GOP YouCut: Move over American Idol

A friend forwarded me an email about a new idea that Eric Cantor, GOP congressman and minority whip, has about how our government should operate. Here is Cantor's introduction to the program from his website:
YouCut – a first-of-its-kind project - is designed to defeat the permissive culture of runaway spending in Congress. It allows you to vote, both online and on your cell phone, on spending cuts that you want to see the House enact. Vote on this page today for your priorities and together we can begin to change Washington's culture of spending into a culture of savings.
Al this program needs is Ryan Seacrest to announce the voting results once a week on live national TV. Here are a few of the things that Congressman Cantor wants us to vote on:
  • Presidential Election Fund to save $260 million over 5 years
  • Taxpayer Subsidized Union Activities to save $600 million over 5 years
  • HUD Program for Doctoral Dissertations to save $1 million over 5 years
  • New Non-Reformed Welfare Program to save $2.5 billion a year
  • Eliminate Wealthier Communities from CDBG to save $2.6 billion over five years
The idea is to vote on these online or from your phone and Congressman Cantor will give us new things to vote on next week. His website reduces these intricate issues down to one paragraph so that we, the great uninformed, have everything we need to vote.

I have to say that this is a weird idea.. at least on American Idol we get to hear all the contestants sing before we vote. On these issues all we get is a partisan view of the issues.. no pros or cons.. no middle ground positions.. no compromise. Just a silly website that is designed to placate fiscal conservatives. It seems like a bit of a weird joke to me.

The bills that typically go through congress are more than a paragraph.. they are studied by smart people.. they are evaluated for their benefits to our country and our citizens. Crazy to think that someone thinks that we should reduce them to a paragraph and "let the people vote" on them using limited information.

I may not really understand what Congressman Cantor wants or how he plans to use this information.. or if he no longer believes in a representative style of government. It just seems silly to me to have people texting yeas or nays ala American Idol.. unless he is asking us if we want to cut the salaries of congress.

What do you think? Is this a good idea? Will you text your vote today?


  1. Cantor knows that most of the people who will participate in his survey already share his view and the Tea Party's view. Respondents to Cantor's survey will not represent the view of all Americans.

    Fox News and MSNBC could each host a survey on their websites to determine the percentage of their viewers who agree with the opinions expressed by their respective news/opinion shows. Each is likely to find that 80-90% of the respondents agree. However, Fox and MSNBC do not share the same audience and respondents; most of Fox's viewers are conservative and most of MSNBC's viewers are liberal. And neither audience watches both Fox and MSNBC with few exceptions.

    Eric Cantor, as usual, will be generating more misinformation.

  2. Short term debt exceeds our strategic reserves. This is a major predictor of default. We should just wait until that happens, then we can let our creditors decide what to cut. Like Greece.

  3. This is a terrible idea for the reasons you state, Bob. However, I like the idea of text/phone/online voting like American Idol for government elections. If we were only able to do so without being tracked. :(

    What it made me think about though was my expectation of seeing proposed bills prior to Congressional voting on Pres. Obama's website. Of course, I've learned with the few I have seen, that these bills are convoluted non-sensical legal speak. Usually what is posted is a commentary of what Pres. Obama's view is.

    Is there an unbiased source to help laymen understand the bills going before Congress? If there were, maybe they should take the polls?

  4. Missy,

    The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that provides information and analysis of the health care industry and policy affecting the health care industry.

    The Kaiser Family Foundation is not associated with Kaiser Permanente or Kaiser Industries.

    They provided and still provide an analysis of all the health care reform proposals and the final bill.

  5. Joe, I've been following that! It's a great site. Every bill should have such a foundation. :)

  6. If Cantor wanted to make an impact in the deficit, he should really only list three programs:
    - Social Security
    - Medicare/Medicaid
    - National Defense

  7. I am too old to be voting on cuts to Social Security and Medicare Ed.. I may need them in a few years :)

  8. I've seen too many truly talented people get voted off of American Idol in favor of a pretty smile for me to trust a system like this.

  9. I remember the Proxmire Golden Fleece awards. Some programs were probably legitimately bad. However, he also derided some work that lead to Nobel Prizes and great advancements. Likewise Palin made a crack about fruit fly research and Jindahl griped about volcano research: Pretty uninformed opinions. Now, multiply that level of non-comprehension by the US population -- I shudder at the thought.

    Ed G is right: Entitlements and the military are the only budget items where any significant dent can be made. All the rest is spitting into the wind. Cantor is not serious, the GOP is not serious, Democrats aren't serious and the Tea Partiers aren't serious. Touching any of these areas is the kiss of death for politicians and 'populism' is what help feeds it.


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