Pro-con: Is Pledge to America a real solution?

Was3417740The House GOP’s Pledge to America is not a campaign platform or a legislative blueprint. It’s more a statement of philosophical conviction and direction — one that mostly succeeds in assuring voters that Republicans have heard their demand for a stop to the Democrats’ agenda of increased spending, higher taxes and expansion of federal reach into their everyday lives. Democrats, who would have lashed the GOP as the “party of no” if it hadn’t issued some kind of statement, quickly pounced on the pledge of principles as failing to add up mathematically, while saying a commitment to cut waste and freeze federal spending isn’t serious or useful. Certainly, the GOP’s pledge isn’t perfect. But it is responsive to what Americans have been saying the past year and a half: Enough! Republicans promise greater transparency, to try to turn back the unpopular Obamacare health reforms, to keep tax rates where they’ve been for the better part of a decade and to curb government spending. If given power, Republicans certainly will have to do more; their numbers will have to add up. For now a pledge to be a clear alternative to what Americans have gotten from the Democrats probably is enough. — the Oklahoman, Oklahoma City

If the “Pledge to America” were a genuine attempt to solve the country’s economic troubles by living up to GOP principles of low taxation and spending, we might find more in it to like. Instead, it’s a manifesto of meaningless bromides served up to please tea party activists, disingenuous attacks on Democrats and President Obama, and policy prescriptions that are at best impractical and at worst deeply counterproductive. Don’t look to the pledge for a sober analysis of our country’s challenges in such areas as energy, immigration or foreign policy. The document is seasoned with a few chunks of red meat on these issues, but these are matters that divide the party and don’t really get the teapot boiling. So if Republicans succeed in repealing the health care law, what would they replace it with? Ironically, many of their suggestions build on or borrow from the law they want to eliminate. And their plan to extend the Bush tax cuts even for the very wealthy, although it might result in a small uptick in business growth, would greatly widen the deficit they claim to want to narrow. — Los Angeles Times