The Contract from America is not a list handed down from on high by old-bull politicians, but one handed up from the true grassroots in this country. After garnering nearly half a million votes in less than two months, the Contract from America is a blueprint that will serve notice to public officials about what the people want for their future.

Ryan Hecker, one of the organizers of the Contract from America, elaborated: “These candidates, by signing the Contract from America, have shown themselves to be true champions of Main Street values.  They have illustrated that, if elected, they will listen to their constituents and be grassroots conservative leaders in the Senate.”

When voting was completed, the top ten planks in the Contract from America were: (1) Protect the Constitution; (2) Reject Cap and Trade; (3) Demand a Balanced Budget; (4) Enact Fundamental Tax Reform; (5) Restore Fiscal Responsibility and Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington; (6) End Runaway Government Spending; (7) Defund, Repeal, and Replace Government-run Health Care; (8) Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy; (9) Stop the Pork; and (10) Stop the Tax Hikes.

More information about the candidates who have signed this Main Street Agenda is available at the Contract from America’s website, contract.thelibertylab.com.

CONTACT: Ryan Hecker, 215-880-2430
DOWNLOAD A HARDCOPY OF THIS PRESS RELEASE HERE.

WASHINGTON TIMES: “Stating the Obvious”

By Doug Mainwaring

The emergence and rapid growth of the Tea Party movement is due in large part to an increasing concern by taxpayers that our government has strayed too far from fiscal responsibility. As many have awakened from our shared national somnambulism, the electorate’s attention is galvanized by issues once considered banal or trivial, now viewed as grave threats to our country’s security, prosperity and even our national identity. A public that until a few years ago quietly trusted the job that its government has been doing in Washington is now focused like a laser beam on both the role of government and the careers of our leaders.

Tea Partiers’ deepest fears for the future of our nation are being realized in Greece. They see the beginnings of anarchy in a social democracy crippled by enormous budget deficits (13.6 percent of gross domestic product) and a heart-stopping national debt (115 percent of GDP). They see a country saddled with massive, unsustainable, unbearable entitlements. This has caused many to reflect on how our own annual budget deficit and national debt may be taking us down the same path as Greece and the other social democracies of Europe. Tea Partiers and their many sympathizers are well informed: They easily see the connection and are making sound, reasoned conclusions.

In addition to fiscal irresponsibility, there is a second major component of concern for Tea Partiers: government exceeding its constitutional limits. Too much power, money and authority are concentrated in our national government. This is detrimental to the functioning of the individual states and increasingly diminishes the freedom and liberty of the American people.

For a very long time, a majority of those who serve us in Washington have worked under the assumption that the national government is better equipped than any other entity to govern and solve all of America’s problems, and, therefore, bigger government is better. The result has been ever-increasing regulation, unfunded mandates, earmark projects and increasingly toxic entitlement programs, including the recently enacted health care reform law.

But what if this paradigm is ill-formed? What if Americans actually could be better served by being governed and regulated locally to a greater degree? Our national government has taken on a life of its own, to the disservice of those it was established to serve. Perhaps a smaller national government, with many functions returned to the states, would be better.

On April 15, the Contract from America was unveiled at tax rallies held across the country. I co-authored one of the provisions in the contract:

“Create a Blue Ribbon task force 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.”

Our Founding Fathers did not envision a massive, all-powerful, centralized national government, nor was it their intent to lay the groundwork for one in our Constitution. Rather, our current national government exists as it does despite our Constitution. As a result, the national government is too bloated, too greedy, too unaccountable and always hungry for more. Too often, the national government has proved it is inadequate for the task of competently managing its massive programs and exercising good and faithful stewardship over the funds provided to it from the American people.

Continue reading at the Washington Times

House GOP Launches “America Speaking Out” Online Initiative

Today, Republicans in the House of Representative launched an online initiative very similar to the Contract from America, in which they intend to solicit ideas from the American people. Presumably they will act on the best ideas and perhaps on those that generate the greatest response. Their initiative is called, “America Speaking Out” and it can be found online at http://www.americaspeakingout.com/.

