Platform for Healing America

Note: This is incomplete. It needs considerable additional work as well as more topics.

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

– Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address

The heart of modern politics is fear. Fear of guns, fear of being without guns, fear of other races, fear of crime, fear of police, fear of North Korea, fear of abortions, fear of not having access to abortions, fear, fear…

FEAR

If we are going to save our country from decline and ruin, and actually start moving forward again, we need to move beyond fear.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

– Frank Herbert, Dune

To that end, I am working to construct a platform that focuses completely on the underlying climate of fear instead of the symptomatic issues that everyone else is focusing on. This is a rough draft, but the work has to start somewhere.

End the Wars on Everything

At least as far back as the so-called “War on Poverty”, it became fashionable in political circles to frame a strong commitment to working against some domestic problem in terms of an extended period of combat.

  • We will end both the practice of naming domestic programs with militant metaphors and policies at all levels of government that utilize military and/or  paramilitary force to achieve domestic goals.

War on Drugs

With the “War on Drugs”, this metaphor took a significantly darker turn, as these initiatives were conceived of and executed primary as a “War on Black People”. In more recent times, other administrations added the “War on Poor People” as well. The “Drug War” was the direct cause of much of the rising crime, especially violent crime, in the 1970s through the 1990s.

It has cost somewhere in the neighborhood of a trillion dollars, ruined millions of bright futures, has destroyed countless families, and has apparently killed at least as many people across all theatres as the American Civil War.

Most importantly, it fed the modern militarization of civilian police forces.

  • We will decriminalize possession and use of drugs in all United States jurisdictions.
    • We will support the continued enforcement of laws against criminal conduct, whether or not the perpetrator was using drugs at the time.
    • We will empower the Food & Drug Administation (FDA) and/or similar state agencies to establish and enforce standards for quality, purity, and labelling, as well as licensure of a large ecosystem of competing manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.
  • We will apply the Federal excise on alcohol and tobacco to all drugs without either Food & Drug Administation (FDA) approval for medical purposes or a “Generally Recognized As Safe & Effective” (GRASE) designation.
    • We will commit at least half of the revenue from this excise to data-driven “Whole Person Programs” that help people overcome addiction and become happier, healthier, contributing members of society.
      • We will support reasonable state excise taxes, similar to existing state taxes on alcohol and tobacco, provided at least half of the revenue goes to Whole Person Programs.
    • We will commit at least 20% of this revenue to the Food & Drug Administation (FDA) for at least ten years in order to fund the creation of drug-related programs.
    • We will commit at least 10% of this revenue to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and to state and local law enforcement agencies for purposes of enforcing excise and licensure laws and to direct persons charged with drug-related offenses into Whole Person Programs.
    • This excise will be collected by the Customs Service.
      • We will consolidate the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau into the Customs Service.
  • We will disband the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and move any remaining law enforcement functions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  • We will consolidate the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (BATFE) into the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  • We will institute a rolling program of vacating convictions for non-violent drug offenses. Persons returning to society will be processed through Whole Person Programs starting with the most recent detainees unless the data shows that older detainees can be effectively rehabilitated faster.

War on Crime

As crime escalated because of the War on Drugs, politicians instituted a “War on Crime” that included increased funding for police militarization, aggressive new policing tactics, a proliferation of new laws imposing tougher sentences, and the rise of private, for-profit prisons.

At one time, America led the world in forward-thinking approaches to law enforcement and incarceration. The term “penitentiary” comes from the principle of penance, that is to say that it’s a place for owning up to one’s guilt and becoming a better person. While such models have never been 100% successful, they are far preferable in a free society to “vengeance” models of incarceration that focus on punishment and suffering.

Sadly, that’s exactly where the War on Crime has brought us. Our prisons are no longer about justice- the restoring of right relation between the wrongdoer and the wronged. Instead they are about creating the illusion of a strong government to instill terror in those considering non-compliance.

Concepts like “stop-and-frisk”, Civil Forfeiture, police militarization, and the ever-increasing demands we place on law enforcement personnel are straining our social contract to the breaking point. As such,  the War on Crime- like the War on Drugs, has turned routine traffic stops into potentially life-and-death conflicts driven by fear.

