What Should Be in a New Contract With America?


shutterstock_143103844From Politico: “A faction of Republicans including Sen. Lindsey Graham is agitating for party leaders to unveil a policy manifesto in the midterm elections, detailing for voters what the GOP would attempt with a Senate majority its members are increasingly confident they’ll achieve.”

Advocates of the strategy, which has triggered a closed-door debate in recent weeks among the party’s current 45 senators, say it would serve as a firm rejoinder to Democrats casting the GOP as the “party of no.” They say voters should know what they’d be getting by pulling the lever for Republicans in November.

Let’s say this happens (and if you don’t think it should, explain why in the comments): what would you like to see the document contain? And no fan fiction (you may feel passionately about a free market in organ donations, but it’s not going to make the final cut). Let’s try to consider this on the actual terms on which such a document would be crafted:

  • Just a few items (the original version had 10).
  • Proposals that will unite the conservative base with broad swaths of the wider electorate.
  • Pledges that are simple enough for the average voter to understand and compelling enough to influence how they may vote.

Have at it, Ricochet. And keep in mind that the right people might be reading.

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  1. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Member

    (1) A free market based health care system.  Or at least removing the obamacare anti free market based regulations.

    (2) Corporate tax cuts.  A definite must. 

    (3) Drill, baby, drill.

    • #1
  2. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H

    …but fanfiction is my favorite.

    Paring back (or eliminating) any domestic metadata collection?

    “Your private correspondence will be private again.”

    • #2
  3. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler


    (1) A free market based health care system. Or at least removing the obamacare anti free market based regulations.

    (2) Corporate tax cuts. A definite must.

    (3) Drill, baby, drill.

     I didn’t like the 1994 Contract, and I have deep reservations about reprising the idea. But if this were the program, I’d be behind it 100%.

    • #3
  4. user_86050 Inactive

    I’m much more cynical about a contract these days. With a president who has no motive to cooperate, and will likely veto everything down to naming post offices, not to mention the fact that the newly defeated Democrat minority will go into a two-year smear campaign, I don’t think this is the time to be making promises that can’t possibly be kept. This would make the GOP to appear as impotent and useless as the Democrats have been.

    Instead, I’m much more inclined to spend two years holding hearings on natural gas and fracking, pipeline, the energy grid, defense levels, the VA, NASA, tax zones, etc. Obviously, it isn’t sexy, and that’s the point … it means we’re focused on reality rather than showboating for MSNBC. It lays the groundwork for action when, with a new president, there’s hope for actual success. And, it gives the Democrats nothing sexy to shoot at. 

    That, and I’ll say the obvious … when the name Lindsey Graham is mentioned in the same breath as any public relations political stunts, one must be quick to defend the republic.

    • #4
  5. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam

    Why make promises you can’t keep?  Obama has the veto pen ready.  The best you can hope for is finding some wedge issues that will peel off some Democrat votes whose seats aren’t safe, but unless you can get veto-proof majorities with those added votes, you’re not doing anything Obama doesn’t like.

    • #5
  6. iWc Coolidge

    A new law that states that any two parties can enter into any agreement with each other and explicitly waive regulatory oversight. No recourse except what it says in the contract. This would OVERRULE all pre-existing regulations and laws.

    This simple law would allow people to have businesses that are outside the regulatory state, to offer and procure goods and services without the government getting in the way – everything from housing to healthcare.

    And the simple beauty of this is that it can sell. The slogan is simple:

    You should have the freedom to make your OWN choices. Vote Republican.

    This is at the very heart of our belief that people who want freedom should have it.

    • #6
  7. iWc Coolidge

    Further to the above: such a law would allow people to selectively opt-out of Obamacare or any federal regulations that they like – as long as there is a willing counterparty.

    • #7
  8. user_989419 Inactive

    In no particular order:

    – Stop punishing hiring so we can all get back to work.

    – Build the Keystone pipeline.

    – Repeal Obamacare; replace with freedom-based system.

    – No one will touch your junk.

    – End post-college indentured servitude.

    – Balance the budget immediately.

    – End federal funding of abortion providers; let them raise their own money.

    – Keep our foreign policy commitments.

    – Enact home fixture freedom; get the government out of your toilets and light bulbs.

    – Privatize the VA.

    • #8
  9. user_653084 Inactive

    Abortions for some; miniature American flags for others.

    • #9
  10. Crabby Appleton Inactive
    Crabby Appleton

    Federal civil service employees and the agencies for which they work  and at the behest and command of viciously partisan elected officials ( yeah I’m talking about you, Schumer, you creep) will never again be allowed to harass  and intimidate citizens because of their political speech, opinions, or values.

