Joe From Texas: Contract From the American People
This Contract from the American People is a work in progress draft. We have already received feedback from many of you, and would appreciate feedback from others. Let us know if you have any comments or concerns. For example, are there items in the contract that you would exclude or other items that you would include?
Once completed, we will ask that everyone in support of this document sign on our website that they will support the candidate that supports the Contract. At the right time, we will approach the candidates and try to get their commitment that they will do their very best to implement the content of the Contract from the American People.
As we near the 2024 Presidential election, America has many problems that threaten our long-term success as a nation. Among these problems are our unsustainable deficits and mounting levels of debt. It should be noted that the last time period during which our budget was balanced followed a contract between our elected officials and the people that led to the two major parties working together to bring about fiscal discipline. It is clear to anyone paying attention that our current government has lost the trust of the American people. As a step to restore that trust, we ask for a commitment to pursue the following agenda from candidates seeking to be elected President of the United States and their pledge that, should they be elected, they will make the pursuit of this agenda a priority.
1. We will reign in spending and control the national debt. In order to ensure that this effort gains the trust of the American people, our next President will commit to working with congressional leaders to establish an independent Fiscal Sustainability Commission. This commission would be charged with making recommendations to stabilize our debt/GDP at a specified level by a defined future year. It would make recommendations on both discretionary spending programs (including defense), mandatory spending programs (including social insurance programs), and tax policies. The commission would be comprised of capable, credible, and non-conflicted individuals who span the political spectrum. The recommendations of the commission must be guaranteed an up or down vote in Congress, with no amendments. The criteria for achieving this vote on the committee’s recommendations would be concurrence of no more than sixty percent of its members. The commission would have adequate time to engage in a broad range of citizen education, engagement, and outreach activities designed to solicit input on possible reforms. Once the report is submitted, there would be a guaranteed up or down vote in Congress within sixty days.
2. We will set up a mechanism to help control debt for the long-term. Because a current Congress does not have the authority to constrain spending by future Congresses, we must pass a Fiscal Responsibility Constitutional Amendment designed to reduce and stabilize debt/GDP at reasonable and sustainable levels by a certain year. By passing and ratifying such an amendment, we will ensure that steps we take toward fiscal responsibility today will be sustainable in the future.
3. We will secure our border and reign in illegal immigration. Although our country has a long and proud history of immigration, the open border policies of the current administration are unacceptable and unsustainable. Between 1892 and 1954, millions of immigrants came to our country through Ellis Island and approximately 38 million Americans today can trace at least one ancestor back to this island. Although we welcome those who come to our country legally, we must secure our border and work with other countries, such as Mexico, that can help us stem illegal immigration. We will secure the border, which is an entry point for drugs, terrorists, criminals, etc., and our tax dollars will be used to protect and provide services to American families, rather than those who enter our country illegally.
4. We will support the enforcement of our laws and have a zero-tolerance policy for serious crime. Crime
is rampant in many parts of the country and the victims are largely law-abiding citizens. We will employ every legal tool available to put a stop to this crime wave and return law and order to the American people. All law-abiding citizens regardless of race, sex, age, or any other factor have the right to live without fear of being a victim of crime and we will implement and enforce policies that support this right while maintaining equal justice under the law. Our first responders deserve and require the support of politicians and the legal system at all levels of government.
5. We will implement energy policies that boost our economy and provide affordable energy to American
families. Energy costs are a major expense for families and businesses. The availability of dependable and affordable energy directly benefits families and provides a boost to economic growth in our economy. The current Administration is pursuing policies that not only raise the cost of energy for the average family, but they also harm our economy and negatively impact our national security. They also put the government in the position of picking energy winners and losers. We will pursue an “all of the above” energy policy that includes unleashing the power of traditional energy while exploring opportunities with alternative sources of energy. However, the free market, rather than government policies, must dictate the ultimate consumption of the various sources of energy. We will implement policies that provide a wide variety of energy choices to the American people and then allow them to vote for winners and losers via their wallets.
6. We will control the excess inflation that is harming American families. Government spending has been too high for too long and has been driving our debt to unsustainable levels. Most economists agree that continued government emergency spending, even after it was generally accepted that the COVID emergency was over, contributed greatly to the inflation with which Americans have been struggling to cope for the last couple of years. Too much government money spread around the economy too quickly not only led to inflation, but it also contributed to many people choosing to stay out of the workforce. With out-of-control deficits and millions of jobs unfilled in our country, we will work to control spending and promote policies that encourage every legal and able-bodied American resident to become part of the workforce that drives the engine of our economy.
7. We will fight corruption at every level of government. It has become apparent to more and more Americans over the last several years that our government has experienced some corruption at every level. Although the majority of those serving our country at all levels are honest, it only takes a few bad apples to spoil a barrel. We will have zero tolerance for officials, whether elected or appointed, who improperly place their own interests or special interests above the people they serve and will use every tool at our disposal to remove them from their position.
8. We will make school choice and security a priority. Choice and competition are key elements to achieving successful and sustainable outcomes. America has some of the best colleges and universities in the world, but its K-12 education system is not in the top 25 in the world. We should expand school choice to improve education equity and outcomes. In addition, there are too many instances of violence in our schools. We can and we will employ measures to make our schools safer. Although schools are, and should continue to be, run at the local and state levels, we will develop some national recommendations on school safety and provide local districts assistance in implementing these recommendations.
9. We will implement mandatory financial literacy and civic responsibility education nationwide. Too many Americans do not know the basics regarding financial matters and do not understand what their responsibilities are as citizens in our great republic. We support requiring that students pass accredited courses in financial literacy and civic responsibility before they can graduate from High School.
10. We will adopt Term limits – Our nation’s founders never anticipated that the country would evolve to having “career politicians.” Their view was that people should leave their regular occupations for a period of time to perform temporary public service. Too many elected officials today want to make elected office a career. As a result, their focus is more often on keeping their job than it is on doing the right thing. Therefore, it is time to adopt a Constitutional amendment that will prevent a politician from running for the same office once they have been in that office for twelve years. The one exception to the twelve-year limit could be for those who occupy the top 4 leadership positions in the House and Senate. In order to maintain continuity, these officials could qualify for an additional six years, for a total of eighteen years. That is enough time to make a difference.
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