  • We will review all criminal offenses at the Federal, state, and local levels to ensure that only those offenses that truly rise to the level of crime are considered such under the law:
    • We will abolish altogether offenses which a reasonable person would today no longer consider worthy of legal notice- for instance archaic “blue laws” that no longer make sense or “Jim Crow” laws designed to target specific communities.
    • We will convert to civil offenses those crimes which should remain forbidden conduct but for which jail time is not a logical remedy.
    • We will reclassify, as necessary, misdemeanors and felonies, to ensure that only the most heinous crimes are treated as felonies under the law.
    • We hold as a value the hope of one day consolidating all of the laws that private citizens are expected to obey in their personal affairs so that they could fit into a single, small book written in plain language in large, easy-to-read type.
  • We will demilitarize civilian law enforcement agencies at the Federal, state, and local levels.
  • We will ensure that the “corporate veil” does not shield persons who commit an offense from taking personal responsibility for their wrongdoing.
  • We will institute a rolling program of revising sentences for diminished crimes and vacating convictions for offenses that are no longer crimes. Persons returning to society will be processed through Whole Person Programs starting with the most recent detainees unless the data shows that older detainees can be effectively rehabilitated faster.
  • We will rapidly phase out the use of private, for-profit prisons in any law enforcement capacity.
    • We will institute a rolling program of Eminent Domain purchases of those privately-owned prisons that cannot be emptied of prisoners in a timely fashion. This program will be funded from new revenues generated by the inclusion of drugs in the Federal alcohol and tobacco excise tax.
  • We will end Civil Forfeiture in all United States jurisdictions.
  • We will end abusive citation practices that entrap the poor in cycles of fines and court fees that turn minor traffic violations into ruinous financial disasters or jail time.
  • We will restore voting rights to anyone whose rights were stripped by a criminal conviction.
  • We will strive to clarify and simplify laws at all levels of government to ease concerns of law-abiding persons about the possibility of unknowingly committing an offense.

War on Terror

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Federal government responded with a wide-ranging law ironically named the USAPATRIOT Act. Yes, that is actually an acronym of its full name, the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001”.

As noted by many at the time, the law mixed useful changes with Orwellian increases in government power and militarization. The included needed reforms, such as separating out law enforcement and revenue functions, consolidating duplicative agencies, and promoting the sharing of intelligence about known terrorist groups between military and law enforcement. However, it also escalated the growing tensions within the United States by reinforcing tribalism, further militarizing police, expanding domestic surveillance, and growing the privatized arms of the military-industrial complex.

To combat the growing tide of fear in this country, we must dismantle the harmful and unneeded elements of the War on Terror while continuing to protect our nation and our allies against those groups whose tools include fear, assasination, and mass murder.

  • We will disband the Department of Homeland Security and move its functions to appropriate cabinet-level departments.
    • We will consolidate the Transportation Safety Agency into the Marshals Service.
    • We will consolidate Immigration & Customs Enforcement into the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
    • We will clarify the mission of the Secret Service, moving its law enforcement and investigative functions into the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and establishing the Secret Service as an elite protective unit within the Marshals Service.
    • We will return Citizenship and Immigration Services to the Department of Justice, working closely with the Department of State.
    • We will reform the laws governing the Intelligence Community to prevent wasteful duplication, severely reduce outsourcing of intelligence operations to private firms, improve oversight, accountability, and transparency, and to ensure that needed intelligence is not being hoarded, ignored, or abused.
    • We will return responsibility for the protection of our borders to the Department of Defense by consolidating existing paramilitary and military services into a new Department of the Sentry which would operate independently in time of war, as the Army, Navy, and Air Force do now.
      • The Coast Guard and Customs & Border Patrol will merge to form the United States Sentry, with its officer academy at New London, CT and rank structure based on that of the Coast Guard, starting at “Sentinel” instead of “Seaman”.
      • Sentral jurisdiction would begin at the frontier of our Exclusive Economic Zone and end fifteen miles inside our borders, except when in active pursuit of an incoming threat until it can be safely transferred to law enforcement.
        • On a case-by-case basis, Congress could identify specific waterways or ports of entry outside of this area that require Sentry defenses, in which case Congress would specify a reasonably limited operational zone.
        • In cases where international agreements beneficial to the United States and its allies require operation in international waters, such as the International Ice Patrol, the Sentry would continue to do so.
      • All coastal and near-border fortifications and defensive weapon emplacements still vital for the immediate military defense of the American border would be transferred to the Sentry.
        • Other military installations near the coasts and borders would be considered on a case-by-case basis.
      • The Sentry would maintain the law enforcement and public safety roles of the original agencies within its limited operational area.
        • We will review its roles to identify duties, such as revenue collection, that no longer make sense within the scope of a military force and move those duties to appropriate civilian agencies.
  • We will review the use of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants and other forms of surveillance and data collection, as well as secret warrants, writs, and orders used inside all United States jurisdictions and adjust the implementing laws to prevent further abuses.
  • We will actively reform the USAPATRIOT Act and other laws of similar purpose in order to prevent and address the abuse of governmental power against innocents.
  • We will reform and clarify laws to prevent military units, such as the Army Corps of Engineers, from being granted authority over civilian law enforcement and regulatory affairs except in a formally-declared state of war or national emergency and only for the duration thereof.

