'Contract with America' Far from FascistGuest Column by Ricardo Egozcue '96
Almost two weeks ago, on the steps of the Student Center, a group of MIT students, professors, and union workers came together to protest what they called the "Contract on America." Even though I am a Republican, I decided to go and hear to what they had to say precisely because I believe that no single party or person has a monopoly on the truth or on the answers to the problems we face in this great country of ours.
Sadly, most of what was said in the protest consisted of half-truths, demagogic statements, and personal attacks against the current leaders of Congress. It seems incredible to me how persons who are in one of the best institutions of the world have so little regard for the truth and for having honest discussions of the key issues that affect our country. I went to every single event they held in the hopes of hearing-well balanced discussions of the items in the contract. I tried hard to keep an open mind, yet all I saw, all I heard was just how bad all of the ten items in the Contract were. All I heard was just how the Republicans were racists, fascist angry white men who intended to take food out of every American child's mouth in order to favor the rich while caring nothing about what happens to poor.
I constantly kept asking myself if they truly believed that average persons like me, and probably like many of you, who agreed with some parts of the Contract, were the monsters whom they described. Wasn't there at least one item in the Contract that they agreed with? I asked myself, where did all the fairness, open-mindedness, and tolerance that liberals like to preach go to? It seems to me that they have forgotten to apply it to persons who do not think like them. Let me therefore point out some key facts that these persons forgot to say.
We are not fascist, we are not bigots, and in the Contract there is no hate like I heard many people suggest last week. If you read it (and I strongly suggest you do so you can decide for yourselves, not through me or through our friends on the left), you will find ten items that over 300 members or candidates signed up for on September 27, 1994, more than a month before the elections. You will find that we told the country in a full-page ad in TV Guide where we were going and the direction we would take. President Clinton and the Democrats spent $2 million dollars of ads attacking the Contract and the president personally attacked it everywhere he went. In the end, despite all the odds, there was the most one-sided Republican victory since 1946. If you compare the Contract with our first 100 days you will also find that since the Republicans took over in Congress they have done exactly what they said they would do, something that many politicians - including the president - forgot how to do.
If you also do a little research you will find out that on more than half of the items in the Contract have been passed with support of between 45 and 60 Democrats in the House of Representatives and had the key support of senators like Paul Simon. You will find items like the balanced budget amendment, the line-item veto, a law applying to Congress all the laws that apply to you and me, an enforceable death penalty, common sense legal reforms, and tax cuts that are supported by a majority of Americans which are not racist, fascist or anything of the sort. You will find out that we include tax cuts like the $500 dollar per child tax credit that benefits everyone who has a child regardless of income. Probably, you will read that there are also tax cuts for parents who want to adopt children but that so often cannot afford to do so under the present system. Finally, you may also come across tax cuts for married couples, making it easier for those who want to marry but may not be able to afford to do so now.
Why do our friends on the left keep insisting in punishing those who have achieved great things in life? They talk as if those who are rich somehow did something wrong in order to become rich. Did you know that most rich persons were average-income Americans like you and me and that they did not inherit or steal their fortunes? Just as the government provides patents to companies to encourage inventions, let us encourage personal achievement by not punishing successful citizens with an excessive tax burden. If all our ideas are so bad, why did President Clinton in his State of the Union advocate almost all of the policies in the Contract? And while we are at it, let me point out that there is an increase in spending of 4.5 percent for the school lunch program. What Republicans are talking about is controlling the rate of growth of government and some real cuts too, while liberals just keep digging us in the mountain of debt that we are in right now.
What our friends on the left do not tell us is that the debt was not caused by Reagan's military spending like they say, but by the massive social spending made since President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society. What liberals do not get is that if we keep spending the way we are, we will have to monetize our debt, inflation will go through the roof and there will not be money for the Democratic or Republican programs. They had over 40 years and now it's our turn.
Remember, it is Congress's constitutional duty alone to authorize spending; it is not the President's duty.
Since the 1960's we have spent over $3.5 trillion on anti-poverty programs, and have they reduced poverty, crime or illegitimate births? No, they have not. In fact all these ills have increased. Let us therefore try another approach. Let us like good engineers keep in mind that we have two constraints: To make these social programs work for people who need them and to spend less on them and that both of these conditions are nonnegotiable. Oh and by the way, I agree with those who say corporate welfare (subsidies and price supports), should be done away with. If we were really fascist, like an irresponsible liberal pointed out last week, why do we peacefully transfer power when we loose elections? How dare they compare us with Hitler, or Mussolini? How dare they say we are racist when we had over 30 minority candidates running in the election and persons like J.C. Watts, an African-American Republican from Oklahoma, who was elected and who thinks like many of us do? To be against quotas, like 75 percent of the American people are, is not equivalent to racism.
I can only hope that next time issues like these are begin discussed, the liberals in the campus and also the Republicans will make an honest good faith effort to present both sides. Please go out there, watch C-SPAN, read the papers and decide for yourself.