1996 Green Party Platform
(14,577 words, 45 pages)
I. A CALL TO ACTION
The GREEN PLATFORM is an evolving document, a living work-in-progressthat expresses our commitment to creating meaningful and enduring changein the political process.
Our Party's first priority is to value-based politics, in contrast tothe politics of exploitation, consumption, and non-sustainable competition.
We believe in an alternative, independent politics, and active, responsiblegovernment. We believe in empowering citizens and communities. We offerhope and a call to action.
In this platform we make our case -- to change the way government operates-- to change the quality of our everyday lives -- to build a vision thatbrings new and lasting opportunities.
II. GREEN VALUES
1) GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY
Every human being deserves a say in the decisions that effect their lives;no one should be subject to the will of another. Therefore, we will workto increase public participation at every level of government and to ensurethat our public representatives are fully accountable to the people whoelect them. We will also work to create new types of political organizationswhich expand the process of participatory democracy by directly includingcitizens in the decision-making process.
2) SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
All persons should have the rights and opportunity to benefit equallyfrom the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciouslyconfront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, barrierssuch as racism and class oppression, sexism and homophobia, ageism and disability,which act to deny fair treatment and equal justice under the law.
3) ECOLOGICAL WISDOM
Human societies must operate with the understanding that we are partof nature, not separate from nature. We must maintain an ecological balanceand live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities andour planet. We support a sustainable society which utilizes resources insuch a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from thepractices of our generation. To this end we must practice agriculture whichreplenishes the soil; move to an energy efficient economy; and live in waysthat respect the integrity of natural systems.
It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to our currentpatterns of violence at all levels, from the family and the streets, tonations and the world. We will work to demilitarize our society and eliminateweapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions ofother governments.
We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others whoare in helpless situations. We promote nonviolent methods to oppose practicesand policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lastingpersonal, community and global peace.
Centralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economicinjustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. Therefore, wesupport a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions awayfrom a system which is controlled by and mostly benefits the powerful few,to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should, as muchas possible, remain at the individual and local level, while assuring thatcivil rights are protected for all citizens.
6) COMMUNITY-BASED ECONOMICS AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE
We recognize it is essential to create a vibrant and sustainable economicsystem, one that can create jobs and provide a decent standard of living,for all people, while maintaining a healthy ecological balance. A successfuleconomic system will offer meaningful work with dignity, while paying a"living wage" which reflects the real value of a person's work.
Local communities must look to economic development that assures protectionof the environment and workers' rights, broad citizen participation in planning,and enhancement of our "quality of life". We support independentlyowned and operated companies which are socially responsible, as well asco-operatives and public enterprises that spread out resources and controlto more people through democratic participation.
7) GENDER EQUITY AND COOPERATION
We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politicsand economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of dominationand control, with more cooperative ways of interacting which respect differencesof opinion and gender. Human values such as equity between the sexes, interpersonalresponsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience. Weshould remember that the process that determines our decisions and actionsis just as important as achieving the outcome we want.
8) RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY
We believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual,religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectfulrelationships across these lines. We believe the many diverse elements ofsociety should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies,and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closedout of leadership roles. We acknowledge and encourage respect for otherlife forms and the preservation of biodiversity.
9) PERSONAL AND GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY
We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal well-beingand, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony.We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to fosterpeace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.
10) FUTURE FOCUS AND SUSTAINABILITY
Our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals. We seekto protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or "unmaking"all waste we create, while developing a sustainable economics that doesnot depend on continual expansion for survival. We must counter balancethe drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development,new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generationswho will inherit the results of our actions.
11) QUALITY OF LIFE
Our overall goal is not merely to survive, but to share lives that aretruly worth living. We believe the quality of our individual lives is enrichedby the quality of all of our lives. We encourage everyone to see the dignityand intrinsic worth in all of life, and to take the time to understand andappreciate themselves, their community and the magnificent beauty of thisworld.
III. PLATFORM PREAMBLE
The GREEN PARTY proposes a substantive change in the direction of contemporaryAmerican politics.
As the year 2000 approaches, we look back with somber reflection at howwe have been as a people and as a nation. Realizing our actions will bejudged by future generations, we ask how, with foresight and wisdom, wecan renew the best of our past, calling forth a spirit of change and participationthat speaks for a free and democratic society.
We submit a bold vision of our future, a PLATFORM on which and for whichwe stand:
An ethic of KEY VALUES that sets forth a POLITICS OF ACTION founded onthe best ideas and highest values of our body politic
A hopeful, challenging plan for a successful and sustainable economy
A CALL TO ACTION to create and conserve a rich, diverse environment characterizedby a sense of community
What we are proposing is a vision of the common good that goes beyondspecial interests, the business of politics, and traditional partisanship.
What we are proposing is an INDEPENDENT POLITICS -- a democratic visionthat empowers and reaches beyond background and political loyalty to bringtogether our combined strengths as a people.
We, the GREEN PARTY, submit that cooperation and mutual aid will bringa wiser and ultimately more successful strategy of political and economicprogress -- of human growth, maturity and freedom as we learn to adapt inan evolving, challenging world.
As in nature, where adaptation and diversity provide values key to asuccessful strategy of survival, a successful political strategy is onethat is diverse, adaptable to changing needs, and strong and resilient inits CORE VALUES.
It is evident to us that a "new world era" -- of peace andprosperity; human rights and individual empowerment; health care and dignityof life -- will be the result of domestic and international policies thatrespect and encourage:
DEMOCRACY, practiced most effectively at the grassroots level and inlocal communities SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, emphasizing personaland social responsibility, accountability and non-violence ENVIRONMENTALAND ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY, balancing the competing interests of market-and value-driven business; of the community and the land; of living andfuture generations
Looking to the future with hopeful optimism, WE THE GREEN PARTY believethat we can truly change history -- that we can make a real difference aswe work to shape our common destiny that links us together across the nationand around the globe.
IV. GREEN PLATFORM POLICY DOCUMENT
A. POLITICAL REFORM
Today, our government too often is separated from the lives of its citizens.Democracy relies on the consent and involvement of the governed, yet wesee a political system far removed from the concerns of ordinary people.The forces of big money and narrow special interests are assaulting thepublic trust in the name of greed. Challengers to an entrenched politicalelite are dissuaded from running for office as unprecedented money, in thehundreds of millions, flows into campaign war chests. Thousands of full-timelobbyists block reform. The role of political action committees (PACs) isexcessive and exerts undue influence over politics -- our democratic systemis under assault, to the detriment of the American people and their communities.
The GREEN PARTY, in association with those citizen groups and politicalcampaigns calling for real reform, accountability and responsibility ingovernment, proposes a COMPREHENSIVE POLITICAL REFORM AGENDA. Informed debateand resultant public policy should be judged on the merits, not on the quidpro quo of political barter and money. We propose CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM,including caps on spending and contributions, at the national and statelevel, to remove undue influence in political campaigns. We will work toban or greatly limit political action committees. We support significantLOBBYING REGULATION, strict rules that disclose the extent of politicallobbying via "gifts" and contributions. Broad-based reforms inhow government works, with CONGRESSIONAL REORGANIZATION and TERM LIMITSat the national level and ETHICS LAWS at the state level, should be instituted.We support "Sunshine Laws" that open up the political system toaccess by ordinary citizens.
We endorse restructuring our political institutions to achieve more responsiveand responsible government. Democracy works best when there is trust ingovernment, not cynicism. We pledge to work to restore electoral politics.We recognize individual empowerment, full citizen participation, and PROPORTIONALREPRESENTATION as the foundation of effective democracy.
We understand that, to adapt to changing social and ecological needs,institutions should be as inclusive and non bureaucratic as possible. Tothis end, we encourage building alternative, grassroots institutions thatsupport participatory democracy at the local level.
Using our voice to help others find their voice, a national Green Partyshould spring from state and local Green electoral efforts and through politicalcampaigning at every level. We look toward forming bioregional confederationsto coordinate regional issues based on natural and ecosystem boundariesinstead of traditional political ones.
B. POLITICAL PARTICIPATION
Greens advocate direct democracy as a response to local needs and issues,where all concerned citizens can discuss and decide questions that immediatelyaffect their lives, such as land use, parks, schools and community services.We hold as a "key value" GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY and, as such, woulddecentralize many state functions to the county level and seek expandedroles for neighborhood boards/associations. We call for a change in thepractice of "unfunded federal mandates", and for more freedomby states and local governments in deciding how federal funds should bespent.
We would increase the opportunities for participatory democracy and endorseand advocate citizen rights to INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM and RECALL. We willact to broaden voter participation and BALLOT ACCESS, urging UNIVERSAL VOTERREGISTRATION and an ELECTION DAY HOLIDAY. We believe that a binding "Noneof the Above" option on the ballot should be considered. We supportthe discussion of deep changes in political campaigns to bring about electoralfairness, for example, providing free television and mail under reasonableconditions for every qualified statewide, congressional, presidential candidateand party. We support citizen involvement at all levels of the decision-makingprocess and hold that DIRECT ACTION can be an effective tool where peacefuldemocratic activism is appropriate. We support the right to nonviolent directaction that supports green values.
We call for citizen control of REDISTRICTING processes, and revisionof Election Laws that discriminate against full participation by Independentpolitical candidates and parties.
