Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Thoughts on the Pledge to America


Some conservatives may look at the House Republican “Pledge to America” with concern – not over what it contains, but what it does not contain. There are, after all, several big issues that are not tackled, including energy security, fundamental tax and entitlement reforms. But I see this initiative as an important step in a far more ambitious plan to restore American liberty and prosperity.

First, the rubber stamp would be put away and the Obama Administration would be subject to meaningful oversight – something essential to the preservation of our freedoms.

Second, the House of Representatives - governed by a new Republican majority - will serve as the standard bearer for limited government and the strict adherence to America’s Constitutional principles.

And thirdly, Democracy will be restored to the People’s House after many tarnished years under the iron fist of Speaker Pelosi and her allies. Committees will examine and write legislation, not unaccountable special interests in the backrooms of the Speaker’s office. Ideas will be debated again, in place of intimidation and vote buying. Bills will actually be read before they are voted on and the American people will again have their voice heard.

These are good reasons to support the “Pledge to America,” as are the many proposals it contains to slim down and reign in government. However, the pledge should be viewed as the starting point not the ultimate solution to our nation’s enormous challenges.

Click here to download and learn more about the Pledge to America.

Click here to read about my comprehensive energy reforms contained in the Roadmap for Americans Energy Future.

Click here to read about A Roadmap for America’s Future, which fundamentally reforms our nation’s tax, healthcare, entitlement, and retirement security programs.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

White House Koch Attack


Modern leftists, much like their communist forefathers, have long used the power of government to exert control and silence dissent. The erosion of free speech in America has come in a number of ways, not all of which are the result of new laws. Such is the case today.

I recently learned that the White House has launched an attack against a privately owned American company, Koch Industries. This attack may include the unlawful use of Internal Revenue Service documents.

As a Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, which has jurisdiction over the IRS, I am highly concerned that the White House may be prying into the tax returns of its political enemies. For this reason, I have called on my Chairman, Rep. Sander Levin, to immediately conduct oversight inquires into the actions of the Obama White House. Should Chairman Levin fail to do so, I am hopeful that November will bring into power a majority willing to uncover the truth.

The White House attack against Koch is politically motivated. The White House wants to end the company’s lawful financial support for conservative and libertarian causes – effectively silencing its opponents.

Koch’s financial support goes to organizations like Humane Studies, a non-profit that underwrites libertarian academics, the Bill of Rights Institute, another non-profit that advocates adherence to our nation’s Constitution, and the CATO Institute, America’s leading libertarian think tank.

These Koch funded organizations and others like them represent the views of the company’s private owners – men who support limited government and libertarian causes. Their work stands in sharp contrast to that of George Soros, the billionaire socialist who created The philanthropy of these two billionaires helps frame the ideological struggle confronting America today.

Koch’s giving has helped organizations that believe in American freedom and the Republic form of government. Soros on the other hand has built an empire of radical liberal politics. The seeds of Soros’ investments have grown to promote European Socialism in America, a renaissance of big government, and the unprecedented centralization of power.

In recent years, Democrats have become increasingly militant in their efforts to shake down corporate America. For the most part, big business has been willing to participate in the Democratic Party’s protection racket in order to prevent Congress and the President from doing something worse.

The examples are endless. The President extorted insurance and pharmaceutical companies as part of his health care reform initiative; Democrats in Congress extorted America’s financial sector under the auspices of financial sector reform; and radical environmentalists and their friends in Congress have transformed big oil into a cash cow to fund global warming hysteria.

In each case companies like Chrysler, Royal Dutch Shell, and General Electric have either directly financed attacks on our nation’s freedom or agreed not to oppose the attacks in order to maintain favor with their rulers.

The White House attack against Koch is an assault on American liberty. It sends a chilling message to conservative philanthropists concerned about the future of our nation and it signals that, as far as the White House is concerned, equal protection under the law only applies to the President’s supporters. The fact that the White House has chosen this path suggests that President Obama is leading a paranoid, insecure, and dictatorial Administration – one that is in desperate need of better Congressional oversight.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

GOP Decision Time: A Great Leap Toward Honesty


A shorter version of this commentary ran in the Washington Examiner on September 3, 2010. It was featured by Big Government on September 9, 2010.

