The Contract With America, a controversial, yet, little understood piece of paper, embodies the Republican agenda. This contract was put together by Newt Gingrich (R.-Ga.), the new Speaker of the House, and signed by 300 other Republican House and Senate candidates. Democrats became alarmed by this show of unity and virulently began to lambaste the contract, twisting the issues the Republicans formulated in the contract. Democrats proclaimed that the contract was going to cut Social Security for the elderly and give tax breaks to the rich and not the poor, but this is not the case.
The Republicans know what the American people want and the sagacious American people elected these same Republicans, who signed the contract, to office. In the up-and-coming 1995 legislative session the items in the contract are issues the Republicans promise to bring to the floor of Congress for a vote. In the past, Democrats would not even let these issues come to the floor for debate. The contract includes 10 acts the Republicans will introduce in Congress in the first 100 days. Some of these laudable acts will be ardous, but the people and ideas behind them will provide for the amelioration of the American people. Here's a sample of some of those Acts─
¨ ACT 1 ─ The Fiscal Responsibility Act calls for not only a constitutional balanced-budget amendment, but also provides the president with line-item veto power. These are two important and necessary features that need to be incorporated into the Constitution. First, it would require Congress to balance its budget , thus ending deficit spending. Secondly, the line-item veto would make it possible for the president to strike out an unfavorable part of a bill, instead of vetoing the whole bill. This would speed up government, allowing Congress to move on to other important issues rather than redrafting the same bill time and time again.
¨ ACT 7 ─ The Senior Citizens Fairness Act is an act that Democrats have tried to twist, leading people to believe that Republicans wanted to cut Social Security for the elderly. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite. This Act would raise senior citizens' earning limit, which would allow senior citizens to earn more money and still receive full benefits. The only cutting done by this Act consists of repealing the Clinton tax hike on Social Security and doing away with the Social Security tax altogether. Furthermore, this Act would provide tax breaks for those who decide to invest in private long-term care insurance. Thus, those who take it upon themselves to plan for future retirement needs would get a tax break and everybody can benefit from this incentive.
¨ ACT 8 ─ The Job Creation and Wage Enhancement Act includes a number of small business incentives, but most importantly, it cuts and indexes capital gain taxes from 28 percent to 14 percent. For example, if you bought stock at $3,000 five years ago and you sold it today for $4,000 then you would be taxed (under the current Clinton tax plan), 28 percent on the full $1,000 capital gain, even if inflation accounted for $500 of the gain. Under the new law your gain would be indexed and you would pay a 14 percent tax on the actual gain of $500 ─ thus, paying lower taxes on the amount that you actually profit from. This law is good for everybody, not just the rich, because everybody deals with selling things of value, i.e. houses, cars and stock.
¨ ACT 10 ─ The Citizens Legislature Act which establishes term-limits for members of Congress is the one that Democrats fear most. When they were in charge, they would not even bring this issue up for debate. Now Republicans will bring this to the floor for a first ever vote on term limits for members of Congress. The act would bring an end to "career" congressmen and open up Congress so more people can participate in making policy for this country. This is the way the founders of our country envisioned participation in politics. George Washington set the ideal ─ two terms in office, then move on.
There are also six other acts in the Contract ─ including ones dealing with welfare reform, another across-the-board tax cuts, making our public education system stronger and getting tougher on crime. The people voted for this dismantling of government overwhelmingly. Now it is time to see if the Republicans will do what they say they will, for if they do not, then they will surely be voted out just like the Democrats were.
Christopher R. Bradford is a political science senior.
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