Community is the basic unit of green politics because it is personal,value-oriented and small enough for each member to have an impact. We lookto community involvement as a foundation for public policy. Social diversityis the well-spring of community life, where old and young, rich and poor,people of all races and beliefs can interact individually and learn to carefor each other, to understand and cooperate. We emphasize a return to local,face-to-face relationships that humans can understand, cope with, and careabout. We call for increased public transportation, and convenient playgroundsand parks for all sections of cities and small towns, and funding to encouragediverse neighborhoods.
We call for social policies to focus on protecting FAMILIES. The young,the citizens of tomorrow, are increasingly at risk. "A CHILDREN'S AGENDA"should be put in place to focus attention and concerted action on the futurethat is in our children. Programs must be encouraged that ensure children,the most vulnerable members of society, will receive basic nutritional,educational and medical necessities. A universal, federally funded CHILDCAREprogram for pre- school and young schoolchildren should be developed. Familyassistance, available to working poor families in which the parent supportsand lives with the children, such as the EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT, shouldbe maintained and increased to offset regressive payroll taxes and growinginequalities in society. We support successful PRE-NATAL programs and "HEADSTART." It is our realization that "a living family wage"is vital to the social health of communities.
Within the Greens, as we look at community issues, it is a guiding principleto "think globally, act locally". Community needs recognize adiversity of issues, and LOCAL CONTROL recognizes a variety of approachesto solving problems, one that tends to be "bottom up" not "topdown." Green politics does
not place its faith in paternalistic "big government". Insteadface-to-face interactions are essential to productive and meaningful livesfor all citizens. The Greenvision calls for a GLOBAL COMMUNITY of communities,recognizing our immense diversity, respecting our personal worth, and sharinga global perspective. We call for "A POLITICS OF 2000", whichacknowledges our endangered planet and habitat. Our politics responds toglobal crisis with a new way of seeing our shared INTERNATIONAL SECURITY.
We conceive of a new era of international cooperation and communication,a set of responses nurturing CULTURAL DIVERSITY, recognizing the interconnectednessbetween communities, and promoting opportunities for cultural exchange andassistance. We endorse an EXPANDED PEACE CORPS. We encourage the importantwork of NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS (NGO's), much in evidence at the UN"Earth Summit" in 1992. We support the leading-edge work of NON-PROFITPUBLIC INTEREST GROUPS, and those individuals breaking out of "careerism"to pursue NON-TRADITIONAL CAREERS in public service.
D. FOREIGN POLICY
As we look back at the wars and deprivations of the past, and set ourminds to overcoming continued conflicts and violence, we realize the difficultiesinherent in encouraging democracy, and of advancing the cause of PEACE.GREENS support sustainable development and social and economic justice acrossthe globe. Reduced militarism and reliance on arms policies is the key toprogress toward collective security.
With THE END OF THE COLD WAR has come a more complex set of challengesin how our nation defines its NATIONAL SECURITY. Our present task is torid ourselves of the residue of the geopolitical conflict of East versusWest -- with its bloated defense budgets, thousands of unneeded nuclearweapons and major troop deployments overseas. We will strive to cut theDEFENSE BUDGET by 50 percent by the year 2000, from approximately $300 billion(aggregate spending) in 1995. We must maintain a viable American militaryforce, foreign policy doctrine and strategy that takes into account real,not hollow, threats to our people, democratic institutions and interests.We affirm our nation's place in the history of nations as the standard-bearerof democratic, representative government; as the home of the American Constitution,the Bill of Rights, and civilian control over the military. It is thereforeappropriate that we call for our foreign policy establishment to engagein a national debate on how we can convert to a PEACETIME ECONOMY. We believeour nation's ultimate strength is in its people and a healthy economy, whichwill best protect our national security interests over the long-term.
We endorse a reordering of priorities as to how our nation can best achieve"National Security." The Green Party asserts that security andliberty prosper together. HUMAN RIGHTS are the foundation of EMERGING DEMOCRACIESand international relations. We argue that the support of democracy, humanrights and respect for international law should be the cornerstone of Americanforeign policy. In this regard we endorse ending support for repressiveregimes; we believe the US and all nations should abide by World Court decisions;we support the right of Habeas Corpus be available to any person, anywhere,whose imprisonment violates fundamental norms of international law.
It is our belief that the massive debt owed by the Third World is causingimmense misery and environmental destruction. FOREIGN AID must be addressedin the context of retiring this debt and not forcing, via the INTERNATIONALMONETARY FUND and WORLD BANK, "structural adjustments" on theeconomies of the underdeveloped world. These "adjustments" havecaused devastation in social and educational programs, mass unemploymentand a huge environmental toll. We call for a more enlightened policy onthe part of INTERNATIONAL AGENCIES and their financial arms which takesinto account the impact of international debt management. The US shouldrein in the IMF and World Bank, whose policies have wreaked havoc, and demandthat loans be conditional on human and labor rights records, social andenvironmental impact statements, and the providing of basic health and education.
INTERNATIONAL LAW and INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS are inseparable. As weexamine the state of US relations throughout the world, in areas of mutualcooperation and alliances, or where regional conflicts are demanding newapproaches to resolution and long-term solutions, Greens profess that thereis a link between our policies and our values. We do not support a world-viewthat relies on accommodation of tyranny or repressive regimes.
We encourage policies that work to assist the FORMER SOVIET UNION inits move toward a government based on rights and a more open political andeconomic system. We support peace in the MID-EAST based on respect for civilliberties and human rights. We endorse human rights policies in regard torelations with CHINA, SOUTH AFRICA and other nations with a history of rightsviolations. We support the end of the economic blockade of Cuba. Unjusteconomic coercion by one state against another constitutes a violation ofhuman rights.
We believe in the core "RIGHT OF SELF-DETERMINATION"; of thespecial character and needs of INDIGENOUS PEOPLES; of the essential importanceof balancing economic development in the THIRD WORLD with a respect forthe "old ways".
We trust in NONVIOLENCE as a weapon of PEACE. We understand the rightof self-defense yet believe we must move beyond behavior that perpetuatesviolence. We oppose structural and direct violence of all kinds -- assaultsagainst individuals, families, the environment and biosphere, nations andsociety.
Essential in any broad definition of SECURITY, whether defined in national,international or global terms, is that we must find ways to secure and preserveour common earth which sustains all life. We must look to domestic and internationalregulation of the global ecology, utilizing the UNITED NATIONS AND RELATEDAGENCIES and regional associations to advance our mutual interests. We mustbuild on the "Earth Charter" which came out of the 1992 UN environmental"Earth Summit." New definitions of what constitutes real securitybetween nations must be debated and adopted by the foreign policy community.
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
The failing report card of American education is troubling for most everyAmerican. Who fails to see the connection between our investment in educationand our success as a people? Who believes there is no relation between personalachievement and a quality education -- an education that teaches creativeand critical thinking skills and a respect for lifelong learning? Wherecan we best make a difference in our future? The Green Party maintains thatrestoring community is central to expanded opportunity, and access to qualityeducation for all Americans is the difference that will lead to a strongand diverse community. The Green Party seeks fundamental change in our priorities,at the national and local levels, within the public and private sectors,in the classroom and at home, to make education our first priority.
Greens support EDUCATIONAL DIVERSITY. We do not hold any dogma absolute.We believe we must continually strive for truth in the realm of ideas. Weopen ourselves, consciously and intuitively to truth and beauty in the worldof nature. We view learning as a lifelong process to which all people havean equal right.
Education starts with CHOICE and within public education we believe inbroad choices. "Magnet Schools", "Site-Based Management","Schools within Schools", alternative models and parental involvementare ways in which elementary education can be changed to make a real differencein the lives of our children. CURRICULUM should focus on SKILLS, both basicskills that serve as a solid foundation for higher learning, and exploratoryapproaches that expand horizons, for example, program diversity, "interactive"education, computer proficiencies, perspectives that bring an enriched awarenessof nature ("biological literacy"), intercultural experiences,and language.
We advocate creative and noncompetitive education at every age level,and the inclusion of cultural diversity in all curricula. We encourage "handson" approaches that encourage a multitude of individual learning styles.
RESPONSIBILITY, both individual and social, is the key to educationalachievement. There can be no fundamental reordering of priorities in howwe treat education without each of us acknowledging our own responsibilityin making meaningful choices. PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY means finding waysto help support parents in their efforts to help support their children,as more families confront economic conditions demanding a greater deal oftime be spent away from home. Parents should be as involved as possiblein their children's education; values do start with parents.
STUDENT RESPONSIBILITY is also key to developing intrinsic capabilities.Greens hold strongly to empowerment of individuals and therefore we supporteach student recognizing his or her own personal responsibility -- to striveto achieve their fullest potential as individuals.
As Greens we acknowledge the need to see with a perspective to the largerpicture. In education, FEDERAL POLICY over education should act principallyto ensure equal opportunity to a quality education. Educational fundingformulas at the STATE LEVEL need to be adjusted as needed to avoid grossinequalities between districts and schools. Educational grants should providenecessary balance to ensure equal educational access to minority, deprived,special needs and exceptional children. In higher education, federal collegescholarship aid should be increased and aimed at excluding no qualifiedstudents.
