Unfortunately I could not be there to see this with my own eyes, but both published and eyewitness reports indicate that Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton attended a small protest today at the local office for Congressman Andy Harris.
The reason for the protest was to show support for a document called “A Contract for the American Dream,” with the title obviously a play on the Republicans’ “Contract With America” from 1994 and 2010.
So let’s assume Jim Ireton is foursquare behind the document – what is he backing?
It begins with a call to rebuild America’s infrastructure. That’s commendable, but they go beyond roads, bridges, and utilities in calling for “national and state infrastructure banks.” To me, that’s code for more federally- and state-controlled land, whether through outright acquisition or regulating usage. Money should be allocated for these tasks, but preferably at the local and state levels and for meaningful, development-friendly projects like expanded highways or new utility lines – not wasted on items like public transit or bike paths few use.
The second point: creating “21st Century energy jobs” – in other words, continue to subsidize expensive and inefficient “renewable” sources at the expense of proven fossil fuel technology that we have in plentiful supply. When the market is ready, someone will tap into those renewable sources. Jim, it’s not time for that yet.
Thirdly, we’re asked to “invest” (read: throw money at) public education. So much for educational choice, right? And the idea of “universal preschool” fits right in with a plan for indoctrination. It makes me wonder what their definition of a “high-quality” teacher is. Mine would be one who teaches critical thinking instead of regurgitating the latest propaganda.
The fourth point is “Medicare for all,” which equates to a single-payer health care system. Lefties have been pining for this for years, always saying we’re not in step with the rest of the industrialized world. So where do those who can afford it come to get medical care again? (Hint: it’s not Cuba.)
Idea number five is to “make work pay;” in other words enact a so-called “living wage.” We have a “right to fair minimum and living wages,” they say. What part of the Constitution was that again? It’s not in my copy. We’d be better off abolishing the minimum wage, since those who own businesses know all about working long hours for little pay. If a worker is only producing a net three dollars an hour for the company, that’s what they should be paid.
Sixth, they want to “secure Social Security” by – guess what? – raising taxes on the rich. They would eliminate the tax cap on earnings so every penny of what one earns would be taxed. How about giving us all a break and beginning to sunset the program instead?
The “soak the rich” philosophy continues with item number seven, which would be to not just eliminate the 2001/2003 Bush tax cuts but enact a “millionaire’s tax.” We see how well that works for Maryland, don’t we?
Number 8 continues the class warfare by calling for a .05% tax on each Wall Street trade, which supposedly would raise $100 billion a year. Besides the fact that we’re talking chump change in this era of trillions, the effect of such a tax would be to destroy billions in wealth as the stock market plummets in reaction to the toll. Of course, when the desired amount is not raised they’ll simply increase the tax, continuing the vicious cycle.
Ninth in the order is bringing the troops home. I can agree with that in part – there are a lot of countries we don’t necessarily need to be in. But we also need to give those troops we leave in the field the tools and strategy for victory. If we want to rout the Taliban, well, let’s stop playing around and throw out the silly rules of engagement which bind our hands. The enemy has no rules of engagement, why should we?
And finally, they call for restricting free speech in the most “catch-all” of bullet points:
We need clean, fair elections – where no one’s right to vote can be taken away, and where money doesn’t buy you your own member of Congress. We must ban anonymous political influence, slam shut the lobbyists’ revolving door in D.C. and publicly finance elections. Immigrants who want to join in our democracy deserve a clear path to citizenship. And we must stop giving corporations the rights of people when it comes to our elections and ensure our Judiciary’s respect for the Constitution. Together, we will reclaim our democracy to get our country back on track.
So let’s follow this to a logical conclusion – everyone here gets a vote whether they’re here legally or not (and will be rewarded for breaking the law to get here), elections will be publicly funded (except when a candidate chooses not to follow those rules – *cough*Barack Obama*cough*), lobbyists won’t be allowed but “czars” will, and corporations will lose their right to free speech but unions won’t.
But the last sentence of the document provides the fatal flaw, and one needs to ask Jim Ireton whether he really believes this.
Our nation is NOT a democracy – it is a republic. If we were a democracy, we would soon be defunct under the tyranny of the majority. As the old parable goes, a democracy is where two wolves and a sheep vote on what’s for dinner.
While Jim Ireton had the majority of those who could be bothered to vote in the 2009 Salisbury city election, that was by no means a clear mandate. And having a so-called “contract” signed by 125,000 Americans is invalid in the face of millions of voters who desired the more conservative direction Harris and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives have attempted to push government toward. I’ll see the backers of the “Contract for the American Dream” and their puny 125,000 total nationwide and raise them the 30,000 additional citizens here in the First Congressional District who gave Harris his mandate by voting for him. If Frank Kratovil had 125,000 votes he would have only lost by 30,000 instead of 35,000.
But if this is what Jim Ireton truly stands for – a group of items which would effectively federalize much of government and make princes paupers by taxing the producers of society – then we really need to find a conservative challenger for him in 2013. He’s leading Salisbury in the wrong direction, and real help needs to be sent on the way.