Friday, September 30, 2011

Gingrich Introduces 21st Century Contract with America

Newt Gingrich has rolled out his 21st Century Contract with America. You may remember that Gingrich introduced the original Contract with America in 1994 as the Republicans took over as the majority party in the House for the first time in over 40 years. Gingrich led the Republicans as Speaker of the House.

The primary purpose of the 21st Century Contract with America is to lay out the scale of change that is necessary and give the American people profound reasons to believe that with courageous, systematic effort we can get America back on the right track.

The secondary purpose of the 21st Century Contract with America is to create a general management guidance so that everyone who wants to know where we are going and what we are trying to achieve will have a clear sense of purpose and definition.

Times are more dismal now and will require a bigger plan than before.

The 21st Century Contract with America will therefore be much larger than the original, and will consist of four parts.

1.A set of legislative proposals to shift America back to job creation, prosperity, freedom, and safety;

2.A “First Day” project of Executive Orders to be signed on inauguration day to immediately transform the way the executive branch works;

3.A training program for the transition teams and the appointees who will lead the shift back to Constitutional, limited government;

4.A system of citizen involvement to help us sustain grassroots support for change and help implement the change through 2021;

Here is how the new plan is like the old plan:

There are three primary similarities between the 21st Century Contract with America and the original 1994 Contract with America:

1.Both contracts are premised on the belief that a successful turnaround in the direction of our country is possible. When I was sworn in as the first Republican Speaker of the House in forty years in January 1995, the Congressional Budget Office projected that over the next decade the cumulative federal budget deficits would total $2.7 trillion. Shortly after I left office in January 1999, CBO projected that over the next decade that federal surpluses would total over $2.2 trillion– a four-year turnaround in the fiscal outlook of the United States of nearly $5 trillion. A comparable four-year improvement in the U.S fiscal outlook today would total over $8 trillion (as % of GDP).

2.Both contracts are premised on the belief that a successful national turnaround begins with profound policy turnaround. The 1994 Contract focused on balanced budgets, welfare reform, and controlled spending. The result was 11 million new jobs, four balanced budgets, welfare reform, and paying down of over $400 billion in national debt.

3.Both contracts are premised on the belief that a policy turnaround is only possible when the American people are presented during a political campaign with a clear set of choices -- and persuasive reasons why the country should move in a particular direction -- which they then endorse on Election Day.

Makes sense. Go with what works.

Here is how it differs from the original:

There are three primary differences between the 21st Century Contract with America and the original 1994 Contract with America:

1.Since the problems today are much bigger and the institutions have grown even more elitist, the Contract has to be much bigger and more fundamental in the changes it proposes;

2.The 1994 Contract grew out of Reagan’s philosophy and could be presented as a completed document but the 21st Century Contract is based on Lincoln’s principle that “As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.” Therefore the new contract has to be a work in progress which will be developed over the next year and finally unveiled in a completed form on September 27, 2012. The other reason for a more participatory, developmental approach is that after the secretly drafted stimulus and the secretly drafted Obamacare the American people are tired of imposed solutions they don’t understand and haven’t helped develop;

3.Because the 21st Century Contract calls for dramatically broader and deeper change, it requires much more emphasis on implementation and so three of the four areas of the Contract (Executive Orders on the First Day, training for appointees, a citizen based movement to insist on implementation and to help monitor implementation for eight years).

Gingrich's pledge to issue a series of Executive Orders on his first day in office - the afternoon of Inauguration Day - is interesting. He claims it is the quickest way to change course on some stifling measures placed upon the American public during the reign of Barack Obama. He would repeal Obamacare and fire all the czars, for instance, as a first order of business.

It is an interesting introduction of common sense and expediency to the ideas from the campaign. Newt Gingrich is a big ideas kind of leader. He is strong in resolve when he sets about implementing his ideas. Common sense ideas and strong resolve are two elements sorely missing within this current administration.

Gingrich's 21st Century Contract with America is a bold step in the right direction for America.

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