The Contract with America was a concept implemented by the Republican Party and presented to the American people six weeks before the 1994 Congressional election campaign. It was developed by Larry Hunter with assistance from Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey, Bill Paxon, Tom DeLay, and others. The Contract was based in part on text from one of former President Ronald Reagan’s State of the Union Address. The Contract detailed the actions the Republican Party promised to take if they became the majority party in the United States House of Representatives for the first time in forty years. It was introduced during the first midterm election of President Bill Clinton’s Administration, and was signed by all but two of the Republican members of the House and all of the Party’s non-incumbent Republican Congressional candidates.
Supporters of the Contract with America described it as revolutionary in its commitment to offering specific legislation for a vote, describing in detail the precise plan of the Congressional Representatives. Its provisions represented the view of many conservative constituents on the issues of shrinking the size of government, promoting lower taxes and greater entrepreneurial activity, and both tort reform and welfare reform. With all the promises that the Contract represented the Republican Party gained a majority of seats in the 104th United States Congress. It was viewed as a major triumph for the Republican Party and its leaders such as Minority Whip Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, and for all the people who were part of America’s conservative movement.
During the first hundred days of the 104th Congress, the Republicans pledged ten bills. Each bill was to be given a full and open debate, a clear and fair vote, and each was to be made available for public inspection. These bills were not intended as governmental reforms but represented significant changes to policy. The main points of this program was included tax cuts for businesses and individuals, term limits for legislators, social security reform, tort reform, and welfare reform. The Contract with America was responsible for:
- The Fiscal Responsibility Act which would require a balanced federal budget, unless sanctioned by a three-fifths vote in both houses of Congress.
- The Taking Back Our Streets Act which was an anti-crime package including stronger truth in sentencing, good faith exclusionary rule exemptions, death penalty provisions, funding prison construction, and additional law enforcement.
- The Personal Responsibility Act which made cuts in spending for welfare programs by means of discouraging illegitimacy and teen pregnancy by prohibiting welfare to mothers under eighteen years of age, denying increases for additional children while on welfare, and enacting a two years and out provision with work requirements to promote individual responsibility.
- The American Dream Restoration Act which created a five hundred dollar per child tax credit and initiated steps to repeal the marriage tax penalty and the creation of the American Dream Savings Accounts to provide middle-class tax relief.
- The National Security Restoration Act which prevented troops from serving under United Nations command unless the President determines it is necessary for the purposes of national security, to cut America’s contribution for United Nation peacekeeping operations, and to establish guidelines for the voluntary integration of former Warsaw Pact nations into NATO.
- The Common Sense Legal Reform Act for tort reform which instituted loser pays laws, limits on punitive damages, and the reformation of product liability laws to prevent frivolous litigation.
- The Job Creation and Wage Enhancement Act which was a misnomer for a package of measures to act as small business incentives such as capital gains cuts and risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis and an unfunded mandate to create jobs and raise worker wages.
- The Citizen Legislature Act was a not very seriously supported amendment to the United States Constitution that would have imposed a twelve year term limit on members of the Congress.
The Contract with America is credited by some as having helped secure a decisive victory for the Republican Party in the 1994 midterm elections. Some parts of the Contract were enacted by the Republican controlled majority while others were unsupported by the Congress and President Bill Clinton vetoed other parts. It was Mr. Clinton who sarcastically referred to the Contract with America as the Contract on America.
With the presidential election of 2000, the country gave the Republican Party a perfect political trifecta where the conservative right controlled both houses of the legislative branch as well as the executive branch and control of the judicial branch as well. A Democratic President was replaced with a Republican President. And whatever Republican President George Bush wanted the conservative Republican legislature was more than happy to provide.
The people of the United States haven’t enjoyed a balanced budget since Mr. Bush took office. Mr. Bush inherited a budget surplus and managed to create one of the largest budget deficits in his first year in office. The national debt has doubled to ten trillion dollars. So much for that Fiscal Responsibility Act. And the Personal Responsibility Act is little more than a farce as companies like Halliburton and Blackwater enjoy corporate welfare in the form of no bid multibillion dollar contracts without having to produce much in the way of results.
And all the tax cuts passed since the Republican’s took over the White House haven’t produced much in the way of jobs. Jobs have evaporated as corporate profits soared. Oil companies have jacked the price of fuel to record levels with their profits making their own historic records. Companies enjoying record profits are steadily cutting jobs and outsourcing their work to the very cheapest places available. Another round of tax cuts won’t do a thing for creating jobs. It’s socialism to do anything to provide tax relief to the public. It’s not socialism when we provide tax relief to corporate entities. While the public is given a five hundred dollar tax credit per child, corporate America gets millions of dollars.
The past eight years has demonstrated our leadership’s penchant to take care of the handful of us at the highest pinnacle of our economic hierarchal pyramid. Our troops die in a foreign land protecting our freedoms and then corporate America swoops in and reaps all the economic benefits. And with our government that heavily favors corporate America, while many corporations are more profitable than ever, more people are struggling to make ends meet. The tenets of socialism that spreads the wealth have been resoundingly reversed. It got so bad that many of us couldn’t even afford gas to go to work.
But to counter the fact that we were getting economically screwed, our leadership got us focused on family values. In order to distract us from the fact that some corporate entities are more profitable than ever, the American people were given personal issues like abortion and the protection of marriage from the evil homosexuals with their dangerous beliefs that they could express their commitment to their partners the same way heterosexuals could. We have to defend marriage even though we do nothing to protect marriage from people who cheat on their spouse or get divorced. The sanctity of marriage must be protected. And while we are discriminating against homosexuals, the middle class is steadily dwindling. And then we weren’t being patriotic to question our leadership. It is unpatriotic to criticize our government leaders when we are involved in a misguided global conflict. But it’s okay for corporate entities to pillage the national treasure and profit handsomely at the expense of the public through global conflict.
Mr. Clinton was very prophetic when he called the Contract with America the Contract on America. And many people have awakened out of their political sheep slumber to implement change. America started to initiate change in the 2006 midterm elections. America took away the Republican majorities in both houses of the legislative branch. Instead of seeing the signs that people wanted change it was business as usual. The chickens of global unilateralism came home to roost. The focus to make corporate America profitable has bankrupted middle America. Corporate America was fat and happy as Middle America continued to lose jobs and faced entire communities of foreclosures homes and a credit crisis. Obviously the message didn’t get through the first time. More political change was necessary.
The 2008 presidential election was proof positive of what the people think of our contract with the Republican Party. Since 1994 they had a chance to do what they said they would to help us all. But I don’t feel like we have been helped at all. I feel more like we have been gang raped and bitched slapped. You damn skippy I’m voting for a reverse course. Even the people who voted for this contract nonsense have reconsidered. And the verdict is that this contract should be terminated effective immediately. Our experiment with this thinly veiled American brand fascism just doesn’t work