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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Friday, November 18, 2005

 

An Investment in America

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, November 18, 2005 permalink View blog reactions
This is a general outline for what I believe would be a genuinely Purple, forward-looking platform for change. It is suitable for adoption by any political party that is genuinely interested in meeting the governance needs and expectations of the True American Majority which exists outside the sphere of our rancorous political sphere.

I name it "Investment in America" because I wanted something optimistic and which suggests an incentive, as opposed to a burden (ie, a Contract). I am also limiting each plank to two or three words to make sure that they are direct and to the point and can be immediately recognized and sympathized with by the majority of Americans who are not politics or policy wonks.

Here are the major planks:

# Government accountability
# Right to Privacy
# Living Wage
# Single-payer Health Care
# College for all
# Intelligent transit
# End Corporate welfare
# Micro Energy

more details on each of these below the fold. I invite debate, and will open comments to all users (no registration required).

 

# Government accountability

This is really a statement of principle rather than a single "issue". There are many avenues to achieve this: more FOIA, requirements of transparency by government agencies, open budgets and public comment periods on pending legislation. It also includes new ethics standards and revised committee rules for our elected representatives, as well as basic competency requirements for important appointed non-Cabinet positions (for example, the Director of FEMA needs to have emergency management experience on his valid resume).

# Right to Privacy

Phrased as a general principle again, with a Constitutional Amendment as the ultimate goal.

# Living Wage

It isnt about being paid more, it is about being paid enough. The burden on businesses can be addressed by the next plank. This plank is also where we might discuss wage subsidies again.

# Single-payer Health Care

Universal health care is too socialist. We want to leverage the buying power of the federal government in paying for insurance, and have health care delivered by the present system (which for all its faults is still superior to anywhere else's). This is about removing the burden of paying for insurance from small businesses and major corporations alike, so that we can keep entrepeneurship alive at home and compete effectively overseas.

# College for all

Anyone who chooses to should be able to attend 2 years post-high school, via the existing community college system. Those who elect not to go to college or go to a 4-year institution can get tax credits applied to profesional training or their full tuition. Those who elect to not go to college nor take any professional training would not qualify. As a corollary, all teachers from grades K-12 should be exempt from federal taxes on their teaching-related income.

# Intelligent transit

We dont need "mass" transit that goes nowhere and carries no one. We need more than just light rail. We need multimodal systems, combining buses, light, and heavy rail systems, along with HOV lanes and "smart highways". We need to invest across the spectrum of transit options and tailor the solutions to the habits and growth patterns of individual regions (not just cities).

# End Corporate welfare

Its a time of sacrifice, so corporations have to do their fair share. Important sub issues under the umbrella are CEO compensation (relax the caps on their income, but require full reporting of all sources for taxation purposes) and SEC oversight reform.

# Micro Energy

Encourage entrepeneurs - there are plenty of ideas about alternative sources, but we dont want to build a national infrastructure from scratch, it would be too expensive. Let entrepeneurs go out and create their own solutions, and give them incentives. Let anyone plug their power station into the grid and earn money. It could be a housing subdivision that invests in solar panels and resells to the municipality. It could be a university that invests in a pebble bed reactor, or a small business consortium that runs a wind farm with vertical turbines. It could be a major oil industry player that is willing to sink some major R&D into oil shale or a mom and pop selling open land on their farm for wind and solar combines. Let a thousand ideas bloom.


Discussion

# College for all

say more. one problem that is occuring in this nation now is the devaluing of college degrees, as people need to get masters to show that they are academically oriented material. this seems like it would exacerbate that problem. the key is to get those who are college material to college, and i think we are almost totally there. instead of 2 year colleges, i think we should think about a more formalized set of trade schools. people need skills, but they don't need to learn more english or sociology.

 

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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.