Demilitarize Civilian Law Enforcement

One of the most significant forces contributing to the general sense of fear in America is the ever-increasing threat and/or use of military-level force during civilian (not military) law enforcement.

The idea that weapons of war have no place on American streets is not new. Prior to the War on Drugs, Americans were very conscious of the spirit of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (not to be confused with the older legal concept of the same name). The main purpose of this act was to limit the use of military force for domestic policy enforcement.

There was a brief period of police militarization during Prohibition, which was significantly and visibly rolled back afterward. Militarization began again during the Civil Rights Era, as police and National Guard troops were deployed against both peaceful protestors and rioters alike.

Since 1971, and especially since 2001, American law enforcement has increasingly deployed battlefield weapons and tactics to routine law enforcement tasks. From Federal agencies to small town police departments, officers are more and more frequently wielding fully-automatic assault rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, chemical weapons banned for use in warfare, armored personnel carriers, even armed drones.

This militarization has increased tensions in race relations, terrified innocent families, and heightened fears of a tyrannical police state from left to right- all across the political spectrum. It must end.

  • We will disband the Department of Homeland Security and move its functions to the appropriate cabinet-level departments.
  • We will end all programs that transfer military weapons to civilian law enforcement. This includes Federal, state, and local agencies.
  • We will end all funding for the purchase of military weapons by civilian law enforcement.
  • We will end Civil Forfeiture in all United States jurisdictions.
  • All “Special Weapons And Tactics” units and their materiel will be placed under the direct command of each state’s governor as elements of their National Guard, not local law enforcement.
  • We will institute a mandatory buy-back program for military weapons owned by civilian law enforcement agencies that are not transferred to the state’s National Guard. Funding for this program will come from new revenues raised through the inclusion of drugs in the Federal alcohol and tobacco excise.
  • We will promote cooperation between the People and police by funding expanded safety, first aid, coordination, and disaster preparedness training of private citizens alongside local law enforcement. Such trainings must be open to all Americans without cost or unlawful discrimination.

End Civil Forfeiture

Civil Forfeiture is a legal loophole that purports to allow law enforcement to seize property from suspected wrongdoers without actually charging the person with a crime. The thinking goes that law enforcement can charge the property with the crime and thus take money, cars, boats, guns, and such from bad guys who could avoid conviction by having really good lawyers.

In practice, there are numerous reasons why this argument falls apart when applied within the borders of the United States.

First and foremost, the Founding Fathers generally abhorred the practice of Civil Forfeiture, many of them having suffered it at the hands of the British before and during the War of Independence. The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution explicitly prohibits depriving persons of property “without due process of law”.

Some argue that early United States customs laws allowed the practice, but they ignore one very simple fact- these laws were intended to be used against vessels of uncertain (or hostile) provenance entering the United States from international waters. The power to do this is derived in part from the “Letters of Marque and Reprisal” clause of the Constitution and was typically upheld by the courts in cases where the accused party could not be brought to trial.

