Contract from America: That Voodoo That You Do

Well July has been a full month hasn’t it? Much has happened while I was gone cleaning out the

tea party party

garage and cleaning the house. Graves misidentified, Tony Hayward is off to Siberia, a cap on the oil rig seems to be holding, Obama was on the View, Anne Rice is changing religions, the “papers please” Arizona law has been gutted, Newt is stoking fear against Muslims, Shirley Sherrod resigns after a bogus (read ACORN-type) edited video tape, Glenn Beck is still inexplicably on the air, Bill O’Reilly actually apologized on Jay Leno for his Sherrod rant and, of course, nothing Obama does will please the right-wing-nuts. (Public Service Message: I am sure by now that many of you get your news from various sources rather than getting all your TV news from one source, if not you are in danger of serious and irreversible retardation). Oh yeah, the Bush tax cuts set to expire by law in January by the original Republican Congress are now being called tax-hikes by these same Republicans. Is the world still spinning?

Back in April, the non-racist (of course) predominately older white Tea Party/Republican Party gave us the “Contract from America.” With shades of 1994’s “Contract with America” comes this latest gimmicky voo-dooism. The preamble to the Contract From America states that it is based on the principles of individual liberty, limited government and economic freedom. But rather than following Newt Gingrich’s photo-op 1994 path to retaking control of Congress, the Tea Partiers sound more like Ronald Reagan circa 1980. After all, the Gipper, too, promised to cut taxes, raise defense spending and balance the budget. Of course, what Reagan produced instead during his eight years in office was a tripling of the national debt and red ink as far as the eye can see.

Since history is a nuisance to the me-first-corporate-sponsored “grass roots” party, today’s Tea Baggers would condemn America to repeating the same fiscal disaster, only on a far larger scale. Among the other inanities in their self-contradictory 10-point manifesto, three taken together represent the budgetary equivalent of declaring the sun rises in the West and that there is no gravity, the earth sucks:

  • (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.
  • (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.
  • (10) Stop the Tax Hikes: Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011.
From the Congressional Budget Office

So let the cutting begin. Oh, no wait…there are a couple of things that are listed on a new survey from the CBS and the New York Times that made clear that the Tea Partiers themselves have taken off table when it comes to budget cuts:

Despite their push for smaller government, they think that Social Security and Medicare are worth the cost to taxpayers…

And nearly three-quarters of those who favor smaller government said they would prefer it even if it meant spending on domestic programs would be cut.

But in follow-up interviews, Tea Party supporters said they did not want to cut Medicare or Social Security — the biggest domestic programs, suggesting instead a focus on “waste.”

Some defended being on Social Security while fighting big government by saying that since they had paid into the system, they deserved the benefits.

If you want to play around with the budget you can use this interactive chart supplied by the New York Times.

Of course, the Tea Party “Contract from America” features other self-defeating proposals. Their fourth plank (“Enact Fundamental Tax Reform”) calls for a “fair” and flat tax, one which would doubtless produce yet another massive windfall for the wealthiest Americans who need it least. (Ironically, that call came despite the fact that 52% of Tea Baggers said their income tax level was already fair, and was announced even as over 95% of working households received tax relief from President Obama.)

For their part, Republican leaders are grappling with their own updated version of Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America. That document, of course, helped propel the GOP to victory in 1994. But as with Reagan’s broken promise to balance the budget, we already know how this story ends. Just to leave you with more food for thought, below is a recent percentile list of Republican vs. Democratic Administration’s addition to the growth of the national debt:

  • Jimmy Carter +42%
  • Ronald Reagan +189%
  • G HW Bush +55%
  • Bill Clinton +36%
  • G W Bush +89%

Keep them “Contracts” coming Republicans. (sources: CBO,CBS,Crooks and Liars, NYT)

A little song, a little dance, a little coffee down your pants... 40 years in the high school classroom and now on my own. A chance to think about stuff and how it affects everyone, not just me. Now residing in Oregon volunteering for a refugee organization.

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