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Monday, March 14, 2011

More Thoughts on a New Party Platform

I have suggested some very basic components for a new Party platform.  Before we discuss strategies for actually making this Movement into a reality, I want to add a few ideas that might also be included in this Progressive Party platform, although these – along with what I have already proposed – are not definitive.  They are given as initiators of discussion, not as principles set in stone.

We must return to the idea of sunset dates on all programs, contracts, loans etc. that are strictly enforced (unlike the temporary tax breaks for the rich which were not allowed to expire in 2010) except perhaps in times of emergency.  There are literally hundreds of programs, commissions, offices, jobs, contracts, etc. that were set-up to be temporary that have, instead, gone on and on, draining money that could be spent elsewhere to greater effect.  Take agricultural subsidies, insurance, loan programs, and government fertilizer production, or some DoD weapons research and production, as  examples!

All government programs must be required to meet goals and targets: must be RESULTS-ORIENTED.  All tax-payer money must be tied to accomplishments: every governmental entity, and those quasi-public agencies that receive governmental funds, must be made to set an annual goal plan tying action steps and outcomes to the use of funds.  Goal plan accomplishments should serve as a vehicle for audit, budgeting, and cut-backs, in other words, for accountability.

Education is primary:  even defense must take second place to education.  A new national Purpose for Education must be defined and then local school districts must decide how to meet that Purpose.  Otherwise, we cannot expect improvement in our educational standards. 
    The means of funding education must change.  There must, for example,  be an assessment against the properties of corporate entities (by making them equivalent to individual citizens as to political speech rights, the Supreme Court has also made them responsible as citizen equivalents for what happens outside of elections; ergo, they are equally responsible for supporting education).

Innovation and entrepreneurship must be encouraged, such as: 
    --The use of  national guard and DoD to solve internal problems and to meet needs of society thereby protecting the country;
    --Bartering amongst citizens to trade services especially among the poor is worth some consideration
    --All citizens must do some form of national service; all must give back to support the poor and the vulnerable of our society; including the poor themselves, and even prisoners

--We must encourage more R&D in all sectors.  Gov. investment in innovation and entrepreneurial pursuits is crucial.

Tax reform -- every tax loophole that favors the rich must be excised;  reasonable rates and fair incentives for all levels of income are preferable.  

Consumer protection has to be a major priority, along with confrontation of Wall St., Big Business, banking practices, etc.

Military intervention must not be the primary response to foreign relations-gone-bad, to threats, to provocations.  We have fallen into a black hole, from which there is little hope of escape, by supporting a strategy of preemptory aggression against countries who harbor terrorists.  It has resulted in a fiasco: militarily, diplomatically, and economically.  We must reject that concept and return to the concepts of war as a last resort; of Peace Corps missions in other countries; of foreign aid that builds people power, not plutocrat or dictatorship power; of foreign aid that is tied to agreed-upon measurable outcomes and not to manipulation.

Briefly, we must also list:
--Alternative energy sources must be our quest;  
--Incarceration reform is a necessity: we can no longer simply punish.  Every incarcerated person must be involved in education and community service in some way; perhaps, as part of their sentences.
--We must work with universities and technical and professional schools, and business & labor leaders to determine what we must do to train and prepare  the work force for the future. Re-training is an on-going need; schools have to do more “adult education”!  Labor Unions must change primary focus: from wages and benefits to training, re-training, acquiring of skills, world competition.   

This is not a definitive “platform”, nor an exhaustive list of priorities.  It is merely a starting point for consideration of what a new Party might do.  Without a real challenge to the current political parties, our hope for reform and re-vitalization of our government is a feeble hope. 

Time to enlist in the on-going struggle for democracy.