A letter of Marque is an instrument of war. It authorizes the search and seizure of vessels (and their crews and cargo) owned or operated by a nation with which the United States is at war.

Modern Civil Forfeiture bears no resemblance to these scenarios. It is typically employed well inside the borders of the United States against individuals who are never charged with a crime, let alone convicted. It applies a “guilty until proven innocent” standard and rewards law enforcement agencies for casting a carelessly wide net to generate revenue for their departments.

As such, it contributes to a culture of fear and resentment amongst law-abiding citizens and must end.

  • We will end the practice of Civil Forfeiture in all United States jurisdictions.
  • We will return Asset Forfeiture to its historical position in which its only legitimate law enforcement purpose was in Federal cases of goods entering the country illegally where the owner either could not be identified or or cannot be brought to trial because they are known to be outside of the United States and its extradition agreements.
    • In these cases, monies raised from the sale of these assets should be used to make whole victims of Civil Forfeiture abuse and for domestic infrastructure spending, so as to avoid encouraging abuse to expand an agency’s own budget.
  • We will, to the extent possible, restore seized assets to those hurt by this abuse, starting with the most recent losses in the range of one hundred to ten thousand dollars.
  • We will continue the practice of Criminal Forfeiture in which persons who are convicted of a crime may have crime-related assets seized by the court as a part of their sentence.
  • We will review and reform policies that unduly prevent persons suspected of a crime from hiring legal counsel and meeting their financial obligations while awaiting trial- while ensuring that law enforcement has sufficient tools to prevent flight, asset hiding, and other obstructions of justice.

End Partisan Gerrymandering

The practice of drawing voting districts to favor one political party over another began hundreds of years ago. Today, the idea that one’s votes simply don’t count because of where you live contributes to Americans’ mistrust of government. While the Republicans have been more successful with gerrymandering in recent years, this tactic is employed by both parties and must end.

  • We will prohibit lawmakers from drawing electoral districts, instead the maps will be drawn by independent commissions comprised of an equal number of members from the three largest parties in each state.
    • These commissions will use computer algorithms to draw compact districts that respect county and municipal boundaries as much as possible without regard for party affiliation, race, economics, or other demographic factors.
    • State legislatures would simply vote the maps up or down. If no map is approved by one year before the first election is scheduled to use it, the state’s Supreme Court or equivalent will select one of the submitted maps and approve it. If it fails to do so within one month, the Federal Court of Appeals will approve one of the maps.

End Corporate Personhood

Corporations serve a valuable and important legal and economic purpose- they facilitate joint ownership of assets by large numbers of people without putting at risk everything else those people own. In other words, you can own a share of ABCompany without worrying that someone you’ve never met could take you to court for something you had no idea was going on.

When lawmakers first constructed the idea of “incorporation”, meaning to put something in a body, they relied on that metaphor to inform their laws. Their intent was to imbue these legal entities with certain legal privileges similar to the innate rights of human beings- a simulacrum of agency, but constrained for the public good.

However, they often used the word “person” instead of “entity” or “construct” because only persons had independent agency under existing laws. For example, tree could not own a rock- only a person could do that.

The result was that in Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court felt forced to rule in favor of corporate personhood. That wasn’t the only issue in Citizens United, for instance the right of individuals to speak collectively, but corporate personhood was one of the major effects of the ruling.

  • We will change, in every law, regulation, and policy all references to corporations and other legal entities that are not individual Natural persons to use the phrase “legal construct” instead of “person”.
  • We will change, in every law, regulation, and policy all references to “rights” held by corporations and other legal entities that are not individual Natural persons to instead use the word “privilege”.
  • If necessary, we will pass a Constitutional amendment clarifying the differences between a Natural person and a legal construct so as to make corporations, governments, and other such constructs subservient once again to the People and the public good.
  • We will review our treaty obligations with our allies, trading partners, and the United Nations to ensure that multinational corporations remain constrained by national and international laws and unable to offshore profits.

Constrain Political Spending

Money is an important part of the political process- even if a candidate never buys a single advertisement, there are plenty of costs just associated with supplying volunteers with things like pens and paper. Monetary and “in-kind” donations have long been regulated and limited. Even with these limitations, the influence of paid lobbyists and the cost of major political campaigns has been getting larger for a long time.

