Remember former Cong. Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America”? As Democrats demonized it, their man Bill Clinton signed 65 percent of it into law.
Now Gingrich has a new, shorter and more streamlined “Contract for America”:
1) Jobs, jobs, jobs. Gingrich recommends a 50 percent reduction in payroll taxes, a 100 percent write-off for small business investment in tools and technology, zero capital gains, and lowering the corporate tax to 12.5 percent. Obviously, we are talking about private sector job creation.
2) Balance the budget. From 1994 to 1998, federal spending growth was held to 2.9 percent annually, the smallest increases since Calvin Coolidge. The result was four years of surpluses and a $405 billion reduction in the national debt. Much would now accomplished by devolving power to the states under the 10th Amendment.
3) An American Energy Plan. Drill here, drill now. Build nuclear reactors. Rein in the Environmental Protection Agency’s “bureaucratic dictatorship on energy production.”
4) Congressional Appropriation Reform. Eliminate earmarks, post bills 72 hours before voting, reverse the Republican spending habits that undermined fiscal discipline during the Bush Administration.
5) Litigation Reform. The states have found the quickest and cleanest road to tort reform is to cap open-ended “non-economic damages.” Compensating hospital costs and lost wages is fine, but open-ended awards for pain-and-suffering or punitive damages are limited only by jurors’ imagination. With these few limitations, we can have lawsuits without throwing whole industries out of balance.
6) Real Health Reform. Allow the sale of health insurance across state lines, extend the tax benefits given to employees of large corporations to everyone, promote Health Savings Accounts — all the things that Republicans perennially propose and Democrats dutifully dismiss.
7) Every Child Gets Ahead. The best and only way to improve education is to promote and facilitate vouchers, grants, and charter schools. If the public school system ever comes around, it will be in response to this competition.
8) Protect Religious Liberty. Defend the religious majority from a “shockingly and increasingly anti-religious elite” and “block every effort to coerce religious people on abortion, marriage and other issues of conscience and drive God out of public life.”
9) Protect Americans, Not the Rights of Terrorists. Let’s put an end to the nonsense about treating invading terrorists as domestic criminals and see them for what they are — enemy combatants.
10) Defend America. “Rebuild our capital investment in the powerful defensive force in the world.” If done properly, this can be reconciled with balancing the budget.