    • #10
  11. tabula rasa Inactive
    tabula rasa

    I would make it even simpler.  Pick three or four key issues and then speak with one voice.  E.g.,

    • Repeal Obamacare and replace with a rational, market-based system (that allows people to decide what they want covered and are willing to pay for).
    • Strengthen national defense (by which I mean our armed forces, not the NSA).
    • Reduce public spending.
    • Empower the private sector to hire by reducing regulation.
    • #11
  12. user_259843 Inactive

    1. Balanced budget law followed by an amendment
    2. Means testing for social security and medicare – Warren Buffet still gets a check – it’s just less
    3. Immigration reform of the kind that big business won’t like but blue and white collar workers should
    4. Open market healthcare – as opposed to what we have today – command market healthcare
    5. US government land turned over to states – not all but a significant amount
    6. EPA reform – undo the crap they’ve done.  
    7. Goodbye freddie and fannie and their associated banking regulations
    8. Lower corporate tax
    9. Simple two tier tax rates for individuals
    10. Treat capital gains as regular income – allow deduction for realized losses of course.  I realize this puts me in a weird place but I believe is as big a pool and as low an individual and corporate rate as possible.  And, no capital gains have not yet been taxed – they are gains over the initial investment. It’s funny how we treat income based on capital different than that earned using your brawn or your brain.  A gift from the Rockefeller family and their ilk I suppose. 

    • #12
  13. Guruforhire Inactive

    With a ~5K per year limit, an interest rate floor of ~5% on savings bonds.

    • #13
  14. Gary The Ex-Donk Member
    Gary The Ex-Donk

    Republicans in general should coalesce around the three themes listed by Manny above.  But we’ve already got the House and the Senate seats hinge mostly on localized issues.  Any “contract” would be seen for the gimmick that it is.  Best not to bring up images of Newt Gingrich.  The GOP must look forward, not backward.

    • #14
  15. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines

    In no particular order:

    Timeline for repealing Obamacare and replacing it in stages with market solutions–not another single, grand plan
    Privatize Social Security, Medicare
    Block grant Fed funds to States for Medicaid and timeline for reducing, eliminating the block grants altogether
    Tax reform: timeline for eliminating corporate taxes altogether, reducing personal income taxes to single, flat rate (10% would be my goal, but this is a principles statement)
    Eliminating VA, EPA, NLRB
    Greatly reducing Depts of Labor, Education, Energy, HHS, followed by evaluation of whether they should be eliminated.

    Eric Hines

    • #15
  16. Tuck Inactive

    Troy Senik, Ed.: Have at it, Ricochet. And keep in mind that the right people might be reading.

    “We’ve decided to start taking the U.S. Constitution seriously again.”

    Short, and to the point.

    • #16
  17. user_554634 Moderator

    I’d be more interested in hearing the Repubs clearly articulate proposals. While there is no question that the free market lifts people out of property and gives them hope, most people just do not understand how the market works. This makes it tough for Repubs. The Dems can easily explain their ideas–“we’ll give you stuff and at the same time punish those awful businesses that oppress you.” Understanding how economies work requires a certain amount of intellectual effort. If their is some way to get things across simply and directly our ideas have the most benefit. I’m not sure how to do this, especially given the leftist media. But good PR is a must.

    • #17
  18. user_259843 Inactive

    Weird – not one “like” on any post. Slick Willie used to call it the contract on america.  Probably shouldn’t use that phrasing but then new deal doesn’t work for me either:)

    • #18
  19. user_753171 Member

    Recognize that the income inequality problem is the result of too many people and households with zero wages. Thus, open up the pathways for the economy to expand jobs.

    • #19
  20. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam

    Jeff Shepherd:

    Weird – not one “like” on any post. Slick Willie used to call it the contract on america. Probably shouldn’t use that phrasing but then new deal doesn’t work for me either:)

     Likes are fubared at the moment.

    • #20
  21. Badderbrau Member

    Previous posts have lots of good suggestions for a New Contract.   My key points would be 
    A:  Keep it short and clear.
    B:  Make it issues that will clearly positively affect most peoples lives.
    C:  Make it clear what we are for, not just what we are against.

    I wouldn’t worry above Obama vetoing the bills  — Our passing the bills, and the Demo veto will make it clear who we are and what we are for,  and who they are and what they are against.

    • #21
  22. user_258275 Member

    Pass legislation that declares that CO2 is not a pollutant, and forbid EPA from regulating it.

    • #22
  23. user_908234 Inactive

    A couple solid repeats: 

    – “End federal funding of abortion providers.”  ‘Life’ is the soul of the Republican Party. It represents its basic goodness, and the most important issue where we are on the “right side of history” — even Millennials are coming into the fold. 

    – “Means testing for social security and medicare – Warren Buffet still gets a check – it’s just less.”  This is intuitive — it is, at bottom, an insurance program, which means it pays out when conditions are met, i.e., the claimant needs it. 

    – corporate tax fairness – stop the double taxation and comply with international norms.