When John Boehner was first elected Republican leader, he said he felt like the dog that caught the car. This is a metaphor for someone who works hard to achieve a major goal, only to be confronted with the age old question “What do we do now?” If Republicans take back the House and Senate, the party will actually be the dog that caught the car.

Victory at the polls means Republicans will inherit an angry electorate that has been voting for change since 2006. The country is at a crossroads. In one direction there is big, centralized government that usurps the rights of states, local communities, and individual Americans. It’s the job of the Republican leaders to outline another direction, but that direction is not yet clear to them. This must change before the next election.

Americans punished Republicans in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Conventional wisdom said the country wanted change. The truth is that Americans saw no real difference between Democrats and Republicans. The Republican brand has gone stale and paved the way for a new era of big government and socialism. As Newsweek boldly proclaimed in early 2009, “We are all socialists now.”

Thankfully, the prospect of this socialist era enduring is slim. The American public has learned what socialistic polices really mean. A budget deficit that was $161 billion when the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007 and four years later projected to be $1.47 trillion; and a national debt held by the public that was $5 trillion and four years later projected to be $9.2 trillion. This and a lot more, including a projected $2.6 trillion cost to implement the Democrats’ healthcare bill, have soured the experience of most Americans with a Socialist Golden Age. As Margaret Thatcher said, “…Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money.” We just didn’t know that the White House and the Democratic Congress would run out of other people’s money so soon, or that they could accelerate our financial mess so rapidly.

President Obama will be remembered in history for his sweeping legislative success in bringing about an unprecedented era of big government in an American “Great Leap Forward.” And like China’s Great Leap Forward under Mao during the late 1950s and early 1960s, the result will be economic failure. At the forefront of our financial mess are broken entitlement programs. The President has hastened our financial catastrophe but he is not alone in doing nothing to fix the unfunded entitlement liabilities, which are in excess of $60 trillion for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The line of politicians wanting to avoid this problem, or unwilling to understand it, extends back for decades.

The Republican leadership has taken the innovative approach of “listening” to the American public, using the latest technology to give Americans a voice in their government. Americans can go online or use their cell phones to recommend cuts in spending on the Republican Whip’s site “You Cut” or submit their ideas to the Republican Leader’s site “America Speaking Out.” Good ideas are then mentioned on the floor of the House of Representatives or may be included in any future Republican agenda.

But listening will only get you so far. At what point do Republican leaders break the news that the country is racing toward financial catastrophe? The Republican Party is not serving the American people well if its leaders imply that catastrophe can be avoided by texting votes for cuts that even if they were adopted would have little impact on our nation’s growing debt. A freeze in spending is good; eliminating earmarks is great; shutting an entire cabinet agency might even be better. Yet after all that, our country still goes bankrupt because the tough decisions on entitlement and tax reform are being ignored.

Republicans should learn a lesson from the Contract With America. In 1994, Republican candidates ran on a set of promises that had been poll tested and focused grouped. An election was won and there were legislative successes in the 12 years that followed. Yet by 2006 and the end of Republican control of Congress, the GOP had failed to convince the public that they could govern any better than the Democrats. The lesson is clear: Republicans have to define themselves through more than rhetoric and platitudes as the protectors of states’ rights, local community control, and, most importantly, individual freedom from the growing power of the federal government.

As the 2010 elections rapidly approach, the Republican leadership must put forward a credible plan that reforms entitlements, simplifies the tax code, and has a real energy policy. These policy changes would result in a balanced budget, a shrinking trade deficit, repayment of the national debt, and put Americans back to work. History will reward Republicans if we are honest with the American people; but first we must be honest with ourselves.

Devin Nunes, a Republican, represents the 21st congressional district of California. He is the author of Restoring the Republic (WND, 2010).