Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Pledge To America

The GOP (republicans) just released their “Pledge to America” revealing what they want to do if they gain seats in November. Below I have quoted it quite frequently, but I have also quoted other sources that either explain what those who don’t support the Pledge believe it means, or evidence that shows how the Pledge may be misleading. If I haven’t included any citation other than a page number, it is direct from the Pledge which you may read here. Also, I have bolded the selections from the Pledge.
“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 or American values.”
(p 3)
I will choose here to simply ask a question rather than cite evidence. Can we “promote greater liberty” by refusing liberty to some? “Traditional marriage” is conservative speak for items like the Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage and all it’s benefits as belonging to one man and one woman. I believe that in the space of three lines, the Pledge has contradicted itself. It should instead read, “promote greater liberty to those we agree with”.
“We will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels…” (p 6 and repeated on p 21)
I believe the wording here is misleading. It refers to “pre-stimulus, pre-bailout” in that order for a reason. It seeks to convince people that the stimulus, clearly related to Pres. Obama was passed BEFORE the bailout, thus laying the burden of the bailout on Pres. Obama as well. However, as astute readers will recall, the bailout (which I believe more people oppose than the stimulus as it sought to provide relieve for companies, not people) passed in October 2008- before the election of Pres. Obama. Therefore, it passed a Democrat Congress, but was signed by a Republican president.
“The trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ spending bill has made ‘Where are the jobs?’ a national rallying cry after failing to live up to the specific promises made by it’s architects.” (p14)
The stimulus was passed in February of 2009 (President Obama had only been president for about a month) and by November was seen by a variety of analysts “across a wide range of views” as working. Indeed, Republicans blocked proposed tax breaks later that same year. (New York Times)
“We will help the economy by permanently stopping all tax increases, currently scheduled to take effect January 1, 2011.” (p 16)
First and foremost, these are not actually tax increases. What is actually set to happen is the expiration of Bush tax cuts. Obama wants to renew these cuts. For taxpayers earning less than $250,000 a year. One analyst states “raising taxes only on the wealthy is probably the safest bet”. In a few days, I will probably write about why trickledown economics has been widely discredited, and explain why the wealthiest Americans need to pay taxes like the rest of us.
“For the first time in modern history, the House failed to pass or even debate a budget…” (p 32)
Again, this is somewhat misleading. The House did not debate a budget, but it wasn’t the first time in modern history that the House did not pass one. In fact, no final resolution budget was passed in 1998, 2004, and 2006 (all Republican led Houses). The “modern history” part refers to the time since 1974 when the current rules were put in place. According to The Hill “For weeks, Democratic leaders have tried to strike a deal on the budget, which is a non-binding resolution, but to no avail.” Also, Majority Leader Hoyer has stated “It isn’t possible to debate and pass a realistic, long-term budget until we’ve considered the bipartisan commission’s deficit-reduction plan, which is expected in December.” In other words, they wanted to wait to pass a budget until they heard from the experts.
“We will require each bill moving through Congress to include a clause citing the specific constitutional authority on which the bill is justified.” (p 33)
However, the Pledge vows to keep individuals suspected of committing terrorist acts off American soil even refusing Miranda Rights and fair trials. In part it states, “We will keep terrorist combatants in Guantanamo Bay not in our local jails and courtrooms.” (p 7) “We will prevent the government from importing terrorists onto American soil….Foreign terrorists do not have the same rights as American citizens.” (p 38)The Constitution reads “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed…” (US Constitution, Amendment VI emphasis mine). However, there are some who would argue that the Constitution was never meant to apply to non-citizens. Therefore, let us turn to Georgetown University’s Law Department’s opinion on the matter. “creating different rules for suspected terrorists would amount to ‘new rules for sets of people, not sets of crimes.’” As one political economist stated it “The Constitution does not apply only to citizens of the United States. It seems that [some] treat this document [the Constitution] like a two-year-old treats his favorite toy—unwilling to share, and incorrectly believing that it is his and his alone.” (read his opinion here)
Finally I will quote Nadeam Elshami (spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi) “Congressional Republicans are pledging to ship jobs overseas, blow a $700 billion hole in the deficit to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, turn Social Security from a guaranteed benefit into a guaranteed gamble and, once again, subject American families to the recklessness of Wall Street and take away patients’ rights…”
Election Day is coming. Be Prepared!

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