    – Replace Medicaid with Vouchers for Quality Care (or hire Avik Roy to devise suitable one-sentence description for replacement).

    – A new Judiciary Act. We’ve likely seen the height of an intelligent, effective conservative bloc on the Supreme Court, and even that has not prevented against mischief. Consider Jonathan Turley’s proposal to add more Justices to diffuse each one’s relative power, or Joshua Hawley’s proposal to use circuit judges to hear SCOTUS cases rather than having a permanent bench. These will discourage individual Justices or blocs of Justices from developing their own ‘Abortion Code,’ for instance. 

    • #23
  24. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT

    Reform the IRS, no seizing of assets, wage garnishments, or denial of  requests for organizational tax status without a court order.  (i.e. the IRS has to take people to court to enforce the code, innocent until proven guilty)
    Split up the 9th circuit.  Have one circuit solely for CA, form another circuit from the rest of the states in the 9th.
    Exempt banks with less than 1 billion in assets from Dodd-Frank

    • #24
  25. user_908234 Inactive

    – Block grants to treat and house the mentally ill homeless. Demonstrate that our objections to enabling the able-bodied idle are truly based on principle by visibly fulfilling our duty to those who are in fact medically or psychologically unable to care for themselves. 

    – restore rehabilitation programs to combat recidivism. 

    – reform three-strikes — we can be tough on crime without many of its ill-effects and while actively working to rehabilitate those who have paid their debts.  Individual responsibility should not mean a cold shoulder.

    These restorative, revitalizing, rehabilitative measures would reduce the need for debilitating and dependency-creating safety net policies, strengthen families and communities, improve the economy, reduce state spending in the mid- to long-term, and reduce the burden on the prison system.  The latter would have the happy side-effect of decreasing the demand for prison guards and thus hitting the union’s membership rolls and pocketbook.

    • #25
  26. user_908234 Inactive

    I’ve gotten ahead of myself:  Friedrich Hayek’s wise proposal comes first. Walter Williams recounts: 

    “Nearly two decades ago, during dinner with the late Nobel Laureate Friedrich Hayek, I asked him if he had the power to write one law that would get government out of our lives, what would that law be? Professor Hayek replied he’d write a law that read: Whatever Congress does for one American it must do for all Americans. He elaborated: If Congress makes payments to one American for not raising pigs, every American not raising pigs should also receive payments. Obviously, were there to be such a law, there would be reduced capacity for privilege-granting by Congress and less influence-peddling.”

    • #26
  27. user_231912 Inactive

    1)  End federal funding for abortions;
    2)  Repeal Obamacare & replace it with something approaching Governor Jindal’s health-care financing solution;
    3)  Refuse to fund the EPA until Keystone XL is approved;
    4)  The feds don’t need to own over half the West.  Sell land. Now.  (Sagebrush Rebellion II);
    5)  Scrap the Internal Revenue Code and replace with a flat/fair tax;
    6)  Pass term limits for Congress; 6 terms in the House, 2 terms in the Senate (you’re welcome, George Will).  We don’t need a permanent governing class in the Beltway;
    7)  As mentioned, block grant Medicaid to the states;
    8)  Cut the corporate tax rate to 15%, eliminate loopholes & move to a territorial system (profits earned overseas will not be taxed if repatriated to the US);
    9)  Embrace Paul Ryan’s poverty-fighting ideas; give people and governments the incentive to allow people to lift themselves out of privation (and cut Food Stamps waaaaay back)
    10)  Cut off federal funding to any school district that does not permit unfettered charter schools and voucher programs.
    11)  Honor our veterans by insisting our military remain the dominant fighting force on the planet, and massively reform the VA.

    • #27
  28. Misthiocracy Member

    I do not claim to know what specifics should be included in a new “Contract With America”.

    However, I do know that whatever policies are included they must be structured as a very short list of clear, easily repeatable, potentially viral, priorities.

    A short list of clear priorities, to be accomplished in the two years following the election, is the antidote to an opponent who has dozens of “top priorities”.

    Example: The Conservative Party of Canada’s 2006 election platform contained a pretty famous “Five Priorities”. All five were (arguably) accomplished.

    (They tacked on a couple of extras for the subsequent Speech from the Throne, but the Five Priorities are still there.)

    • #28
  29. virgil15marlow@yahoo.com Member

    Son of Spengler:


    (1) A free market based health care system. Or at least removing the obamacare anti free market based regulations.

    (2) Corporate tax cuts. A definite must.

    (3) Drill, baby, drill.

    I didn’t like the 1994 Contract, and I have deep reservations about reprising the idea. But if this were the program, I’d be behind it 100%.

     Thanks.  There were a few things in that 1994 Contract I didn’t care for.  Term limits and a balance budget ammendment.  While both good ideas there are down sides to them as well, and I’m not sure the good side would win out.

    • #29
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