1996 Natural Law Party Platform
(24,010 words, 76 pages)
Draft Copy June 1996
Natural Law Party Solutions
THE NATURAL LAW PARTY envisions a flourishing national economy in whichno citizen suffers from unemployment, recession, runaway inflation, or anyother economic hardship; in which America's businesses are highly competitivein the international marketplace; in which the crippling national debt isreduced and eventually eliminated; and in which the tax burden is significantlydecreased, enabling everyone to enjoy greater prosperity and a higher standardof living.
A healthy economy is the key to America's domestic strength and internationalleadership. Without industrial and corporate might, the U.S. cannot remaincompetitive in world markets, satisfy domestic needs, or continue to playa major role in world events. America needs a strong economy, but our economyfaces serious challenges.
America is $5 trillion in debt--about $20,000 per citizen--and the interestpayments alone cost taxpayers $235 billion in 1995. This debt underminesthe vitality of our nation and threatens its long-term economic stability.Congress failed to pass a balanced budget amendment in 1995, and partisanconflict has thwarted all legislative efforts to balance the budget--evenin the face of governmental shutdowns .
Moreover, although profits and productivity have increased during thepast two decades, the purchasing power of the average American has declinedsignificantly. For example, in 1993, the average American worker had tospend 26 weeks' worth of wages to buy a car, as compared to 17 weeks' in1973. Many wage-earners--especially those in lower income brackets--havelimited resources, no opportunity to save, little job security, and no wayto cope with emergency medical needs. Many families cannot afford a homeor even the basic amenities of life . For a substantial portion of ourpopulation, the American dream has faded.
Excessive taxes and a burdensome, overly complex, and punitive tax codestifle economic growth. The seven-million-word tax code is so convolutedthat the Internal Revenue Service itself has trouble understanding it, andcorporations spend four times as much on tax compliance as they do on taxes. In addition, special interest groups have successfully manipulatedthe tax code by creating loopholes to benefit specific businesses--a practicethat results in corporate welfare and creates disincentives to economicgrowth.
In the words of the Kemp commission, the present tax code "is beyondrepair--it is impossibly complex, outrageously expensive, overly intrusive,economically destructive, and manifestly unfair. . . . We believe [it] cannotbe revised, should not be reinvented, and must not be retained" .
American businesses are saddled by the highest health costs in the world.Health benefits have become the third largest expense after raw materialsand straight-time pay for most manufacturers, and the second largest expensefor most service businesses. For many employers, the cost of corporate healthbenefits precludes real salary increases for employees, and many otherwiseprofitable businesses are driven into bankruptcy by these spiraling expenses.
Finally, to maintain our technological edge in the competitive internationalmarketplace, American businesses require highly skilled workers. Alarmingly,our high school students score near the bottom in international comparisonsof industrialized nations: 28% of youths entering the U.S. job market arehigh school drop-outs , and the number of Americans earning doctoraldegrees has declined in recent years--yet Congress has cut funding for studentloans. America therefore faces a creativity challenge that must be solvedfor our country to maintain its domestic and economic strength.
Boosting national creativity--In today's information-based economy, intelligenceand creativity (i.e., innovation and ideas) drive economic growth. Clearly,America's most precious natural resource is our human resource--the unlimitedcreative potential of our 260 million citizens. Given today's low test scoresand high drop-out rates, the most crucial economic strategy that governmentcan adopt is to harness America's untapped creativity. The Natural Law Partystrongly advocates proven educational, job training, and apprenticeshipprograms that develop intelligence and creativity, prevent school drop-outs,and bring life into accord with natural law. Only the full utilization ofour human resource through the Natural Law Party's fundamental commitmentto education will ensure America's competitiveness and future leadershipin the family of nations. (For a complete discussion of the Natural LawParty's educational programs, see our "Education" section.)
Lowering taxes--The most powerful fiscal action our government can taketo stimulate the economy is to lower taxes. The Natural Law Party can cuttaxes deeply--and responsibly--without adding to the deficit or cuttingessential services. Many parties have promised lower taxes, but have beenunable to fulfill these promises due to the depth and complexity of problemsfaced by government. The Natural Law Party, through its cost-effective solutionsto crime, spiraling health costs, and other costly social problems, willsave the nation hundreds of billions of dollars annually. On this basis,the Natural Law Party can offer a realistic strategy for significant taxreduction that protects the integrity of our important social programs.
One simple and viable way to implement across-the-board tax cuts is througha low flat tax. The Natural Law Party has designed a low flat tax that includesan exemption for America's poor and lower-income families. Beginning in1997 at 18%, our tax rate would fall to 10% by 2002 as the Natural Law Party'scost-effective solutions to the nation's problems began to bear fruit (see table). The Natural Law Party's low flat tax would propel the economyinto a growth phase. This strong economic growth, with its associated increasein government revenues, combined with the savings from our cost-effectivesolutions, would balance the budget by 1999. This proposal would also reducethe size and scope of the IRS, eliminate loopholes for the wealthy, andput an end to corporate welfare.
In addition to our flat tax proposal, the Natural Law Party is also continuingto study alternative tax options, such as a consumption tax, that mightdecrease the tax burden for Americans. We concur with the Kemp commission'sfundamental requirements for a new tax code: fairness, simplicity, neutrality,visibility, and stability .
Overhauling the Federal Reserve Board--Since recent administrations havebeen unwilling to employ meaningful fiscal policy through tax cuts and reducedspending, monetary policy has been the only available means of controllingboth economic growth and inflation. Thus, in an effort to control inflation,the Federal Reserve Board has used monetary policy (primarily the manipulationof interest rates) to prevent economic growth of more than 2.5% per year.This sluggish growth rate is responsible for economic stagnation, unemployment,and the declining real wage for most American workers.
By cutting taxes, the Natural Law Party offers a strong fiscal stimulusto economic growth while keeping inflation in check with appropriate monetarypolicy, thereby ensuring price stability. Unaccustomed to meaningful fiscalpolicy, the Fed will have to be overhauled in order to allow the economyto grow at a rate greater than 2.5%, which is crucial to the prosperityand economic security of all Americans. Creating new jobs through economicgrowth is far more effective than mere welfare reform in putting Americato work again.
Enterprise zones--The Natural Law Party supports the use of federallyguaranteed loans to stimulate capital investment for start-up industriesin urban "enterprise zones." By targeting economically deprivedurban areas, we can stimulate economic growth where it is most needed, therebycreating more jobs, a stronger sense of community, and therevitalizationof our inner cities.
Cutting corporate health costs--The enormous burden of corporate healthcare expenditures can best be reduced by improving employee health. Researchshows that appropriate preventive health care programs improve health andreduce health care costs , thereby freeing financial resources for greaterproductivity, profit, and investment. Therefore, a Natural Law Party governmentwould encourage businesses to implement such programs to improve corporatehealth and productivity and to reduce employee stress and substance abuse.
Creating macroeconomic stability through increased social coherence--TheNatural Law Party also supports programs that have been shown to dissolvesocial stress and conflict, thereby providing a more positive and stableenvironment for economic growth and prosperity. Most analysts are awareof how businesses are influenced by macroeconomic factors such as inflation,unemployment, economic cycles, and the threat of international conflict.However, businesses are also in a position to change macro- economic trendsin a positive direction for the benefit of the organization and societyas a whole. For example, research has found that even a single group of7,000 to 10,000 practitioners of Transcendental Meditation and its advancedprograms can produce a significant decrease in inflation and unemploymentrates, as well as improvements in other economic indicators . Businessesthat incorporate such programs into their employee benefits packages helpensure economic stability by creating a more coherent and stable society.Sharingthe benefit--As the economyi mproves, we anticipate higher pay, better workingconditions, shorter work hours, and a shorter work week. We believe thatthe American work force should reap the benefits of a powerful economy througha higher standard of living.
Through cost-effective solutions to the nation's problems, responsibletax reduction, and proven programs to boost national intelligence and creativity,the Natural Law Party will propel the economy into a sustained growth phase.This pro-growth policy willsimultaneously create jobs, reduce unemployment,balance the budget through increased government revenues, and retire thenational debt. Only the Natural Law Party offers a comprehensive, viablestrategy to accomplish these goals.
1. All political parties agree on the need to reduce the national debt,and the passage of the balanced budget amendment in the House of Representativesin January 1995 was hailed as the first triumph of the Republicans' Contractwith America. But the failure of the amendment in the Senate underscoredits inadequacies as a fiscal policy: much government spending remained exempt;noncompliance was virtually assured by legislative overrides; and a shiftin the tax burden could mask large deficits in governmental operations.Most important, the amendment failed to address the underlying, costly socialproblems that have driven deficit spending.
2. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (1995), 14.5% of all Americanslive below the poverty level. Many Americans go hungry, and many are homeless.
3. In its January 1996 report, the Kemp commission provides specificsabout the enormous cost of tax compliance (Unleashing America's Potential:A Pro-Growth, Pro-Family Tax System for the 21st Century, The National Commissionon Economic Growth and Tax Reform, January 1996, p. 7):
In 1991, the Tax Foundation reported that small corporations spent aminimum of $382 in compliance costs for every $100 they paid in income taxes.According to 1995 I.R.S. estimates, businesses will spend about 3.4 billionhours and individuals will spend about 1.7 billion hours embroiled in tax-relatedpaperwork. That means nearly three million people--more people than servein the U.S. armed forces--work full time all year just to comply with taxlaws, at a cost of about $200 billion a year, according to the Tax Foundation.
4. Ibid., p. 5.
5. "The Dropout Problem: Can Schools Meet the Challenge?" NASSPBulletin 78 (565): 74-80, 1994.
6. The Natural Law Party's flat tax proposal maintains charitable deductionsbut does not maintain the mortgage deduction. A mortgage deduction increasesthe tax on all Americans by at least 2% and unfairly penalizes those whouse their earnings for other purposes--for example, to send their childrento college. The mortgage deduction, pushed by the housing industry, amountsto a form of corporate welfare for that industry. The Natural Law Partybelieves that taxes should be used to finance government, not to shape socialand economic agendas by favoring some businesses over others.
Our flat tax proposal would maintain charitable deductions to promotean increase in charitable giving. Local philanthropic activities are moreeffective, more rewarding, and less wasteful than federally administered,socialized charity. The Natural Law Party would therefore like to see ashift in the responsibility for charitable giving from the government backto the individual. More Americans will be inspired to give once they havemore wealth as a result of lower taxes and our pro-growth economic policies.
Capital gains (indexed for inflation) and interest will be taxed as normalincome under the Natural Law Party's proposal, but double taxation (e.g.,a tax on dividend income) will be avoided.
The Natural Law Party proposes a tax floor of $25,500 for a family offour, below which Americans would pay no taxes. While this floor is lowerthan that proposed by some others, the Natural Law Party believes that mostcitizens should contribute something to society--to our schools, our roads,and our national security. Most important, however, with our low 10% taxrate, all Americans will pay significantly less tax than they do today.
7. Unleashing America's Potential, op. cit., pp. 11-14.
8. A program designed by Dr. Dean Ornish and used in a number of Americanhospitals has consistently shown that systematic use of diet, exercise,and meditation, in combination, can clear clogged arteries--promising largesavings over the average $20,000-$50,000 cost of angioplasty and bypasssurgery (see Journal of the American Medical Association 274:894-901, 1995;Lancet 336:129-133, 1990; and American Journal of Cardiology 69: 845-853,1992).
In addition, a five-year study of health insurance statistics on over2,000 persons practicing one of the prevention programs endorsed by theNatural Law Party--the Transcendental Meditation program--found that theirdoctor visits and hospitalizations were less than half that of other groupsof comparable age, sex, and profession. Improvements were observed in alldisease categories, including an 87% drop in cardiovascular illness (PsychosomaticMedicine 49:493, 1987). A longitudinal study of 677 health insurance enrolleesin Quebec showed that health care utilization declined between 5% and 7%per year after the subjects learned the Transcendental Meditation program(American Journal of Health Promotion 10(3): 208-216, 1995). A recent studyon hypertension in elderly African-Americans found that Transcendental Meditationwas twice as effective in reducing high blood pressure as progressive musclerelaxation and was comparable to medication (Hypertension 26 (5):820-827,1995).
9. Drug and alcohol abuse cost America an estimated $166 billion a year.Stress has a negative impact on personal and corporate productivity, andcosts U.S. business $150-$200 billion each year. See "Healthy Mind;Healthy Organization--A Pro-active Approach to Occupational Stress,"Human Relations 47 (4):455-471, 1994; and United Nations International LaborOrganization, "Stress at Work," World Labor Report 6, Geneva,Switzerland: United Nations International Labor Office, 1993.
10. A recent study found a sizable reduction in Okun's Misery Index--definedas the sum of the inflation rate and the unemployment rate--from implementationof the national coherence-creating program proposed by the Natural Law Party(American Statistical Association, Business and Economics Statistics Section,1987, 799; 1988, 491; 1989, 565).
Economic Model of Savings and Growth from theNatural Law Party:A ProposedUnited States Government Budget
The Natural Law Party would implement a pro-growth economic policy, witha balanced budget by 1999 and a low flat tax of 10% by 2002. Only the NaturalLaw Party can cut taxes deeply--and responsibly--while protecting the integrityof our important social programs through the hundreds of billions of dollarssaved annually by our cost-effective solutions to crime, spiraling healthcare costs, and other costly social problems. Simultaneously, by propellingthe economy into a growth phase without creating inflation,
our policy will create jobs, reduce unemployment, and strengthen jobsecurity.
Adjusted for inflation; in billions of dollars--------------------------
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
NLP Flat Tax: N.A. N.A. 18% 16% 14% 12% 11% 10%
GDP Projections** 7248 7363 7624 7895 8175 8466 8766 9077
Revenues: 1390 1386 1473 1443 1410 1372 1376 1377
*National Defense 272 254 242 230 218 207 203 200
*Other Discretionary 282 262 249 237 225 214 210 205
TotalDiscretionary 554 517 491 466 443 421 413 405
SocialSecurity 333 338 344 352 359 365 376 385
*Medicare 177 190 181 172 163 155 150 150
*Medicaid 90 93 89 84 80 76 74 72
Civilian/Military Retire. &Dis.;
75 75 76 77 77 80 81 83
*Other 158 150 143 136 129 123 116 111
Mandatory Subtotal 833 847 833 821 808 798 798 800
Net Interest 240 233 235 231 228 223 222 224
Offsetting Receipts -77 -74 -71 -71 -71 -71 -73 -75
Total Outlays: 1550 1522 1488 1448 1408 1370 1360 1354
Deficit/Surplus -160 -136 -15 -4 2 2 15 23
The NLP flat tax computations follow Hall and Rabushka, The Flat Tax,2nd ed., Stanford, CA: Hoover Institute, 1995. Baseline data (1995-96) basedon Congressional Budget Office projections. This model assumes that 1) capitalgains and other income are treated the same, 2) all businesses and individualsare taxed according to the same flat rate, 3) no income above the basicallowance is exempt from the flat tax, 4) basic allowance is $16,500 formarried filing jointly; $8,250 for single; $4,500 for dependents, 5) individualsand families below poverty level pay no income taxes, 6) the flat tax wouldnot replace Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, 7) no income wouldbe taxed twice. All data are expressed in constant 1995 dollars.