After the Citizens United decision, however, the floodgates opened and donors were suddenly able to move large amounts of money anonymously into politics through specialized types of corporations.

  • We will end corporate personhood in all United States jurisdictions.
  • We will eliminate all lawful anonymity for any monies spent for the purpose of influencing political policy and will require all political organizations to file income and expense reports, similar to those filed by candidates, with the governmental agencies that police the elections or governmental bodies they are spending money to influence.
  • We will require that the 25 largest donors who funded an ad be identified by individual name in all visual political advertising.
    • In video advertisements, this information must be clearly readable on screen for at least five seconds.
    • In print advertisements, this information must be clearly readable from the intended display distance of the ad.
    • If the donor was a corporation, both the corporation and the personal names of the executives and board members must be listed as well. If the donor was itself a political organization aside from a political party, its 25 largest donors must be disclosed at the same time and in the same fashion.
  • We will prohibit members of Congress, other elected officials, and appointed public officials from serving as paid lobbyists, attorneys at law, legal counsel, or political consultants to lobbying firms for five years after leaving office.
  • We will enforce current rules governing paid lobbyists and strengthen limitations designed to prevent bribery and other corruption.
  • We will prohibit bills, regulations, and other legislative or executive legal changes from being considered in units greater than ten standardized pages at a time, up to and including the Federal Budget, so as to ensure that every measure is subject to the full measure of public scrutiny.

Enact Rolling Term Limits

The presence of a long-standing political elite that never appears to change threatens the appearance of a responsive and accountable government, which heightens people’s fear and increases tensions between political majorities and minorities. However, to simply discard experience and relationships is foolish. Instead, we will create a system of “rolling” limits that encourage seats to change more frequently without permanently sidelining officials with valuable skills and experience.

  • We will impose term limits for all public offices which reset after a period of time out of office. Each particular office will have its own limit and each politician will also have an aggregate limit before they need to spend time away from a political career.
    • Each individual has a limit of 20 years in elected office, with four years of that limit resetting each year they don’t serve in an elected office or as a paid attorney or lobbyist.
      • Up to 16 years of consecutive time in office resets on an annual basis, but if the official has served for 16 or more years, they must not hold office or serve as a paid attorney or lobbyist for five years.
    • Federal limits should be:
      • President: Two terms (8 years, 10 years in special cases) – Lifetime limit.
      • Vice President: Two terms (8 years)
      • Senate: Two terms (12 years, 15 in special cases)
      • Representative: Four terms (8 years, 9 in special cases)
    • State and local limits should follow similar structures.

Re-Professionalize Journalism

As has happened before in our history, the separation between entertainment and news has once again become blurred to the point of generating fear, uncertainty, and doubt. While the importance of free speech cannot be overstated, making sure that citizens have trustworthy, competing news organizations engaged in legitimate, respectable journalism is central to the survival of a free state.

  • We will work with national journalism organizations to establish state-by-state licensing boards on the model of doctors and lawyers with agreed-upon credentialing standards.
  • We will work with national journalism organizations to establish a universal oath and legal standards for journalistic responsibility, like the Hippocratic Oath of doctors, and similar to the Apollonian Oath in content.
  • We will work with national journalism organizations to identify needed legal reforms to better protect legitimate journalistic investigations and reporting and apply those protections to sworn, licensed journalists in the same fashion as certain protections afforded to sworn, licensed medical doctors.
  • We will give preferential access to elected officials to sworn, licensed journalists.
  • We will continue to uphold the right of all persons to freedom of speech and the press. To that end, we will not silence unlicensed reporting just as we do not prohibit non-doctors from rendering first aid. The goal is to make professionalism in journalism once more a competitive advantage.

End Tax Shelters

The wealthy control their assets differently from the average person. In many cases, especially with long-established wealth, they personally own nothing. Instead, the keep their assets in tax shelters, legal constructs that permit them to pay lower taxes on income, as each individual tax shelter earns only a small amount of the person’s annual income. In some extreme cases, the persons don’t even own their own clothes, instead “borrowing” them from a tax shelter.

