Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Understanding Newt Gingrich’s 21st Century Contract with America (Pt 5)

Last week, we spent most of our time here at Biblical Conservatism dissecting Newt Gingrich’s 21st Century Contract with America.  Today, we conclude this series with Part 5:
Maximize the speed and impact of medical breakthroughs by removing unnecessary obstacles that block new treatments from reaching patients and emphasizing research spending toward urgent national priorities, like brain science with its impact on Alzheimer’s, autism, Parkinson’s, mental health and other conditions that knowledge of the brain will help solve.

I have to admit this isn’t in my wheelhouse as an issue.  I can tell you that I’ve heard of many issues where potential miracle drugs are being held up for political reasons, like Avastin, which was held up because it was “too expensive.”  Excuse me?  We can’t treat some people with miracle drugs because everyone can’t afford it?  Are you kidding me?

A key first step is to transform the Food and Drug Administration to allow these breakthroughs to proceed rapidly.

Americans deserve a fair and competent regulatory regime that emphasizes both consumer safety and ensures that life-saving breakthrough products get from our labs to our pharmacies and homes as efficiently as possible.
Unfortunately, the current FDA falls well short of this expectation, and its stagnant,
bureaucratic and byzantine regulatory guidelines are scaring off new investment and driving innovators overseas. This is bad news for American jobs and competitiveness, and downright awful news for anyone who wants to ensure that life-saving medicines and devices can get to patients as quickly as possible.

I agree.  Do we need the FDA?  Yes, we do, but like most government bureaucracies, it’s inefficient and expensive.  Reform to fast track more important medicines rather than put them at the back of the line because a new yogurt that supposedly aids in digestion arrived first is silly.

Restore the proper role of the judicial branch by using the clearly delineated powers available to the president and Congress to correct, limit, or replace judges who violate the Constitution.

In the last half-century, a political and activist judiciary has stepped far beyond its proper boundaries.

Click here to hear my response.  Seriously though, Newt hits the nail on the head.  Left Wing activist judges have spent the past few decades warping the Constitution to say whatever they want it to say because they can’t pass their laws through state legislatures and Congress.  So they make up laws and create precedents in the courts.
Article I of the Constitution covers the legislative branch, because the Founding Fathers thought it would be closest to the people and therefore the strongest branch.

Article II concerns the Executive Branch because the Founding Fathers had lived through an eight-year war with the British Empire and knew there were times when there would have to be a strong executive and a competent Commander-in-Chief implementing the law and defending the nation.

The Judicial Branch did not come until Article III because the Founders wanted it to be the weakest of the three branches. The Federalist Papers explicitly recognized that the Judicial Branch would be weaker than the Legislative and Executive Branches. In Federalist 78, Alexander Hamilton wrote reassuringly that the Judicial Branch would lose any confrontation with the two elected branches:

“The judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power; that it can never attack with success either of the other two.”

The Founding Fathers felt strongly about limiting the power of judges because they had dealt with tyrannical and dictatorial British judges. In fact, reforming the judiciary was second only to “no taxation without representation” in the American colonists’ complaints about the British Empire prior to the revolution. A number of the complaints in the Declaration of Independence relate to judges dictatorial and illegal behavior.

Since the New Deal of the 1930s, however, the power of the American judiciary has increased exponentially at the expense of elected representatives of the people in the other two branches. The judiciary began to act on the premise of “judicial supremacy,” where courts not only review laws, but also actively seek to modify and create new law from the bench. The result is that courts have become more politicized, intervening in areas of American life never before imaginable.

I look forward to having a national conversation about a bill that will establish a constitutional framework for reigning in lawless judges, reestablishing a Constitutional balance among the three branches, and bringing the Courts back under the Constitution.

This discussion has to happen.  We do need to reign in judges.  Whether it be through ending lifetime appointments or through making it possible to remove judges for moving beyond their Constitutional authority (and, quite possibly, overturning said decisions because of that justice’s removal) we need to reign in this problem.  Judges at any level were not designed to make laws…our elected officials do that job.  It’s time for us to hold these activist judges accountable.
Enforce the Tenth Amendment by starting an orderly transfer of power and  responsibility from the federal government back “to the states, respectively, or to the people,” as the Constitution requires. Over the next year, state and local officials and citizens will be asked to identify the areas which can be transferred back home.

The 10th Amendment to the Constitution states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  There is a reason for this provision: Local governments are infinitely more accountable that state governments and state governments are infinitely more accountable than the Federal government because it becomes increasingly more difficult to directly redress grievances to larger governments that handle larger territories.

I’ve said before that I can visit my local government if needed on my lunch hour, visit my state government in a half a day, but to redress an issue in Washington requires planning.  It’s also reasonable to expect that I can speak to someone who is capable of helping me in my local town office or even county office just walking in.  State and Federal it becomes harder.  Finally, our fifty states are very different entities.  I mean, do you honestly believe the problems of California are the same as the problems of Virginia?  Do you think maybe Minnesota and Texas have different issues?  This is why our nation was set up with a Federalist system. I believe one of the primary reasons our country is in such massive debt is our Federal government is trying to do far more than it should, like healthcare, welfare, etc. Local governments are more efficient because they handle smaller areas.  It’s time to get back to our true Federalist roots.

Final Conclusions
In short, I love this plan. From the repeal of Obamacare to the Flat Tax to the Balanced Budget Amendment to Drill Baby Drill to privatizing Social Security to returning the Judicial Branch to its proper Constitutional authority (below the Legislative and Executive Branches) as an interpreter and not as a second legislative branch to respecting the 10th Amendment, it’s like somebody sat down and created the perfect plan for conservatives. Soup to nuts it is just about the most conservative plan being proposed (along with Rick Perry’s Cut, Cap and Balance Plan) and unlike Perry’s plan, Gingrich has the ability to effectively communicate it. While I haven’t 100% made up my mind yet as to who I intend to vote for in my state’s primary, I’m leaning toward Gingrich so far that it’s becoming difficult to keep my balance.  It’s a tremendous plan, and I believe the 21st Century Contract with America can do as much to restore this nation as any plan being proposed.

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