* Natural Law Party programs applied to reduce costs in these areas.** NLP programs applied to increase growth to 3.5% per year (inflation adjusted).Historically, 5% economic growth rates without inflation have resulted frommajor tax cuts (Hall and Rabushka, The Flat Tax, 2nd ed., Stanford, CA:Hoover Institute, 1995).
Natural Law Party Solutions
The Natural Law Party is committed to ensuring a long and healthy lifefor every American. By bringing life into accord with natural law, the prevention-orientedhealth programs proposed by the Natural Law Party will significantly reducedisease and promote the health and vitality of all Americans. As our nation'shealth improves, we can lift the massive burden of health care costs, thusfreeing our nation's resources for greater progress and prosperity.
Too many Americans suffer from poor health : the U.S. has some ofthe worst health statistics of all industrialized countries . Yet Americahas the highest per capita health care costs of any nation.
Why is the U.S. medical system such a cost-effectiveness disaster? Theanswer is that our health care system is really a "disease-care"system--it focuses on the management of illnesses, rather than on the preventionof disease and the promotion of health. But the vast majority of our nationalhealth is influenced by factors over which this disease-based approach haslittle control--such as nutrition, stress, societal problems, and environmentaltoxins. Consequently, in the absence of effective prevention, our presentdisease-care system can never create a truly healthy society.
Recent research shows that 50% of deaths and 70% of disease in Americaare self-inflicted--caused by an epidemic of unhealthy habits, includingimproper diet, inadequate exercise, smoking, and alcohol abuse . Thus,the vast majority of disease is preventable .
Incredibly, Republicans and Democrats consistently ignore proven prevention-orientedapproaches to health, and Medicare specifically bans funding for such preventiveservices .
Following the federal example, most private health insurance companiesalso refuse to cover prevention. No health care reform bills debated inCongress have focused on improving health; they have dealt only with problemsin disease-care financing and delivery, hoping to save money by streamliningand downsizing the system.
Spiraling health care costs have dramatically increased the cost of healthinsurance, and 35% of U.S. citizens are now inadequately covered or haveno medical insurance. Health care expenditures have also placed a heavyburden on American businesses; if employee insurance costs continue to rise,many companies will collapse by the end of the decade.
By focusing on the prevention of disease and the promotion of health,the Natural Law Party offers a solution to the health care crisis that iscomprehensive, cost-effective, and scientifically proven.
Our health care platform has two aspects.
1. We support health strategies that focus on prevention and strengthenthe general health of the nation, thereby shifting our national focus fromdisease care to health care. These programs include prevention-orientedhealth education, including strategies to modify unhealthy behaviors, andprevention-oriented natural medicines. These preventive strategies havebeen shown by extensive research to create healthier citizens and to cuthealth care costs by 50% to 70%.
2. We support the introduction of financial incentives that will helpprevent abuse of the health care system and ensure high-quality care. Theseincentives include (a) medical savings accounts for Medicare and Medicaidsubscribers, which will provide financial rewards for good health ; and(b) vouchers enabling Medicare and Medicaid subscribers to choose any insuranceplan or health care provider they desire, thereby promoting competitivecosts and quality of care among medical providers. Such financial incentiveswill reduce demands for unnecessary care and prevent overuse of the healthcare system by giving greater financial control and responsibility to individualsubscribers.
Through our two-pronged approach of preventive health care and financialincentives, we can rescue Medicare and Medicaid from bankruptcy, save thenation approximately $500 billion a year in health care costs, and preventuntold pain and suffering.
To structure meaningful health-benefits options for all Americans withoutdisastrously increasing the federal budget deficit, we must responsiblydecrease health care outlays per person--a particular challenge as the populationages. The most effective and humane way to achieve this goal is to preventdisease in the first place by strengthening the human immune system andeliminating the imbalances that ultimately cause disease.
The prevention programs supported by the Natural Law Party incorporatethe most up-to-date knowledge of nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction,as well as use of natural herbal preparations, natural dietary supplements,and alternative medical treatment modalities. Americans favor such approaches.There are now more visits to alternative medicine practitioners than toconventional doctors . Research has consistently shown that the preventionprograms endorsed by the Natural Law Party significantly reduce the needfor conventional medical treatment by empowering individuals to take bettercare of their own health .
Our national health care debate has degenerated into an argument over"who should pay for whose disease," with little attention givento preventing disease and improving health. Funding for proven preventionservices has been denied to Americans, largely because the lobbying influenceof over 1000 medical PACs (political action committees) has shaped legislationand preserved the status quo .
The Natural Law Party, which does not accept PAC contributions, is committedto changing this unethical and inhumane situation. During the past fouryears, Dr. John Hagelin and Dr. Mike Tompkins, 1996 Natural Law Party candidatesfor President and Vice-President, have worked closely with the U.S. Congressto introduce wording into health care bills in both the House and the Senatethat would provide coverage for any scientifically verified, cost-effective,proven preventive program. This proposal has such commonsense appeal thatit has gained the support of conservative and liberal members of Congressalike.
The Natural Law Party's approach to health care provides a unifying influencein the political debate by transcending surface bickering over money andsolving the health crisis at its basis--by improving the health of Americans.The enormous savings generated by the Natural Law Party's prevention-orientedprograms, coupled with the financial incentives created by medical vouchersand savings accounts, will allow the government to realistically extendhigh-quality health care to tens of millions of uninsured Americans.
The programs of preventive health education advocated by the NaturalLaw Party are also unique in raising health care to a new level: developmentof the full potential of every citizen and reduction of individual and societalstress by promoting life in accord with natural law. This approach goesbeyond "behavioral modifications" such as smoking cessation, whichhave low compliance and cannot be enforced in a free society. Research showsthat stress is responsible for the persistence of life-damaging habits despiteoverwhelming medical evidence and governmental warnings. By neutralizingindividual and social stress, the Natural Law Party can improve the effectivenessof such behavioral-modification programs by significantly enhancing compliance.In this way we can achieve a lasting social transformation toward more life-supporting,health-promoting behavior among our citizens.
The Natural Law Party is unique in offering high-quality health carefor all, while providing a net cost savings for the nation.
1. The "miracles" of modern medicine have been much less effectivein producing health than most Americans have assumed, according to mortalityand morbidity rates in the United States (see International Journal of HealthSciences 19(2):181-208, 1989). To date, 43 million Americans suffer fromhigh blood pressure; 7 million are afflicted with heart disease; over 75,000will die of AIDS; almost 400,000 will die this year of smoking-related disease;and an estimated 23 million suffer from cognitive, emotional, or behavioraldisorders.
2. The U.S. has the fifth highest infant mortality rate and the highestlow-birthweight among the 23 industrial nations belonging to the Organizationof Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The U.S. also ranks verylow among OECD nations for life expectancy at birth--20th for males and18th for females (Health Affairs, Fall: 100-112, 1994).
3. See Journal of the American Medical Association, 270: 2207-2212, 1993;U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Healthy People 2000: NationalHealth Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives, DHHS Publication No.(PHS) 91-50212, Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1991; and U.S.Department of Health and Human Services, Healthy People 2000: MidcourseReview and 1995 Revisions, Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1995.
4. Nearly 47% of premature deaths among Americans could have been avoidedby changes in individual behaviors and another 17% by reducing environmentalrisks, according to a 1994 assessment by the Centers for Disease Controland Prevention. In contrast, the study suggested that only 11% of prematuredeaths could have been prevented by improved access to medical treatment.(See CDC, Ten Leading Causes of Death in the United States, Update, Atlanta,GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1994).
5. Only 1% of our health sector budget is used to avoid disease, while99% is spent to treat illness after it occurs. Astonishingly, the federalgovernment also subsidizes unhealthy influences on our nation. For example,even though tobacco use is known to cause 400,000 deaths per year, including3,000 from passive smoking, the U.S. government subsidizes the tobacco industry.Our government also provides funding for genetic engineering and supportsthe nonlabeling of genetically engineered foods--despite the potentiallyserious health risks of such foods and the absence of research on long-termenvironmental effects (see our "Agriculture" section). Furthermore,the current Congress cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agencyby 27% in 1995, despite the link between industrial pollution and diseasesuggested by the rising incidence of cancer in American and other industrializednations.
6. This health care option would be available to Medicare and Medicaidsubscribers under a voucher system. Medical savings accounts establish anannual sum to cover subscriber health care costs; any unused portion ofthe account is paid directly to the subscriber each year. These accountsthus encourage savings and discourage unnecessary use of the health caresystem. However, this health care option also provides for catastrophiccoverage at rates similar to traditional insurance plans in order to protectsubscribers facing unexpected health care costs.
7. New England Journal of Medicine 328:246-252, 1993.
8. Real preventive health care averts disease before it arises--and recentstudies indicate that specific programs of behavioral prevention producelarge cost savings.
* A 10-year study by the University of Michigan at Steelcase Corporationreported that systematic programs of diet, exercise, and stress reduction,when targeted for subjects in high-health-risk categories, reduce totalhealth care costs by 46% (see Medical Tribune 14, February 10, 1994).
* A program designed by Dr. Dean Ornish and used in a number of Americanhospitals has consistently shown that systematic use of diet, exercise,and meditation in combination can clear clogged arteries--promising largesavings over the average $20,000-$50,000 cost of angioplasty and bypasssurgery (see Journal of the American Medical Association 274:894-901, 1995;Lancet 336:129-133, 1990; and American Journal of Cardiology 69: 845-853,1992).
* Research on the Transcendental Meditation program has consistentlydemonstrated both cross sectional and longitudinal health benefits. A five-yearstudy of 2000 subjects has shown that people who practice TM have healthcare utilization more than 50% lower than matched control groups. The reductionswere greatest in the oldest age group (averaging 67% lower) and in highcost areas (the TM group needed 76% less surgery and suffered 87% less heartdisease) (Psychosomatic Medicine 49: 493-505, 1987). A recent study on hypertensionin elderly African Americans found that Transcendental Meditation was twiceas effective in reducing high blood pressure as progressive muscle relaxationand about equally as effective as medication, but without harmful side effects(Hypertension 26 (5):820-827, 1995). A further study found that TranscendentalMeditation was more cost-effective in the treatment of hypertension thanany of five classes of hypertensive drugs studied (American Journal of ManagedCare 2(4): 427-437, 1996). And a longitudinal study of 677 health insuranceenrollees in Quebec showed that health care utilization declined between5% and 7% per year after the subjects learned the Transcendental Meditationprogram (American Journal of Health Promotion 10(3): 208-216, 1996).
9. The American Medical Association political action committee, knownas AMPAC, is one of the largest medical PACs. For a discussion of its insidiousinfluence on legislation, see Starr, P., The Social Transformation of AmericanMedicine: The Rise of a Sovereign Profession and the Making of a Vast Industry,New York: Basic Books, 1984 (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction);Wolinksy, H., and Brune, T., The Serpent on the Staff: The Unhealthy Politicsof the American Medical Association, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1994;and Harmer, R.M., American Medical Avarice, New York: Abelard-Schuman, 1975.
Natural Law Party Solutions
THE SOLUTION TO ALL OUR NATIONAL problems lies in proper education. TheNatural Law Party advocates scientifically proven educational programs thatcan unfold the full creative potential of every student and produce idealcitizens capable of fulfilling their highest aspirations while contributingmaximum to the progress of society. By harnessing America's greatest resource--theunlimited creativity of our 260 million citizens--the Natural Law Partycan bring fulfillment to education and ensure America's competitivenessand continuing leadership in the family of nations.
Education in America is not working. Even though the United States spendsmore money per student than any other country, our students still rank farbehind most of their international peers in math and science--and well behindU.S. test scores of 20 years ago. Twenty-eight percent of our high schoolstudents drop out--the highest rate of any industrialized nation--and thosewho graduate are often ill prepared to enter the work force
Drug and alcohol abuse continues to undermine our nation's students androb them of their self esteem and self-sufficiency . Moreover, juvenileviolent crime has increased markedly during the past decade, especiallygang and school violence using guns .
America's problems are human problems--crime, drug abuse, domestic violence,and declining health. Only through the full development of our human resourcecan we rise above the reach of problems. Yet research has shown that studentsgraduating from our current educational system use at most 5-10% of theirfull mental potential . A new and effective approach to education isclearly needed.
Education is for enlightenment--the full development of mind, body, andbehavior. The Natural Law Party promotes proven educational programs thatdirectly increase intelligence and creativity and simultaneously improvemoral reasoning, self-esteem, and mental and physical health and well-being.These programs include sound educational approaches to nutrition , natural,preventive health measures , effective drug prevention programs ,and innovative curriculum development .
While focusing on dissemination of knowledge, current approaches to educationignore the most fundamental component of learning--the consciousness orintelligence of the student, which is the basis of gaining knowledge. Today'seducational approaches provide no knowledge of consciousness and no scientificallyproven technology to develop it. This fundamental failure is the ultimatesource of the problems afflicting education today. Even current proposalsto improve education most often focus on information technologies, suchas computer access to the Internet, that offer larger and larger volumesof data. However, without an educational approach that can develop morethan 5-10% of a student's full potential, no amount of information willever produce truly educated, ideal citizens.
The consciousness-based approach to education advocated by the NaturalLaw Party develops full human potential while providing mastery of the technicalskills necessary to compete in today's society. This approach combines themost advanced and successful curriculum innovations with the most thoroughlyresearched educational program to develop the full potential of consciousness-the Transcendental Meditation program . This integrated approach toeducation develops knowledgeable, highly creative citizens who can fulfilltheir own goals while simultaneously promoting the interests of society.
The Natural Law Party proposes to upgrade the U.S. Department of Educationto a Department of Educational Excellence, which would charter several federallyfunded model schools in which educational innovations of all kinds couldbe implemented and researched. Based on the success of these programs, parentsand educators across the country could choose the ones they felt would bemost appropriate and effective in their neighborhoods. Rather than dictateeducational curricula at the local level, the Federal Government could therebyplay a crucial research and leadership role in improving educational outcomesacross the nation.
The Natural Law Party also supports federally funded vouchers to increaseparental options for school choice and to foster competition among schools.These vouchers could be used to pay for any school of the parents' choice--public,private, or parochial--provided that the school maintains high academicperformance on standardized national tests. The free-market competitionthat this voucher system will engender will help reverse declining educationaloutcomes in America.
The Natural Law Party also supports the following initiatives:
* Fully fund the Head Start program, to give all eligible children anopportunity to excel from an early age.
* Provide financial support for every student who wants to go to college.The Natural Law Party does not support the scaling back of Pell grants andstudent loans for higher education. Government loans should be repaid aftergraduation--if necessary through mandatory salary deductions or communityservice.