Our teachers find they are underpaid, overworked and that they are rarelysupplied with the resources necessary to do the work most are sincerelytrying to do to reach their students. It is time to stop disinvesting ineducation, and start putting education at the top of our social and economicagenda.
We assert that there needs to be a profound shift to investing in andrecognizing the importance of our schools -- our students, teachers, supportprograms and educational infrastructure -- if there is to be a real reductionin the many social problems associated with a lack of education and jobskills.
The philosophy of the Greens fosters education being placed at the centerof our future well-being. Resources spent on education will produce a multipliereffect carrying over into countless productive and beneficial activities.We must reclaim the belief that education matters, that efforts to improveschools will help ensure economic and social justice in every community.
In this regard, we call on all Greens to include education as a regularpart of our meetings so we can be clear about what unites us as well aswhat divides us. We call for more equitable state and national funding ofschool education and the creation of NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS controlled byparent-teacher governing bodies. We support after-school programs for "latchkey"children. We advocate state funding for DAY CARE that includes school childrenunder the age of ten when after-school programs are not a vailable. We knowthat government has a long way to go to meet the salary needs of teachers.Respect for, and authority of, classroom teachers is also essential foreducational improvement. Classroom teachers at the elementary and high-schoollevels should be given PROFESSIONAL STATUS, and salaries comparable to relatedprofessions requiring advanced education, training and responsibility. Principalsare also essential components in effective educational institutions. Weencourage State Departments of Education and School Boards to deliver moreprogrammatic support and decision-making to the true grassroots level --i.e., the classroom teacher and school principal.
Greens respect the need for a multiplicity of educational alternatives,including PRIVATE, COOPERATIVE and PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS, for which communitiesshould help find resources to support their essential work. We call forthe teaching of non-violent conflict resolution at all levels of education.We recognize the viable alternative of HOME-BASED EDUCATION. We supporta host of innovative and critical educational efforts, such as BI LINGUALEDUCATION, CONTINUING EDUCATION, JOB RETRAINING, MENTORING AND APPRENTICESHIPPROGRAMS.
The teaching of meaningful trades should be given a greater prioritywithin middle and high schools, and students who choose to learn a tradeshould be given the same degree of respect given to academic students.
We are deeply concerned about the intervention in our schools of corporationsthat promote a culture of consumption and waste. Schools should not exposechildren to commercial advertising.
Within higher education, we oppose military and corporate control overthe priorities and topics of academic research. We support tuition-freepost secondary (collegiate and vocational) public education.
Greens view learning as a lifelong and life-affirming process to whichall people should have access. We cannot state more forcefully our beliefthat in learning, and openness to learning, we find the foundation of ourPlatform.
B. HEALTH CARE
Fundamental reform of our nation's health care system is necessary toprovide affordable, quality and accessible health care for all Americans.Currently, we are the only industrialized country without a national healthcare system. Unfortunately we have a private insurance system that insuresonly the healthiest people, systematically denying coverage to individualswith pre existing conditions and routinely terminating coverage to thosewho become ill.
The current system's high costs and widely recognized failures throughoutthe nation, demand that bold steps, not incremental ones, be taken.
Alongside the many Americans who are calling for action which makes clearthat health care should be a right, not a privilege, the Green Party stateswith a clear voice its strong support for UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE.
We call for passage of legislation at the national and state level thatguarantees comprehensive benefits for all Americans. A single-insurer systemfunded by the federal government and administered at the state and locallevels remains viable and is an essential barometer of our national healthand well-being.
As we shift away from a system of "higher cost, less access andcare", we support maintaining PRIVATE medical providers including doctors,hospitals, clinics and health maintenance organizations (HMO's). We supportcost savings by small business and it's estimated that businesses will savesignificantly compared to their current premiums -- an estimated $900 billionby the year 2000 under a proposed SINGLE-PAYER "National Health TrustFund" plan. Although the insurance industry lobby spent tens of millionsof dollars to stop comprehensive health care reform, we endorse NATIONALHEALTH INSURANCE and demand that Congress again propose and act to supportthe practical and moral imperative of Universal Health Care.
Major features of this health care legislation should include -- UNIVERSALACCESS without concern for work status or health history; FREEDOM OF CHOICEso patients can choose their own clinics, doctors or other health care professionals;substantial COST SAVINGS through annual, global budgets, national fee schedules,and streamlined administration which acts to eliminate the waste of thecurrent system; COMPREHENSIVE BENEFITS, without insurance premiums, deductiblesor copayments, including hospital and physician care, prescription drugs,dental and vision care, reproductive and preventative care, and definedmental health benefits; a focus on RURAL HEALTH SERVICES; and continuedsupport of MEDICAL RESEARCH into the quality, effectiveness and appropriatenessof medical care.
Any successful reform of our health care system must start with WELLNESSeducation; that is, PREVENTATIVE health care. It is each of our responsibilitiesto tend to our own health through EDUCATION, DIET, NUTRITION and EXERCISE.The US Surgeon General has stated that a large percentage of illness isdiet-related; therefore improving the quality of our nation's FOOD SUPPLYand our personal eating habits will go a long way toward improving our healthcare system -- by reducing the need for care.
Chronic conditions are often best cured by ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE. We supporta wide range of health care services, not just traditional medicine whichtoo often emphasizes "a medical arms race" relying upon high-techintervention and surgical techniques. We support the teaching of holistichealth approaches and, as appropriate, the use of complementary and alternativetherapies such as herbal medicines, homeopathy, acupuncture, and other healingapproaches. As a matter of appropriate professional responsibility, we supportINFORMED CONSENT LAWS to educate consumers to potential health impacts.
PRIMARY CARE, through a renewed attention to family medicine as opposedto increased medical specialization, is appropriate and necessary.
Special attention must be given to WOMEN'S HEALTH ISSUES, including reproductiverights and family planning. We believe the right of a woman to control herown body is inalienable. It is essential that the option of a safe, legalabortion remains available. Medical research must be increased, and alternativetherapies actively sought, to combat breast cancer.
We call for adequate SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES being made availableto those who have special needs -- the mentally ill, the handicapped, thosewho are terminally ill. We call for wider implementation of hospice care.
We believe an all out campaign must be waged against AIDS AND HIV, andcall for the implementation of the recommendations of the National Commissionon AIDS. We call for prevention awareness and access to condoms to preventthe spread of AIDS. We condemn HIV related discrimination; would make drugtreatment and other programs available for all addicts who seek help; wouldexpand clinical trials for treatments and vaccines; and speed up the FDAdrug approval process.
We must recognize that our health is intimately tied to the health ofour communities and our environment. If we are to truly make our lives healthier,we must look to improving the health of our workplaces, our homes, and ourschools, our air, water and food. Air pollution that diminishes our children'slung capacity; pesticides in food that can poison; lead and heavy metalsin water; all the non-point and direct sources of pollution and contaminantsin our health environment must be effectively dealt with if we, as an informedsociety, are to consciously act to support our long-term health.
C. TAX JUSTICE / FAIRNESS
Middle-class and poor people are paying an ever greater proportion offederal taxes, and too often local and state taxes are unfair and regressive.The tax code is a labyrinth of deductions, loopholes, exemptions and write-offs;the result of insider- and industry-lobbying that has damaged our economyas it has served the interests of big-business and financial institutions.We call for MAJOR TAX REFORM that acts to simplify the tax system. We callfor a tax policy that moves to eliminate loopholes and other exemptionsthat favor powerful interests over TAX JUSTICE. Small business, in particular,should not be penalized by a tax system which benefits those who can "work"the legislative tax committees for breaks and subsidies. We support substantiveand wide-ranging reform of the tax system that helps create jobs, economicefficiencies and innovation within the small business community. We believefiscal and tax policies should confront and end destructive large corporate
welfare and subsidies. Smaller businesses are America's great strength-- Greens believe government should have a tax policy which encourages small-and socially responsible business. Where corporations act with "fiduciaryresponsibility" that includes the interests of their community andemployees, as well as shareholders, we support appropriate tax incentives.
To address the personal burden of heavy taxation and redress the budgetdeficit and environmental degradation, we call on new approaches to taxation,such as ENVIRONMENTAL TAXES as a partial substitute for income taxes. Taxingindustrial pollution is an idea long overdue. Environmental taxes of thistype will aid in transforming major industries from being unsustainablein their use of natural resources to being sustainable in character.
We believe that we must take a closer look , in addition, at the costsand benefits of consumption and value-added tax approaches. We do not supporta FLAT TAX, but agree that the host of deductions and adjustments to income,dividends and miscellaneous revenue afforded under the current system tothose at the top produces cynicism on the part of most Americans towardtheir tax system, and government. Revenues lost because of the existinginequitable system contribute significantly to lost productivity, and alowered standard of living for all, The inevitable impact this hidden shiftingof tax burden on the nation's deficit and national debt has produced staggeringburden on those least able to pay, and our future children. Greens supportprogressivity in taxation as a matter of principle, believing that thosewho benefit most from the system have a responsibility to return more, their"fair share." We believe a central goal of tax policy should be"transparency", that is, a system that is simple, understandable,and resistant to the machinations of special interests.
D. MANAGEMENT-LABOR RELATIONS
In the PRIVATE SECTOR, we acknowledge the many challenges responsibleSMALL BUSINESS must overcome to remain competitive with big business, andwe support addressing these obstacles by creating cooperative relationshipsand effective communication in the workplace.
