Contract From America and The TEA Party + More

Posted on Mon 04/19/2010 by

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Brief
Dont' Tread On Me

The Foundation

“Don’t fire unless fired upon. But if they want a war let it begin here.” –Captain John Parker, commander of the militiamen at Lexington, Massachusetts, on sighting British Troops

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Liberty

“So much is being written in the mainstream media about who the tea partiers are, but very little is being recorded about what these folks are actually saying. We know that this is a decentralized grassroots movement, with many different voices hailing from many different towns across the country.   …    But the tea-party message comes together in the ‘Contract From America,’ the product of an online vote orchestrated by Ryan Hecker, a Houston tea-party activist and national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots. With nearly 500,000 votes recorded in less than two months, this Contract forms a blueprint of tea-party policy goals and beliefs. Of the top-10 planks in the Contract, the No. 1 issue is protect the Constitution. That’s followed by reject cap-and-trade, demand a balanced budget and enact fundamental tax reform. And then comes number five: Restore fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government in Washington. Note that two of the top-five priorities of the tea partiers mention the Constitution. Filling out the Contract, the bottom-five planks are end runaway government spending; defund, repeal and replace government-run health care; pass an all-of-the-above energy policy; stop the pork; and stop the tax hikes. What’s so significant to me about this tea-party Contract From America is the strong emphasis on constitutional limits and restraints on legislation, spending, taxing and government control of the economy. Undoubtedly, the emphasis is there because no one trusts Washington. As I read this Contract, tea partiers are reminding all of us of the need for the Constitution to protect our freedoms. They’re calling for a renewal of constitutional values, including — first and foremost — a return to constitutional limits on government. The tea partiers who responded to this poll are demanding a rebirth of the consent of the governed. The government works for us, we don’t work for it.” –economist

Government

“The value-added tax has become the designated panacea for massive federal budget deficits. It’s touted by think-tank economists and mentioned by congressional leaders. A VAT could, it’s said, raise stupendous amounts of money, which, Lord knows, are needed to cover projected deficits. A VAT is likened to a ‘national sales tax,’ so once in place, most Americans would barely notice it — just as they barely notice state and local sales taxes. How’s that for friendly politics? A VAT would also discourage consumption and encourage saving and investment, making America richer in the future. What’s not to like? … Almost every pro-VAT argument is exaggerated, misleading, incomplete or wrong. The VAT is being merchandised as an almost-painless way to avoid deep spending cuts. The implicit, though often unstated, message is that a VAT could raise so much money it could eliminate future deficits by itself. This reasoning, if embraced, would create staggering tax burdens and exempt us from a debate we desperately need. How big a government do we want — and what can we afford?” –contributing editor of Newsweek and The Washington Post

For the Record

“You can’t get something for nothing. At least, that’s how the old saying goes. For almost half of all taxpayers, however, that is no longer true. That’s because they pay no federal income taxes. For them, Tax Day has become just another day on the calendar. Since the federal income tax is the predominant revenue raiser for the federal government, these ‘nonpayers’ receive government services and benefits without sharing any of the costs. … Passing the point at which less than half of all tax filers pay income taxes is dangerous because beyond that threshold, approximately a majority of voters could vote themselves an increasing share of government benefits at no cost to themselves. … In this situation, politicians have even less incentive to restrain government spending because more votes could be won by increasing spending than lost by increasing the tax burden. That is a deadly recipe for never-ending increases in government spending that will inevitably lead to a fiscal implosion when there are no longer enough productive taxpayers to pay the bill for the expanding welfare state. … To make matters worse, most non-payers not only pay no income taxes, but actually collect cash payments through the tax code. For these recipients of government redistribution, Tax Day is like an extra payday.” –Heritage Foundation analyst

The Eruption

Opinion in Brief

“There’s a new CBS News poll getting a lot of attention the past few days claiming that more Americans believe their taxes are fair today than did in 1997. Unfortunately … logic wasn’t included in CBSNews.com’s on the poll’s findings: ‘Fifty percent of Americans think the amount they pay in taxes is fair — a slight decrease from the last few years, but up from an April 1997 CBS News poll. […] Back in 1997 Americans viewed the amount of taxes they paid as even less fair. Then, 49% said they were paying more than their fair share of federal income taxes, while 47% said they paid the right amount.’ Well, why might that be? As reported last Thursday, 47 percent of Americans didn’t pay any federal income taxes in 2009. According to a June 2005 article published by the Tax Foundation, only 23.6 percent of Americans paid no federal income taxes in 1997. That means that the percentage of Americans not paying federal income taxes has doubled since 1997. It should therefore not be at all surprising that more people think their tax burden is fair today than thirteen years ago.” –Newsbusters’ blogger