* Establish higher national standards and the practical means to achievethem. Other parties have called for higher standards but have offered noeffective strategies to accomplish this goal.
* Lengthen the school year and increase the number of required subjectsin high schools, as recommended by the 1984 National Commission on Excellencein Education.
* Establish ties with teachers' organizations, schools, and communityinterest groups to develop policies and programs that upgrade the statusand skills of teachers.
* Add computer support to the National Literacy Act of 1991, to provideresearch and help implement computer-aided instruction, including Internetinstruction, in literacy programs.
* Increase the nutritional value of school lunches--a simple but essentialchange that has been shown to improve educational outcomes in economicallydisadvantaged neighborhoods.
* Establish community centers of knowledge where parents can receivethe latest understanding of health and nutrition for their children.
* Create national apprenticeship programs by bringing together business,labor, and educational leaders to develop a system that offers trainingin a valuable skill for students who are not college-bound.
Most of the educational programs promoted by the Natural Law Party havebeen successfully applied in diverse educational settings worldwide andhave therefore been the subject of extensive scientific research. The resultsof such programs include the significantly improved educational outcomesmentioned above--increased intelligence, creativity, motivation, academicperformance, moral reasoning, psychological maturity, and social responsibility--aswell as a higher quality of life among students and faculty.
1. The U.S. spends over $270 billion per year on public and elementaryeducation, and expenditures per pupil, adjusted for inflation, have increasedmore than 25% over the past ten years. Yet America is falling behind inthe knowledge race. Recent National Educational Goals Panel statistics (seeU.S News and World Report, April 1, 1996) included the following:
* Among U.S. high school seniors, 60% could not meet suggested nationaleducational standards; 76% spend less than five hours per week on homework,compared with 35% of seniors in Japan
* U.S. high school students spend less than half as much class time studyingmath, history and science as do students in Japan, France, and Germany
* Only 4.4% of U.S. students pass advanced placement exams, comparedto 33% in France, Germany , Israel, and Japan
* A comparison of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Scotland, Canada, andthe U.S. found that the U.S. has the shortest school year--62 days shorterthan Japan's
2. A 1994 survey found that at least one third of all school childrenhave used an illicit drug other than marijuana or alcohol before graduationfrom high school. Furthermore, it is estimated that one out of four Americanhigh school students has a serious drinking problem.
3. According to the National Center for Juvenile Justice, murder arrestsamong 10- to 17-year olds have doubled since 1983, and the actual murderrate among 14- to 17-year-olds has risen 165% since 1984. Crimes in andaround American public schools have increased significantly; well over 100,000students now carry a gun to school. A recent U.S. Justice Department foundthat juvenile arrests for gun charges have doubled since 1985, and gunshotwounds have become the second leading cause of death among high school students.
4. Developmental psychologists have outlined specific, natural stagesof psychological growth in children. The final stage, termed "formaloperations" by Piaget, is associated with adolescence and representsthe level of mental functioning in which abstract thinking becomes stabilized.Due to the inadequacies of our educational system, the majority of our studentsnever achieve this stage of normal adolescent mental development acrosscognitive domains--let alone their full potential. (For a more comprehensivetreatment of this topic, see Alexander, Charles N., and Langer, Ellen J.(eds.), Higher Stages of Human Development: Perspectives on Adult Growth,New York: Oxford, 1990.)
5. A series of recent studies has found a correlation between nutritionand academic performance (Personality and Individual Differences, 4:343&;361, 1991). These studies found that in several hundred schools in NewYork, there was a 16% gain in academic performance resulting from improvednutrition. The study suggested that many students experience malnutrition,too slight for clinical signs, but which nevertheless affected their intelligenceand academic performance. This impairment can be corrected through improvednutrition.
6. These prevention-oriented health care programs include Maharishi Ayur-Veda--anatural system of health care that promotes balance in mind, body, and behaviorand that has been shown to significantly reduce medical utilization by producingbetter health in its practitioners. These programs strengthen mind and bodyand reduce anxiety, thereby enhancing receptivity and the capacity for learning.
7. Research confirms a marked improvement in student health and a reductionin drug abuse, alcohol use, and cigarette use through programs proposedby the Natural Law Party (Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11 (1/2,3/4), 1994;International Journal of Addictions 12:729, 1977; Bulletin on Narcotics40:50, 1988; Journal of Addictions 14:147, 1981; 26:293, 1991; AmericanJournal of Psychiatry 131:60, 1974).
8. In the U.S., model institutions incorporating educational programsendorsed by the Natural Law Party include Maharishi University of Managementin Fairfield, Iowa, and its award-winning laboratory school from preschoolto 12th grade. In addition to a strong traditional academic program, studentsat these institutions gain an integrated vision of all aspects of life throughtheir study and experience of the laws of nature, which structure and upholdgrowth and progress in their own lives and on all levels of the environment.Such an approach to education develops student awareness of and curiosityabout the deeper functioning of nature's intelligence.
9. Extensive scientific research on one program endorsed by the NaturalLaw Party--the Transcendental Meditation program--has consistently demonstratedits capacity to unfold student potential and thereby fulfill the highestgoals of education:
For decades, IQ was thought to be static, a measured quantity that wasfixed after a certain age. However, research indicates that the practiceof Transcendental Meditation significantly increases IQ (Educational Technology19:7, 1979; Personality and Individual Differences 12:1105, 1991; CollegeStudent Journal 15:140, 1981; Perceptual and Motor Skills 62:731, 1986).
Other scientific studies have shown that practice of Transcendental Meditationincreases learning ability, improves memory, and enhances orderliness ofbrain functioning (Memory and Cognition 10:205, 1982; International Journalof Neuroscience 14:147, 1981; Psychosomatic Medicine 46 (3):267, 1984);reduces stress and exam anxiety (Journal of Clinical Psychology 45:957,1989); stimulates ego development, motivation, and moral reasoning (Journalof Social Behavior and Personality 6:189, 1991; Journal of Moral Education12:166, 1983); and results in significant improvements in analytic intelligence,self-concept, and general school performance among inner city youths ("Effectsof the Transcendental Meditation Program with Low-Income Inner-City Children,"presented at the 98th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association,Boston, Massachusetts, August 1990).
Natural Law Party Solutions
CRIME AND REHABILITATION
THE NATURAL LAW PARTY envisions an America free of crime, where all citizenslive fully in accord with both natural law and national law; where peoplefreely move on the streets without fear; and where Americans live and worktogether harmoniously for both their own fulfillment and the national good.
Crime costs Americans $450 billion annually . Despite two decadesof "get tough" policies- with longer, often mandatory prison sentences--therate of violent crime in America has risen almost 30% in the last ten years. Of gravest concern, juvenile violent crime has spiraled during thepast decade--especially urban gang and school violence using guns . TheFBI's most recent crime report concluded that "every American has arealistic chance of being murdered because of the random nature [that] crimehas assumed."
America's criminal justice system is under constant strain. Courts, police,probation and parole agencies, and prisons are overworked and inadequateto deal with the high level of crime .
Clearly, a "get-tough" policy is not enough. Effective crimeprevention is also crucial. Yet despite the dismal track record of "get-tough"approaches, Republican and Democratic legislators ignore proven preventivestrategies and press for more police, more prisons, and stiffer punishment.Consider the following:
* Building more prisons has not worked. The U.S. already has 1.3 millioncitizens in jail--the highest percentage of any country in the world .Incarceration acts like a quarantine, preventing a faster acceleration ofcrime, but fails to eradicate the source of the crime epidemic. California,for example, spent $3.8 billion on prison construction from 1980 to 1992and quadrupled its prison population, yet violent crimes continued to rise.
* The threat of punishment is not enough. Most violent crime is "animpulsive response to an immediate stressful situation," often committedunder the influence of drugs or alcohol--not a rational, considered action.
* Many experts feel that prisons train inmates to be better criminals. Most violent crime is committed by hard-core repeat offenders: themajority of all prisoners commit new crimes and are arrested within threeyears of release.
* More police on the street does not lower crime. Published reports indicatethat increased police patrols in major U.S. cities have had little effecton crime rates . Washington, D.C., for example, has the highest police/populationratio in the nation--and one of the highest violent crime rates. The new$25 billion crime bill designed to deploy 100,000 more police representsmerely a drop in the bucket and is hardly cost-effective.
Increasing recognition of the need for prevention has led to experimentalapproaches such as Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) and midnight basketball.Unfortunately, long-term scientific studies have found no significant effectson crime and drug abuse from such programs .
The Natural Law Party believes that these "bandaid" approachesdo not work because they fail to address the root cause of crime--the epidemicof stress throughout society. During the past two decades, medical sciencehas documented the alarming rise of stress-related illness such as hypertension,stroke, and heart disease. This same build-up of stress is responsible fora similar rise in social illnesses--crime, drug abuse, domestic violence,and family disintegration.
Current crime prevention programs overlook the psychological and physiologicaldevastation wrought by constant, traumatic stress. Stress causes a complexpsychophysiological chain reaction that makes the nervous system hyperexcitedand unstable . Chronic, acute stress leads to serious physiologicalmalfunction. Among other effects, the body's neurochemical balance is distorted,producing abnormally high levels of cortisol (a primary stress hormone)and low levels of serotonin (a key neurotransmitter) . This out-of-balancebiochemistry has been linked with anxiety, fear, anger, impulsive violentbehavior, and substance abuse .
Moreover, the combined stress of all the individuals in society buildsup and creates a dangerous, criminal atmosphere in the whole community.This societal stress and tension becomes a breeding ground for more crimeand violence. Thus, to reduce crime, stress must be reduced in at-risk individualsand throughout society.
Reducing social stress--In addition to a tough penal code as a deterrentto crime, the Natural Law Party offers systematic, scientifically provenprograms to reduce stress in the individual and throughout society--thuseliminating the root cause of crime. At least one such program, the TranscendentalMeditation program, has been scientifically shown to (1) reduce individualand social stress; (2) reduce cortisol and increase serotonin productionin the body, thus counteracting the neurochemical imbalances produced bystress; and (3) decrease anxiety, hostility, and anger, and improve psychologicaldevelopment and moral reasoning .
Forty-three published scientific studies have shown that large groupspracticing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program in one locationreduce social stress and violence. These studies, which have investigatedthe impact of such groups on communities, cities, and entire nations, haveconsistently found decreases in crime, war deaths, and other negative socialindicators, as well as improvements in economy and national mood . Thisinnovative approach offers a highly cost effective, scientifically provenstrategy to eliminate the fundamental cause of crime through reducing individualand societal stress.
Effective prison rehabilitation--The most cost-effective prevention strategyis to target those individuals who are at highest risk for crime--the currentprison inmate population, 90% of whom will be released from prison. A five-yearHarvard study investigated the effects of the Transcendental Meditationtechnique in a maximum security prison. Inmates who learned the practicedecreased significantly in stress, aggression, and mental disorders. Violencethroughout the prison decreased, and the rate of return to prison amongparticipating inmates was 30-35% less than for four other treatment groups. Similar studies in 28 other maximum security prisons have shown equallyimpressive results . (Current rehabilitation strategies put the cartbefore the horse. They try to reeducate and reform inmates without firstchanging inmates from within by ridding them of the stress that makes themuninterested in education or incapable of being reformed .)
Community policing--In New York City, a new initiative called computer-assistedcommunity policing has been credited with reducing crime by 40% during thelast two years. In this approach, police are assigned to high-crime neighborhoodsidentified by computer tracking, work closely with these neighborhoods,and are rewarded for preventing crime. According to statistics from theNew York Police Department, murder in New York City dropped 31% during thefirst half of 1995 compared to the first six months of 1994, with similarreductions in other categories of violent crime. This striking improvementled one journalist to refer to New York as "the suddenly safer city".
Urban revitalization--Our overcrowded, decaying urban centers obviouslycontribute to the rise of stress and crime. Any program to reduce crimemust involve a comprehensive plan to revitalize the inner cities, as laidout in our "Revitalizing Our Inner Cities" section.
Drug and alcohol rehabilitation--A high proportion of crimes are committedunder the influence of alcohol and drugs. A recent study of crime in NewYork City found that tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse cost the city's taxpayersand corporations $20 billion in 1994--21 cents of every tax dollar .The Natural Law Party would introduce programs proven to reduce drug dependency,eliminate stress, and promote mental and physical health .
Preventing youth crime--School drop-outs are at highest risk for crimeand drug abuse. The Natural Law Party strongly supports more effective educationalprograms to keep children in school, off the streets, and out of the reachof crime. Our proven educational programs unfold greater creativity andintelligence and develop ideal citizenship by raising life to be in accordwith natural law and national law (see our "Education" section).The Natural Law Party's strong educational focus is the true, long-termsolution to the pervasive problem of crime.
The Natural Law Party is the only political party with a truly comprehensive,scientifically proven strategy to reduce crime. Our approach is the mosthard-headed and hard-hitting, since it focuses on scientifically provenprograms that work. Our prevention-oriented approach will save the nationhundreds of billions of dollars and prevent immeasurable anguish and sufferingin the lives of millions of Americans who are victims of crime each year.
1. See Victim Costs and Consequences: A New Look, a comprehensive surveyjust published by the National Institute of Justice (the research branchof the Justice Department). This report is the first to include cost estimatesfor reduced qualify of life for victims. The report excludes the $40 billioncost of running America's prisons, jails, and parole and problation systems--whichwould bring the total annual cost of crime to almost $500 billion.
2. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States 1994,Uniform Crime Reports, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, 1995,p. 58.
3. According to the National Center for Juvenile Justice (1995), themurder rate among 14- to 17 year-olds increased 165% during the last tenyears, and the number of arrests for violent crime among 10- to 17-year-oldsdoubled. In addition, according to USA Today (November 13, 1995, p. 1A),the number of teenage arrests on weapons charges has doubled since 1985.
4. America leads the industrialized world in murders--almost four timesthe annual U.S. casualty rate during the Vietnam War (see Wilson, J., Commentary,September 1994, p. 25). The most recent FBI annual crime statistics forthe U.S. reported 23,300 murders, 102,000 forcible rapes, 618,000 robberies,1,120,000 aggravated assaults, and 2,712,000 burglaries. (See Federal Bureauof Investigation, op. cit.)
5. Moreover, U.S. Department of Justice figures (press release, August27, 1995) indicate that 5.1 million Americans are under some form of correctionalsupervision--prison, jail, parole, or probation. Bob Dole's recent proposalto eliminate parole would raise the number of citizens in jail by almost60%.
