Thursday, June 22, 2006

Jezebella's "Top 6 in '06"

According to a Time magazine article, Howard Dean and the Democratic Party intend to collaborate and put forth a “Top 6 in ‘06” list of Democratic Priorities. If they can agree on one.

So I decided to come up with my list of priorities for the country. These are things that are important to me as a citizen, a policy wonk, and a regular midwest girl. And since I endorse candidates based upon their platform above all else, this list is the ruler with which I will measure candidates up, both in 2006 and in 2008. [Don’t be surprised if you see a numerical rating system set in place soon.]

I would like feedback, though, to see how my list matches up with that of other liberals. I have a hunch we are not as disjointed as it may seem. And if Howard Dean and his cohorts cannot build a consensus from above, maybe we can build one at the grassroots level.

Not that Howard Dean reads Indiana Politico. But anyway, here it is.

1. Energy Independence through Renewable Energy Sources. If we can achieve that, it has positive impact on the following:
(a) Gas prices – explanation obvious
(b) National security, Middle East turmoil, Terrorism – Whether or not we went into Iraq specifically for oil, it remains true that we have virtually no national interest there if our economy does not depend on those relationships. And if we leave the Middle East alone, that leave Al-Qaeda with no grievance and no reason to attack us.
(c) Global warming – Which is known to be primarily caused by greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Slowing or stopping global warming will please environmentalists. But since global warming is also partly to blame for the increase in storm activity, all those people who live in Hurricane States like Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas will be pleased too. (Note: Hurricane States are Red States that could easily turn Blue on this issue).
(d) Corporate profits (gasp!) – It’s true. Lower energy cost makes business run more efficiently by means of lower input costs. This increases profits, which increases dividends to stockholders and the balance in your pension fund. Unless you are the CEO of Exxon.
So energy independence will satisfy (a) the pocketbook voters, (b) the “security moms” and the soldiers who want to come home, (c) environmentalists and red-state hurricane victims, and (d) business owners, stockholders, and regular Americans who want to retire someday.

Whoever runs on the platform of energy independence will get the majority of America’s vote. Period. We have the knowledge and the technology to do this – we just need the leadership.

2. Fiscal Discipline (Pay-As-You-Go). There was a time when politicians made trade-offs between spending for constituents and taxing constituents. Now they make no such trade-off; they simply choose between taxing constituents and taxing unborn babies. But deficits do matter…they matter to our children and grandchildren who will have to pay the debt plus interest. But they also affect our economic AND military position in the world since we are indebted, literally, to other countries. Read this for a full explanation.

Besides, the average American can understand that it is nice to have surplus (in family budget terms, a savings account) in case of emergency. If your car breaks down, don’t you feel better paying for repairs with cash rather than putting it on your 20% interest credit card? Case in Point: The surplus in Clinton’s 2000 budget was $230 billion. The amount Bush wanted to spend on Katrina relief was $200 billion. With fiscal discipline, we could have rebuilt New Orleans without another loan from the Bank of China.

3. An Iraq Exit Strategy and General De-Militarization of the War on Terror. The Iraq exit strategy must be reasonable, it must be approved by military leaders on the ground, and it must give Iraqis fair warning that we will be leaving so they can make sure their political and military houses are in order. And it should be as expedient as possible while still meeting these requirements. In the overall War on Terror, we must adopt an approach that recognizes that there is no military solution to terrorism, and much less so to the emotion of “terror.” We need a peace treaty with the nations that we have been at war with. And from that point on, we fight and win the War on Terror by protecting our transportation system, our nuclear facilities, and our office buildings from terrorist activity.

4. Outside-the-Box Worker Protection. And by this I mean the following: Continue outsourcing (double-gasp!!). Outsourcing and trade are economically efficient. They do increase total GDP, i.e. the size of the pie. But they also change distribution of wealth, i.e. how the pie is sliced. We should ensure that if international trade augments the size of the pie, that it also augments the size of the pieces for ALL people, not just CEO’s and stockholders. At least half of the increase in profits due to international trade should be filtered into jobs programs, free education, or some other “hand-up” for the unskilled, now-jobless worker. Here’s the catchphrase: “A good economy is an economy that is good for everyone.”

5. Social Equality. That means equal rights and opportunities for all minorities. It means an end to racism, homophobia, sexism, and religious discrimination, i.e. the “religious-majority-rules” mindset. While these attitudes cannot be entirely eradicated, they can be eliminated inasmuch as they are reflected in legislation and policy initiatives. Couple this with collaboration rather than divisiveness, and we might actually be able to have some civil discourse.

6. Ridding Washington of the “Culture of Corruption.” Howard Dean can (and will) elaborate on this one better than I can. Yeeeeaaahh!!


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Web Counter
Web Counter