Greens Congressional Platform (draft)

For a Government that Serves the Public Good:
The 2010 Common Platform for Green Party Congressional Candidates

WE THE UNDERSIGNED CANDIDATES FOR UNITED STATES CONGRESS, in order to advance a common purpose of creating a clean, ethical, more representative government, that truly and effectively serves the interests of the people, their environment, health and quality of life, and provide the fullest economic and educational opportunities for all, hereby pledge to support the following measures, if elected:

1. A Major Commitment to Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Conservation and Sustainable Transportation. The twin crises of global climate change and the end of the era of cheap oil demand that our federal government commit public resources, on a scale comparable to the New Deal or the Marshall Plan, to developing decentralized and renewable sources of energy, such as wind, solar and geothermal energy, improving our conservation and efficient use of energy in homes and businesses, and promoting sustainable transportation practices, such as high-speed rail, other efficient public transportation and sensible urban planning. We reject the false and misleading promotion of “alternative” energy such as any so-called “clean coal” that does not address CO2 emissions, nuclear power and any expansion oil drilling offshore or in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.

2. Fee and Dividend, Not Cap and Trade. The idea that greenhouse gas emissions can be substantially reduced by a Cap and Trade regulatory scheme is a delusion. Experience in other countries has shown that it mainly serves as a vehicle for financial speculation, while the worst polluters find ways to “game the system.” We instead support the Fee and Dividend system advocated by the nation’s leading climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen.
Under this proposal, a fee is imposed on each fossil fuel at the point of sale, in dollars per ton of greenhouse gas emissions. The public does not directly pay any fee, but the price of the goods they buy increases in proportion to how much fossil fuel is used in their production. Fuels such as gasoline or heating oil, along with electricity made from coal, oil or gas, are affected directly by the carbon fee, which is set to gradually increase over time. This gives the public time to make changes in transportation, housing, insulation and other consumer decisions in order to avoid the higher costs. Under the dividend part of the proposal, the money collected from the fossil fuel companies is distributed to the public, so that the higher cost of energy is offset. Those who do better at reducing their carbon footprint will receive more in the dividend than they will pay in the added costs of the products they buy as a result of the fees.
Fee and dividend policy legislation will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, put the benefits into the pockets of the American people and make a true difference by enhancing energy choices and improving our quality of life.

3. End the Occupations and Halt Military Aggression – Immediately. We categorically oppose the ongoing wars of occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the new undeclared attacks on Pakistan and Somalia and threats of new violence against Iran. Our nation must cease attacking and occupying nations that did not attack or even threaten us. These wars are unconstitutional and illegal under international laws and treaties to which the United States is a signatory. They are also only breeding new resistance and animosity toward the United States, while imposing terrible human costs on both our own servicemen and women and the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
4. Prevent Future Wars: Invest in People, Not Militarism. Being “anti-war” is not enough. We need to be pro-peace. The control of our government by multinational corporations, including Big Oil and military contractors, with a strong profit incentive favoring militarism and domination of other nations, is the real underlying problem. It creates constant pressure to engage in new wars for corporate control of resources and markets. It has led to the deterioration of our democratic republic and our civil liberties, in favor of an imperial presidency with an over-powerful executive branch. It has led to a colossal waste of resources on militarism and death, starving our government of funds for public needs that would truly make us stronger as a nation – for education, health care, infrastructure and energy self-sufficiency.
We need to rein in corporate power, with a combination of reforms, including strong corporate codes of conduct, strong chartering laws, ending the status of corporations as a legal “person,” and building alternatives to the corporate model. We need to rein in the military-industrial complex, and create a genuine peace dividend to fund social needs, instead of passing incredibly wasteful military budgets and authorizing obscene no-bid contracts to favored campaign contributors. The corrupt system that causes unjust wars must be dismantled!

5. Wage an uncompromising fight for a publicly-funded Medicare-for-all health-care system. The recent federal “health-care reform” will not achieve the goal of providing quality health care for all. On the contrary, it further entrenches the biggest single barrier to that goal: A system based on private, for-profit health insurance as the “middleman” between consumers and health-care providers. These companies make more money by denying coverage whenever possible, placing more and more of the burden on working people who can’t afford to bear the cost, and on health-care providers who are drowning in administrative paper-work.
The only proven means of providing quality health care for all is through a publicly funded, publicly accountable, “single payer” or Medicare-for-all-type health care system, such as that operating in most industrialized nations in the world today. Such a system will also help control or reduce health-care costs, improve productivity and promote economic health. Health care is too important to the well being of society to be left in the hands of self-serving profiteers. We will wage an uncompromising fight for a single-payer health-care system, such as that proposed under H.R. 676.

