This is the Contract For Americans.
In recent years, almost all the new wealth has gone to the very wealthy, while ordinary Americans struggle. Worse, very wealthy individuals and corporations are increasingly using that wealth to buy the elected officials and laws they want, to perpetuate their privilege. The disparity between rich and poor increases, while roads, bridges, education, and opportunity crumble. We are trying to recapture our government from the power and influence of those special interests, and restore opportunity to ordinary Americans.
We propose various ways to ensure the very wealthy pay their fair share, and ways to limit the power of money to influence elections and government. We present ways to better protect working families, encourage affordable education crucial to our long term national success, free students from crushing debt, and treat all people fairly.
We hope you will join us in this effort, and help spread the word to others.
In 1994, Newt Gingrich promised to try to pass 18 bills and resolutions if the Republicans won both Houses of Congress. They did, for the first time in many years. While we may have disagreed with much of his contract, we think telling voters exactly what to expect if you get elected is a great idea, and are borrowing the concept.
Other versions of a “Contract with America for the Left”.
We think the Contract For Americans is a great idea, so it is not surprising that others have had similar thoughts. There have been several proposed versions we are aware of (there may be more). We encourage you to read them, and make suggestions to help improve the Contract For Americans.
In 2006, David Brin PhD wrote some very interesting ruminations on whether the Democrats should write their own Contract With America, and a nice draft of what that might include: http://www.davidbrin.com/
In December, 2013, Ian Reifowitz wrote an excellent diary in Daily Kos suggesting a Democratic Contract With America. .http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/12/22/1263930/-A-Democratic-contract-with-America-How-to-retake-the-House-and-combat-economic-inequality
Our Contract For Americans began a few months later.
In May 2015, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio proposed a “Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality” which was often called a “Contract With America for the Left.”
We think all these proposals are probably better in some ways than our Contract. But we think we offer several significant advantages:
1) All the others are less comprehensive than the Contract For Americans. We think covering many progressive issues at once accomplishes more things sooner, and focuses the power of more voters and types of voters. (see simple vs complex)
2) They are much less specific than ours. It is very easy to promise to “restore a better life for ordinary Americans.” But how? Promises so vague and overused are almost meaningless. To motivate disillusioned and apathetic voters, we need to make it very clear to candidates exactly what it is we want if they are elected.
3) None of them allow voters to easily help modify the proposals. This opens them to criticism that various important issues were not addressed. A good example of that is the criticism that Mayor De Blasio’s Progressive Agenda doesn’t sufficiently address Black voter issues: http://newsone.com/3113862/nyc-mayor-bill-de-blasio-progressive-contract-american-americans (We will probably be criticized too for leaving out some important issues we felt might be too controversial. But since ours is crowd-sourced, if enough voters want something not mentioned, they can have it included.)
4) Ours will clearly show which candidates have endorsed the Contract and should be supported.
5) Most importantly, The others are less clear about how they would actually achieve their goals. The Contract For Americans finally provides a way to focus the power of millions of voters and hundreds of progressive organizations to actually get the laws we want and need.
There is also The Contract From America
This started in 2010, and their fundamental goals seem similar to ours: restore a better life for ordinary Americans. And there is a lot of patriotic, motherhood, and apple pie stuff we agree with.
But their path to that goal is quite different, and their specific proposals all seem to favor the rich and powerful, rather than working families. It almost looks as if they are taking proposals that benefit the very wealthy, and wrapping them in patriotic, motherhood, apple pie, low taxes, small government, disguises to fool voters.
Look at their tax reform. They call for “flatter, simpler, easier to understand taxes, a further lessening of capital gains taxes, and elimination of the death tax“. But all of these favor the very wealthy. Low taxes are wonderful, but do you really want Hedge Fund managers and Billionaires paying a lower percentage of their income than you do?
“All of the above energy policy”, and “limits on EPA”? This favors the huge oil companies. And you get a dirty, unsafe environment.
“Get rid of Obamacare”? This favors the big insurance companies, so they can deny you again for pre-existing conditions.
Obamacare is far from perfect. But it was a difficult step in a good direction. It is easy to promise a better plan. But where is this plan? Have you seen it? We can’t find any specific proposal for an Obamacare replacement from the people who want to eliminate Obamacare! Let’s talk about eliminating Obamacare when there is a specific proposal to compare it to. Meanwhile, let’s work to make Obamacare better. There is plenty more to do to fix our healthcare system, and as our population ages, it is critically important we make it more efficient, humane, and cost effective.
We invite you to look over both contracts carefully We think you will see that the outcomes of many of the specific things they propose are not in your best interest, and that the Contract For Americans is the best way for you to ensure a good life and opportunity for yourself and your family.