The existence of such extreme tools for circumventing the tax code is a significant source of division, anger, and fear.

  • We will abolish the enabling laws that permitted the creation of tax shelters so that no new ones are created.
  • We will aggregate and tax all of the in-kind and monetary benefits received by an individual person from various tax shelters as taxable income, in addition to any taxes paid by the individual tax shelters.
  • We will aggressively audit non-profit and charitable organizations that pay salaries and benefits significantly above the national median income or which are connected to individuals receiving benefits from tax shelters.
  • We will temporarily end IRS audits of persons and households earning less than twice the median income to focus additional resources on tracking down high-value tax cheats who use tax shelters.
  • We will review our treaty obligations with known “tax haven” nations and work with our allies and the United Nations to close down international avenues for money laundering, offshoring profits, and hiding wealth.

Tax Static Wealth

At this time, many billions of dollars, perhaps even trillions, are parked in “safe” investments by corporations and wealthy individuals. These “cash reserves” represent significant stagnation of money that is no longer circulating through the economy and which is driving down interest rates on savings accounts and low-risk retirement investments favored by the middle and working class.

It is desirable for persons to want to earn a “nest egg” for themselves and to better their condition, as this promotes productivity, cooperation, and the exchange of ideas, goods, and services. In general, Capitalism in the Adam Smith sense has been a benefit to humanity when compared with the Feudalism and Mercantilism that preceded it. Later economic models, such as Marxism, have disastrously failed to improve on Capitalism.

However, money is inherently a social construct and not a Natural one, meaning that it is subject to the social contract. Money serves the society, not the other way around. Today’s hoarded cash reserves are stifling growth, stagnating wages, inhibiting innovation, and indeed hurting the very persons who hold the money, as on average they would make more money with riskier investments. These economic factors, especially stagnant wages and high unemployment in many parts of the country (though not nationally) are creating a climate of fear and resentment that is dividing our country.

  • We will tax large cash reserves and low-yield investments such as government bonds, in excess of ten million dollars, at a rate of 2% per year.
    • We will structure this tax so that it targets only wealthy individuals, organizations, and corporations which hold these large reserves. It will not apply to 99% or more of individuals, nor to retirement investment funds of the types favored by the middle and working classes.

Break Up Trusts

The United States has a long history of growing enormous companies, like Standard Oil, which become so large that they threaten the rest of the economy. Starting in the early 20th Century, the nation began breaking up these “trusts” to prevent monopolies and oligopolies from stifling competition and turning our economy from a Capitalist one back into a Mercantilist economy in which the wealthy few used the government to preserve their monopolies.

This growth and break up cycle has repeated since then, but it has been a very long time since the United States saw any significant anti-trust action. The result is a sizeable number of extremely large companies with little or no competition in the marketplace. This stagnation hurts Americans as consumers, entrepreneurs, investors, and workers, creating an environment of resentment and fear. By contrast, breaking up trusts typically has benefited workers, consumers, investors, and entrepreneurs alike- John D. Rockefeller became even wealthier after Standard Oil was broken up.

  • We will strengthen anti-trust laws to make sure they prohibit companies from controlling more than a simple majority of the national or international market in their product.
  • We will strengthen intellectual property laws to ensure that important technical, medical, and cultural ideas flow back into the public domain for further innovation, as the Founders intended- instead of stagnating in the hands of a monopoly.
  • We will aggressively investigate the largest corporations for anti-trust violations and break up violators into several smaller companies.

Help Government Buy Local

The United States has a tremendous ability to capitalize on economies of scale. We can, for instance, grow food on an enormous scale at low cost and ship it all over the world. There are many advantages to this, including the ability to affordably feed billions.

However, economies of scale can also hurt. For instance, moving steel and automobile production away from higher-cost areas inflicted decades of economic ruin on entire states, many of which still suffer from high unemployment and low wages. This is an important factor contributing to the climate of fear and resentment in this country.

This anger is deepened when government projects use contractors from outside the area instead of local companies to do the work. Often, this is the result of procurement laws that require all contractors to essentially keep full-time workers on just to deal with the government paperwork. Simplifying contract requirements for smaller projects and encouraging the use of local contractors where possible not only improves people’s relations with their government, but it also has an outsized new positive economic impact in blighted areas.

