Contract with America, the sequel – The Virginian-Pilot

House Republican leaders announced a plan they call a “Pledge to America” ​​in time for the November election and presumably the presidential race in two years.

In unveiling the plan, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, is right about the party’s priorities. The question is whether the Republican Party can survive the familiar and expected Democratic and media onslaught we’ve seen before, one that claims the GOP will end Social Security and Medicare and hurt children. .

The Commitment to America plan promises to cut public spending – the main driver of debt that accompanies record inflation – control the southern border and the influx of migrants and drugs, as well as tackle violent crime. These questions have worked well for Republicans in the past. The problem has been supporting them against opposition from Democrats, much of the media, and interest groups that would later be labeled “swamp”.

It would be helpful if McCarthy and his colleagues told us which government programs they will be cutting, but perhaps they don’t want to telegraph anything to prevent Democrats from twisting the plan. Not that they won’t anyway.

In this “sequel” to the Newt Gingrich, R-GA, and Dick Armey, R-TX, “Contract with America,” Republicans again promote some of the same ideas that created their first House majority in 40 years. . The 1994 contract had a lot of advantages, but the main thing was that everyone could understand it. The contract contained 10 promises and was reduced to the size of a full-page ad in the then widely circulated TV Guide magazine. Voters could also carry copies in their wallets and purses.

Not all of the goals of the contract were met, including congressional term limits and a constitutional amendment to mandate balanced budgets, but those that did were surprisingly successful.

As Democrats howled like scalded dogs and promoted doomsday scenarios, President Bill Clinton correctly gauged the nation’s mood, declaring that “the age of big government is over.” If only.

The Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform bill was a major achievement of the contract. The left claimed that the poor were starving. They did not do it. Most of the able-bodied among them have found employment, which has benefited them and the country.

Taxes were cut and in 1998 the federal budget was balanced and remained balanced until 2001. As hard to believe with the current debt of $30 trillion, the country had a surplus of $236 billion in 2000.

Economic growth was 4% or more from 1997 to 2000 and unemployment rates, which were above 7% at the start of the decade, fell to less than 5% in 1997. By the end of 2000, unemployment was less than 4%.

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For three consecutive years – from 1997 to 1999 – the economy produced more than 3 million jobs, a record.

It is undeniable that the contract worked.

The new list of Republican goals will also work if they are implemented, because they are rooted in the history of what has worked before – lower taxes, less spending, personal responsibility and accountability, empowerment of parents , not teachers’ unions.

President Joe Biden is not Bill Clinton. The Democratic Party has been taken over by the far left and they are not ready to compromise on anything from social issues to climate change.

Only if the Republicans win Congress and the White House does the GOP’s “Pledge to America” have a chance to fully succeed. As in 1994, the party has the problems on its side – from the previously mentioned inflation and a falling stock market that harms pensioners’ savings, to an unchecked border, violent crime and a cultural fabric. which seems to many conservatives to be falling apart. .

If Republicans can’t win on these issues, they can expect and deserve to be engaged by voters in years of irrelevance.

Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Content Agency. Email him at [email protected] and look for his latest book “America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires and Superpowers and the Future of the United States” (HarperCollins/Zondervan).

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