Contract With America: The Sequel

House Republican leaders have announced a plan they are calling a “Commitment to America” in time for the November election and presumably the presidential contest two years from now.

In unveiling the plan, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has the party’s priorities right. The question is how the Republican Party will survive the usual and predictable Democrat and media assaults we have seen before, such as the one that claims the GOP intends to end Social Security and Medicare and harm children.

The Commitment to America plan promises to cut government spending, which is the main driver of record-high inflation. It also promises to control the southern border and stop migrants and drugs from entering the country. It will also attack violent crime.

These issues have worked for Republicans in the recent past. The problem has been sustaining them against opposition from Democrats, much of the media, and interest groups that later would be characterized as “the swamp.”

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

In this “sequel” to the “Contract With America” of 1994 from then-Reps. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and Dick Armey, R-Texas, Republicans are again promoting some of the same ideas that created their first House majority in 40 years.

There were many things that the 1994 contract had going for it. But, the most important was that everyone could understand. The contract contained 10 promises, and was reduced to the size a full-page advertisement in the TV Guide magazine. Voters could also keep copies in their wallets or purses.

Not all of the contract’s objectives were achieved after Republicans’ victory, including congressional term limits and a constitutional amendment to force balanced budgets, but those that did were astoundingly successful.

While Democrats screamed like scalded dogs and promoted doomsday scenarios, President Bill Clinton correctly gauged the mood of the country, declaring that “the era of big government is over.” If only.

The Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform bill is a major accomplishment of the contract. The Left claimed that the poor would starve. They didn’t. They were able to find jobs that they liked, which was good for them and the country.

Taxes were cut, and in 1998 the federal government was balanced. This balance remained steady through 2001. Hard as it is to believe with today’s $30 trillion debt, the country experienced a surplus of $236 billion in 2000.

From 1997 to 2000, economic growth was 4% or more. Unemployment rates, which were higher than 7% at the start of the decade, dropped to less that 5% in 1997. At the end 2000, unemployment was below 4%.

For three straight years—from 1997 through 1999—the economy produced more than 3 million jobs, a record.

It is evident that the Contract With America worked.

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

President Joe Biden is not Bill Clinton. The Democratic Party has been taken over by the hard Left and they are not about to compromise on anything, from social issues to “climate change.”

Only if Republicans win the Congress and the White House does the GOP’s “Commitment to America” have a chance to fully succeed. As in 1994, the party has the issues on its side—from inflation and a declining stock market that is hurting the savings of retirees, to an uncontrolled border, violent crime, and a cultural fabric that seems to many conservatives to be coming apart.

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

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