The concepts of ECONOMIC AND WORKPLACE DEMOCRACY must be expanded inmanagement-labor negotiations because the decisions a company makes affectsits employees, its consumers, and the surrounding communities. In orderto protect the legitimate interests of these various constituencies, aswell as the natural environment, people in each of these groups must beempowered to participate in economic decision-making.
The recent political era of unfairly blaming American workers for thenation's economic problems must end. As Congress looks to overcome the nation'seconomic problems, there should be no compromise of basic WORKER RIGHTS.We support a fair MINIMUM WAGE; federal legislation to address problemsassociated with large plant closings; WORKPLACE SAFETY and OccupationalSafety and Health Administration (OSHA) reform; and National Labor RelationsAct (NLRA) reform.
We particularly support substantive reforms toward "workplace democracy"in large corporations, especially reform that impacts socially and environmentallyirresponsible big business. We endorse legal rights to organize and joinunions with democratically elected leadership. We encourage the use of mediationas a tool for resolving disputes in the workplace. We support the rightto strike without being "permanently replaced"; employee stockownership plans (ESOP's) with functioning, democratic structures; and cooperativeownership and management. It is evident that big business, transnationaland international corporations, must be forcefully compelled to politicalchange by government, workers, labor unions and communities if there isto be meaningful progress toward a broader social and environmental agenda.
In the PUBLIC SECTOR, Greens are concerned with an employees right tojoin a union, and associated COLLECTIVE BARGAINING rights. In addition,"good" government demands effective and efficient management,that is, wisely spending the people's hard-earned tax dollars. We supportinitiatives between management and labor that produce "better"government through performance, productivity and accountability. We believegovernment is truly the "people's business" and serious reformproposals, such as "REINVENTING GOVERNMENT" the Report on GovernmentEfficiency", should be given close attention.
E. CRIMINAL JUSTICE
A plan to revitalize our economy must be a central element of any overallplan to reduce crime. Fear of violent crime is growing and it is our beliefthat the breaking of the bonds of community, the economic and social rootcauses of crime, must be addressed in the same way politicians today proposeputting more firepower on the streets; threatening criminals with harshersentences ("three strikes and you're out"); and building moreprisons (although the US currently has a higher incarceration rate thaneither that of the Soviet Union or South Africa, for example, at their worst).
The "LAW AND ORDER DEBATE" demands a clear and firm responseto short-sighted solutions. It is obvious to us that any attempt to combatcrime must begin with restoration of community; positive approaches thatbuild hope, responsibility and a sense of belonging. Young men and womenmust have access to work that pays a family a "living wage". Wewould initiate social programs that are alternatives to gangs, such as "GangIntervention Units." Practical education with a real promise of a futureis needed if we are to expect long-term success in this struggle.
We encourage our political leaders to remember that "an ounce ofprevention is worth a pound of cure." With the costs of maintaininga prisoner far outstripping the costs of educating a child, or the costsof providing job training, or job creation incentives, or providing adequatesocial services and a "social net" to those in need, we believeit is only appropriate to focus on where our societal intervention can bemost successful and effective.
At the same time, we must develop law enforcement approaches that arefirm and directly address violence, street crime and hard drug abuse. Violencethat creates a climate of further violence must be stopped.
We respect the fundamental American principle that law enforcement isprimarily local. We support COMMUNITY AND NEIGHBORHOOD POLICING PROGRAMS.Police participation in the local communities they patrol is becoming increasinglypopular and helps establish better communication. We recommend establishingCIVILIAN COMPLAINT REVIEW BOARDS and appropriate forums for public input.We believe in a citizen's right to self defense and to bear arms as constitutionallyprotected -- we also believe it is inappropriate for criminals to have accessto "killing machines", that is, assault rifles, automatic weapons,armor-piercing and "anti-personnel" ammunition. Therefore, wewill support thoughtful, carefully considered GUN CONTROL.
We endorse PRISON EDUCATION AND JOB TRAINING. We support innovative approachesto rehabilitation, and transitioning of non-violent criminals back intotheir communities. We do not support, as a matter of conscience, the DEATHPENALTY. We call for expanding drug counseling and treatment for those whoneed it. We favor innovative sentencing and punishment options, includingcommunity service for first-time offenders and "Drug Court" diversionprograms.
It is inappropriate to have a de facto policy of leniency to "WHITECOLLAR CRIME." We believe broad corporate crime legislation shouldbe enacted and enforced. The Savings and Loan scandal which resulted inthe loss to the American taxpayer of hundreds of billions of dollars isa case in point of a justice system that has gone astray, breeding cynicismand distrust and a pervasive belief that there is not equality under thelaw. We support efforts that target the worst cases of corporate (and governmentaland defense industry) illegality, and we support resultant sentencing (andfines) that "sends a message" and acts as an effective deterrent.
We support JUDICIAL REFORM that opens up the court system and providesfor more efficient administration of justice. We support tough DWI laws.We call for "zero-tolerance" for, and consistent policy of protectionagainst, VIOLENCE IN SCHOOLS.
We endorse federal funding for RAPE CRISIS CENTERS and DOMESTIC VIOLENCESHELTERS. We call for rape and domestic violence prevention and educationprograms.
VICTIMS RIGHTS' must be guarded and protected. Victim-impact statementsare appropriate vehicles for achieving full justice and restitution shouldbe considered in many cases to ensure victims will not be lost in the complexitiesof criminal justice.
We support initiatives to move toward decriminalization of "victim-less"crimes, for example, the possession of small amounts of marijuana (and wecall for a debate on the many productive uses of hemp, for example, as amajor potential source of pulp and paper substitute). We oppose the illicitactivities of the international drug trade and the illicit money launderingthat often accompanies the drug cartels. We call for a revised view of the"drug problem" and the "war on drugs" recognizing that,after over a decade of strident law and order posturing, the problems withhard drugs have only worsened.
F. CIVIL AND EQUAL RIGHTS
The foundation of any democratic society is the guarantee that each memberof society has equal rights. Respect for our constitutionally protectedrights is our best defense against discrimination and the abuse of power.We should treasure and celebrate our people's differences and diversity.
We recognize there is an intimate connection between our RIGHTS as individualsand our RESPONSIBILITIES to our neighbors and the planet. The balance betweenrights and responsibilities is found as we provide for the maximum participationof everyone in the decisions that affect our well-being, our economic security,our social and international policies.
We, as Greens, are committed to establishing relationships that honordiversity; that support the self-definition and SELF- DETERMINATION of people;and that consciously confront the barriers of racism, sexism, homophobia,class oppression, ageism, and the many ways our culture separates us fromworking together to define and solve our common problems.
We affirm the right to openly embrace SEXUAL ORIENTATION in the intimatechoice of who we love; and we support the rights of gay, lesbian, and bisexualpeople in housing, jobs, benefits, child custody; and in all areas of life,the right to be treated equally with all other people.
We affirm the right to worship or not to worship as each one chooses.
We support the "EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT"; affirmative actionas necessary; and effective enforcement of the "VOTING RIGHTS ACT",including language access to voting. We will resist discriminatory English-onlypressure groups. We call for a national language policy that would encourageall citizens to be fluent in at least two languages.
We strongly support the vigorous enforcement of CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS; theaggressive prosecution of hate crimes; the strengthening of legal servicesfor the poor; the full enforcement of the "Americans with DisabilitiesAct" to enable all people with disabilities to achieve independenceand function at the highest possible level. Government should work to ensurethat children with disabilities are provided with the same educational opportunitiesas those without disabilities.
WOMEN'S RIGHTS must be protected and expanded to guarantee each woman'sright to be a full participant in society, free from sexual harassment,job discrimination or interference in the intensely personal choice aboutwhether to have a child.
The EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES COMMISSION (EEOC) should activelyinvestigate and prosecute sexual harassment complaints. Women who file complaintsmust not be persecuted and should be protected under federal and state law.We must enshrine in law the basic principle that women have the same rightsas men, and promote gender equality and fairness in the work force to ensurewomen receive equal pay for jobs of equal worth.
Consumers have the right to adequate enforcement of the federal and stateCONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS. Health and safety is paramount and we oppose lax,or inappropriate regulatory actions (as in the case of the FDA acting againstnutritional supplements). Consumers have the right to participate in decisionsthat affect their lives and protect their interests beyond simply votingon election day.
We support the creation of a CONSUMER ADVOCACY AGENCY to protect theinterests of consumers against the corporate lobbyists who have essentially(and too often successfully) argued against the rights of consumers beforethe regulatory agencies.
We would require that legal monopolies (for example, electric, gas andtelephone utilities) set-up statewide CONSUMER ACTION GROUPS to act on behalfof and advocate for consumer interests.
We call for consumer legislation to outlaw the use of animals in cosmeticsand household product testing; in tobacco and alcohol testing; and in weaponsdevelopment or other military programs. We call for a series of reformsthat are needed to better inform consumers about the products they are buyingand about where and how they are made, including stronger "truth inadvertising" labels stating where a product was made, and clear definitionsof words like "recycled" and "natural".
We call for the restoration of consumers' rights to file class actionssuits against manufacturers of unsafe products and restrictions on secrecyagreements that act to prevent lawsuits by not revealing damaging information.