6. See Petersilia, J., "Crime and Punishment in California: FullCells, Empty Pockets, and Questionable Benefits," CPS Brief, Berkeley,CA: California Policy Seminars, May 1993. The high cost of incarcerationalso argues against more prisons. In 1995, the average annual cost per maximum-securityinmate in America was $35,000 (Directory of Juvenile and Adult CorrectionalDepts., Institutions, and Paroling Authorities 1995, Laurel, MD: AmericanCorrectional Association, 1995), and the projected costs of "threestrikes and you're out" legislation are so staggering ($5.5 billionannually in California) that few states will ever implement them. See Greenwood,P., et al., "Three Strikes and You're Out: Estimated Benefits and Costsof California's New Mandatory Sentencing Law," Santa Monica: RAND,1994.
7. Petersilia, op. cit., p. 9.
8. Petersilia, op. cit., p. 10; Sampson, R., and Laub, C., Crime in theMaking, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993, p. 255.
9. The Newark Foot Patrol Experiment, 1981; The Kansas City PreventivePatrol Experiment: A Summary Report, Washington, DC: Police Foundation,1974. See also Wilson, James Q., "What to Do About Crime," Commentary,1994, pp. 215-234.
10. Social Problems 41(3):448-472, 1994.
11. Sapolsky, R., Stress, the Aging Brain, and the Mechanisms of NeuronDeath, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992.
12. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11:89-117, 1994.
13. Archives of General Psychiatry 49:436-441, 1992; Archives of GeneralPsychiatry 49:429 435, 1992; Life Sciences 33:2609-2614, 1983.
14. Journal of Clinical Psychology 45: 957-974, 1989; Society of NeuroscienceAbstracts 18:1541, 1992; Journal of Neural Transmission 39:257-267, 1976;Criminal Justice and Behavior 5:3-20, 1978; and Dissertation Abstracts International,51:5048, 1991.
15. The most recent of these studies, a National Demonstration Projectconducted in Washington, D.C., from June 7 to July 30, 1993, tested theefficacy of groups of experts in the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhiprogram for reducing crime and social stress and improving the effectivenessof government. By the end of the Project, when the group was largest, actualcrime as measured by FBI Uniform Crime Statistics decreased sharply belowthe level predicted without the coherence-creating group. The approximately20% decrease in crime was highly statistically significant (p = .00008).(See Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, Fairfield, Iowa,Technical Report ITR-94:1, 1994.)
16. Dissertation Abstracts International 43:539b, 1982.
17. The Transcendental Meditation technique has been successfully usedin 28 rehabilitation programs in 15 U.S. states. Studies have shown thatthe Transcendental Meditation technique is more effective in reducing recidivismthan other prison rehabilitation programs (Journal of Criminal Justice 15:211,1987; International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice11:111, 1987; Dissertation Abstracts International 43:539b, 1982). In 1987-1988,the African nation of Senegal applied this rehabilitation strategy nationwide.Over 11,000 Senegalese prisoners and over 900 prison officers were instructedin the TM technique. Recidivism dropped dramatically, the prison populationhalved, prison violence declined, and several prisons closed while manyothers operated at well below capacity. See New Horizons in Criminologyand Penitentiary Science: The Maharishi Unified Field Based Integrated Systemof Rehabilitation in Senagalese Prisons, Dacca: 12-13 February 1988.
18. For a fuller discussion of this approach to rehabilitation and crimeprevention, see Marcus, Jay B., The Crime Vaccine, Baton Rouge, Louisiana:Claitor's Books, 1996.
19. Horowitz, C., "The Suddenly Safer City," New York Magazine,August 14, 1995.
20. See Califano, Joseph A., Substance Abuse in Urban America: Its Impacton an American City, New York, Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse,Cornell University, February 1996.
21. A recent meta-analysis of programs used in the treatment of substanceabuse found that those endorsed by the Natural Law Party were highly effectivein decreasing the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and a wide variety of nonprescribeddrugs (Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11(1/2): 13 87, 1994).
Natural Law Party Solutions
The Natural Law Party ENVISIONS a time when American farmers will farmin full accord with the laws of nature, fully utilizing nature's creativityto yield abundant, healthy food, while protecting the environment and ensuringa vigorous, diversified, sustainable agricultural economy.
The future of agriculture depends on its sustainability--that is, theability of agricultural policies and practices to preserve and strengthenthe farming economy, ecology, and community for future generations.
The recently passed Federal Agricultural Improvement and Reform Act of1996 (FAIR) has been heralded as a major change of direction for U.S. agriculture.But it has left many wondering whether crucial, fundamental changes havereally been made in agricultural policy, and whether FAIR is fair--especiallyfor small family farms and for the environment. FAIR does not go far enoughto ensure agricultural practices that are sustainable--financially, environmentally,and socially.
1. Financially unsustainable
* Recent projections of increasing international demand for food, coupledwith rapidly shrinking global food reserves, suggest that consumers willpay even more for food in the future and that poor countries will receiveless U.S. food aid. The 1995 market prices of wheat, corn, and other grainsreached near record highs in many cases, and international food reserveshave dropped to their lowest level since 1960. Global grain consumptionhas outdistanced production in seven of the past nine years--a trend thatwill be further fueled by China's recent transition from a grain exporterto the world's second largest grain importer. Despite these realities, currentU.S. farm programs restrict America's agricultural production (for example,36 million acres have been taken out of production) while encouraging competitorsto plant more [1,2].
* In 1994, the federal government spent $10.3 billion on subsidies tofarmers . The new farm subsidy program of FAIR, although formalizingthe phasing out of government subidies over the next seven years, continuesto favor the nation's largest farms.
* From 1988 to 1993, even the most economically profitable farms averagedonly a 3-5% return on stockholder equity; food manufacturers, on the otherhand, averaged 16.5% . Clearly, farmers receive little of the "value-added"profit accruing to food manufacturers that process farm goods for the market.Farmers--especially those working small family farms--and their surroundingcommunities cannot survive without diversification of farm activities thatkeeps more of these profits close to home.
2. Environmentally unsustainable
* Conventional agriculture erodes and degrades soil ; it requireslarge-scale use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers that pollute groundwaterand are unhealthy for consumers and farmers. Annual pesticide use per acreon certain major crops nearly doubled from 1964 to 1992, to a total of 574million pounds . These agrichemicals pose real threats to water quality,wildlife, and human health. Recent scientific research indicates that commonpesticides are estrogen mimicking and implicates them in the high incidenceof breast cancer
and prostate cancer in America and in the striking decline in male spermcount. Yet FAIR continues to support chemically intensive cropping practices.
* In an attempt to protect the environment, the U.S. government lastyear paid farmers $1.7 billion to set aside environmentally sensitive land. These programs are inadequate, however, since they indirectly encouragefarmers to maximize production on remaining land through large scale useof chemical pesticides to combat weeds and insects--thus promoting environmentaldegradation.
* Federal agencies have decided that a few genetically engineered plantand animal products (such as recombinant bovine growth hormone--rBGH--whichboosts milk production) are safe and may be commercialized, despite theconcerns of some scientists. Virtually all European nations have bannedrBGH and other hormone treatment in livestock, but in the U.S. it is standardpractice to inject female hormones into poultry and male hormones into beefto ensure maximum weight (and thus maximum profit) at sale. Many productssimilar to rBGH are under review. In addition, many foods that have beengenetically engineered with pig, virus, or bacteria genes are already beingsold in supermarkets. Yet these genetically altered foods are not labeledas such--nor do federal agencies intend to label them.
* Some leading scientists believe that alteration of DNA--the most fundamentallevel of plant and animal physiology--is likely to have profound negativeimpacts on the environment and human life . For example, altered genesfrom cultivated food crops may be released to wild relatives, thus compromisingthe "gene pool" upon which breeders of domestic crops must drawto enhance resistance to pests and disease. Unlike other products, a geneticallyengineered organism that has been released into the environment can neverbe recalled. Alarmingly, even organizations that support sustainable agricultureare now embracing genetically engineered seeds as a means to improve cropyields and increase profitability.
* The explosion of factory hog farms, cattle feedlots, and poultry operationsduring the last few years has increased livestock concentrations, confinementhousing, and separation of animals from their natural environments. As aresult, these animals are more prone to disease; therefore, they need moreantibiotics; and consequently, their wastes become a health hazard insteadof a natural aid to soil fertility.
* In addition, to ensure maximum weight gain in their livestock, farmerscommonly inject antibiotics into healthy animals. Many scientists suspectthat this practice helps create bacteria and viruses that are resistantor immune to antibiotics. Since antibiotic-resistant germs have become amajor health problem in America, this practice should be stopped immediately.
3. Socially unsustainable
* Experts feel that conventional agriculture has led to "decayingcommunities [in] rural America that continue to lose population, business,and even their reason to exist as farms consolidate into larger units andfarm families leave" . Small towns are a reservoir of enterpriseand traditional values that Americans cherish, and they should not be lost.
* Corporate-owned factory hog farms, cattle feedlots, and poultry operations,as well as the corporations that supply them, are becoming increasinglyvertically integrated, pushing family farms and rural agribusinesses outof business and reducing farmers to corporate laborers.
* The challenges of farming today are making new demands on farmers andtheir families. The farmer must take into account many complex factors inmaking production decisions, including the weather, quality of the soil,threat of pests, available financial resources, and changing agriculturalmarkets. Economic pressures cause stress, which affects health and wellbeing. Research has found that farmers are also at high risk from exposureto chemical pesticides .
Agriculture is more than a business; it is a way of life. The food producedby farmers is basic to our health and national security, and farmland itselfis an irreplaceable resource vital to sustenance of life. Therefore, governmentmust help ensure the long-term viability of agriculture.
The Natural Law Party supports legislation that will ensure social, economic,and environmental sustainability of agriculture while balancing the followinggoals: (1) promoting health and longevity in farmers and in the populationas a whole; (2) protecting natural resources and the environment; (3) enablingfarmers to better pursue financial profitability; (4) cushioning farmersfrom the natural and financial instability unique to agriculture; (5) ensuringan economical and healthful supply of high-quality food for consumers; and(6) restoring the vitality of rural communities.
The Natural Law Party has identified solutions to the problems facedby U.S. agriculture:
1. Given the far-reaching ecological and health impacts of genetic engineering,a moratorium should be imposed on the release of genetically engineeredorganisms until the safety of such organisms can be firmly established.In addition, to protect the public's right to know, labeling of geneticallyengineered foods should be mandatory.
2. Farm policies should be redirected to expand opportunities for newand existing farmers to prosper using sustainable systems that will enhancethe health of the farmers and the population as a whole. Training and apprenticeshipprograms, loans, grants, and other incentives should be devised to assistconventional and entry-level farmers to adopt organic or more sustainablesystems. Demonstration farms, farmer-to-farmer networks and field tours,and studies of successful alternative farming systems should be used tohasten the adoption of more sustainable practices.
3. Many policy makers and farm leaders favor subsidy programs keyed tothe income of the farmer, rather than the price of the crop--programs thatreward, rather than penalize, resource conserving, nonpolluting practices.For example, "revenue assurance" programs, "decoupled"from commodity prices and production levels, would guarantee adequate farmincomes while reducing total program costs and minimizing the impact ofgovernment programs on commodity prices . Farmers would gain more flexibilityto choose what to plant, where, and when. They will be freer to rotate cropsand adopt other techniques that better conserve soil and water. Transitionalsubsidy programs of this type will help transfer financial and administrativeresponsibility to the private sector (e.g., the insurance industry) as soonas possible.
4. The U.S. should change its policy focus from "cheap food forthe consumer" to "quality food for the consumer on a sustainablebasis." Through research and education, the U.S. Department of Agricultureis in a unique position to influence (a) practices of farmers and the food-productionindustry, and (b) the food choices and demands of consumers:
(a) Field-tested techniques supported by scientific research, such asintegrated pest management, integrated crop management, and organic farming,already exist for farming profitably on a chemical-free, sustainable basis. On this basis, agrichemical use could be reduced 50% by the year 2000.The USDA should initiate and fund research into further development of alternativeand chemical-free sustainable agricultural practices, with an emphasis onthe development of systems and technologies that can be integrated economicallyand completely into all agricultural production. In addition, economistshave developed accounting techniques that incorporate the costs of pollutionand natural-resource depletion into agriculture's balance sheet . Governmentlegislation should make it a priority to disseminate these practices andtechniques to the entire food production industry, showing farmers, producers,and consumers that sustainable food production practices are more cost-effectivein the long run.
(b) Consumer demand drives agricultural supply. Changes in consumer preferenceswill create a shift toward less resource-intensive food production and ahealthier food suppl y. The USDA should initiate and fund research investigatingthe impact of dietary change on health and longevity, and then launch campaignsto educate the public. For example, government should fund vigorous programsto inform consumers that chemical-free food is possible now, at a reasonableprice. Moreover, scientists have recently concluded that substantial publichealth and environmental benefits would likely result from more widespreaduse of vegetables, fruit, and plant-based protein in the diet . Thegovernment should educate the public about the health and environmentalvalue of these foods in the diet.
Land-grant universities and extension services should also take the initiativeto develop and disseminate sustainable agricultural practices and healthierdietary approaches.
5. Farm communities should seek new ways to keep "value-added"processes and profits as close as possible to the farm. Public policy shouldpromote cooperative development of local processing facilities and diversificationinto the production of higher-value, specialized crops--including chemical-freeproduction.
6. Family-sized farms should be protected and strengthened through moreprograms such as FAIR's Fund for Rural America, which supports value-addedincentives, assistance for minority and beginning farmers, and other initiativesto empower farmers and rural communities to work towards revitalizing rurallife. Even removing farm payment loopholes for large corporate agribusinesseswould favor the viability of family-sized farms. Programs such as the Fundfor Rural America should be given high priority and full funding.
7. For the above recommendations to be successful, however, it is necessary--forthe individual farmer and society as a whole--to develop consciousness andgain more support of natural law. The Natural Law Party therefore recommendseducational programs to develop the consciousness of the farmer and therebyreduce stress, improve the farmer's health and well-being, and promote theskills to meet new management challenges. Such programs will enable farmersto spontaneously make better decisions and better use of the environment,and will bring them greater support of natural law in all their activities. Similarly, the reduction of stress in the collective consciousnessof society , combined with the Natural Law Party's focus on education,will influence consumer choices toward higher-quality food, better health,and more life-enriching behavior--life in accord with natural law .These programs will help ensure that the natural resources upon which agriculturedepends will be available far into the future.
1. "Grain Prices Head Higher," Business Week, November 20,1995, p. 38.
2. "Another Crisis in World's Future?" Des Moines Register,November 12, 1995, p. 1J.
3. U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
4. Heffernan, W., cited in "U.S. Ag Called Feudal System,"Des Moines Register, November 27, 1994.
5. On average, cropland in the U.S. loses about 7 tons of topsoil peracre per year: see "Environmental and Economic Costs of Soil Erosionand Conservation Benefits," Science 267:1117, 1995.
6. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service (USDA/ERS),Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators (December 1994), 86.
7. Through the Conservation Reserve Program; USDA/ERS, 165.
8. One is Dr. John Fagan, discussed in "Biologist Returns US Grantsto Protest Genetic Research," The Boston Globe, November 16, 1994.
