Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The elephants are coming !!!

Back in September, the Republicans released A Pledge to America, and in November achieved historic victories over the Democrats. It's been a little more than eight weeks the GOP took control of the U.S. House of Representatives and removed the Democrats super majority in the U.S. Senate. In January, the new Congress will be seated and go to work. The question is whether the Republicans will be able to live up to their "pledge."

In A Pledge to America, the Republicans state :
With this document, we pledge to dedicate ourselves to the task of reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values our nation was founded on, the principles we stand for, and the priorities of our people. This is our Pledge to America. 
We pledge to honor the Constitution as constructed by its framers and honor the original intent of those precepts that have been consistently ignored – particularly the Tenth Amendment, which grants that all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. 
We pledge to advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity, a robust defense, and national economic prosperity. 
We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based
organizations that form the core of our American values. 
We pledge to make government more transparent in its actions, careful in its stewardship, and honest in its dealings. 
We pledge to uphold the purpose and promise of a better America, knowing that to whom much is given, much is expected and that the blessings of our liberty buoy the hopes of mankind. 
We make this pledge bearing true faith and allegiance to the people we represent, and we invite fellow citizens and patriots to join us in forming a new governing agenda for America.
The GOP's "Pledge" also lays out a five-part plan for correcting America's problems. Their plan is to :
  1. Create jobs, end economic uncertainty, and make America more competitive by stopping all tax increases that take effect January 1, 2011, allowing small businesses a tax deduction equal to 20% of their business income, requiring Congressional approval of any new regulation which costs $100 Million or more, and repealing small business mandates.
  2. Stop out-of-control spending and reduce the size of government by canceling unspent stimulus funds, rolling spending back to pre-stimulus and pre-bailout levels, placing budget caps on new spending, cutting Congress' budget, holding weekly votes on spending cuts, canceling TARP, reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, imposing a Federal hiring freeze on non-security employees, rooting out government waste and sunsetting unneeded programs, and requiring a full accounting of entitlement programs (i.e. - Social Security, Medicare, etc.) in order to protect them for the future.
  3. Repeal and replace the government takeover of health care by repealing ObamaCare, enacting tort reform, allowing Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines, expanding Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), ensuring access to health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, and permanently prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion.
  4. Reform Congress and restore trust by publishing the text of bills online for three days before they are voted on in the House, requiring each bill to include a clause citing the specific Constitutional authority allowing Congress to enact the bill, and only advancing one legislative issue at a time. 
  5. Keep our nation secure at home and abroad by passing clean troop funding bills quickly, keeping terrorists out of America, ensuring captured foreign terrorists are tried in military courts, fully funding missile defense, enforcing tough sanctions against Iran, establishing control of our borders, and working with state and local officials to enforce immigration laws.
The GOP's "Pledge" and plan all sounds pretty good. They've made some big promises and set some high goals. If they can follow through, it will be good for the country. However, their idea to repeal ObamaCare is a stretch, and they will be unable to accomplish it anytime soon. They have probably got the votes to pass a new bill repealing it. However, Obama would veto any such "repeal," and they do not have the votes to override his veto. They will have to regain the White House in order to get the ObamaCare repeal done. Their goal to cut spending back to pre-stimulus and pre-bailout levels is a good start, but the fact is that the spending cuts need to go even deeper. The pre-stimulus and pre-bailout Federal budgets still consistently ran deficits. The GOP will have to do better than that.

Personally, I hope they can live up to their "Pledge." In order to do so, it will require them to be firm with Obama and the Democrats, stick to their guns, have a backbone, stop playing politics, do what's right for the country even if it's not politically popular, and most of all be honest and open with the American people. It's also high-time we had a serious discussion about term limits for the Senate and the House. The biggest problem is that after some of these goofballs get elected, they are only concerned about getting re-elected instead of doing the right thing. That has to end. Lastly, the GOP must keep the promises made in their "Pledge." Americans do not like being lied to. They better remember that. We just put the GOP back in power, and we can take it right back away from them just as quickly in the next election cycle.

P.S. I've been considering and working on a new, re-focused direction for this blog in 2011. I will share it on Friday.

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