We support a citizen's right of access to justice. Our system of justicemust be made convenient to rich and poor alike, guarding it against bigbusiness attempts to regulate and, in effect, control our civil justice/civiljury system.
G. FREE SPEECH
As we look to the foundation of our freedoms, it should be rememberedthat the Constitution of the United States is not only "the supremelaw of the land", it is also the original source of other laws. InArticle I, the Constitution spells out the "legislative powers"that are vested in Congress, which ultimately affect the personal and businesslives of us all. In the Bill of Rights, the Constitution sets forth thefundamental rights and freedoms of all people, rights and freedoms thatcannot be denied or abridged by Congress, or by any other branch or levelof government.
An informed electorate is critical to good government. The scope of theFirst Amendment is extensive and prohibits any law which would abridge thefreedom of speech, or of the press, most clearly in reference to politicalmatters. Our legal right to criticize government is essential to the effectiveworking of democracy. We support openness in government, not secrecy, andendorse the "FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT" (FOIA) as a way of guaranteeingaccess to government decision-making.
We recognize that access to information has profound consequences toour democracy, and we have concerns regarding the concentration of informationin the hands of fewer and fewer corporations. The FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONSCOMMISSION (FCC) must promulgate telecommunications policies that assurethe First Amendment rights of viewers and listeners. New and existing technologiesmust provide outlets for scientific and cultural expression and enhancethe electoral process.
The concentration of power that has characterized the telecommunicationsindustry must be limited and a wide span of information should be made availablethat provides for genuine citizen access, diversity, respect for local communities,and quality news, public affairs and children's programming. We oppose censorshipin the arts, and encourage individual and social responsibility by artists.
H. NATIVE AMERICANS
Native American culture is worthy of protection and special respect.As Greens we feel a special affinity to the respect for community and theearth that many Native peoples have at their roots.
We recognize both the SOVEREIGNTY of Native American tribal governmentsand the government's trust obligation to Native American people. In thisregard, the federal government must renew its obligation to deal in goodfaith with Native Americans; to honor its treaty obligations; adequatelyfund programs for the betterment of tribal governments and their people;affirm the RELIGIOUS RIGHTS of Native Americans in ceremonies ("AmericanIndian Religious Freedom Act"); provide funds for innovative economicdevelopment initiatives, EDUCATION and public HEALTH PROGRAMS; and respectland, water and mineral rights within the borders of reservations and traditionallands. We support those efforts to broadly reform the BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS(BIA) to make this vast agency more responsible, and responsive, to tribalgovernments.
We support the just settlement of the claims of the thousands of NativeAmerican URANIUM MINERS who have suffered and died from radiation exposure.We condemn the stance of secrecy taken by the Atomic Energy Commission duringthis era and its subsequent claim of "government immunity", takenknowingly (and immorally) at the expense of Native peoples' health and safety.Regarding those who "looked the other way" under the guise of"national security", we recall the "Nuremberg Code",which was drawn up during the prosecution of World War II war criminalsand states that it is a crime to expose people without their consent orknowledge to health hazards whose outcome may produce deaths or life-shorteningillnesses.
We should not forget the lessons of the nuclear arms race and we supportthe complete clean-up of those mines and tailing piles that are a profoundlydestructive legacy of the Cold War era.
We recognize that Native American land and treaty rights often standat the front-line against government and multinational corporate attemptsto plunder energy, mineral, timber, fish, and game resources, pollutingwater, air, and land in the service of the military, economic expansion,and the consumption of natural resources. Therefore, we support legal, political,and grassroots efforts by and on behalf of Native Americans to protect theirtraditions, rights, livelihoods, and their sacred spaces.
I. IMMIGRATION / EMIGRATION
Our nation was built with a rich tapestry of immigrants and we must continueto respect the potential contributions and RIGHTS of our new immigrants.Preferential quotas based on race, class, and ideology should be abandonedfor immigration policies that promote fairness, NON DISCRIMINATION and familyreunification. We support policies that reflect our constitutional guaranteesof freedoms of speech, association and travel. We find particular attentionshould be given those minorities who are political exiles and refugees,including Russian Jews, mid-east Kurds, Tibetans and Haitians.
Our relationship with our neighbor to the south, Mexico, need to be givenadded attention. Our border relations, and reciprocal economic opportunities,should be a central concern of government that is looking to improved economic,environmental and social conditions for both peoples.
We oppose those who seek to divide us for political gain by raising ethnicand racial hatreds, blaming immigrants for social and economic problems.
Decent, AFFORDABLE HOUSING for every American must be a component ofa campaign at the federal, state and local level.
We hold that government should play an activist role in the availabilityof housing. A COORDINATED HOUSING PLAN that is broad-based should devoteresources to non-profit community housing projects, private sector investmentsand appropriate public housing initiatives that encourage individual ownershipover time. Pension funds and community development banks can be targetedand can become important sources of new funding. Subsidies, trade-offs withdevelopers, and the creative use of city and county zoning ordinances shouldbe emphasized to increase the affordable housing stock available withinlocal communities depending on need.
K. NATIONAL SERVICE
We must create new opportunities for citizens to serve their communities.ALTERNATIVE SERVICE to the military should be encouraged. For example, aCIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS (CCC) with national leadership, and state andlocal affiliates, could spearhead efforts to work on the tasks of environmentaleducation, restoration of damaged habitats, reforestation, and cleaningup polluted waterways. Providing land and resource management skills willchallenge young people while encouraging social responsibility.
A. ENERGY POLICY
If we do not alter our energy use soon and drastically, the ecologicalcrisis may be exacerbated past a point where it can be resolved. A comprehensiveenergy policy must be a critical element of our environmental thinking.Investing in ENERGY EFFICIENCY and RENEWABLE ENERGY is key to sustainability.
We call for the development of a STATE ENERGY POLICIES that include atax/fine on energy waste and the funding of energy research, including creditsfor alternative and sustainable energy use such as solar, wind, hydrogenand biomass.
We encourage the creation and design of human environments that are asenergy-efficient as possible. We support the phasing out of the most ecologicallyharmful sources of energy.
We urge that new construction be required by the year 2000 to achieveone-quarter to one-half its heating energy from the sun. Where solar technologycannot be used exceptions, where feasible, may be granted.
Utilities and citizens should establish SOLAR POWER STATIONS to augmentand eventually supplant fossil-fuel generated electricity (recent breakthroughshave made central solar power cost effective).
"TRUE-COST PRICING" which would reflect the environmental costof products, including ecological damage and externalities caused duringthe manufacturing process, must be adopted to achieve accurate financialaccounting.
B. NUCLEAR ISSUES
We call for cancellation of the WASTE ISOLATION PILOT PROJECT (WIPP),the nation's first weapons complex nuclear dump, in southern New Mexico.We believe environmentally sound underground storage can be developed andwe oppose the transport of this waste until such alternatives are found.In the meantime, we call for permanent above-ground, continuously MONITOREDRETREIVABLE STORAGE (MRS) of nuclear waste at or near the sites where itis generated.
It is evident that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with its goal ofpromoting nuclear energy (most recently via so-called "fast track licensing"designed to avoid community opposition) should be replaced with a nucleardecommissioning board charged with the phase-out of nuclear power. The import
and export of nuclear and toxic wastes should be banned and a heavy fineimposed for violators. We call for independent, public-access radiationmonitoring at all commercial and military nuclear facilities. We supportapplicable environmental impact statements (EIS) and National EnvironmentalPolicy Act (NEPA) analysis with citizen participation at all nuclear sites.We support an immediate and intensive CAMPAIGN TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC aboutnuclear hot spots.
C. WASTE MANAGEMENT
Legal requirement for businesses applying for zoning permits should beformulated that require disclosure of toxics which may be used and pastviolations regarding the use of hazardous material. Those responsible fortoxic waste dumping, spills, and contamination on or off their sites shouldbe responsible for all costs of complete clean-up. In addition, we callfor levying sizable fines on those found guilty of violating such standards.We endorse a revisiting of "Super Fund" legislation to make theseclean up laws more effective.
Waste management is a critical challenge to the survival of the modernworld. Real reductions in per capita consumption of materials, and significantincreases in the efficiency with which materials are used, is a problemthat must be faced sooner rather than later. We support RECYCLING at everylevel of the economy. We endorse SOURCE REDUCTION and municipal programsthat particularly focus on household recycling.
We oppose INCINERATION of municipal solid waste, sewage, non- biologicalmedical waste, and toxic waste. We support a moratorium on any new incineratorsthat burn such materials and a rapid shutdown of existing incinerators thatdo so.
We oppose shipping of toxic wastes across national borders, and the SHIPMENTOF TOXIC/HAZARDOUS OR RADIOACTIVE WASTES, without regulation, across anypolitical borders. We oppose the exportation, under any circumstances, ofchemicals that are prohibited in the United States.
D. FOSSIL FUELS
We are aware of the environmental hazards that accompany the use of fossilfuels and of their non sustainability and eventual depletion. We call forTRANSITION ENERGY STRATEGIES, including the use of relatively clean-burningnatural gas, as a way to reorder our energy priorities and over-relianceon tradition fuels.