9. Northwest Area Foundation, A Better Row to Hoe: The Economic, Environmental,and Social Impact of Sustainable Agriculture (Dec. 1994), 1; see also USDA/ERS,18.
10. Scandinavian Journal of Work and Environmental Health 18:209-215,1992; Journal of the American Medical Association 256(9):1141-1147, 1986;Zahm, S.H., et al., Annual Meeting of the Society for Epidemiological Research,Vancouver, Canada, June 15-17, 1988.
11. "The Budgetary and Resource Allocation Effects of Revenue Assurance:Summary of Results," Iowa Agricultural Review (March 1995), 4-7.
12. National Research Council, Board on Agriculture, Alternative Agriculture(1989); Northwest Area Foundation, 2.
13. Paying the Farm Bill: U.S. Agricultural Policy and the Transitionto Sustainable Agriculture, World Resources Institute, 1991.
14. "Health Effects and Prevalence of Vegetarianism," The WesternJournal of Medicine, 160: 465-471, 1994.
15. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Maharishi's Absolute Theory of Government:Automation in Administration (Vlodrop, Holland: Maharishi Vedic UniversityPress), 1993, 4-44, 171-172, 309 311; Vedic Knowledge for Everyone, 110-117.
16. Much of this research is summarized in The Maharishi Effect: Resultsof Scientific Research 1974-1990 (Fairfield, IA: MIU Press), 1990; see alsoThe Journal of Mind and Behavior 8:67 104, 1987, and 9:457-486, 1988; Journalof Conflict Resolution 32:776-812, 1988; Institute of Science, Technologyand Public Policy, Fairfield, Iowa, Technical Report ITR-94:1, 1994.
17. Maharishi's Absolute Theory of Government, 77-79, 84-85; see alsoour "Government Supported by Natural Law" section.
Natural Law Party Solutions
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
THE NATURAL LAW PARTY will create a future in which renewable, nonpolluting,inexpensive energy is abundantly available, the air in our cities is pureand clean, and our rivers and lakes are free of pollution. We foresee atime when waste is efficiently managed; when the needless destruction offorests and species diversity has ceased; when there are many more parks,gardens, and fountains; when new jobs have been created to develop renewableenergy sources, conserve energy, and protect the environment; and when globalcooperation ends the threats to the future of humankind, such as ozone depletionand the greenhouse effect.
The standard of living and the economic vitality of the United Statesdepend on the increasing availability of inexpensive, clean, renewable sourcesof energy.
Until now, the U.S. has relied mainly on fossil fuels. Coal, oil, andnatural gas account for the majority of energy used for electricity, heat,transportation, and industry. However, these fuels are nonrenewable andlimited in supply. Their use results in air pollution, acid rain, pollutionfrom mercury and other contaminants, the threat of global warming, and otherenvironmental hazards that may endanger future generations with irreversibleglobal changes .
The Federal Government indirectly subsidizes our dependence on fossilfuels by spending tax dollars to correct the environmental and health-relateddamage caused by airborne pollutants. In addition, at the earth summit inBrazil, where all nations assembled to address global environmental concerns,the U.S. government took a stand to protect economic interests that it perceivedto be in conflict with environmental interests. Protecting the environmentwas equated with loss of jobs, increased costs of goods, and loss of economicvitality.
According to a 1995 report from the Department of Health and Human Services,environmental toxins are responsible for 14% of annual deaths in America.A 1996 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Washington, D.C.,environmental group, found that air pollution kills 64,000 Americans a year--ahigher death toll than for auto accidents . The indirect costs of pollution,such as those associated with health care and acid rain, are incalculable;they effect tourism, overall quality of life, and many other areas .
In addition to the environmental hazards posed by current energy use,the majority of our rivers and streams are still so polluted from toxicagricultural and industrial pollutants that they are unsafe for swimming.Approximately 93% of the virgin forests in the Pacific Northwest have beencut (a nonrenewable resource), and most of the remainder is scheduled tobe cut in the next few years- nearly all of it on public lands. Biodiversityis being threatened at an alarming rate, not only in our vanishing forests,but in the oceans. Hundreds of thousands of sea mammals are being exterminatedby drift-net fishing. Approximately 50% of our wetlands that provided habitatsfor wildlife have been destroyed, and overgrazed prairie lands are beingincreasingly eroded.
American dependence on foreign oil creates political instability betweenthe U.S. and the Middle East. For example, the purpose of Desert Storm,with its enormous attendant costs, was primarily to defend U.S. oil interestsin the Persian Gulf region. This military operation should be included inthe cost of fossil fuel. Desert Storm and similar defense activities thatprotect oil in the Middle East are in fact a form of corporate welfare.U.S dependence on foreign oil is also responsible for almost 50% of ourtrade deficit.
Despite its vital importance to our economy, America's energy utilizationis inefficient and often haphazard. Renewable sources, such as hydroelectric,wind, and solar power, account for only a small percentage of all powergenerated in the United States. America lacks a long-term plan for conservation,increasing efficiency, and conversion to sustainable sources.
The Natural Law Party is committed to increasing both energy efficiencyand the use of renewable, safe, and nonpolluting energy sources. This approachwill protect our environment, create energy self-sufficiency, and add tothe economic prosperity of the nation. Through programs that will createnew jobs and new industries in energy conservation and renewable energysources, the Natural Law Party will move away from the hazardous and wastefuluse of fossil fuels in ways that will simultaneously benefit the environmentand save the nation hundreds of billions of dollars .
To improve energy efficiency and self-sufficiency, the Natural Law Partywill:
* Support basic research on energy efficiency, energy storage (both forlarge and small-scale applications), and fuel cells, in addition to electric,hydrogen, and highly energy-efficient vehicles. The newly developed zincair battery, for example, has four times the storage density of the nickelcadmium battery and could lead to energy-efficient automobiles.
* Provide financial incentives for home-owners and industry to use availableenergy efficiency measures, such as insulation and compact fluorescent lighting.
* Set performance standards for energy-consuming and pollutant-emittingproducts in order to encourage adoption of state-of-the-art technologiesand to protect responsible and innovative manufacturers from being undercutby those who produce cheaper but dirtier products.
By increasing efficiency, the U.S. can reduce energy use by approximately2% a year, from 84.4 quadrillion BTUs in 1990 to 69.2 quads in the year2000. For example, conservation measures such as compact fluorescent lightingcan save up to $25 billion in annual fuel costs .
The Natural Law Party also supports the development of new energy sources,such as solar, wind, and biomass--which could be cost-competitive now ifgovernment stopped subsidizing fossil fuels. The Natural Law Party is committedto increasing the proportion of renewable, environmentally clean energysources by the year 2000. To achieve these goals, the Natural Law Partywill:
* Tax fossil fuels to reflect their real cost to the nation, includingenvironmental clean-up, medical costs, and security costs in the PersianGulf.
* Remove federal subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Requirethat construction of new electrical power plants take into account all long-termcosts to the nation, such as environmental protection and health costs.
* Minimize the federal government's role as a micromanager in the energymarketplace, and ensure that the construction of major capital assets (includingbuildings and electric power plants) reflect the national energy policygoals over the lifetime of the assets .
The Natural Law Party does not support the development of nuclear energy.At present, municipalities subsidize nuclear plants and the Federal Governmentfunds nuclear reactor construction with tax-deductible bonds. But no onecan safeguard for 10,000 years the highly toxic wastes generated by thesereactors--which is what the Federal Government has agreed to do. By tryingto get rid of these wastes, the government has essentially agreed to yetanother subsidy for pollution-generating energy sources. In addition, theknown worldwide reserves of low-cost, high-grade nuclear fuel are runningout, which will mandate a transition in the near future to the next generationof nuclear power plants: advanced converters and breeder reactors. Thesereactors have the technological advantage that they do not consume fuel--theymake their own--but they produce bomb-grade fissionable materials as unavoidableby-products. In a world based on such a technology, no government couldensure nuclear containment and nonproliferation. Therefore, for both economicand security reasons, the Natural Law Party will not support further developmentand construction of nuclear energy plants.
It is vitally important for America to clean up its polluted air, rivers,lakes, beaches,
wetlands, and oceans. Research has consistently shown that when industrialsources of pollution are eliminated at their source, the profitability ofthe industry increases. Moreover, when businesses are forced to stop polluting,they frequently come up with innovative ways to make use of their pollutingby-products. In Scandinavia, for example, businesses in any given regioncollectively decide how to use polluting wastes from one business as partof the manufacturing process of another, with the goal of zero pollution.
To eliminate toxic waste, the Natural Law Party supports research intoinnovative technologies such as the plasma torch, a cost-effective processthat cooks contaminated soil into inert, harmless glassy rocks suitablefor road gravel. A similar technology, devised for liquid nuclear waste,drains out water and salts and turns the remainder into glass logs thatare safer for long-term storage.
America should lead the global effort to prevent the destruction of theearth's forests, the decimation of the diversity of species, and the potentialdamage from ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect. A moratorium shouldbe declared on cutting timber in national parks, national forests, and nationalmonuments until a sustainable management plan for cutting is instituted.
To make these changes requires flexibility and ingenuity in the developmentof new environmentally sound technologies--not giving up the present standardof living, but raising it through developing energy sources, industries,and modes of transportation that are in harmony with nature.
Since pollution is primarily caused by human behavior, bringing the individualand the nation into harmony with natural law provides the basis for allthe above programs proposed by the Natural Law Party. The Natural Law Partytherefore supports educational programs that promote broad comprehensionand "pollution-free behavior"--behavior that is in accord withnatural law, and does not create problems for society or the environment.
1. Engine exhaust from burning hydrocarbons in vehicles and from powergeneration and industrial use is a major source of air pollution. High levelsof greenhouse gases may contribute to potentially hazardous global warming.Strip-mining of coal is highly disruptive to the environment, and the burningof coal discharges millions of tons of particulate ash into the atmosphereeach year, thus threatening health and increasing air pollution. Air pollutionin most large U.S. cities is so severe that it poses a significant healthrisk. Oil production--drilling, refining, and shipping--is environmentallyhazardous, and devastating in the form of oil spills.
2. See Allen, Scott, "Study: Air Pollution Killing Thousands,"The Des Moines Register, May 9, 1996, p. 1. Significantly, officials atthe Environmental Protection Agency accepted the probable accuracy of thisestimate.
3. If the real costs associated with the use of polluting fuels wereappropriately distributed--for example, if the environmental costs of gasolinewere included in its cost at the pump--the free market system would haveeliminated fossil fuels long ago. In essence, the government is blockingfree enterprise and free market competition by subsidizing fossil fuelsand not their nonpolluting competitors.
4. The cost of energy to our nation is a substantial proportion of ourGNP. We spent 15% of our GNP on energy in 1990, or a total of $847 billion.According to the schedule proposed by the Natural Law Party, we would spendonly 10.2% by the year 2000. This would reduce energy costs from $847 billionin 1990 to $755 billion in the year 2000--while allowing an increase ofour GNP from $5.5 trillion to $7.4 trillion. This schedule of reductionsentails a shift to cleaner, more sustainable energy sources.
The programs supported by the Natural Law Party for cleaning up the environmentand protecting it from irreversible damage will stimulate the economy--actuallypaying a dividend of increased energy efficiency and economic vitality.Cleaning up polluted rivers and lakes will increase fishing industries,increase tourism, and increase revenues from outdoor recreational activities.Cleaning the air will reduce medical costs of respiratory disease and lungcancer. Protecting forests and reducing exhaust emissions will avert potentiallydisastrous expenses of adapting to climatic changes due to global warming.
5. Research shows that existing energy-conservation technologies cancut the use of fossil fuels in half, eliminating dependence on foreign oil--thelargest component of our trade deficit. One study, entitled America's EnergyChoices, published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, recently concludedthat the U.S. can dramatically reduce energy use and air pollution, andincrease the use of renewable technologies at a significant cost savingsto the nation.
According to a study by the Electric Power Research Institute, the introductionof energy conservation practices could reduce electricity use in the U.S.by as much as 55% (Romm, "The Economic Benefits of Combatting GlobalWarming," 1992).
6. An essay by Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School contendsthat well-designed government regulations can promote technological advancesand restrain the cost of meeting environmental goals. He cites the examplesof Japan and Germany, where environmental regulations enable those countriesto dominate world markets for pollution-control technologies (The Economist,May 30, 1992).
Natural Law Party Solutions
OUR NATION'S FOUNDERS strove to create a democracy that would guaranteefundamental human rights and hold the government accountable to the people.The Natural Law Party is committed to restoring this vision to the Americanpolitical process and overcoming the bipartisan conflict and special-interestcontrol that has paralyzed and subverted our government.
The Natural Law Party supports long overdue election and campaign reformsto ensure (a) equal access to the ballot, the media, and the public forall qualified candidates, (b) the elimination of PAC and soft-money fundingof campaigns, and (c) a shift toward public sponsorship of campaigns inorder to reduce the undue influence of special-interest money on electionoutcomes. Such reforms will fulfill every American's right to complete informationabout all candidates and their platforms while freeing elected officialsto focus on serving their country rather than seeking campaign contributions.
The Natural Law Party envisions a future in which elections are a timeof national celebration, free of negative campaigning--a time when the nationtakes pride in its achievements and plans collectively for the future.
There is no Constitutional basis for America's current two-party system.In fact, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson specifically warned againstpolitical parties, which they feared would become entrenched as elitistsand servers of special interests, unresponsive to the needs and desiresof the people.
Today we find ourselves in this very situation. Frustrated by politicalgridlock, many Americans feel that government has grown into a self-serving,self-perpetuating partisan body that neither reflects nor recognizes theirdesires. Recent polls indicate that 86% of Americans feel that their electedofficials will never solve the nation's problems, partly because politicalinfighting has frozen the machinery of government. Consequently, the U.S.has the lowest voter turnout of any country in the world.
Over 60% of Americans favor the formation of a new, major political party.Americans want change and are deeply frustrated with both Republican andDemocratic candidates. Traditionally, third parties have introduced importantnew ideas, such as women's suffrage and the abolition of slavery, into ournational political debate. As former Chief Justice Earl Warren commented,"All political ideas cannot and should not be channeled into the programsof our two major parties. History has amply proved the virtue of politicalactivity by minority, dissident groups, which innumerable times have beenin the vanguard of democratic thought and whose programs were ultimatelyaccepted. The absence of such voices would be a symptom of grave illnessin our society" . Yet the Republican and Democratic parties continueto exert an effective stranglehold on the political process--which has beenmanipulated during the past century to favor those in office and to discouragenew ideas from emerging via third parties and their candidates.
