2012-01-19 / Commentary

Embrace a new people’s agenda

BY HUBERT KAUFFMAN

There are many voices calling for a third party to counter the dysfunction in both Democratic and Republican parties.

It won’t work. Americans do not like third parties.

There is better way. There are major constituencies all over the country that would support a progressive agenda if it were presented as a comprehensive package.

A politically savvy organization could promote an agenda that would appeal to vast numbers of voters; people who support peace, the environment, affordable, universal health care, regulation of financial institutions, campaign reform, tax reform, creation of new industry and infrastructure jobs.

The Green Party is a politically savvy organization. Working as facilitators rather than as a political party, Greens could collaborate with Occupy Wall Street and the myriad organized groups around the country to create a people’s agenda for change.

They would then find candidates who would run in primaries and the general election as Republicans or Democrats. In this way, it is possible to keep the two- party system and give a comfortable political home to people in both parties.

Once a groundswell of support for a popular people’s agenda for change was established, potential candidates would clamor to join in the effort to do the people’s bidding.

The beauty and power of this plan is that it is comprehensive and gives hope to the 99 percent that democracy can return to America.

Here are a few of the issues a people’s agenda would address:

— People want relief from the current culture of war. Significant reduction of the military budget is essential but it must be paired with clear assurances that the United States will maintain an effective defense against those who would do harm.

The proposed plan for a culture of peace would have to confront the fear that has been so carefully nurtured by the military industrial complex. Peace offers the only sustainable basis for national security.

— People want a fair and reasonable tax system. The cry, “ Don’t raise my taxes” is, in important part, a concern that a tax increase will not be distributed equitably.

An income-based tax system with no loopholes or deductions would be widely seen as fair. It would be far easier to implement an acceptable tax system if it were perceived as fair.

The purpose of taxation is to provide funds for government to function. How did loopholes and deductions become a way of rewarding certain behaviors? Getting rid of them can be popular.

— People want a working economy that recognizes the reality of the gap between the number of jobs available and the growing population of new and unemployed workers.

— We need better education and research as well as development of new industries and products.

Amplified and accepted, the people’s agenda can be the basis of the creation of a new government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Hubert Kauffman lives in Oxford.

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