We call for a gradual phase-out of gasoline and other fossil fuels. Untilgasoline driven cars can be replaced, we advocate a FUEL EFFICIENCY standard,a "gas guzzler" tax on new low mileage vehicles, and a "gassipper" rebate on high mileage vehicles. We advocate fair "buybacks"of the most polluting and least efficient vehicles to remove these vehiclesfrom the road.
We oppose further development of our nation's outer continental shelffor oil drilling or exploration. We acknowledge the relative benefits thatcan be achieved in the production of and use of NATURAL GAS in current economicalternatives and transition strategies. Public ownership and/or strong publicregulation of UTILITIES should be encouraged to advance energy efficientpolicies. Appropriate tax-exempt bonds should be authorized to finance publicownership in utilities. Tax-exempt bonds should be authorized to allow publiclyowned utilities to finance conservation, energy efficiency, and renewableenergy projects.
E. RENEWABLE ENERGY
Overall, it is essential in the long-term that ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SYSTEMSbe put in place that produce goods that are durable, repairable, reusable,recyclable, and energy-efficient, using both non-toxic materials and nonpollutingproduction methods. We call on regulatory agencies to include life-cycleconsiderations in their standard-setting process for product approval. Wefurther call for citizen participation in this process.
Ultimately, environmentally destructive technologies, processes, andproducts should be replaced with alternatives that are environmentally benign.
Producers/manufacturers must look to redesigning their products. Legislationthat will assist this transition (including bans, taxation, recycled contentstandards and economic incentives/disincentives such as taxation, specialfees, and/or deposits) will be required in a any concerted move toward system-widesustainability.
F. TRANSPORTATION POLICY
We encourage providing a broad range of incentives for alternative transportation,including natural gas vehicles, MASS TRANSIT and electric vehicles. We supportefforts to develop inexpensive, efficient solar cells/chips/panels via "industrialgrade" silicon and other advanced materials. We endorse convertingour nation's weapons labs (Los Alamos, Sandia, Livermore, etc.) toward RESEARCHAND DEVELOPMENT. We are especially interested in public/private partnershipson the model of "Advanced Battery Consortium" which is workingto create breakthrough battery technology which would enable electric carsto become energy efficient and competitive.
G. GREENHOUSE EFFECT / OZONE-DEPLETION
It is said that US industries emit over 20% of greenhouse gases globally.As a nation, we must implement public and private initiatives at every levelto support the "GLOBAL CLIMATE TREATY" signed at the "EarthSummit" in 1992, committing industrial nations within a time frameworkto reducing emissions to 1990 levels.
The earth's atmosphere, according to informed scientific opinion, isin great danger due to man made chemicals and hydrocarbon emissions. Chloro-fluorocarbons(CFC'S), hydrochloro fluorocarbons, and other related ozone-depleting substancesshould be banned as soon as is possible. GREENHOUSE GASES and the threatof GLOBAL WARMING must be addressed by the international community in concert,through international treaties and conventions, with the industrial nationsat the forefront of this vital effort.
H. LAND-USE POLICIES
Greens look to the future and support "conservative" conservationpractices as well as "liberal" approaches and programs, both havinga place as long as good land stewardship is in evidence. We take a BIOREGIONALVIEW of the ecosystem, acknowledging political boundaries while noting thatthe land, air and water, the interconnected biosphere, is a unique and precious"community", deserving careful consideration and protection. Weencourage social ownership and use of land at the community, local, andregional level, particularly in the form of community and conservation LANDTRUSTS, under covenants of ecological responsibility.
Appropriate land-use PLANNING should serve to prevent activities thatadversely affect adjacent lands (for example, mining and oil operationscannot be allowed to cause water pollution -- and timber cutting cannotbe allowed to cause severe soil erosion). We call for repeal of the "MiningAct of 1872" and a halt to federal mineral and resource give-aways.
We believe special attention must be given to restoration and protectionof RIPARIAN AREAS, which are critical habitats in our state. We call forstrict CLEAN-UP ENFORCEMENT of industrial activities, for example, of tailings,pits and run-off from mining operations via agreements with companies thatcan include posting of a site-restoration bond prior to commencement ofoperations.
We call for a halt to all current international funding policies thatpromote destruction of forest ecosystems and we call for an end to the tradein endangered hardwoods. We support laws that promote paper recycling andmandate SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY practices. We urge protection of "oldgrowth" forests, careful restrictions of commercial cutting on federaland state lands, a ban on all clearcutting, and a reduction of road buildingon public lands. We are sensitive to the needs of local and rural communitiesand do not endorse overly restrictive or punitive restrictions on locallogging. We support restoration of degraded forest ecosystems through thedevelopment of "value-added" economies and "second-growth"logging.
We advocate raising grazing fees on public land to approximate fair marketvalue and encourage GRAZING REFORM that brings together traditional usersand concerned local citizens in new working relationships. We support policiesthat favor small-scale ranchers over corporate operations (which are oftenused as tax write-offs, a practice which undermines family ranches.) Eliminatinglarge corporate allotments will ensure more sustainable levels of grazing,benefiting the land and community.
Effective land and resource management practices must be founded on stewardship,such as incorporated in a "LAND ETHIC" as articulated by AldoLeopold. Additional public involvement via active and well-funded RESOURCEMANAGEMENT DISTRICTS and COUNCILS will aid this long-term process on theuse of federal and state trust lands (which are currently controlled bythe Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forest Service, National ParkService, and State Land Offices).
We support the current ban on ANIMAL DAMAGE CONTROL (ADC), the federalagency that has been killing wildlife indiscriminately in the West since1931. We urge comprehensive, base line mapping of our nation's biodiversityresources; consideration of "wildlife ranching" and policies thatdesirably increase native big-game populations; and implementation of extensivesoil erosion control programs.
Together we must look ahead and plan for future water uses, as well astoday's needs. Who can disagree that clean and sufficient water resourceswill determine what kind of future we have? With the longer term in mind,we call for elimination of wasteful subsidies on the use of water in agricultureand for municipal water rates to be set high enough, or that other INCENTIVES/DISINCENTIVESbe set in place, to discourage the wasteful use of water.
Given the profound importance of clean water, we support the establishmentof national, state, and local GROUNDWATER PROTECTION agencies with authorityto establish standards for the use of water; to provide tough and timelyenforcement of laws enacted; and to protect our aquifers from overuse, depletionand contamination.
We endorse alternative solutions to water treatment and clean-up, forexample CONSTRUCTED WETLANDS and biological remediation.
We acknowledge Native American rights regarding water, and urge fairand equitable solutions with tribes on the part of the courts and StateWater Engineers.
The human species is at the top of the food chain and is, therefore,very vulnerable to the degrading of the environment and the loss of species.If for no other reason than our own preservation, we should work to protectour environment and the diversity of our region's and planet's rich lifeforms.
We call for the establishment of an ecologically based sustainable agriculturalsystem that moves as rapidly as possible towards regional/bioregional selfreliance.
An adequate FOOD SUPPLY is tied to many of our nation's export, foreignaid, geopolitical and related overseas goals. We support assistance to foreigncountries and their people that moves them toward SELF-SUFFICIENCY and sustainabilityin food production, not reliance on subsidized import of First World agriculturalproducts. WORLD HUNGER can be best addressed by FOOD SUPPLY INDEPENDENCE,and that the population growth accompanying deprivation, which has led tomore poverty and environmental destruction in the Third World, can be replacedby a decent standard of living and population control.
We call for phasing out the use of man-made pesticides and artificialfertilizers, and funding for research to find acceptable alternatives. Wesupport "Integrated Pest Management" techniques, as an alternativeto current chemical-based agriculture, and we endorse substantive reformsin the multi-year FARM BILL to push American agriculture toward SUSTAINABLEAGRICULTURAL PRACTICES.
We support the adoption of "organic certification standards"and support regional efforts to broaden this effort by reaching out to andidentifying growers and buyers of organic produce.
We call for a reconsideration of the potentially far-reaching and unforeseeneffects of seed and plant hybridization and especially of genetic engineeringin agricultural systems. We are particularly concerned about loss of andincreasing threat posed to plant diversity, which must be saved, maintainedand enhanced if we are to have an authentic ALTERNATIVE GREEN REVOLUTION,based on diversity, sustainable agriculture and local self-empowerment.
We generally oppose the patenting of life forms, including gene-splicingtechniques, and call for a moratorium on agricultural genetic engineeringwhile an evaluation of its effects on ecological and social sustainabilityis carried out. The implications of a corporate takeover, and resultingmonopolization of genetic "intellectual property" by the bioengineeringindustry, are immense. With the recent introduction of the world's firstgenetically engineered (and duly patented) tomato, we need to reexamineour government's oversight of this untested, unproven field. We advocateREGIONALIZING our food system and decentralizing agricultural lands, production,and distribution. We support research, within the public and private arenas,including educational institutions, for sustainable, organic, and ecologicallybalanced agriculture.
K. BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
Ecological systems are diverse and interlocking, and nature's survivalstrategy can best be found in the adaptability that comes as a result ofbiological diversity. Although many people may think first of tropical rainforests in reference to the richness of (and threat to) biological diversity,we believe that diversity close to home is worthy of saving, as are themyriad species within the rain forest and its teeming canopy. The GreenParty supports, in keeping with this understanding, the reauthorizationof a strong "Endangered Species Act" based on the principles ofconservation biology.