Current campaign laws unfairly discriminate against independent and third-partycandidates. In 1996, Republicans and Democrats will receive $134 milliontaxpayer dollars
to run their general election campaigns--including $25 million to holdmeaningless presidential nominating conventions--while independent and new-partycandidates do not enjoy the same support. In most cases, access to the ballotis automatic for Republicans and Democrats, but independent and third-partycandidates face the most rigid, unequal, and unwieldy procedures in theworld. For example, in 1992 the number of signatures required to get a presidentialcandidate on the ballot in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia was25,500 for Democrats, 49,250 for Republicans, and 770,000 for a new partycandidate. In addition, to run a national slate of federal candidates in1994, a new party would have had to gather about 3.5 million signatures--tentimes more than the number required for the Democratic and Republican parties.
These barriers blatantly violate the 1990 international Helsinki accordsthat guarantee universal and equal suffrage to all adult citizens, includingequal access to the ballot. Ironically, the United States is the world'sforemost proponent of these accords .
The Natural Law Party supports election reform that returns Americandemocracy to the high ideals envisioned by our nation's founders. We holdthat the roots of government should go deep into principles of life, ofnatural law, which sustains and unifies the enormous diversity of natureand society. For government to reflect these principles, it must fairlyrepresent the views of all its citizens and candidates. Therefore, the NaturalLaw Party supports the following initiatives:
* Ensure ballot access fairness. Every political party and candidateshould have the same requirements in every election for getting on the ballot.Incumbents should no longer have privileges over challengers with new ideas.
* Promote campaign fairness. It is the right of the American people tohear the views of every candidate on the ballot. All candidates that meetballot access requirements should have the same access to their constituencies,including equal media access through a series of publicly sponsored televisedforums, debates, and infomercials, as well as publicly sponsored mailingsof voter education materials. To qualify for these privileges, candidateswould be required to comply with voluntary spending limits. This structurewould favor voter education over privately funded media advertising andwould thereby help eliminate special-interest influence on the electionprocess.
* Encourage all Americans to vote. Election day should be made a mandatorynational holiday, as in most other nations, so that everyone has time tovote. Voter registration should be facilitated by creating uniform lawsthat allow same-day registration or even automatic registration.
* Shorten the campaign season. The campaign season should be reducedto four months- two months for parties to choose their candidates and twomonths for the general election.
* Abolish the Electoral College. Under the current system, a presidentialcandidate can receive a majority of the votes and still lose the election.The President should be elected by the people through direct popular vote.
* Allow national initiatives. The "public initiative" process,already enacted and in operation in 23 states, should be expanded to thenational level. This process allows the collective will of our citizensto initiate legislative reform and thereby shape governmental policy moredirectly.
* Reconsider proportional representation. This political system, as opposedto the "winner take-all" process, has been effective in countriesaround the world and more fairly represents the true will of the people.
Natural Law Party Solutions
The Natural Law Party is committed to substantially reducing the numberof abortions in America. However, the Natural Law Party holds that the bestway to reduce abortions is through education- not through legislation.
The Natural Law Party supports proven educational programs to bring individualand national life into harmony with natural law. These programs developintelligence and creativity,
improve moral reasoning, and promote farsighted thinking and actionsthat do not create problems. Such education alone can produce the changesin behavior that will reduce
unwanted pregnancies. Only the Natural Law Party's strong educationalapproach, by changing attitudes and behaviors from the inside out, can offerprevention on a realistic basis.
Our nation's history shows that it is difficult to legislate morality.Laws forbidding the manufacture and sale of alcohol during Prohibition hadlittle effect on alcohol consumption. Instead, they led to the birth ofthe underground and the most murderous epoch in our nation's history. Similarly,legislation to outlaw abortions will simply lead to illegal abortions.
For this reason, the Natural Law Party believes that it is counterproductivefor the Federal Government to outlaw abortion.
Furthermore, the Natural Law Party holds that the moral responsibilityfor this decision should be left in the hands of those whose lives are affectedmost--the mother, the family, and the doctor--not the Federal Government.
At the same time, the Natural Law Party encourages a shift from publicto private funding of abortion--specifically, private charity by those whowish to make abortion accessible for women who cannot afford it. Over time,the government should eliminate the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortionas a method of birth control, especially because such use of public fundsis morally offensive to millions of taxpayers. The Natural Law Party wouldallow public funding of abortions in cases of rape, incest, or medical necessity.
The Natural Law Party further believes that private charity to fund abortionscould be better used to support proven, community-based programs such asCareNet, which reaches out to women with crisis pregnancies to offer themboth material and emotional support, and the "One Church, One Child"adoption initiative founded by Fr. George Clements, which has enabled over50,000 children to find loving parents and a nurturing home environment.
The Natural Law Party's "antigovernment" stance regarding abortion--neithersubsidizing abortions nor legislating them away--is the only defensibleposition from the standpoint of the U.S. Constitution, which states in the10th Amendment that "The powers not delegated to the United Statesby the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved tothe States respectively, or to the people."
The Natural Law Party's prevention-oriented approach to reducing thenumber of abortions will produce a much needed unifying influence on ournation, which has been deeply torn by this highly divisive issue. Our policyserves the interest of both those who are pro-life and those who are pro-choiceby (a) decreasing the number of abortions more effectively than legislationand (b) leaving moral responsibility in the hands of those whose lives areaffected most. Only the Natural Law Party can solve the problem of abortionat its basis and thereby fulfill the goals of all Americans--those who emphasizethe sanctity of life and those who uphold the sanctity of individual freedom.
Natural Law Party Solutions
American families today are under unprecedented stress. Real wages foraverage American workers have decreased since 1973. Due to the much highercost of living in 1995, most two parent families require two incomes tomaintain a reasonable existence. In addition, the average American now worksmore hours than at any time since World War II--close to 50 hours weekly.Not surprisingly, this economic stress, coupled with the strain of longwork hours, has resulted in increased tension within families, a rise indomestic violence, and a 50% divorce rate for new marriages.
Families with only one parent face even greater challenges. Over 25%of American children in single-parent families live in poverty--yet therate of childbirth among never-married women has been increasing, up to20% in 1994. Some studies indicate that children in single-parent familiesare at greater risk for crime, for drug and alcohol abuse, and for droppingout of school.
When stress and frustration increase in society, the harmony and integrityof family life, so important to the growing youth of our nation, is severelyundermined. Other political parties decry domestic violence, divorce, andthe breakdown of morality, but they have been unable to offer effectivesolutions to these problems.
The Natural Law Party alone offers programs that address the root causeof the breakdown of family life today--epidemic stress levels throughoutsociety, especially in urban centers. Medical researchers report an alarmingrise in stress-related illness--including stroke, hypertension, and heartdisease. This same epidemic of stress is responsible for the widespreadgrowth of "social disease"--domestic violence, family decay, crime,and drug abuse. The most effective solution is therefore to reduce accumulatedstress in the whole population, so that all individuals, and especiallyparents, are able to make the most life-supporting decisions in their personallives and decisions that are most nourishing to the lives of their children.
The Natural Law Party would therefore support the permanent establishmentof coherence-creating groups on the national, state, and local levels todissolve communitywide tension and negativity. These programs of the NaturalLaw Party have been scientifically demonstrated to reduce crime, violence,and negative trends throughout society, and to create a harmonizing influencein collective consciousness, enabling diverse individual interests and tendenciesto coexist without creating conflict between family members and in societyas a whole.
In addition, the Natural Law Party's cost-effective solutions to thenation's problems and pro growth economic policies will create jobs, stimulategrowth, and ease the financial strain experienced by so many American families(see our "Economy" section). The Natural Law Party believes thatprimary-care parents should not be forced by economic necessity to work,since their role as parents is vital for the strength and stability of futuregenerations. The first five years of a child's life irrevocably shape hisor her future, and every child needs loving attention from, and interactionwith, both parents, especially the mother, for his or her full creativityand possibilities to blossom. The conflict between parenting and career,typified by the concept of limited "quality time" with one's children,reflects a serious drift away from the fundamental family values that havetraditionally upheld and nourished our society.
The Natural Law Party would allocate a portion of the enormous savingsgenerated through its economic and social policies toward programs to supportprimary caregivers for the first years of their children's lives. The NaturalLaw Party also strongly supports the role of the senior, most experiencedmembers of our society as the source of wisdom and guidance for all othermembers of the family and the community, and regards the widespread isolationand loneliness of our senior members as a significant loss to America.
The strong educational programs endorsed by the Natural Law Party havebeen scientifically shown to develop intelligence, creativity, moral reasoning,and the capacity for intimacy, and to reduce anxiety, disease, and drugand alcohol abuse (see our "Education" section). These outcomessupport family unity and family values, and will help different generationsof a family to live together, to nourish each other, and to establish theharmony, respect, and mutual enrichment that is the ideal of family life.
Natural Law Party Solutions
THE END OF THE COLD WAR ERA has brought the international community tothe threshold of a new era of global peace and harmony. The Natural LawParty believes that the United States should lead the world forward in creatingnew relationships governed by mutual friendship and cooperation and freedfrom aggression and armed conflict. America is faced with a historic opportunityto help create a new world order, in which peace is perpetual and everynation upholds the flag of every other nation.
In 1995, the U.S. spent approximately $21.2 billion on foreign aid--twothirds of which was military aid. However, these expenditures have not broughtpeace, economic stability, or greater economic cooperation in the familyof nations. We continue to live in a dangerous world troubled by widespreadviolence and regional conflicts, as evidenced by the Gulf War, the ethnicviolence in Bosnia, and continuing terrorism in the Middle East. Moreover,as a major supplier of the world's armaments, the U.S. has directly contributedto such conflicts.
In addition, no real consensus exists concerning the purpose, allotment,and amount of foreign economic aid now that the historical goal of containingcommunism is no longer an issue. There is an urgent need to address America'sdeteriorating relations with China, strained relationship and multibilliondollar trade deficit with Japan, and economic competition with Western Europe.These relationships are especially troubling in view of the continuing U.S.financial commitment to defending Japan, as well as Germany and WesternEurope.
Americans naturally wish to help the emerging democracies of the formerSoviet Union and Eastern Europe, yet protest substantial funds given directlyto Russia and other republics because of so many pressing priorities athome. U.S. aid to developing countries has also been criticized becauseof countless instances in which funds either were wasted on projects thatdid not help the people or failed to reach the people due to misuse by therecipient governments.
The Natural Law Party would create an immediate shift in U.S. foreignpolicy away from military aid towards a more life-supporting policy basedon the exportation of U.S. know-how. American expertise and technical assistancein such critical areas as business administration, entrepreneurship, education,sustainable agriculture, energy conservation, and emerging environmentaltechnologies, supplemented where necessary with economic support, shouldreplace military aid as a principal instrument of U.S. foreign policy.
This new type of life-nourishing assistance will allow many developingcountries to become financially self-sufficient and eliminate hunger andpoverty. Such a policy would contribute to a more affluent and fluorishingglobal trade and a more prosperous family of nations.
With growing peace and cooperation in the international community, America'ssecurity interests have begun to shift from military concerns to globaleconomic and environmental issues. America is called to leadership in developinga foreign policy that most intelligently meets this challenge.
This foreign policy must respect and honor the diversity of cultures,religions, races, and economic and political systems of the world, whilepromoting the value of unity--so that every nation will respect and upholdthe sovereignty and cultural integrity of every other nation in an unprecedentedflow of economic cooperation and goodwill.
Above all, we must ensure that our precious national resources are appliedeffectively and not wasted through inefficiency, mishandling, or inappropriateallocation. Foreign aid decisions must be made in consultation with thepeople of recipient countries, from both the government and nongovernmentalcitizens' groups.
Fundamental to the success of all these initiatives are the coherence-creatingtechnologies utilizing the group practice of the Transcendental Meditationand TM-Sidhi program that have been proposed by the Natural Law Party. Thesetechnologies have been uniquely effective in dissolving social stress andpreventing the outbreak of armed hostility and war . By generating coherencein collective consciousness, they create an atmosphere in which diplomacyand other peaceful methods of conflict resolution can succeed. Such groups,established either within the U.S. or dispatched as a U.S. or U.N. peace-keepingforce to specific trouble spots, could help prevent the senseless destructionand human suffering resulting from regional conflicts.
In a peaceful and harmonious world family, we can conceive of reducingour own military expenditures and realizing a significant "peace dividend,"directing some of our enormous defense expenditures towards our own socialprograms, including investment and development as an economic superpower.
1. Extensive scientific research has been conducted on the coherence-creatingtechnologies endorsed by the Natural Law Party, including group practiceof the TM-Sidhi program. During the Lebanon conflict, these technologieswere found to reduce war deaths by 75.9% (Journal of Conflict Resolution32:776, 1988). Research has also indicated that these programs were instrumentalin improving U.S.-Soviet relations (Social Science Perspectives Journal2:80, 1988).
Natural Law Party Solutions
WITH THE END OF THE COLD WAR ERA, the U.S. has an unprecedented opportunityto lead the world in creating a stable and permanent peace, free from fearof aggression and war, in which every nation enjoys invincibility and friendshipwith every other nation.
With the declining threat of superpower confrontation, everyone agreesthat the U.S. defense budget should be reduced. But there is no nationalconsensus on the nature and magnitude of these cuts. Lawrence Korb, formerassistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, commented inthe November 1995 issue of Foreign Affairs that the U.S. could safely scaledown defense expenditures by $40 billion a year. However, rational considerationof U.S. defense needs is consistently overshadowed by concerns about lossof jobs and rising unemployment due to military cutbacks.
Uncertainty and fear still dominate U.S. defense thinking. History hasshown that neither treaties nor arms can ensure peace and security. Regionaland ethnic conflicts in the Middle East and Eastern Europe have demonstratedthat even small nations can imperil world peace and stability. They canhold other nations hostage through terrorism, ecological warfare, and weaponsof mass destruction.
No viable defense against nuclear weapons exists. Recent nuclear testsin China and the resumption of nuclear testing by France have stirred fearsin the international community of runaway nuclear proliferation. At least46 nuclear weapons are thought to be missing from the former Soviet arsenal. Arms experts fear that rogue nations and terrorist groups might optfor "back-pack" nuclear weapons carried by foot soldiers. Evenafter substantial reductions in our own arsenals, thousands of nuclear weaponsremain. The military faces huge environmental cleanup costs for its unusedarsenals and bases.
The U.S. remains one of the world's biggest arms suppliers. In the firstyear of President Clinton's administration, $22.3 billion in arms transferswas approved, including $13.4 billion to nondemocratic countries. The U.S.continues its sales of arms to the Middle East, belying the government'smuch publicized initiative after the Gulf War to restrain the global spreadof arms. On the domestic front, Congress continues to fund expensive "pork-barrel"defense contracts that the Pentagon does not even want .
Finally, military personnel continue to face major health concerns, includingproblems with stress , alcohol , and a higher rate of cigarette smokingthan the civilian population. Post-traumatic stress syndrome, a continuingproblem for veterans, is virtually ignored due to lack of solutions, andGulf War syndrome has underscored the insidious influence of environmentaltoxins on our primary-level military personnel .
