Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Recap of Newt's conference call on Team 10

Today, Newt held a conference call with tea party and 912 leaders, as well as some journalists, on the launch of his new project: Team 10. It is, to quote Newt's Facebook post today, "focused on gathering ideas from the American people for how to enforce the 10th Amendment and return power back home to the states and the people. The best ideas will eventually be included in a new Contract with America." It will result in actual legislation, added Gingrich, "The 10th Amendment Enforcement Act."

You can submit your own ideas or just vote and comment on ideas already submitted here.

On the call, Newt said he will be listening to people's ideas in person, on Facebook, on Google+ hangouts, conference calls like the one he was on, and other platforms.

This is key to his campaign model of "solutions, not rhetoric," said Newt, adding that he ultimately hopes to get this to the level of the Contract with America, which created a mandate for the newly-elected House Republican majority once they were sworn in in January 1995. By running on such a bold set of proposals -- the 10th Amendment, repealing Dodd-Frank, an American energy policy, etc. -- the liberals who oppose him will not be to argue that the American people do not support those actions once Newt is inaugurated in 2013.

Furthermore, Newt hopes that Team 10 catches on so much that in the coming months House and Senate candidates sign on, creating a unified Republican platform for next year's election. Related to that, he was adamant this was not "a Gingrich movement" but one that will require the grassroots be very involved in drafting it, building support, and seeing through its ultimate passage.

After asking "why would you want a federal bureaucracy writing federal rules for all fifty states?" Newt specifically brought up the Department of Education. "What if you dropped a lot of the paperwork and a lot of the bureaucracy" of No Child Left Behind, Newt asked, and bring that power back to local school boards.

Newt also noted the federal overreach in health care, relating the story of a doctor in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, last week who brought to one event a letter from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service that detailed how she should run her office, as if she had never attended medical school or already been practicing medicine, Newt noted.

Relaying the history of the 10th Amendment, Gingrich made a point of saying that up until the 1930s, the federal government had just a few responsibilities, such as the post office, border control, and national defense. Since then, the 10th Amendment has been "ignored" by most Presidents and Congresses. Paying attention to it would go a long way to re-centering our government, the former Speaker says.

Because it would reduce spending -- on both the federal and local levels (local because federal regulations would be eliminated -- and thus the deficit, Gingrich argued enforcing the 10th Amendment should be a focus of the Gang of 12 (the "Super Congress") later this year.

Another idea to bring down the deficit would be to follow Strong America Now's lead and implement Lean Six Sigma, another topic, along with the repeal of Dodd-Frank, that Newt has been in the lead on. It would save federal taxpayers about $500 billion annually, as well as making agencies such as the FDA much more effective. A "big, big idea," Gingrich says.

Not specifically related to Team 10, but when someone on the line asked if he thinks Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner should resign because of the S&P downgrade, Newt replied Geithner should not be in that position, not specifically for the downgrade but just his general economic performance. As well as that of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke -- Gingrich called both of their performances "disastrous," and called again for an audit of the Federal Reserve.

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