by John Rensenbrink, Maine Green Independent Party
The Green Party agenda for the first 100 days would:
1: Initiate a one trillion dollar community-based grant-in-aid program from the national government to local communities. These funds will be channeled though collaborative arrangements between state and local governments. They will require maximum feasible participation in governance by all parts of each local community receiving these grants. A five percent matching grant from each participating local community is also required. The purposes of the grants are for sustainable community development and community empowerment. The grants include funds for renewable energy, conservation, workforce housing, small business development coupled with apprenticeship programs to hire the unskilled, open space, extra support for teachers and for ecologically informed education, college scholarships, food and water security, public works, public transportation, regional cooperative pro≠jects, support for neighborhood policing programs, and support for the arts. This replaces the 750 billion dollar ìbailout from the topî scheme initiated in late 2008 called the Troubled Asset Relief Pro≠gram (TARP).
2: Direct the national Treasury Depart≠≠ment to shift the measurement of economic progress away from reliance on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to reliance on Gen≠uine Pro≠gress Indicators (GPI). This will assist government officials, business executives, and university economists to provide, and be provided with, a critical tool to measure sustainable economic activity. We can no longer deceive ourselves that 50,000 deaths a year on our highways contributes to our well beingówhich by present measurements seems to be the case because all the work connected with these deaths adds to the GDP. Other sources included in the GDP include: building more prisons, piling up waste, buying more oil because our buildings leak tons of energy, waging wars for oil (adding enormously to the GDP!) instead of shifting to renewable energy. We need to measure well being, not commodity transactions of goods and services.
3: Substantially lower the income tax and combine this with a carbon tax of $250 per ton to be phased in at the rate of $25 per year from 2009 to 2020. The carbon tax would be offset with a matching reduction in income tax. This is advocated by Lester Brown of ìState of the Worldî fame and is designed to discourage fossil fuel use and to stimulate investment of renewable sources of energy.
4: Extend Medicare to the entire population; in other words, a single-payer health care program for all.
5: Establish a financial transactions fee. Economist Dean Baker (Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C.) estimates that a very small feeóranging up to, say, 0.25 percent ówill yield $100 billion or more annually. The fee will be placed on the sale or transfer of stocks, bonds, and other financial assets, including the great variety of exotic and speculator-driven financial instruments so much in the news lately.
6: Initiate a Reparations Program for dispossessed African American and Native American peoples.
7: Initiate a constitutional amendment for the election of president and vice president by popular vote.
8: Pressure state and local governments to institute instant run-off voting in elections and develop pilot programs for proportional representation.
9: Push for laws and administrative rules in military and civilian life that provide support for gay marriage and gay families.
10: End the Drug War, decriminalize cannabis, and support growing hemp for industrial use.
11: Initiate a constitutional amendment affirming that the word ìpersonî in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States applies to real persons and not to corporations.
ìI chose policies that most contribute to a profound shift in the power structure, with a strong emphasis†on communityî
I chose policies that most contribute to a profound shift in the power structure, with a strong emphasis on community: building, preservation, self-reliance and self-governance. This is a major feature of getting the nation and the world out from under the repressive and often lethal domination of the oligarchs.
These policies also address timeliness. It is important to ask in formulating policyóis there little time to waste in getting at the issue and is this issue something heavy on the publicís mind? Health care is such an issue. Also I considered policies which foster diversity, so differences of race, gender, sexual orientation, and class cease to be opportunities for bias and discrimination and cease to be stumbling blocks to the achievement of unity in a diverse, multi-cultural society.
Many of these policies directly interconnect with one another, for example, imposing a carbon tax and at the same time pushing strongly for renewable energy. All policies address the Ten Key Values of the Green Party of the United States: Ecolo≠gical Wisdom, Personal and Social Respon≠s≠ibility, Grass Roots Democracy, Non-Violence, Respect for Diversity, Gender Equity, Community Economics, Decen≠tral≠ization, Global Responsibility, and Sustainability.
For more essays on the first 100 days go to: http://www.gp.org/first100/