A progressive author by the name of Ryan Normandin has an agenda against the Tea Party as he makes obvious by creating a post to dismantle the “Contract From America”. It is not my self-identified post to defend the Tea Parties, they can do that fine on their own ,but the amount of egalitarian, modernistic, progressive idiocy “Ryan” posits in his/her article is too great to let pass.
I’ll follow his format in the interest of consistency:
1. Protect the Constitution
Specifically, the party would require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that justifies Congressional intervention. This is both unnecessary and a waste of time. It is Congress’s job to make laws, which, for the record, is explicitly stated in Section 8 of the Constitution. Any attempt to limit this power is itself unconstitutional, and is a task already given to the Supreme Court.
Ryan’s Rating: Useless
How much time does Ryan think will be wasted? Does he not believe that legislators have a clue about the authority which has been granted them? I don’t think it would be that harmful to slow that bunch down a bit. We’re learning every day that they rushed Health Care Reform. Is it too much to ask to have them jot down a justification? He also apparently misunderstands the purpose. It isn’t about Section 8, it’s the clauses that are requested. How would it be harmful to force Congress to think about the framework of our government while doing their work?
Whether this will have a gigantic effect or not remains to be seen, but it will certainly force a tie between legislation and the Constitution.
Rich’s Rating: Ryan didn’t think this one through .. at all.
2. Reject Cap and Trade
Evidently, the Tea Partiers would perpetuate our addiction to foreign oil and the destruction of the planet through global warming.
Ryan’s Ruling: Defer to Al Gore
Kinda weasel-ish.. Defer to Al Gore, if you must, but I wouldn’t. Cap and trade has little to do with protecting the environment and therefor, rejecting cap and tax is equally not about the environment. The Tea Party’s rejection of it is probably the same as most Conservatives, massive government exchange where favors will be traded for the right to do business… not cool. But like he said, he’s letting Al handle this one.
Rich’s Ruling: Deferring to logic
3. Demand a Balanced Budget
This idea sounds great when headlines use the word trillion, but whether or not you agree with the Bush and Obama bailouts, there is no denying that without them, this country would be in a depression right now.
Ryan’s Ruling: Dangerous
Ah yes, asking those who hold the nation’s purse strings to not spend more than we have is truly dangerous, but letting them spend however they like is not. A fiscally responsible person would suggest that some percentage of annual receipts be held in the “Federal Rainy Day Trust Fund”. Then again, since the stimulus has been proven to not actually have been beneficial.. the position is silly on its own lack of merit.
Rich’s Ruling: Ryan didn’t think, he/she just threw ideology into the response
4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform: Adopt a Single and Fair Single-Rate Tax System
A flat tax would make the poor poorer and the rich richer. Any given percentage of a low-income, impoverished family’s income is far more valuable than the same percentage to a family making six figures. To give an example, $100 could make or break a poor family, but a family earning over $100K would likely not even notice a missing $100. Mocking the length of the internal revenue code, the Tea Partiers would require that a new tax code be no longer than the US Constitution. Yet this is simply an attempt to spark patriotism and fieriness in those who read the Contract; there is no logical reason why a new tax code should have that many words or fewer.
Ryan’s Ruling: Oppressive
Of course a family earning $100,000 would miss $100.00, they know where their money goes. Would a family making $20k miss $100.00 more? Sure. But a single rate system would mean that if the $20k family paid $100 in taxes the $100k family would pay $500 which they would certainly miss, on a fair plane with the $20k earners. What’s more important is that the $20k family would now be negatively impacted by Congress’ spending and taxation and therefor less likely to respond so positively to spending measures when they know they will not get the free-ride they get today.
Rich’s Ruling: Egalitarian garbage
5. Restore fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government in Washington: 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.
There are quite a few issues here. Broadly stated, the idea itself is excellent. Indeed, something similar was promised by President Obama during his campaign. However, what the Tea Party thinks should be cut is very different than what most Americans would think. Notice the bit where they identify “programs better left for the states or local authorities.” The Tea Party has advocated eliminating both the Department of Education and the Department of Energy. It is not necessary to go into why either change would be disastrous. In addition, it is the job of the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution. They have the final word on what the document means, not the Tea Party.
Ryan’s Ruling: Cutting Wasteful Spending? Sure. The Rest? End of United States as We Know It
First Ryan posits that what the Tea Party wants is different than what America wants. What he/she means is that it is different that what Progressives want. His intellectually-bankrupt ruling proves that out.
Rich’s Ruling: Not the end of the United States as we know it, the end of America as progressives want it.
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.
Seems to me that this could pose a problem in wartime or in an economic crisis when massive stimulus is required.
Ryan’s Ruling: Dangerous
Well, that “Federal Rainy Day Trust Fund” comes to mind again. Only two positions could be taken on such a fund. Either A) we should not be at war so often and this fund will grow substantially to some mandated maximum or B) we are at war too much to save any money and therefor war should just be a budget line item that is equal to that reality.
