… and why no one who advocates for smaller government should fall for it.
Today the House Republicans issued their so-called “Pledge for America“. It is merely another source of worthless pandering from a party that likes to think it still has some shred of fiscal conservatism left to it.
In the first page, it manages to raise the specter of tyranny, creates ghosts of “an unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary” which have “combined to thwart the will of the people”. So let me get this straight: President Obama has managed to pass every bit of legislature he wanted to, there have been no filibusters in the Senate, and the CONSERVATIVE MAJORITY Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Roberts is overreaching? (Okay, I’ll agree to this last point, but not as something that is leaning in the direction the House Republicans who drafted this document would want you to believe.)
For all the fact that the document raises these issues, it is worthwhile to note that I have heard tell that about the only thing the Founding Fathers feared as much as tyranny was the uneducated masses, and some probably would have sided with tyranny.
Assorted pledges take up the bottom half of the first page and roll on the second. However, when looking at the track record of unethical “family-values” behavior (how many sex scandals do you need?), lack of transparency (how many millions were “misplaced” or “lost track of” under President Bush and the Republicans?), and honest in its dealings (again, how many WMD did we find in Iraq?), this document is nothing more than wool that is being pulled over people’s eyes.
It talks about “job killing tax hikes”, yet taxes were higher under Reagan and Clinton (and boy were those Clinton years good economically). It offers vague platitudes about stopping “out-of-control spending” when the Republican record on massive growth of government (don’t forget the military budget folks) actually has changed, almost flipped, over the last few decades. I haven’t vetted this source, but I’d recommend checking it out (also check here).
It talks about the horrors of government run health care: Fine, be honest, get out there and start talking about repealing Medicare and Medicade. That same crappy government run health care that had conservative protesters out on the street telling the government to not take it away. That is the will of the people.
The “tax hikes” that are coming are an end is the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts that were deceivingly set to end after 10-years, so that their impacts wouldn’t need to be analyzed and the impacts to debt shown. While the GOP focuses often on GDP, I agree with many that a better measure is median and mean average income. This Times article is quite informational on the topic, and the charts here on State of the USA also paint a picture that the GOP doesn’t like to bring up. Yes, the USA as a whole has increased GDP quite drastically. However, for the average person, you were better off, substantially, a decade ago (before the tax cuts) than you are today.
The most infuriating issue with the “Pledge” is that it has few to no concrete details about what programs will be cut. It talks suddenly about the need for fiscal constraint, during a recession, after 8 years of reckless spending. It talks about how much we are spending on the paying debt for the US having more in debts than in income. Yet, when one looks at a chart on US debt, such as this one on Wikipedia, there is a decided trend. President Regan enters office… debt skyrockets, dips in the latter Clinton years, and then explodes under Bush. But maybe this is why the “Pledge” likes to couch things in terms of “non-security” discretionary spending. Maybe it is because of the amount of money (ignoring the literal human cost) poured into Iraq (a war we didn’t need to go into), to the tune of, about $750 billion in roughly the last 8 years. That’s money that’s not going towards better roads, better education or health care. Money not going towards the American people that the disingenuous Republican party leadership would have you ignore in the accounting.
All of these falsehoods, burying of true costs, yet the document at the beginning would have you believe it was going to be more transparent. It’s another pack of lies that the Party leadership would have us believe. Instead they should come clean and support PRECISE programs they would cut and their impacts. Otherwise it’s nothing but more hot air.