Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Pledge To Nothing

The GOP released their “Pledge to America” yesterday.  Full text is here.

Once you get past the frilly language and bastardized excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, there are parts to like, such as requiring every bill to identify its Constitutional authority, reforming Fannie/Freddie and requiring Congressional approval of big regulations.  There are parts that have no chance in hell while Obama is in the White House, such as repealing healthcare reform.  There’s stuff that’s already being done, such as sanctions on Iran.  And there are parts that should be in but aren’t, such as a commitment to free trade, an overhaul of the tax system and emphasizing major medical coverage as a way to fix health care.

There’s some bad stuff, too.  As I feared, the want to eliminate the insurance mandate but keep the pre-existing coverage provisions.  This is a recipe for disaster.  And there’s the usual screaming hysteria over trying terror suspects.  I guess I should be relieved that they didn’t put “restore torture” as a provision.

But the fiscal side—the most important side—is pure hokum.

The second section of the pledge promises budget restraint. Domestic discretionary spending would be cut back to “pre-bailout, pre-stimulus” levels, and then its growth would be capped — generating hundreds of billions in savings. The legislative budget, which has grown unjustifiably in recent years, would also be pruned back: Republicans know they cannot cut spending elsewhere if they will not cut spending on themselves. TARP would be ended, as would the federal entanglement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A federal hiring freeze would be instituted. And Congress would make “a full accounting of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.”

NRO does not mention that the pledge specifically exempts Medicare, Social Security and defense spending while promising to extend the Bush tax cuts.  Even worse, they promise to reverse Obama’s planned Medicare cuts, adding half a trillion to the budget.  Now I don’t expect the GOP, on the verge of an electoral victory, to announce they will make unpopular cuts.  But I’m very concerned that this indicates they still don’t fucking get it.  Rolling back discretionary spending to “pre-stimulus, pre-TARP” levels is already happening as those two programs expire.  Are they going to cut education?  Or highway funding?  Or farm subsidies?  They never did before.  I suspect they’ll cut foreign aide and science funding and call it quits.

This is pablum.  It’s a market-tested, focus-group approved grab bag of phrases and buzzwords.  It doesn’t propose anything new or interesting.  The only affect it has on me is to raise my concern that the GOP, once in office, will go back to their bad habits.  I guess that’s an improvement over Obama and a Democratic Congress.  But Obama and a Congress consisting entirely of hamsters would be an improvement on that.  We need something better and bolder if we’re to get out of this mess.

(More from the indispensable Nick Gillespie here, although I disagree with him on the Contract With America.  Not many voters knew about it, but not many have to know to have an impact on an election.)

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/23/10 at 08:44 AM in Elections   Election 2010  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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