6. Restore human rights and civil liberties. Basic civil liberties in the United States have been under assault for years, and our nation’s reputation has been sullied by our government’s disregard for human rights worldwide. Almost all of the incumbents occupying seats in Congress have cowardly allowed an increasingly powerful presidency to spy on Americans while keeping its own dirty secrets hidden from them, detain people without due process, move us toward an ominous national ID-card system, and otherwise erode the Bill of Rights at home, while committing torture and other atrocities abroad. Despite the election of a new president who promised “change” for the better, he has largely maintained the policies of his predecessor.
This may be the single most vital reason to elect Greens to Congress, for the people’s ability to make other necessary changes will be crippled if we continue to lose our democratic rights and freedoms. Greens in Congress will fight to repeal the misnamed Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, the so-called Protect America Act of 2007, the PASS ID Act of 2009 and other misbegotten legislation. We will fight to put an end to torture, indefinite detention, denial of habeas corpus, extraordinary rendition and other human rights abuses abroad and to restore full civil liberties and put an end to the imperial presidency, the so-called “war on drugs” and the prison-industrial complex at home. We will also fight for ballot integrity to ensure that elections can no longer be stolen and media reform to break the monopoly corporate stranglehold on news and information.

7. For Economic Health: Fair Trade, a Rebuilt Infrastructure and Investment in Education. As our government has been controlled by the two corporate-sponsored parties, one of the casualties has been our economy. So-called free trade agreements, such as NAFTA, CAFTA and Fast Track, that actually promote corporate globalization, have cost us quality industrial jobs and undermined laws protecting our environment. With every taxpayer dollar that our representatives have siphoned into an overbloated military-industrial complex and other forms of corporate welfare, our infrastructure and education system, once sources of economic strength, have suffered in equal measure.
We need to repeal treacherous free trade policies and replace them with trade policies that protect the interests of our own industrial base and the interests of workers, and our environment, at home and abroad. We need to make our lives safer, while generating new economic opportunities, by building a modern, sound, energy efficient transportation and utility infrastructure. In addition – as it has been proved by experience that investment in education is the single best investment government can make in terms of future economic and social health – we need to make a stronger commitment to education at all levels.

8. Real Financial and Monetary Reform. Our economy has become increasingly dominated by the “finance, insurance and real estate” (or FIRE) sectors of the economy, the social usefulness of which is far outweighed by its tendency to prey upon consumers, productive businesses and taxpayers. After the predatory activities of this sector created a speculative “bubble” that triggered the current economic collapse, it bought off enough members of Congress to soak the taxpayers for a record bailout, then turned around and paid themselves another round of obscene executive bonuses for their “performance.”
In short, the FIRE sector has cannibalized productive capital, preyed upon working people and soaked taxpayers to cover its losses. Yet we clearly cannot expect Democratic and Republican Congressmen to seriously reform the financial system when so many of them are bankrolled by the same institutions that created the crisis. As Green members of Congress, it will be up to us to lead the effort to bring the FIRE under control.
Some good starting points would be to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act and create a new, genuinely independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency – not the toothless agency being proposed by the Senate Banking Committee, which would be housed within and controlled by the Federal Reserve.
The public interest further demands fundamental monetary reform. In 1913, Congress abdicated its Constitutional duty to issue the nation’s money supply and turned it over to the Federal Reserve, a private banking cartel given the right to issue Federal Reserve Notes and lend them to the U.S. government. Except for coins, which compose only about one one-thousandth of the total U.S. money supply, all of our money is now created by banks. The “reserves” of the Federal Reserve consist of government bonds (I.O.U.s or debts). The government issues bonds, the Federal Reserve issues Federal Reserve Notes, which are essentially just traded for the bonds, leaving the government in debt to a private banking corporation for money the government could have issued itself, debt-free.
This means that new money must continually be borrowed into existence just to pay the interest owed to the bankers. The economic problems generated by our spiraling national debt could be greatly alleviated if Congress were to take back its Constitutional power to issue the nation’s money, and use that authority to spend money into existence, directly, on modernizing our infrastructure, promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency, education, health care, social services and other programs that benefit society and create economic opportunity. Banks should then be restricted to responsible lending practices based on actual funds, rather than engaging in both trading and lending, based upon a never-ending supply of government bonds, ultimately backed by its taxpayers.

In addition to these specific commitments, Green Party candidates – being representatives of a party based on principles and values, beginning with the Four Pillars of grassroots democracy, ecological wisdom, social justice and nonviolence, a party that rejects corporate campaign money and cannot be bought and sold to the highest bidder – will, if elected, be genuine representatives of the people and of the public good. Voters can have confidence that they will be true and conscientious public servants, devoted to making the policy changes urgently needed to ensure our survival, restore our republic, promote peace, and enhance the health and quality of life of all living things.

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