Political Futures

“I am as irate as anyone at the way that Obama and Pelosi, like a pair of old-time bootleggers, strong-armed members of Congress into voting for ObamaCare. But just because the Republicans fought back, I’m not as prepared as some to give them a pass. … I would say to GOP politicians, you had control of the House, the Senate and the Oval Office from 2001-2007, but you didn’t do a darn thing about health insurance. It’s only now that the liberals are gobbling up one-sixth of the economy that you’re suddenly all for tort reform and allowing insurance companies to compete across state borders. When you had the power, all that people like John McCain and the rest of you punks did was cozy up to people like Feingold and Kennedy, like a bunch of school girls hoping the liberals would ask you to the prom. … [I]nstead of behaving responsibly, you cheered Bush on when he signed a blank check to cover pharmaceuticals. You patted him on the back and took a few bows yourself, as if you or he were personally picking up the tab for granny’s meds. … I’m not suggesting that I don’t despise Obama, Pelosi, Waxman and the other left-wing gnomes, but just letting you know that there’s more than enough well-deserved contempt to go around. So don’t assume that simply because you call yourself a Republican and make nice with the Tea Party crowd that we trust you any farther than we can throw Barney Frank.” –columnist

Re: The Left

“[Justice] Stevens’ claim that he hasn’t moved left, the court has moved right, if stated during a mental competence hearing, would have earned him a straitjacket and a handful of Thorazine. But because Stevens’ self-characterization comports with the legal left’s position that the Supreme Court’s failure to enact the entire platform of the Green Party constitutes ‘conservative judicial activism,’ it has been reverently repeated. It’s true that on a few issues, Stevens didn’t change. He has long found any religious practice not crushed by the government to be an ‘establishment of religion.’ Stevens has also never been an enthusiast of tenuous claims to free speech rights, voting to uphold city restrictions on strip clubs in 1976 and voting to uphold a law that prohibited the burning of the American flag in 1989. But on many other issues, such as race discrimination, Stevens swung so far to the left that his earlier opinions would be unrecognizable as having been written by the same man. … If liberals will lie about obvious facts from the last few decades, such as Stevens’ dramatic swing to the left, how can they be trusted to tell the truth about a 200-year-old Constitution?” –columnist

The Gipper

“I want to speak to you this evening about my highest duty as president: to preserve peace and defend these United States. … One cannot sit in this office reviewing intelligence on the military threat we face, making decisions from arms control to Libya to the Philippines, without having that concern for America’s security weigh constantly on your mind. We know that peace is the condition under which mankind was meant to flourish. Yet peace does not exist of its own will. It depends on us, on our courage to build it and guard it and pass it on to future generations. George Washington’s words may seem hard and cold today, but history has proven him right again and again. ‘To be prepared for war,’ he said, ‘is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.'” —

Reader Comments

“Alexander’s Essays are always well-written and timely, but is the best yet. This income-tax due date is the perfect time to call for an uprising against unfair and unconstitutional taxation.” –Burl

“Rarely (to which I truly mean — almost never) have I heard one expound the virtues of our nation and articulate its historic and spiritual relevance to the level in which you and your organization have, consistently, accurately and tirelessly. Your commitment to our Constitution and we the people is very evident. On days where my spirit falters due to governmental interference and tyrannical maltreatment, I am uplifted by the sentiments in your correspondence. My question to you, posed in all sincerity — what are you doing between the years 2012 and 2016? There’s a position opening in the White House for which you may be particularly well suited.” –Christopher

“Barack Obama, an ideological Marxist? Are you crazy? There might not be a person more dedicated to preserving the capitalist system in this country than Obama. You need to take a few courses in political economy, and start over again.” –Judge Sturdy

Editor’s Reply: On the contrary, you need to quit drinking the Obama red-colored Kool-Aid.

Culture

“The unnoticed Fabian creep of statism these past 80 years — the slow boiling of the frogs of freedom — has suddenly been noticed by countless millions of us freedom-loving frogs. The frogs are jumping out of the pot and are ready to overturn the pots — and the pot handlers. Everything is on the table to be considered for rollback. It didn’t start with President Obama, but it may begin to end with him. He has awakened the American people to our heritage of freedom, and the people are getting ready to grab back our freedom by the handful.” –columnist

The Last Word

“The liberal has the political libido of a nymphomaniac, at times of a sex offender. It is impossible to restrain. By comparison, the conservatives’ political libido is more subject to reason and restraint. Almost nothing restrains the liberals’ political activism. Conservatives’ are more disciplined. Process matters to them. … The country is torn over yet another liberal grand design. In the culture wars, there is a new battleground: health care. The battle is going to last as long as the abortion battles have lasted, unless Obamacare can be repealed. Increasingly, the law looks like it might be repealed, for the law really is a slapdash creation, but you see my point. As with abortion, so too, with health care, the liberal political libido went wild. No restraint was shown. Tremendous anger replaced the mild dissatisfaction a significant number of Americans felt about the health care system. … [S]o different is the liberal political libido from the conservative political libido that at least when it comes to politics, liberals and conservatives are not members of the same species. Let those who decry ‘gridlock’ on Capitol Hill think about that. When the liberals and the conservatives confront each other, it is as though Homo habilis were confronting Homo sapiens. That is not a happy thought, though I, at least, take heart in knowing which of the aforementioned species survived.” –American Spectator editor in chief

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