The changing global political landscape mandates a broad reassessmentof the purpose, scope, strategy, and financial requirements of U.S. defense.The Natural Law Party believes that these crucial issues must be decidedon the basis of a revised set of priorities reflecting America's realisticdefense requirements--not on the basis of short-term political considerationsand "pork barrel" politics.
The Natural Law Party recognizes the need to maintain the alertness ofour nation's armed forces. Consequently, the Natural Law Party believesthat the U.S. should not yet implement a major reduction of defense expenditures,because the world is still dangerous and unstable. However, we believe thata smaller, more flexible force coupled with greater economic and securitycooperation will serve the nation's security interests and provide the basisfor a more stable world. We therefore emphasize human rather than materialresources. We need research and high technology rather than massive amountsof conventional weaponry. Reductions would be made in conjunction with thebest advice from the military and Joint Chiefs of Staff, to avoid decreasingthe alertness and preparedness of our armed forces.
For example, the Natural Law Party believes that funding for costly,wasteful, and ineffective weapons systems could be rapidly scaled down.We would also make reasonable reductions in the research and development,operations and maintenance, and procurement budgets to eliminate waste.As part of this down-scaling, we would: (1) accelerate the decrease of U.S.nuclear arsenals, (2) immediately and permanently halt all U.S. nucleartesting and nuclear weapons research, and (3) reduce the U.S. presence inNATO and the Pacific Rim, encouraging Western Europe and Japan to contributemore toward the defense of those regions. The role of America should beto foster peace and prosperity in the family of nations, rather than toact as the world's policeman.
The Natural Law Party believes, however, that politicians who promisedecreased defense spending without any program or technology to ensure worldpeace are not acting responsibly in the best security interests of our nation.To guarantee our security as we reduce military expenditures, the NaturalLaw Party offers a peace-promoting technology that will neutralize internationaltensions and conflict and promote stability and harmony within the familyof nations. Through this peace-promoting technology, which is based upongroups of experts collectively practicing the Transcendental Meditationand TM-Sidhi program, the Natural Law Party can help to ensure a peacefulworld and a steadily growing "peace dividend" to support domesticprograms. Only through the addition of this technology to generate an actual,physical influence of peace among the family of nations can a politicalparty responsibly cut defense spending and divert the precious resourcesof the nation towards more life-supporting and humane programs at home andabroad .
In addition, the Natural Law Party supports the immediate creation ofa "prevention wing" within the military--a group whose primarypurpose would be to prevent the outbreak of war and to preserve and strengthennational and international peace. By training even 1% of U.S. military personnelin the proven programs advocated by the Natural Law Party to reduce stressin individual and national life, America can create a genuine peace-keepingforce that can maintain a powerful, integrated, coherent national consciousnessand thereby prevent the emergence of an enemy.
The Natural Law Party also supports new priorities for the U.S. Departmentof Defense. Selected military personnel and resources could quickly adaptto roles such as drug interdiction and border defense. Some of our defensesavings could immediately be reinvested in education, public health, housing,the environment, and other domestic needs. We believe that economic growth,leading to new industries and jobs, is the best way to help the defenseindustry adjust to military downsizing. There is strong statistical evidencethat more jobs are created through domestic programs than through militaryspending. In addition, we favor incentives to stimulate investment of privatesector funds and expertise to help industries diversify into nondefensemarkets.
Finally, the Natural Law Party supports prevention and rehabilitationprograms that have been shown to reduce stress, decrease alcohol and drugabuse, alleviate post-traumatic stress syndrome, promote better health,and enhance physical and mental performance .
1. G-2, December 1994, Military 11(7):3.
2. For example, Congress has apportioned $13.4 billion for additionalB-2 bombers that the Pentagon doesn't want; legislators have funded theconstruction of four GS cruisers, although the Navy only requested two;and the costly Seawolf project is currently funded for $700 million, eventhough the Navy doesn't want it at all.
3. Air Force Times, May 27, 1996, 10.
4. U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, July 1995, 73; American Journalof Public Health 81(7):865 869, 1991; American Journal of Preventive Health11(4):245-250, 1995.
5. See U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, January 1996, p. 64. Environmentaldangers cited include inhalation of sand and other airborne particles, heavymetals, depleted uranium, chemical and biological agents, pollution fromhydrocarbons, and genetic and cancer risks.
6. During the Lebanon war, the group practice of the peace-creating programproposed by the Natural Law Party was found to cause a 75.9% decrease inwar deaths (Journal of Conflict Resolution 32:776, 1988; 34:756, 1990),a 68% decrease in war-related injuries, a 66% increase in cooperation amongantagonists, and a 48% reduction in the overall level of conflict (DissertationAbstracts International 49:2381A, 1988).
7. Scientific research on the programs supported by the Natural Law Partyhas shown improved health and decreased health care costs (PsychosomaticMedicine 49:493, 1987), decreased drug abuse (Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly11(1/2, 3/4), 1994; International Journal of the Addictions 12:729, 1977),decreased symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome (Journal of Counselingand Development 64:212, 1985), faster reaction time
(Personality and Individual Differences 12:1105, 1991), and increasedcreativity (The Journal of Creative Behavior 13:169, 1979) and intelligence(Personality and Individual Differences 12:105, 1991; Perceptual and MotorSkills 62:731, 1986).
Natural Law Party Solutions
REVITALIZING OUR INNER CITIES
THE NATURAL LAW PARTY supports a comprehensive, cost-effective plan torevitalize our inner cities. Our plan includes proven programs for education;job, technical, and management training; crime prevention; drug rehabilitation;urban revitalization; social welfare; economic development; and the developmentof a stronger sense of community. To guarantee the plan's success, we wouldsupplement all these programs with scientifically validated technologiesto reduce social stress and unfold the full creative potential of peopleof all ages.
America's decaying urban centers are monuments to decades of flawed publicpolicies. Billions of dollars are wasted on programs that fail to revitalizeour cities because they do not go to the root of the problem. They failto unlock the inner creative genius of the people, and they fail to reducethe alarming rise of stress in society, which is at the basis of the widespreadepidemic of crime, violence, alcohol and drug abuse, and disease. For example,a recent report from the U.S. Justice Department noted that 81% of weaponsarrests take place in cities, and that teenagers accounted for 23% of thesearrests. University of Cincinnati criminologist Frank Cullen commented inUSA Today that this trend relates "to an absence of family and socialstructure to support them. Together, that's a lethal combination."
Without addressing the root causes of stress at the basis of urban decayand unrest, all other efforts for economic recovery and urban renewal aredestined to fail.
The Natural Law Party offers something new--something that has been shownby scientific evidence to actually work. This approach involves two steps:(1) reduction of built-up social stress, followed by (2) implementationof practical programs to improve community life and solve costly socialproblems.
To reduce stress, the Natural Law Party supports the establishment ofcoherence-creating groups practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhiprogram. Extensive research, published in leading scientific journals, hasfound that when a small proportion of a population collectively practicesthis program there is a significant reduction in negative tendencies, suchas crime, violence, sickness, and accidents, and a strengthening of positivesocial and economic trends in the population as a whole. Such programs willprevent the accumulation of stress and frustration that has erupted as violencein cities across the nation. In the more harmonious atmosphere generatedby these programs, a deeper and more integrated sense of community willemerge as the best security against inner city crime and decay.
After reducing social stress and creating a more coherent social atmosphere,the Natural Law Party would introduce practical solutions to costly socialproblems and specific programs to promote progress in every city:
* To improve public health and curb rising health care costs, the NaturalLaw Party would support prevention-oriented health education and naturalmedicines that have been shown scientifically to prevent disease, promotehealth, and cut health care costs in half (see our "Health" section).
* To boost the economy, the Natural Law Party would propose significantlylower taxes, made possible through its cost-effective solutions to socialproblems; effective vocational and management training programs; and simplifiedgovernmental administration for reduced government waste (see our "Economy"section).
* To improve education, the Natural Law Party would support programsthat develop the inner creative genius of all students, along with the abilityto conduct their lives in accord with natural law. Only education that isperceived as directly relevant to the student's own life- education thatunfolds full mental potential and the ability to fulfill desires in harmonywith natural law--can prevent drop-outs, who become the primary targetsof inner city crime and drug abuse (see our "Education" section).
* To improve public safety, the Natural Law Party would support proven,cost-effective programs that have been shown to rehabilitate criminal offenders;prevention programs that target at-risk youth before they become involvedin crime; effective programs to prevent and cure alcohol and drug abuse;and a permanent coherence-creating group to reduce stress and create a moreharmonious social atmosphere throughout the city (see our "Crime andRehabilitation" section).
* To rebuild the inner city, the Natural Law Party would help plan urbaninfrastructure and housing that improve health, reduce crime, and restorea sense of community. The Natural Law Party would promote the developmentof nonpolluting automobiles and public transportation, human-scale housingthat discourages crime and supports neighborhoods in which families cangrow and prosper, and the development of more parks and green spaces (seeour "Energy and Environment" section).
Natural Law Party Solutions
THE MOST EFFECTIVE DEFENSE against drugs is proper education--educationthat directly unfolds intelligence and creativity, builds self-confidence,eliminates stress, and raises life to be in harmony with natural law, therebyeliminating the tendency towards drug dependence.
To be effective, education must be deeply satisfying and directly relevantto a person's own life. Such education will eliminate functional and technologicalilliteracy and also prevent drop-outs, who become the principal targetsfor drugs and drug-related crime (see our "Education" section).
For those currently suffering from drug dependence, the Natural Law Partypromotes programs that have been shown to dramatically reduce drug dependencyand to eliminate stress and restore balance in an individual's physiologyand psychology (see our "Health" section) .
The responsibility for stemming the drug trade currently belongs to numerousfederal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the BorderPatrol of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Federal Bureauof Investigation, as well as many state and local agencies. This fragmentedapproach inevitably results in overlapping and at times self-defeating investigations,apprehensions, and prosecutions. These conflicts make administration inefficient-and sometimes result in senseless anomalies that allow known criminals toescape prosecution altogether. The Natural Law Party therefore supportsprocedures that will promote cooperation and coordination among the variouslaw enforcement agencies responsible for interdicting, apprehending, andprosecuting individuals and organizations engaged in illegal drug and narcoticsactivities.
1. For example, a recent meta-analysis showed that Transcendental Meditation,one of the programs advocated by the Natural Law Party, reduces alcohol,drug, and nicotine abuse significantly more than other treatment modalities(Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11(1/2,3/4), 1994). Earlier reviews suggestedthat Transcendental Meditation simultaneously affects several factors underlyingchemical dependence by providing both relief from distress and improvementsin well-being and overall psychophysiological health (Journal of Addictions14:147, 1981; International Journal of Addictions 12:729, 1977).
Natural Law Party Solutions
THE NATURAL LAW PARTY holds that the current debate over gun controloverlooks the root cause of this issue. Although the Natural Law Party opposesrecent attempts to undermine current gun control laws governing semi-automaticassault weapons, we also hold that gun control legislation alone will nevereliminate the source of the problem.
The climate of fear and tension pervading America's cities and townsis largely responsible for the proliferation of guns and their use in actsof violent crime. The Natural Law Party is the only political party to offerscientifically proven programs to reduce built-up social stress and therebyreduce crime and violence (see our "Crime and Rehabilitation"section).
Within six months of the implementation of these programs, the NaturalLaw Party anticipates a dramatic reduction in crime rate as stress is neutralizedand the whole population spontaneously becomes more in harmony with bothnatural law and national law. In this improved atmosphere, the perceivedneed for--and the actual use of--weapons will naturally diminish.
At the same time, the Natural Law Party believes that the widespreadavailability of guns is, in itself, a significant contributing factor tothe rise of violent crime. The Natural Law Party therefore upholds existinggun-control legislation and believes that such legislation represents asuitable balance between public safety and the constitutional right to beararms.
Natural Law Party Solutions
WITH THE CURRENT EPIDEMIC OF CRIME in America, capital punishment hasgained broad popular support as a hoped-for deterrent to the most severecrimes. Unfortunately, experience shows that capital punishment neithereffectively deters crime nor saves taxpayer money. Although the NaturalLaw Party supports a strong penal code, especially for specific, highlyegregious violent crimes, the current effort to extend the death penaltyto include a wide range of crimes is a desperate public (and highly political)reaction arising from deep frustration with present, ineffective crime-fightingstrategies.
The Natural Law Party supports highly effective, proven crime preventionprograms that have been shown to lower crime significantly (see our "Crimeand Rehabilitation" section). We believe that the national mood willshift away from an outcry for the harshest possible punishment and towardsmore compassionate solutions once violent crime has been significantly reducedthrough the Natural Law Party's prevention-oriented approach
Natural Law Party Solutions
UPHOLDING THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES
THE RIGHTS OF ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution,and the Natural Law Party would support any legislation deemed necessaryto uphold these constitutional rights for women and for all minorities.At the same time, the Natural Law Party recognizes the difficulties in "legislating"equality: equal rights legislation has not succeeded in eliminating discriminationand has even caused further problems due to reverse discrimination.
Government cannot be present at all times and in all places to ensurethat people treat each other fairly. Instead, the Natural Law Party intendsto reduce prejudice and bigotry in society through more effective educationalprograms that develop broad comprehension, increased intelligence, and improvedmoral reasoning, and by reducing social stress that leads to fear and divisiveness.These programs will help create a unifying influence among our citizensand throughout society.
Natural law is that basic element in the universe that constantly nourishesthe life of every individual and every living species. The Natural Law Partyis the only political party that is based on this universally nourishingquality of natural law. Until now, democracy has been willing to compromisethe interests of the minority for the sake of the majority. This is becausedemocracy has so far been based on limited principles of man-made law, whichare not sufficiently comprehensive to be simultaneously nourishing to everyone.When such principles compromise the interests of the minority, inevitablysome segments of our population remain unfulfilled. The result is an increasein stress and frustration, which inevitably erupts as crime, sickness, andother problems throughout society.
By basing its administration on the most universal principles of naturallaw, the Natural Law Party offers administration through natural law, whichis capable of providing universal nourishment, protection, and fulfillmentto all citizens of the nation, including all the diverse groups that composethe richness and plurality of our great society.
We believe that increased participation in government by women and byminorities will bring greater strength and balance to the administration.In this context, we note that nearly one-half of the candidates runningfor office with the Natural Law Party are women or minority candidates.
Natural Law Party Solutions
GOVERNMENT SUPPORTED BY NATURAL LAW:
A NEW APPROACH TO NATIONAL ADMINISTRATION
THE NATURAL LAW PARTY holds that natural law is the solution to problems.Government can solve problems at their basis through scientifically provenprograms to bring every citizen, and the entire nation, into accord withnatural law. By accessing the full range of nature's intelligence and harnessingits power, individuals and nations can govern themselves with the same perfectionin administration displayed by nature's government.
The federal government is besieged by problems--and legislation has inevitablyproven inadequate to eliminate them. The American pandemic of crime, randomviolence and drug abuse, disintegrating families, poverty, and staggeringhealth care costs has not responded to even the toughest legislation. Why?
