The Bow-Tied Blogger

The life and adventures of one soldier and his various journeys.

  Sunday, May 30, 2010

Discussion of Contract with America

As I mentioned earlier, I was going to discuss teh Contract with America. Sure, it's 16 years old and the GOP has forgotten the whole notion of small government since Bush 2, but it is still worth mentioning, especially since it was an idea that had merit andis rarely critiqued. Today, I will discuss the Fiscal Responsibility Act. According to wikipedia:

An amendment to the Constitution that would require a balanced budget unless sanctioned by a three-fifths vote in both houses of Congress (H.J.Res.1, passed by the US House Roll Call: 300-132, 1/26/95; rejected by the US Senate Roll Call: 65-35, 3/2/95, two-thirds required), and legislation (not an amendment) provide the president with a line-item veto (H.R.2, passed by the US House Roll Call: 294-134, 2/6/95; conferenced with S. 4 and enacted with substantial changes 4/9/96 [2]). The statute was ruled unconstitutional in Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417, 118 S.Ct. 2091, 141 L.Ed.2d 393 (1998).

Balanced Budget Amendment. Great idea. As we can see, we actually had a surplus, though it would have been better if Clinton went after discretionary spending as well as the military. Bush could have accomplished that, though. Instead, he went Keynesian and ran up record deficits with Medicare Plan D. If the Amendment passed, Bush's gimmie programs would have been stopped.

Second aspect was a line item veto. I think it is an excellent provision that can be great at trimming pork, and I'd apply it to more than just fiscal matters. This way, populist measures that are unconstitutional could be excised, though that is ultimately the job of the Supreme Court, but it would be good if an added check were made.

This bill was ruled unconstitutional, so without a later court decision or a Constitutional Amendment, no dice. Now, is that an imbalance in power giving the President the power to veto part of a bill, but not the full bill? I don't think it is, but I am no lawyer, nor am I an expert on Constitutional law. Any thoughts would be great.

Now, other measures that could be fitted under this umbrella: A bill that would freeze all salaries (except the military, or all pay raises for them are automatically sent to their TSP account and not available as disposable income) of federal employees, including the President, Congress, and Supreme Court Judges during times of recession. This would prevent layoffs and prevent some expenses.

I'd also advocate end of life counseling to curb Medicare costs and audit any bleeding heart religious group raising any fits about it, and a triage system for end of life care. It is criminal to spend millions on extending a life by a few years that is no longer contributing to the IRS and next of kin should have veto power on expensive treatment. They should get the money, not some hospital that is crazy about running the tests in the name of our perverse longevity cult. Once I reach a certain age, there are a number of illnesses I won't bother treating. I care about minimizing pain at that point and not enduring the last five years of my life in a hospital bed. Well, my cut off point will be around 70.

Those are my thoughts on how to use some fiscal restraint.



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