By Bryan Fischer
Count me with the
conservatives who are less than invigorated over the House Republicans’ new
“Pledge to America.”
For the most part,
it recycles standard conservative positions in typical conservative language.
Not a lot wrong with it, mind you, but nothing to inspire and notably short on
All in all, it was
probably necessary for Republicans to come up with something like this, but the
truth of the matter is they already have a document like this - it’s called the
Republican Party platform.
The mere fact that
the “Pledge” was probably necessary is more an indication of how far the party
has strayed from its own principles than anything else. Had the GOP faithfully
followed the principles it claims to believe, this document would have been
totally unnecessary. Everybody would have said, well, of course that’s what
The fact that the
document is little different in substance than the platform will make the
neutral observer wonder whether these Republicans will do any better at taking
the “Pledge” seriously than they took the platform. I guess time will tell.
Skeptical observers - count me among them - remain to be convinced.
Extending the Bush
tax cuts is important, and rolling back the horrendous 1099 provision (that
requires businesses to file 1099 forms for every vendor with whom they do $600
of business in a given year) is likewise an important first step.
A federal hiring freeze on non-security personnel
is also an excellent idea. And House Republicans can control this - if no money
for new hires is appropriated, there won’t be any new hires.
element in it is the pledge to roll back spending to pre-bailout levels. Since
Republicans, if they take back the House in November, will be in charge of
crafting the budget, we’ll get an early indication of their seriousness about
implementing conservative reforms.
If they can do
this one thing, it would be huge. Projections I have seen indicate that if
per-household spending could be downsized to pre-recession levels, we’d have a
balanced budget by 2019. (If we returned per-household spending to Reagan era
levels, the budget would be balanced by 2012.)
There is one
egregious, glaring, fantastically wrong-headed plank in this document, dealing
with health care, and I hope somebody will catch this and fix it. I haven’t
seen anyone else comment on this, but It’s a terrible provision, and smacks of
the very statism House Republicans claim they are trying to defeat.
It’s hard to
believe that this paragraph made it into a document written by conservatives
who want to limit the reach of government into the health care industry.
“We will make it
illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage to someone with prior
coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition (and) eliminate annual and
lifetime spending caps...” (p. 27)
thus are determined to prohibit insurance companies from taking pre-existing
conditions into account, and are equally determined to expose them to unlimited
liability. This is catastrophic and is as Stalinistic and heavy-handed as
anything the Democrats have proposed. These two provisions alone will force
health insurance companies to increase premiums to the point where no one will
be able to afford them. One after another, health insurance companies will
close down or go bankrupt and then nobody will have insurance. This is a
stunningly wrong-headed provision.
The matter of pre-existing
conditions and liability caps is none of the government’s business, unless an
insurance company fails to fulfill contractual obligations it has made to its
customers. The whole business of pre-existing conditions and spending caps is a
matter for discussions and negotiations between customers and insurance
companies and in which government has no proper role. If the House Republicans
can’t smell the stench from here, they need some remedial olfactory therapy.
paragraph stands out like a pile of dog doo in an otherwise pleasant landscape.
It’s perfectly terrible, and smacks more of fascism than liberty. Let’s hope
somebody besides me sees this and presses for an amendment to clear away this
“Pledge” is not bad and gives conservatives some leverage in holding
representatives accountable. The biggie is rolling back spending to pre-bailout
levels. They do that, they’ll win me over.
otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily
reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)