  • We will reform procurement laws to permit simpler paperwork for smaller contracts while preserving accountability and transparency.
  • We will direct government agencies to break infrastructure projects and commodities orders into smaller contracts with simpler application thresholds where feasible.
  • Where smaller contracts do not make sense, we will encourage agencies to write specifications requiring the use of local subcontractors where feasible.
  • We will aggressively pursue waste in government spending by rewarding agencies for coming in under budget and by thoroughly auditing cases of suspected budget abuse.

Rebuild American Infrastructure

Our roads, railroads, airways, and shipping were once the envy of the world. Now, many are crumbling, some even on the verge of collapse. While this is more symptomatic than causal of our current political climate, our decaying infrastructure makes it hard to address important underlying causes such as unemployment in many areas.

  • We will engage on a twenty-year Shining City program that will rebuild our nation’s infrastructure starting with the most critical facilities and those more important to short-term economic development in underserved areas.
  • We will modernize and rebuild every mile of our National Highway System, including modern advances in durability, safety, and construction.
  • We will build new Interstate highways and high-speed railways based on today’s needs and anticipated demand for the next fifty years.
  • We will modernize every publicly-owned airport and seaport in the country.
  • We will make sure there are at least five modern spaceports for commercial traffic in United States jurisdiction.
  • We will rebuild our aging electrical and telecommunications grids to improve efficiency, reduce disaster risk, and make underserved areas more attractive to industry and commerce.
  • We will ensure that every American household has an affordable option to access the Internet at speeds considered acceptable for modern users. In urban and suburban areas, we will strive for multiple, competing carriers.
  • We will pay for this using cost savings from the reduction in our spending on privatized prisons, intelligence services, and military contractors as well as revenues from the drug excise, taxes on stagnant wealth, closing down tax shelters for the wealthy, and if necessary, new taxes on higher-income individuals and corporations.

 

Refrain from Hot Button Issues

A number of highly-emotional issues dominate the political landscape in the United States. In most cases, both sides have strong and legitimate arguments that the other side is either unable or unwilling to take seriously. The result is a divisive political and social climate that exacerbates our current environment of fear.

All of these issues have potential solutions, but until we can achieve enough of the rest of this platform to reduce the overall culture of fear, such solutions will remain impossible. Instead, “one step forward, two steps back” will dominate public policy as each side attempts to correct the missteps of the other and overreaches. This pendulum cannot continue indefinitely. Either we stop debating these issues until we address the underlying terrors enough to permit reasoned debate, as this platform attempts to do, or our nation will simply collapse under the strain.

Abortion

This issue is used by the two major political parties to keep themselves in power while avoiding real changes our nation desperately needs. It is our party’s policy not to take sides on this issue and to oppose new laws and policies about it until our core platform is the law of the land.

Capital Punishment

This issue is used by the two major political parties to keep themselves in power while avoiding real changes our nation desperately needs. It is our party’s policy not to take sides on this issue and to oppose new laws and policies about it until our core platform is the law of the land.

Guns

This issue is used by the two major political parties to keep themselves in power while avoiding real changes our nation desperately needs. It is our party’s policy not to take sides on this issue and to oppose new laws and policies about it until our core platform is the law of the land.

Immigration

This issue is used by the two major political parties to keep themselves in power while avoiding real changes our nation desperately needs. It is our party’s policy not to take sides on this issue and to oppose new laws and policies about it until our core platform is the law of the land.

Religion

This issue is used by the two major political parties to keep themselves in power while avoiding real changes our nation desperately needs. It is our party’s policy not to take sides on this issue and to oppose new laws and policies about it until our core platform is the law of the land.

Social Justice

This issue is used by the two major political parties to keep themselves in power while avoiding real changes our nation desperately needs. It is our party’s policy not to take sides on this issue and to oppose new laws and policies about it until our core platform is the law of the land.

Voting Fraud

This issue is used by the two major political parties to keep themselves in power while avoiding real changes our nation desperately needs. It is our party’s policy not to take sides on this issue and to oppose new laws and policies about it until our core platform is the law of the land.

Liberating My Life