Rich’s Ruling: Ryan would be dangerous if anyone other than college-aged progressives and people living in their parent’s basements believed his musings.
7. Defund, repeal, and replace government-run health care.
They later clarify how they want to replace the current system: free-market health care. Translation: Wall Street-style, pure capitalistic health care. Right, because at this point we all know that deregulation of industries and letting private companies do whatever they want, including discriminating based on pre-existing conditions, or denying health care altogether, leads to a fair and equitable health care system that gives those that can’t afford it what they need.
Ryan’s Ruling: Downright Stupid
The current health care system isn’t anything close to free-market. Most health care consumers don’t shop around for their care because for everyday care, they don’t pay anything but a co-pay. That doctor’s visit doesn’t actually cost $25, it’s in the $125.00+ range for a simple office visit, but most don’t have to pay that. If oil changes, shocks, brakes and repairs for you car’s engine were paid for by your auto insurance, your premiums would be ridiculous, but you wouldn’t shop around because you only perceived the payment to be the co-pay. Costs would skyrocket due to the lack of free market competition – not from the presence of it.
Rich’s Ruling: Agreed, Ryan is “Downright Stupid”
8. Pass an “all of the above” energy policy: Authorize the exploration of proven energy and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation.
Translation: Drill, baby, drill. Deregulate the oil industry and drill wherever there’s oil. Now that’s truly insightful, since we all know how unlikely that is to end in disaster (as long as you don’t live along the Gulf of Mexico). Not to mention that such a policy would just accelerate the death of the planet. We should be investing in alternative, clean energy, not more oil and coal.
Ryan’s Ruling: Suicidal, on a Planetary and Environmental Scale
Well, let me start with the fact that Ryan’s whole position is based on his/her assumption about what the Tea Party meant by this clause. While I can’t say what the intent of part 8 is, I would admit that I can’t take it at more than face value. I will concede that it includes drilling – and solar, wind, gas, geo, cosmic energy, whatever.
Rich’s Ruling: Ugh, this is getting old.. nice ideology based on nothing but self-interest.
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.
If Congress ever gets a 2/3 majority on a controversial bill, I will… well… it doesn’t really matter what I would do because that will never happen. Witness the gridlock in Congress in recent months, where the filibuster allowed the Republican Party to prevent the extension of unemployment benefits for those who desperately needed them. Some may think “Yay! End to wasteful spending!” While I certainly agree that earmarks need to be brought under control, killing them altogether is not the way to do it. Earmarks are not all evil, despite their portrayal as such. This is how congressmen bring money and projects into the states they were elected from. They can create jobs, build infrastructure, and fund other state and local initiatives — the very state and local initiatives Tea Partiers seem so fond of. If earmarks are eliminated, state funding is starved. And another thing that will never happen is the government having a balanced budget.
Ryan’s Ruling: Counterproductive
Ending earmarks simply forces debate on the actual bill. Earmarks are used to slip controversial spending into another bill so that both the base bill (which might be controversial) and the earmark pass without serious debate on either. Those that would have voted down the base bill get something in the earmark so they will accept the bad base bill and vice versa for the earmark. Make them vote on single purpose legislation so we know whether they represent us or not.
To address the whole, “They can create jobs..” part, that isn’t the work of Congress. That’s for the states and cities to manage, and they do a far better job.
Rich’s Ruling: Hope Ryan never gets any position of influence in our government. He/She has already volunteered to sell his/her soul.
10. Stop the tax hikes: Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes (the estate tax), currently scheduled to begin in 2011.
It’s interesting how so many of these Tea Party goals are written in a way that seems appealing to people precisely because they’re written in a way that prevents them from being fully understood. Simply put, this implies extending the Bush tax cuts forever. To sum up what the Bush tax cuts were: tax cuts for the rich, making the wealthy wealthier. While having taxes cut seems great, tax cuts of the magnitude the Tea Party is advocating would starve the federal government (which I’m sure would make the Tea Partiers happy) and increase the gap between rich and poor, accelerating the deterioration of the already vanishing middle class; and with it, the cornerstone of democracy.
Ryan’s Rating: Moronic (three cheers from Wall Street)
Ryan’s objection to this clause is failed at best. He/She makes an assertion that this extends the “Bush tax cuts” forever. I believe that the intent is to prevent the constant reconsideration of one set of taxation rates. If Ryan had instead attacked this clause because it is redundant to clause 4, it would have shown some thought, not just the regurgitation of a failed ideology. He also would have received agreement from me, clause 10 is unnecessary if 4 is enacted.
Rich’s Ruling: Ryan wasn’t thinking here.
I’m making a final recommendation that Ryan, who appears to be a Freshmen at MIT from his publications, take some philosophy courses and understand his own first principles and bases of thought before pressing them on others. Reading Nietzsche, Marx et al is not enough, truth exists Mr. Normandin and equality of condition or outcome does not.