PLATFORM FOR PROGRESS(IVES)

Goodness knows I, like the OWSers, protest enough about the current “system.” Outside of the 1%, is there anyone who is happy with the way things are? Not too many. So what to do? Well, the Tea partiers want to take us back to 19th century robber baron capitalism on the idea that…well it’s hard to say what the idea of that is. How about us progressives? Given that we are dealing with the well known cat-herding paradigm, almost by definition, there’s no progressive platform. But I bet that a good three quarters of us support something along the lines of the following. They’re in no particular order except that for any of them to happen, the first bullet of the first point must be done—elimination of private funding of politicians. Then, anything can happen.

I’ve left out the rationales for all the platform points, as it would take thousands of words and more patience than our readers possess. Feel free to add points and rationales.

POLITICS

  • Public financing of elections—no direct personal, or corporate (incl. lobbyist) contributions
  • Instant-runoff elections or other alternative voting methods which will encourage 3rd and 4th party candidates
  • Direct presidential election (eg, National Popular Vote movement)

FINANCIAL SYSTEM

  • Reinstate Glass-Steagall to re-separate investment banking and commercial banking
  • Increase regulation of derivatives (eg, credit default swaps), including requiring transparent pricing and increased capital reserve requirements
  • Increase regulation of rating agencies (eg, Moody’s, Standard and Poor)
  • Eliminate speculators from commodity trading
  • Regulate or eliminate computerized, high-frequency trading
  • Investigate and prosecute those who helped cause financial collapse
  • Break up financial institutions that are too big to fail

TAXES & the ECONOMY

  • Remove all Bush tax cuts
  • Implement simpler tax code (including taxing hedge fund managers’ fees as regular income)
  • End tax breaks for moving jobs overseas

HEALTHCARE

  • Medicare for all

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

  • Shift from fossil fuel (eg, coal, oil, methane) to renewable energy (eg, wind, water, solar, geothermal) within 18 yrs (“clean and green in 18”) by instituting a carbon tax and switching subsidies from oil companies and ethanol to renewable, non-carbon energy
  • Strengthen the EPA

MILITARY

  • No more foreign wars and entanglements
  • Cut military and spying spending by half

FREEDOM & theAMERICAN WAY

  • Stop domestic spying
  • Habeas corpus for all citizens
  • No more rendition and torture
  • End the drug war and repeal laws against other victimless crimes

2 comments on “PLATFORM FOR PROGRESS(IVES)

  1. peterjesson says:

    Rob,

    Great stuff. I am even geeting feedback from peple from out of state praising the blog.

    One point of discussion: I suspect that eliminating speculators from commodity trading would not be feasible. My suggestion would be to make excessive speculation too costly. The Europeans are talking about transaction taxes for trading. I like that idea – it would probably make rapid computerized trading unprofitable. Central banks could also have a policy of investing to counter excessive speculation by inducing losses. They do this to some extent already – the Fed buys stocks occasionally to counter short selling. The EU appears to be restructuring Greece in a manner that would not allow Credit Default Swaps that bet against Greece to be redeemed. There are many more possibilities. The objective should be to make speculative trading volumes much smaller than regular trading.

  2. Rob Porter says:

    Actually the amount of speculation in commodoties futures was very tightly controlled from the 1930s through the early ’90s by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. The CFTC limited the bulk of the trading to that between producers of commodities (eg, wheat farmers) and end users (eg, bread companies). They also allowed a small number of speculators whose role was to stabilize the market (i.e. purchase/sell commodities if no producer or end user wanted to trade right then). However, in the early ’90s, Goldman Sachs got a special (and secret) exemption allowing them to speculate. Since that time a large number of other trading firms have been allowed to speculate as well. Since these firms almost always go long on commodities, and hold them for longer than traditional commodoties traders, this has been one of the main reasons for the multiple recent spikes in for example oil prices. There’s no reason at all we couldn’t return to the regulatory state of 1990—other than political will.

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