The Contract from America team enthusiastically applauds the efforts of GOP leaders to actively listen to the American people. We also strongly encourage you to use “America Speaking Out” as an additional tool to make sure your voice is heard. Visit their site. Register your name. Get involved. Review the ideas. Write comments. MOST IMPORTANTLY… CAST YOUR VOTES.

All of the the agenda items listed in the Contract from America have been submitted to the “America Speaking Out” website. If those items are still important to you and your community, vote for them again.We have long said that the Contract from America serves as a clarion call for those who recognize the importance of free market principles, limited government, and individual liberty. It is the natural extension of a movement that began in the local communities and quickly spread across America in response to unprecedented government expansion, reckless spending, and a blatant disregard by our leaders of the nation’s founding principles.

We are thrilled that GOP leaders in Washington have heard that call and are taking steps to re-engage with the American people.Yes, the Contract from America initiative has already been listening to Americans since last year. We have debated thousands of ideas. We have logged hundreds of thousands of votes. But far more important is the role we will continue to play, however large or small, in helping build strong coalitions of like-minded Americans that will work together to restore and rebuild this great nation.

Please continue to engage in all aspects of the political arena during this pivotal election year. Thank you for your continued support.

Warm regards,

The Contract from America Team

“Contract from America” Applauds GOP’s Initiative to Listen to the American People During Pivotal Election Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 24, 2010

Tomorrow, House Republicans are launching a new initiative to “engage Americans across the country and give them a voice in creating a new agenda for Congress.” Called, “America Speaking Out,” the effort is led by Chief Deputy Whip, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Following the lead of the Contract from America, the GOP’s initiative seems to acknowledge the fundamental relationship between the American people and their representatives; a relationship founded on the notion that representatives are elected by the American people to advance the people’s priorities, not their own. In launching America Speaking Out, the GOP will retrace the steps made by the Contract from America during the last eight months in asking the American people for their input in developing a new policy agenda.

Ryan Hecker, founder of the Contract from America initiative said, “I think it is great that House Republicans are listening to the people and borrowing from the tea party movement and the Contract from America project”

During this pivotal 2010 election cycle, millions of grassroots Tea Party activists will be closely watching this initiative. To gain the support of grassroots activists, the Tea Party movement, and the American public, the GOP needs to embrace a genuine effort to listen to the American people and advance those priorities over the destructive and self-serving tendencies of Washington insiders.

“The Contract from America is not an exclusive set of public policy proposals, and I hope that Republican members of Congress express their willingness to listen to the people and sign the Contract from America, which was created and vetted by nearly one half-million people,” Hecker noted.

The Contract from America is proud to join with Tea Party activists across the country to continue a constructive dialogue with leaders who promise to listen and support the principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally-limited government, and free markets.

More information about each plank, including its full description and the name of the activist who first proposed it, is available at the Contract from America’s website, contract.thelibertylab.com.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Ryan Hecker, (215) 880-2430

——————–

Download a hardcopy of this press release here.

WASH POST: “The Tea Party’s Allegiance to No One”

By Kathleen Parker

No one doubts the sincerity or power of the Tea Party movement anymore. We get it: free-market principles, limited government and individual liberty.

Those are the three fundamentals of the Tea Party’s “Contract From America,” to which any serious Republican must subscribe, nay, sign in blood. Make it real red.

Nowhere is this new power-to-the-people imperative in starker relief than in Utah — one of the nation’s reddest states — where three-term conservative Sen. Bob Bennett seems likely to lose the Republican Party nomination this weekend.

This, despite the fact that Bennett’s voting record earns an 84 rating from the American Conservative Union, an A ranking from the National Rifle Association — and is nothing like a liberal’s.

But Bennett committed the ultimate sin in Tea Party circles. He voted for the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), a.k.a. “bank bailout,” during the George W. Bush administration. And, he advanced a market-driven health-reform bill as an alternative to the Democratic plan that, alas, also included an insurance mandate.

Continue reading at the Washington Post