The Contract from America

Although it started a while back (September 1, 2009), many people haven’t heard of the “Contract From America” let alone the text it contains.

In the interest of making sure each person knows what it says, I thought I would post it here. Let me know if there are sections you don’t agree with, and why. It should make some interesting conversation, at the very least. Who knows, it might even change America.

The Contract From America

We, the undersigned, call upon those seeking to represent us in public office to sign the Contract from America and by doing so commit to support each of its agenda items, work to bring each agenda item to a vote during the first year, and pledge to advocate on behalf of individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.

Individual Liberty

Our moral, political, and economic liberties are inherent, not granted by our government. It is essential to the practice of these liberties that we be free from restriction over our peaceful political expression and free from excessive control over our economic choices.

Limited Government

The purpose of our government is to exercise only those limited powers that have been relinquished to it by the people, chief among these being the protection of our liberties by administering justice and ensuring our safety from threats arising inside or outside our country’s sovereign borders. When our government ventures beyond these functions and attempts to increase its power over the marketplace and the economic decisions of individuals, our liberties are diminished and the probability of corruption, internal strife, economic depression, and poverty increases.

Economic Freedom

The most powerful, proven instrument of material and social progress is the free market. The market economy, driven by the accumulated expressions of individual economic choices, is the only economic system that preserves and enhances individual liberty. Any other economic system, regardless of its intended pragmatic benefits, undermines our fundamental rights as free people.

1. Protect the Constitution

Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does.

2. Reject Cap & Trade

Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation’s global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures.

3. Demand a Balanced Budget

Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike.

4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform

Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words—the length of the original Constitution.

5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington

Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities, or ripe for wholesale reform or elimination due to our efforts to restore limited government consistent with the US Constitution’s meaning.

6. End Runaway Government Spending

Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth.

7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care

Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling a competitive, open, and transparent free-market health care and health insurance system that isn’t restricted by state boundaries.

8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy

Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs.

9. Stop the Pork

Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark.

10. Stop the Tax Hikes

Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011.

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Leveraging Your Lies Won’t Get You Elected

Having focused so much attention on the e-mail scandal the past couple days, I missed a much more serious issue involving John Oxendine.

Apparently, John Oxendine was so put off by the fact that Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-13) would not endorse him for governor, he created a non-scandal in an attempt to discredit Westmoreland.

Westmoreland has perhaps the best combination of social and fiscal conservative cred in the GA Congressional delegation. Westmoreland’s supporters extend beyond his 3rd Congressional District, and are comprised of those that we generally accuse Ox of pandering to. His supporters are those that Ox covets. When Cagle dropped out of the Governor’s race last April, Westmoreland was thought to be the immediate front runner if he chose to enter the race. During this time, calls from Oxendine increased in frequency, essentially begging Lynn to endorse the Ox. Lynn would have none of it.

So it was rather strange, this week, for Congressman Westmoreland to get a call from Georgia Public Television asking for his comment on his involvement in the failure of Southeastern US Insurance. Strange because the reporter listed his source as one John Oxendine, Insurance Commissioner. The man who pledged in an earlier call to do everything in his power to keep Lynn’s role from the press was now calling GPTV (the press?) to put pressure on Westmoreland.

In yet another case of being blatantly obvious, it sounds like Oxendine attempted to influence Westmoreland’s position on the race for governor by issuing subtle threats. It’s pretty clear he used the investigation of Southeastern US Insurance as leverage and in this case it didn’t work.

How many times as Oxendine done this over the years? He’s been Insurance Commissioner since 1994, or whatever, so I’m sure there are probably a lot of people out there who “support” him because they thought they had no other choice.

What a shame. It’s so much easier to stand tall, to be honest, and to be upfront. When you get to telling tales, you end up chasing tails as well, and if the person you’re chasing stops to quickly you never know where you’re going to end up but you know it won’t be pretty.

If this accusation is true (which is sounds more and more like it is), the people of Georgia need to kick Oxendine to the curb.

The last thing our state needs right now is an unethical governor who’s not ethical enough to control his e-mail list, let alone principled enough to sit in that chair.

The Shadow Of Your Character

No matter what you did when you were younger, and no matter how you got where you are today, you are forever known by your character and principles. Whether you’re working at a diner on 57th, folding clothes at the local laundromat, or working a white collar job on Wall Street, over the course of your life your character defines you and your principles guide you.

If you look up the definition of character you will find that it is ‘the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing’. Your character is defined by your moral or ethical quality. You have a choice whether or not to build a strong character or to simply let it all go. While your character defines you, you are still the writer of that definition.

When I was a teenager I could have fallen in with the ‘wrong crowd’. There was plenty of temptation and I had ample opportunity, but I didn’t. I chose not too. I chose not to associate with people that would have been a detriment to my character. Although it affected my reputation in school, it’s a choice I have appreciated making ever since.

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