We look to the "CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY", firstadopted at the "Earth Summit" in 1992, as a primary statementof purpose regarding how we can act to preserve and sustain our common geneticresources. Greens emphasize conservation of "natural" populationsand ecosystems, and we seriously question the demands of the US to amendthis unprecedented international agreement on behalf of the biotechnologyand pharmaceutical industries, with their insistence upon protection oftheir "intellectual property" and technology transfer rights.Within these demands are inconsistencies which can threaten the Convention'soverall goals.
We encourage support of and public access to seed banks and seed collectionsthat emphasize "DEEP DIVERSITY", particularly through traditionaland heirloom seeds. We call for wide spread education on the critical importanceof efforts being made (including "backyard biodiversity" gardening)to replant indigenous plant life where it has dwindled or been lost.
Corporate agribusiness is founded on F-1 hybrid seeds, proprietary productsthat cannot be saved season-to-season and have to be bought from the companystore at each new planting. We discourage monopolistic production of high-tech,hybrid seeds, the basis of the evolving industry of "MONOCULTURE"agriculture -- i.e., agribusiness which relies on NON-SUSTAINABLE METHODS(single crop varieties bred with industrial traits, and grown with highenergy, chemical and pesticide inputs).
We know that agriculture and food comprise the world's largest economicmarket. We find it of great concern that the practices of corporate agribusinessare leading, as scientists are beginning to point out, to diminishing yields;increasing petro-chemical fertilizer and pesticide costs; serious top-soilloss; non-point, run-off pollution of waterways and aquifers; and the returnof resistant pests and blights requiring ever-larger doses of pesticides/herbicides/fungicides/and miticides.
Monocultures have also led to a massive loss of biodiversity as theyhave displaced traditional varieties and seed stocks. We encourage the useof diverse natural varieties, those passed down over many generations, called"open-pollinates" because they can be grown out, the best plants'seeds being saved season-to-season. In practice, we support this as thebasis of an "Alternative Green Revolution", sustainable agriculturethat is closely connected to the environment, and not dependent on outsidecompanies and their industrial monopolies.
We oppose in principle international trade agreements (GATT and NAFTAin particular) which have precedent-setting provisions protecting transnational,corporate control of the "INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY" of their genes,hybrid seeds and proprietary products.
Greens call for a move away from corporate control of agriculture (andthe resultant extinction of traditional plant varieties) and instead envisiona healthy and sustainable food system, based on crop diversity, communityempowerment, self-sufficiency, cooperative marketing, recycling, seed saving,local (and fresh) production, and organic methods.
The struggle over the production and quality of our food supply is criticaland has yet to be determined. The outcome of this struggle will have anintimate connection to our personal health and the future biological diversityof our environment. We believe strongly that we must work to bring thismessage every community throughout the world.
We can learn from indigenous people who believe that the earth and itsnatural systems are to be respected and cared for in accordance with ecologicalprinciples. Concepts of ownership should be employed in the context of stewardship,and social and ecological responsibility. We support environmental and socialresponsibility in all businesses, whether privately or publicly owned.
To create an enduring society, we must devise a system of productionand commerce where every act is sustainable and restorative. We believethat all business has a social contract with society and the environment(in effect a "fiduciary responsibility"), and that "sociallyresponsible business" is the model of truly successful business.
We call for an economic system that is based on a combination of privatebusinesses, decentralized democratic cooperatives, publicly owned enterprises,and alternative economic structures, all of which put human and ecologicalneeds alongside profits to measure success, and are accountable to the communitiesin which they function.
Greens support a major redesign of commerce. We support production thateliminates waste. In natural systems, everything is a meal for somethingelse. Everything recycles, there is no "waste". We need to mimicnatural systems in the way we manufacture and produce things. "Consumables"need to be designed to be thrown into a compost heap and/or eaten, for example."Durable goods" would be designed in closed-loop systems, ultimatelyto be disassembled and reassembled. "Toxics" would be safeguardedand could have "markers" identifying them as belonging, in perpetuity,to their makers.
We need to remake commerce to encourage diversity and variety, respondingto the enormous complexity of global and local conditions. Big businessis not about appropriateness and adaptability, but about power and marketcontrol. Greens support small business and economic cooperation. We arguethat economic diversity is more responsive to the needs of a diverse humanpopulation, and to sustaining our long-term survival.
B. CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY
Currently, corporations posses rights no human beings do. Namely, theyare seldom held liable for the personal or environmental harm they cause.We support reforms that hold the executives of a corporation directly liablefor the harm resulting from their decisions.
When we look at the HISTORY OF our states, we learn that citizens intentionallydefined CORPORATIONS through charters -- the certificates of incorporation.In exchange for the charter, a corporation was obligated to obey all laws,to serve the common good, and to cause no harm. Early state legislatorswrote charter laws to limit corporate authority, and to ensure that whena corporation caused harm, they could revoke its charter.
In the late 19th century, however, corporations claimed special protectionsunder the Constitution. Large companies used legal power to assert legalauthority over what to make and how to make it, to move money, influenceelections, bend governments to their will. They insisted that once formed,corporations may operate forever, with the privilege of limited liabilityand freedom from community or worker interference in business judgments.
It is inappropriate for the investment and production decisions thatshape our communities and lives to be made essentially from afar, in boardrooms,closed-door regulatory agencies and prohibitively expensive courtrooms.
We call for revisiting what one Supreme Court Justice called, when referringto the history of constitutional law, "the history of the impact ofthe modern corporation upon the American scene." We believe that corporationsare neither inevitable nor always appropriate. Judicial and legislativedecisions that have made it possible for big business to stay beyond thereach of democracy need to be reexamined.
Legal doctrines must be continually seen in light of the changing needsof society. Huge transnational corporations are artificial creations, notnatural persons uniquely sheltered under Constitutional protections. Itis time to look at STATUTES and PRECEDENTS to HOLD CORPORATIONS ACCOUNTABLE,even to the point of revoking charters. One point remains unequivocal --because corporations have become the dominant economic institution of theplanet, they must address and squarely face the social and environmentalproblems that afflict humankind.
D. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
Reforms to allow communities to have influence in their ECONOMIC FUTUREshould be implemented including -- support of locally owned small businesses,which are more accessible to community concerns; support of local productionand consumption where possible; support of consumer co-ops, credit unions,incubators, microloan funds, local "currencies", and other institutionsthat help communities develop economic projects; allowing municipalitiesto approve or disapprove large economic projects case-by-case based on environmentalimpacts, local ownership, community reinvestment, wage levels, working conditions;and allowing communities to set environmental, human rights, health andsafety standards higher than federal or state minimums.
We support a national program of INVESTING IN OUR COMMONS; to rebuildthe infrastructure of communities; to repair and improve transportationlines between cities; and to protect and restore the environment.
We endorse DIRECT DEMOCRACY through TOWN MEETINGS, which express a community'swishes on economic decision-making directly to local institutions and organizations.
E. SMALL BUSINESS AND JOB CREATION
Greens support an economic program that combats concentration and abuseof economic power. We support many different initiatives for forming successful,small enterprises that together can become an engine (and sustainable model)of job creation, prosperity and progress.
The Green economic model is about true prosperity -- "GREEN MEANSPROSPERITY". Our goal is to go beyond the dedicated good work beingdone by many companies (which is often referred to as "SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLEBUSINESS" or "VALUE-DRIVEN BUSINESS") and to present newways of seeing how business can help create a sustainable world, all thewhile surviving in a competitive business climate.
We believe that conservation should be "profitable" and employmentshould be creative, meaningful and stable.
ACCESS TO CAPITAL is often an essential need in "growing" abusiness. There should be a comprehensive set of approaches to making loansavailable to small business at rates competitive to those offered big business.Financial institutions unfairly favor large corporations and the wealthywhen determining how to "work" their loan portfolios. Governmentneeds to reform current lending practices. We support "disclosure laws","anti-redlining laws" and a general openness on the part of theprivate sector as to what criteria are used in making lending decisions.As lending institutions have obligations to the health of their local communities,we oppose arbitrary, or discriminatory practices which act to deny smallbusiness access to credit and expansion capital. We oppose "disinvestment"practices, in which lending and financial institutions move money depositedin local communities out of those same communities, in effect often damagingthe best interests of their customers and community.
The present tax system acts to discourage small business, as it encourageswaste, discourages conservation, and rewards consumption. Big business hasused insider access to dominate the federal tax code.
The TAX SYSTEM needs a major OVERHAUL, to get it up and running in away that favors the legitimate and critical needs of the small businesscommunity. RETENTION OF CAPITAL, through retained earnings, efficiencies,and savings, is central to small business remaining competitive and taxpolicies often act to unfairly penalize small business.
Government should reduce wherever possible unnecessary restrictions,fees, and "red-tape". State and local government should encouragewhere appropriate those business that especially benefit the community.ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES should include citizen and community input.What type and size of the businesses that are provided incentives (tax,loans, bonds, etc.) should be the result of full local community participation.
Pension funds, the result of workers' investments, should be examinedfor additional sources of capital. Definitions of "fiscally prudent"need to be broadened within acceptable margins of safety to include investmentsbeyond the currently mandated pattern of corporate benefit. Investment managersneed to be given discretionary powers to channel these monies, now in thetrillions of dollars, into productive business at the local level.
