Friday, October 27, 2006

What to do what to do

Bob Burnett wrote in today's Common Dreams ( ) an article outlining a general direction for positive change after the Mid-term election (provided that it's not simply stolen). Riffing on that, here (in blue) are some slightly more specific plans to follow his lead:
1. The American people are the best defenders of the United States. Therefore, Federal budget priorities must be changed. Funds should be shifted from the defense and security sectors to programs that strengthen the citizenry, such as healthcare and education. America spends too much on the military and this is weakening our democracy.
30% reduction in Pentagon spending, focused on procurements of useless, big ticket projects, Star wars, f-22, bunker buster nukes, etc. would fund all of the domestic programs that have been looted or slashed and stop the raid on Social Security
2. The United States is not engaged in an international arms race, but rather a competition in the global marketplace that we are losing. Therefore, America requires a new vision in order to regain its competitiveness. Federal leadership is needed to provide this strategy.
Actually, armaments are our strongest export sector and should be curtailed (but that's another article for another day). The new vision we need is to stipulate that goods imported to the US, whether by foreign or domestic companies, must conform to American standards in worker wages and conditions, environmental impact and product safety and labeling. End the race to the bottom.
3. A cornerstone of this new vision for America is recognition that Democracy is best served by placing limits on capitalism. The interests of big business are not always consistent with the common good, such as protection of the environment and the rights of working people. The Federal Government must intervene to insure that Democracy is not subverted by big business.
End corporate personhood. Repudiate Buckley vs Valeo, money is NOT speech. Corporations do not have the right to drown out the People.
4. Fiscal solvency is another, essential component in a new vision. Federal leadership is required to balance the budget and stop America's addiction to debt financing.
Ending our occupation of Iraq, withdrawing our troops from the seventy or so countries where they are stationed and calling off the specious(and totally failed) war on drugs would be a huge start in the right direction. Just eliminating the DEA would reduce the size of government by 11 000 employees and save $3 Billion per year. (that's about $30 billion down the tube so far, but that, again, is another story for another day)
5. Finally, the security and solvency of America requires a nation-wide program for energy independence. While development of non-carbon-based sources of energy should be part of this effort, a vital component will be conservation. Federal leadership must motivate Americans to engage common sacrifice, reduce fossil-fuel consumption for the common good.
A new energy infrastructure based around solar/wind/tidal energy will create business opportunities and plenty of jobs. Conservation retrofits likewise. Governments at all levels can get into the act whether they call it energy security or a jobs program.

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