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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A progressive national agenda

An online discussion has emerged about what the Democrats agenda should be, for when they next enter power.

Here is my wishlist:

  1. Politics:
    1. Make Washington DC a state

    2. Aggressive federal involvement in any state that Gerrymanders to prevent statewide representation reflecting the population. Require maps to fall within formulas for compactness and representation matching.

    3. Abolish the electoral college.

    4. Federal law requiring automatic voter registration and banning the removal of eligible voters from voting rolls.

    5. Replace the party balloting system nationally with one where all candidates with signatures from at least some percentage of voters (say, 1%) from some percentage of states (say, 25%) are listed in all states

    6. Replace the single choice presidential vote system with instant runoff voting or approval voting, allowing for each single voter to choose as many candidates as they approve of, so as not to act like a spoiler.

    7. Create two new federal holidays: Juneteenth (Freedom Day) and election day (Democracy Day).

  2. Health:
    1. Single-payer healthcare system built on expansion of Medicare for all

    2. Still allow supplemental insurance, to cover doctors not part of Medicare

    3. Outlaw drug, gun, lawyer and military advertising except for 2-color, non-pictorial text ads

    4. Make drug approval process for drugs already tested extensively in other countries extremely expedited

    5. Expand FDA testing and regulation of health supplements, medicines. Create grade system reflecting company's history of their products proven to contain what they say they contain; new entrants can buy into this by putting up their own capital in a bet that their products will prove pure

    6. Federal rule to suspend drivers' licenses in all cases where injury occurs and the driver is partially to blame, on increasing scale

  3. Poverty:
    1. UBI, including accounts that are inheritable, earn interest

    2. Attack poverty with the Harlem Children's Zone model: increased federal funds in poor areas for schools, hospitals, health clinics, job training, home visits by nurses

  4. Social justice:
    1. Make May 31st (date of 1921 Greenwood Race riot) a national day of remembrance for the victims of slavery and Jim Crow, with ceremony in Washington reading the names and brief description of all known victims

    2. $1T of reparations for slavery and Jim Crow to all black descendants of US slaves, paid over 25 years into UBI accounts (about $1k/person/year).

  5. Violence:
    1. Federal arms restrictions based on testing for rate of lethality in different scenarios (like auto safety)

    2. Fund and conduct firearms and other public health research. May require permanently budgeted, independent public health research office

  6. Environment:
    1. Emissions and pollution cap & trade system

    2. Aggressively pursue international pollution/carbon pacts

    3. Federal gasoline tax of $1/gal to force Saudi Arabia to effectively subsidize our shift to renewable energy

    4. Tax environmental damage at the source. Whatever you produce or import, you need to pay or account for the cost to the environment. This should make single use plastic bags, plastic straws, etc. impractical, without banning them.

  7. Taxes:
    1. Have the IRS do your taxes: the IRS already has your W2 and 1099s and previous year's taxes, and knows your withholdings. Have them do everyone's first draft of their taxes and mail them to us. We can sign off, or revise them if we want.

    2. Increase the earned income tax credit, the standard deduction, and the per child tax credit by 50%

  8. Foreign policy:
    1. Open all foreign policy and domestic surveillance archives pre-1990, except for info that could be used to identify agents still in the field

    2. Recall most overseas troops

    3. Multiply foreign aid budget by 10

    4. Withhold military aid and trade to all countries that officially discriminate on the basis of sex, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, or who use their military to colonize lands outside their country

    5. Demand that all countries that officially discriminate on the basis of sex, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, or who use their military to colonize lands outside their country, and specifically call out nations that violate this

    6. US pays reparations to all countries with democratic gov'ts overthrown or civilians murdered through US funds

  9. Immigration:
    1. Abolish ICE's immigration lawbreaking division

    2. Greatly increase rate of admitting refugees

  10. Education:
    1. Federal rule, with funding, for minimum of 1 full time school psychologist per 200 kids, 1 full time teacher per 20 kids

  11. Economics:

      End the mortgage interest deduction, the health insurance and benefits deduction, and most other specific deductions

    1. End most farm subsidies

    2. National and 50-state quasi-governmental funding body to make 7-year, $20k/yr grants to journalists

    3. Deregulate predictive betting--let's let smart people make money by sharing what they're right about with the world, and punish consistently wrong pundits

    4. Rescind DMCA and other overreaching big gov't intrusions into the internet, and restore net neutrality

    5. Break up Google (YouTube, Waymo, Maps), Facebook (Insta, Messenger, WhatsApp); regulate Apple (allow competitors to App Store)

    6. Do not allow social networks to acquire each other

  12. Criminal justice:
    1. Outlaw for-profit jails

    2. Require prisons to allow unannounced spot inspections by federally approved NGOs

    3. Outlaw solitary confinement for more than a small percentage of prisoner-hours, except when approved on a regular basis by a judge

    4. Direct federal prosecutors to focus on crimes that erode the public trust, such as fraud, taking bribes, embezzlement, false advertising, and false representation

    5. No statute of limitations on crimes that erode the public trust, such as fraud, taking bribes, embezzlement, false advertising, and false representation

    6. Direct the Justice Department to conduct investigations of justice officials without regard to whether those officials are still in their roles; e.g., a judge who took bribes should not be able to avoid an ethics investigation just by retiring early

    7. In cases where the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution has passed, make it possible to still bring charges to determine the truth, even if the result cannot mean punishment

    8. End the evasion of criminal responsibility by holding corporate leaders and wealthy taxpayers who are caught perpetrating criminal fraud liable for that fraud, rather than only prosecuting their underlings and tax preparers

    9. Make perversion of justice punishable by up to life imprisonment and full asset seizure; prosecutors, and judges and police given public trust who abuse it should go to jail

    10. Clarify/revise federal perjury rules: stating false information, even if it cannot be demonstrated that you knew it was false, is criminal.

    11. Prosecute all perjurers aggressively, even if they claim a good reason for perjury.

    12. Prosecute for perjury and contempt of Congress those who refused to answer questions, like Steve Bannon and Hope Hicks

    13. Prosecutors, police and judges who knowingly participated in prosecuting people they had reason to believe were innocent should be prosecuted for being accessories to crime after the fact, since they helped the truly guilty avoid justice.

    14. DOJ white collar crime commission to figure out why Manafort/Gates crimes were not investigated until Mueller; prosecute it with max sentences

    15. Make false advertising a federal crime punished by both fines and imprisonment

    16. Make false representation a federal crime punished by both fines and imprisonment; bring charges for false representation against banks and their employees such as Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs

    17. Federal legislation to forbid judicial settlements for criminal activity that do not contain criminal punishments and admissions of guilt

    18. Criminally prosecute those who enforce discrimination by gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation in public facilities such as buses in Williamsburg

    19. Impeach Mitch McConnell for refusing to fulfill Senate duty to advise President Obama's Supreme Court nomination

    20. Impeach and criminally prosecute Clarence Thomas for perjury, fraud and/or obstruction of justice

    21. Impeach and criminally prosecute Cyrus Vance for obstruction of justice in dropping solid cases against Harvey Weinstein and Trump children

    22. Prosecute many members of Bush administration for roles in torture, Iraq War

    23. Require all firearms to carry a serial number and to be registered in a federal database; failure to report a firearms transaction and removal of serial number are federal crimes

    24. All firearms transactions require a background check and a waiting period of at least 7 days

    25. Treat issuing guns like issuing drugs or poisons: partial criminal liability for all past gun owners including importers and manufacturers when guns are used in a crime, suicide or accidental death; liability is small per incident, but accumulates over time

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