Insurance costs need to be brought down by means of active engagementwith the insurance industry. Insurance pools, for example, of the kind offeredbusinesses in the association, "Business for Social Responsibility",need to be expanded. "One-stop" offices should be set-up by governmentto assist individuals who want to change careers, or go into business forthe first time. HOME-BASED BUSINESSES AND NEIGHBORHOOD-BASED BUSINESSESneed to be assisted by forward-looking planning, not hurt by out-of-datezoning ordinances.
We reject trade agreements negotiated in secret and unduly influencedby corporate attorneys and representatives. In particular, we oppose theGENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE (GATT) and current NORTH AMERICANFREE TRADE AGREEMENT (NAFTA). Both are threats to the constitutional powerof Congress and local sovereignty, and they effectively limit the participationof citizens in decisions. Instead, they create administrative bureaucracieswhich will be run by corporate interests and, in many ways, will be unaccountableto public input or even legal challenge.
We demand that these agreements be updated to include more specific environmental,worker, health and safety standards in the text itself, not as "sideagreements", and full funding of existing environmental/health commitments(for example, the North American Development Bank and Border EnvironmentalCooperation Commission).
We reject any agreement which threatens the authority of states and localcommunities to establish more stringent health, safety and environmentalstandards. We reject agreements that negotiate downward our basic environmental,human rights, health, safety and labor standards, including the right tobargain collectively, a reasonable minimum wage, and prohibitions againstchild and forced labor. The historic role of the United States has beento raise living standards, not to be dragged down by the lowest common denominatorabroad.
G. RURAL DEVELOPMENT
Economic development in rural areas spans many agencies of government,but eventually comes back to prospering, healthy farms and ranch lands.Recreation, local business, schools and education, health care and energyavailability; all are necessary to support diversified, successful ruraleconomies.
RURAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY should begin with the local people. FAMILY FARMSare the backbone of a sustainable rural economy. They are more likely thancorporate agribusiness to follow ecological practices that enrich the land,use labor-intensive rather than energy-intensive farming methods, and supportbiodiversity. Because of their smaller scale production methods, they aremore likely to produce food products that are more healthy for consumers.Federal, state and local governments should provide financial assistanceto small farmers to help them compete against agribusiness.
Price-fixing and anti-competitive actions of the corporate agriculturalgiants, must be confronted aggressively. Programs must be implemented bythe federal and state government that add value to the production from familyfarms to help them remain competitive. Government should encourage BANKPOLICIES that spread their loan portfolios beyond corporate agricultureand ranching, and the big, subsidized grazing permit holders, in order todiversify local economies.
We support COOPERATIVE VENTURES to broaden markets of local producers.We encourage state-assisted PRODUCT MARKETING EFFORTS and RURAL DEVELOPMENTBANKS.
H. "BANKING FOR PEOPLE"
We support a broad program of reform in the banking and savings and loanindustry that acts to ensure that their "COMMONWEALTH" obligationsto serve all communities are met. We understand that the present systemis skewed to service first and foremost large businesses, trans nationalcorporations and wealthy individuals. Since lending institutions are charteredby the state to serve the best interests of communities, the privilegesthat come with being given power at the center of commerce carry specialresponsibilities.
The government should take serious steps to ensure that low- and moderate-incomepersons and communities, as well as small business, have access to bankingservices, affordable loans and small-business supporting capital.
We support the extension of the "COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT"and its key performance data provisions regarding providing public and timelyinformation on the extent of housing loans, small business loans, loansto minority-owned enterprises, investments in community development projectsand affordable housing.
We believe Congress should act to charter COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BANKS,which would be capitalized with public funds and work to meet the creditneeds of local communities.
I. INSURANCE REFORM
We endorse wide ranging INSURANCE INDUSTRY REGULATION to reduce insurancecosts by reducing its special-interest breaks, over-pricing, and excessiveindustry-wide practices that in practice injure the interests of the insured.We call for actions at the federal and state level to rein in "badfaith" actions; legal avoidance of obligations, the current widespreadpractice of fixing prices, the ability of insurance companies to rejectapplicants or cancel policies for any reason.
J. PENSION REFORM
Working people, who own upwards of $3 trillion in pension monies (deferredwages in effect), should have financial options for where their money isinvested apart from the current near monopoly exerted by a handful of managers,banks, insurance companies and mutual funds. We do not believe the over-useof pension funds for corporate mergers, acquisitions and leveraged buy-outsis appropriate or productive. Yet, the current system has allowed vast amountsof American workers' hard-earned money to be squandered on job-ending, plant-movingcorporate endgames and "golden parachutes".
PENSION FUNDS are gigantic capital pools that can, with government support,be used to help meet community needs and benefit workers and their familiesdirectly. Corporate-sponsored pension funds (the biggest category of funds)should be jointly controlled by management and workers, not exclusivelyruled by management. Federal law must be changed so that pension funds needsimply seek a reasonable rate of return, not the prevailing market ratewhich greatly restricts where investments can be made. A secondary pensionmarket set up by the government, to insure pension investments made in sociallybeneficial programs, needs to be considered as one method that could greatlyexpand the impact of this capital market, as has been demonstrated in thecase of federally insured/subsidized mortgage lending.
"Prudent" pension fund investing can and should be made onbehalf of those whose best interests are served by having their money bothmake money and do good work. We believe there are myriad opportunities forthis profound shift to occur in how the capital of America's workers isbest put to use.
K. ANTI-TRUST ENFORCEMENT
We support strong and effectively enforced ANTI-TRUST REGULATION, tocounteract the concentration of economic power with its severe toll on theeconomy. We oppose the largesse of government in the form of narrow corporateentitlements. We should stop the give-aways and subsidies of our vast publicresources, including millions of acres of land, mineral resources, intellectualproperty rights, and government created research. The "Mining Act of1872" and below-cost timber sales are prime examples of corporate welfarethat need to be halted immediately.
L. TECHNOLOGY AND DEFENSE CONVERSION
The conversion of defense-related technologies to a peacetime technology-basedeconomy is a major challenge. We must ask ourselves what we are to makeof our nation's defense-related inheritance in the face of the collapseof the Soviet threat to our vital interests and resultant need for a windingdown of "national security" spending.
CONSOLIDATION of the nuclear weapons complex should move toward alternativecivilian technologies and non-proliferation work, not toward a new generationof nuclear weapon design and production.
We generally support defense TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER efforts, particularlynew INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS in the areas of waste management and alternativeenergy.
Let us go forward with government and civilian space programs; RESEARCHINITIATIVES in transportation, advanced products and manufacturing; industrialapplications, appropriate technologies, and technology transfer; environmentalsampling and monitoring; systems testing; laser communications; high speedcomputers; genetic mapping (with "Genome" project results in the"public domain").
The opportunities for technical excellence and continued economic achievementapart from strategic and technical weapons are there in front of us. Weurge government and congress to take up this challenge.
M. THE NATIONAL DEBT
Every year the federal government borrows hundreds of billions of dollarsmore than it collects in taxes. Money that should be going into new businessand jobs, research and development, roads and bridges, schools and the technologiesof tomorrow, has been lost to servicing the national debt (which is currentlyover $4 trillion dollars).
We cannot ignore the consequences of our nation's deficits and the relatedcosts of debt service (currently around $200 billion dollars). Foreign holdingsof our debt have increased greatly and money markets have seen a large percentageof available capital flow away from productive investments, primarily dueto federal borrowing.
We agree that actions to reduce the debt and annual federal deficit arein order. We do not agree that working people and small business communityshould disproportionately shoulder the burden, when the incurrence of thefederal debt was, to a large degree, the end product of those who were onwatch during the Cold War and military-defense industry buildup. We do notagree that it is an obligation of working people to pay for the hundredsof billions lost in the savings and loan bailout; the billions upon billionsbeing lost on loopholes, tax breaks, and trans national/multinational corporatetax avoidance; or the hundreds of billions lost due to a failed tax codethat has been, in effect, held prisoner to special-interests and has producedhistoric gross inequities between corporate America and working Americans.
During the 1980's our national debt grew from approximately $1 billionto its current size. During the remainder of the 1990's, we should movetoward reducing the annual federal deficit to achieve a significant reductionin the national debt.
We believe a comprehensive approach that forms a basis to a realisticDEFICIT PLAN would include: tax increases on those corporations and wealthyinterests who benefited most in the 1980's; defense reductions to levelsapproximately $100 billion below the current Administration's planned budgetfor the year 2000 (the current projected budget is [$269 billion/3.1% ofGDP] -- a viable mix of major conventional forces and a substantial reductionin nuclear forces could bring the defense budget to between $150-$200 billion);and entitlement reductions to those who can afford reductions most (entitlementspending is over 1/2 the federal budget; one way to reduce costs substantiallywould be by "means testing", i.e., by scaling back payments tothe six million citizens in families with incomes over $50,000 annually.In this way approximately $80-100 billion could be saved annually by theyear 2000.)
As our nation considers the hard choices needed to achieve DEBT and DEFICITREDUCTION, we add our voice to the debate on the side of those who do notsupport or consider necessary any deep cuts in domestic and discretionaryspending that benefits those most in need and hardest working. We opposeany cuts at all in the one-fifth of entitlement benefits, including foodstamps, family assistance, Medicaid, and supplementary security income,that go to the low-income, aged, blind and disabled.