Recent congressional initiatives to improve the quality of life in Americahave focused primarily on financial approaches--for example, shifting fiscalresponsibility for the social "safety net" from the federal governmentto the states. But balancing the budget, reforming the tax structure, andaddressing economic inequities will not stop Americans from falling ill,abusing drugs, or committing crimes (see our "Health" and "Crimeand Rehabilitation" sections).
The debates over these bills have raised questions about the underlyingcause of problems. In the search for answers, one theme increasingly heardis that the problem lies within--that all our problems are symptomatic ofa deeper crisis of moral and spiritual values . Yet no clear path toaddressing this crisis has emerged.
We need to look even deeper than the family structure to strengthen themoral and spiritual fabric of our society. More stringent welfare and childsupport rules will not by themselves instill stronger family values, eliminateteen pregnancy, restore a thriving work ethic, and encourage charity andvolunteerism. We need to identify the fundamental causes of our problems.And having done so, is there any way to create a more efficient, more effectivegovernment that can truly solve them?
NATURAL LAW AND NATIONAL LAW
From the deepest perspective, our national problems have one underlyingcause--violation of natural law .
Natural law is the orderly principles--the laws of nature--that governthe functioning of nature everywhere, from atoms to ecosystems to galaxies.Over the past several centuries, modern science has identified many of theselaws governing physical, biological, ecological, and social systems. Naturallaw is inherently "life-supporting": it supports the life andevolution of innumerable species.
Natural law is not a new idea in American government. Our founding fathersbelieved that the rights of every American citizen to life, liberty, andthe pursuit of happiness are based on immutable laws of nature. They feltthat, through knowledge of natural law, both science and government wouldpromote the goals of freedom and happiness of the people .
Human behaviors that promote life, liberty, and happiness are in harmonywith natural law. When people live in harmony with natural law, they don'tmake mistakes--they spontaneously uphold higher values, and they enjoy naturallygood health and a life free from problems .
However, the knowledge of natural law uncovered by modern science--anddisseminated through our educational system--has been insufficient to enablecitizens to live and act in accord with the laws of nature. Thus, the wholepopulation is constantly violating natural law, causing problems for themselvesand their communities.
"Violation of natural law" is action that fails to take naturaladvantage of the laws of nature, or that stimulates them in ways that causenegative repercussions. Smoking is an example of behavior that runs counterto the natural laws that support good physical health.
Violation of natural law causes stress. Stress has consequences for bothmental and physical health; the majority of all disease is said to be stress-related. Stress causes a complex psychophysiological chain reaction in the humanbody. Chronic, acute stress leads to an out-of balance biochemistry thathas also been linked with anxiety, fear, anger, impulsive violent behavior,and substance abuse .
Moreover, the combined stress of all the individuals in society buildsup and creates a dangerous, criminal atmosphere in the whole community.This epidemic of stress has rent our social fabric and threatens the livesof Americans everywhere.
The government reflects this social disorder. Government is a mirrorof the nation. When the country is full of stress and crime, this chaoticatmosphere has a debilitating effect on the performance of government .
To deal with all the problems engendered by social stress, governmentresponds with laws, regulations, and costly social programs designed toprotect us from ourselves. Most of the activities of our government--andmost of our tax dollars--are spent compensating for the violations of naturallaw by the population. The laws and programs, however, can't solve the problems.
We can have a smaller, more efficient and effective government, one thatis capable of solving problems. Such a government would function in alliancewith natural law.
The best government is "nature's government"--natural law,which governs the universe with perfect order and without a problem. Nationscan govern themselves with this same perfection in administration .
The most effective way governments can deal with problems is to preventthem in the first place- by enabling people to stop violating natural law.How? Not through legislation, but through education that brings the lifeof every citizen, and the nation as a whole, into harmony with natural law.
How does one learn to think and act in accord with natural law? Understandingspecific laws of nature (for example, learning about the health risks ofsmoking) is helpful. But the laws of nature are too vast and complex tobe fully comprehended intellectually. And intellectual understanding aloneis not enough to guarantee life in accord with natural law. A new kind ofeducation is needed that will enable every citizen to live--and every governmentto function--spontaneously in harmony with natural law.
The most modern and most ancient understandings of natural law describea universal level of nature's intelligence underlying all forms and phenomenain the universe, including the human mind and body. Modern physics has glimpsedthis unified source of all the laws of nature. The oldest tradition of knowledgeof natural law, the Vedic tradition of India, describes this universal levelof nature's intelligence and states that it can be located--and accessed--atthe deepest level of the human mind, at the level of pure consciousness.
For thought and action to be in tune with natural law, it is necessaryto experience and develop pure consciousness. This is not the commonly understoodidea of "consciousness-raising"- becoming more sensitive to orknowledgeable about issues. Pure consciousness is the fundamental levelof awareness, the basis of all thinking and behavior. It is the deepestlevel of natural law in the individual, which is identical with the deepestlevel of natural law that administers the entire universe. Developing consciousnessmeans connecting individual life with this holistic value of natural law--withnature's government .
1. To bring the life of individuals into accord with natural law, educationmust provide a technique to give them direct access to the holistic valueof natural law in pure consciousness.
One such technique identified by science is the Transcendental Meditation®program taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The Transcendental Meditation technique(which originates in the Vedic tradition) is a simple, natural, effortlessprocedure that allows the conscious mind to settle down and directly experiencepure consciousness--the simplest form of human awareness, where consciousnessis open to itself.
This experience creates a unique state of restful alertness in mind andbody, which dissolves accumulated stress and fatigue while developing theindividual's latent creative potential and ability to think and act in tunewith natural law.
Extensive scientific research has documented the many positive effectsof bringing individual consciousness into harmony with natural law. Morethan 500 studies, conducted at over 200 independent universities and researchinstitutions, have shown that these techniques increase individual intelligenceand creativity, reduce stress and stress-related behavior such as anxiety,hostility, and aggression, and improve mental and physical health .
The research shows that as individuals practice this technique and gainintimate familiarity with the holistic value of natural law in their ownconsciousness, they spontaneously begin to think and act more in harmonywith the laws of nature that support health and well-being for themselvesand their social environment. They are less inclined to violate these naturallaws. Relevant findings include improved health and reduced health carecosts , decreased drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse , decreased criminalrecidivism , and improved psychological and moral development .
The Natural Law Party strongly recommends that this program for developingconsciousness be incorporated into our educational system, so that everystudent learns from an early age how to live in accord with natural law.In addition, rehabilitation and law enforcement agencies should immediatelyadopt this successful approach to reducing crime and substance abuse.
2. To fully address social problems, governments must reduce social stressby bringing the whole society into accord with natural law.
Society as a whole has a collective consciousness, which is the sum ofthe consciousness of all its individual members. Individual consciousnessinfluences collective consciousness, and in turn is influenced by it .
If collective consciousness can be brought in tune with natural law,the whole population will cease to violate the laws of nature, social stresswill be reduced, and problems such as crime and violence will automaticallydecrease. Moreover, the whole society will enjoy support of natural lawfor the health, happiness, and success of every citizen .
Research verifies that one powerful and successful program to reducestress in collective consciousness and promote social harmony and well-beingis practice of the TM-Sidhi program® by groups together in one location.The TM-Sidhi program is an advanced meditation program to release stress, which leads to improved cognitive ability , intelligence ,moral development , cardiovascular health , and biochemical markersof aging , as well as higher levels of psychophysiological integration,shown by improved perceptual-motor performance  and increased EEG brainwave coherence .
The TM-Sidhi program is not, however, practiced solely for its beneficialeffects on the individual. Its chief purpose is to produce profoundly positiveeffects in collective consciousness. When groups practice the TM-Sidhi programtogether, they powerfully enliven the deepest level of natural law throughoutthe whole population. The most significant research findings on this programindicate that such groups dissolve social stress and create a society-wideinfluence of increased social order and coherence.
Forty-two scientific studies have shown that such coherence-creatinggroups (comprising as little as the square root of 1% of the population)promote highly significant decreases in violent crime and other negativetendencies, and increases in positive social and economic trends. Each suchstudy has produced consistent, statistically significant results. Nearlyhalf have been reported in peer-reviewed journals .
A growing number of scientists support this research, in recognitionof its rigor, scope, and statistical significance. According to a memberof the independent Project Review Board that monitored the 1993 Washingtonstudy, "the claim can be made plausibly that the promised practicalsocietal impact of this research significantly exceeds that of any otherongoing social-psychological research program" .
3. Government itself should function with the efficiency and effectivenessof nature's government.
The Natural Law Party promotes a new definition of government: Governmentshould be able to prevent problems. A government without the ability toprevent problems is not a sovereign government. It becomes crisis-driven,a victim of situations and circumstances. Moreover, such a government itselfbecomes an unwieldy and costly problem for the nation.
To fulfill its highest goals, every government should immediately createand maintain a group professionally engaged in creating coherence throughoutsociety. Establishing these groups at the local, state, and federal levelswould quietly bring the support of natural law to national law; solve problemsat their basis in individual and collective consciousness; and promote thehighest level of efficiency in governmental administration .
4. The Natural Law Party supports the establishment of a "preventionwing" in the military--a group whose primary purpose is to preventthe outbreak of war and to preserve
and strengthen national and international peace. This can be accomplishedwith as few as 1-2% of military personnel, comprising one or several groupsof 5,000-10,000 experts trained in the TM Sidhi program. As well as "inoculating"participating troops against the debilitating effects of combat stress,this program would help relieve stress in the nation as a whole, preventincoherence within the government, and protect the nation from negativeinfluences both inside and outside the country--including terrorism andwar.
This is a practical, highly cost-effective, fundamental solution to ournation's problems--one that will bring both immediate and long-term results.As the government runs out of funds, our federal officials have been wranglingover short-term, essentially reactive solutions. But without bringing nationallaw in tune with natural law, no legislative initiatives will ever succeedin eliminating social and economic problems and developing a strong moralcore at the heart of our nation. For this reason, the Natural Law Partysupports the use of programs to reduce societal stress and bring nationallife into accord with natural law.
1. E.g., Bennett, W., The Book of Virtues (New York: Simon &;Schuster),1993.
2. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Maharishi's Absolute Theory of Government:Automation in Administration (Vlodrop, Holland: Maharishi Vedic UniversityPress), 1993, 77.
3. Peterson, M., The Atlantic Monthly, December 1994, 114; Mayo, B. (ed.),Jefferson Himself (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia), 1942,291.
4. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Life Supported by Natural Law (Fairfield, IA:MIU Press), 1986.
5. Sapolsky, R., Stress, the Aging Brain, and the Mechanisms of NeuronDeath (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press), 1992; Weiner, H. Perturbing the Organism:The Biology of Stressful Experience (Chicago: U. of Chicago Press), 1992.
6. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11:89-117, 1994; Archives of GeneralPsychiatry 49:436-441, 1992; Archives of General Psychiatry 49:429-435,1992; Life Sciences 33:2609-2614, 1983.
7. Maharishi's Absolute Theory of Government, 72-77.
8. Ibid., 4-93.
9. Maharishi's Absolute Theory of Government.
11. Scientific Research on Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation andTM-Sidhi Program: Collected Papers, vol. 1 (Rheinweiler, Germany: MERU Press);vols. 2-4 (Vlodrop, Holland: MVU Press), 1989, 1990; vol. 5 (Fairfield,IA: MIU Press), 1990. Studies on specific benefits listed include: (intelligence)Personality and Individual Differences 12:1105-1116, 1991; (creativity)The Journal of Creative Behavior 13:169-180, 1979; (post-traumatic stresssyndrome) Journal of Counseling and Development 64:212-215, 1985; (anxiety)Journal of Clinical Psychology 45:957-974, 1989; (hostility) Criminal Justiceand Behavior 5:3-20, 1978; (aggression) Dissertation Abstracts International43:539b, 1982; (mental health) Journal of Psychology 124: 177-197, 1990;(physical health) Psychosomatic Medicine 49:493-507, 1987.
12. Psychosomatic Medicine 49:493-507, 1987.
13. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11(1/2), 1994.
14. Dissertation Abstracts International 43:539b, 1982.
15. Dissertation Abstracts International 51:5048, 1991.
16. Maharishi's Absolute Theory of Government, 74; Maharishi Mahesh Yogi,Creating an Ideal Society (Age of Enlightenment Press), 1976, 91, 105.
17. Maharishi's Absolute Theory of Government, 78-80.
18. Modern Science and Vedic Science 1:29-87.
19. Perceptual and Motor Skills 6: 731-738, 1986.
20. Journal of Clinical Psychology 42:161-164, 1986.
21. Nidich, S.I., and D.W. Orme-Johnson, Proceedings of the InternationalSymposium on Moral Education (Fribourg, Switzerland), 3 September 1982.
22. Psychosomatic Medicine 45(1): 41-46, 1983.
23. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 15(4):327-341, 1992.
24. See reference 20.
25. International Journal of Neuroscience 54:1-12, 1990.
26. Much of this research is summarized in The Maharishi Effect: Resultsof Scientific Research 1974-1990 (Fairfield, IA: MIU Press), 1990; see alsoThe Journal of Mind and Behavior 9:457 486, 1988. Some specific examplesinclude the following:
* A day-by-day study of a two-month coherence-creating assembly in Israelin 1983 showed that, on days when the number of participants in the assemblywas high, war deaths in neighboring Lebanon dropped by 76%. During thesetwo months, crime, traffic accidents, and fires all declined in Israel.Other possible causes (weekends, holidays, weather, etc.) were statisticallycontrolled for (Journal of Conflict Resolution 32:776-812, 1988.)
* Coherence-creating assemblies in Manila, New Delhi, Puerto Rico, andWashington, D.C., all corresponded with statistically significant declinesin violent crime. In these studies, alternative explanations were exploredand could not account for the findings (The Journal of Mind and Behavior8:67-104, 1987.)
* The most recent replication occurred in 1993 in Washington, D.C., oneof the most crime-ridden capitals in the world. In this carefully controlledtwo-month study, a coherence-creating group increased from 800 to 4,000over the two-month period. Although violent crime had been steadily increasingduring the first five months of the year, soon after the start of the study,violent crime began decreasing and continued to drop until the end of theexperiment (maximum decrease 20%), after which it began to rise again. Theeffects of the group could not be attributed to other possible causes, includingtemperature, precipitation, weekends, and police and community anticrimeactivities. (See Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, Fairfield,Iowa, Technical Report ITR-94:1, 1994.).
27. Edwards, D.V., quoted in Institute of Science, Technology and PublicPolicy, Fairfield, Iowa, Technical Report ITR-94:1, 1994, addendum.
28. Paterson, N., Platform, Natural Law Party of Canada, 1993; Maharishi'sAbsolute Theory of Government, 55-72, 78-91.
®Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi are registered in the U.S.Patent and Trademark Office as service marks of Maharishi Foundation, Ltd.
ADDITIONAL PLATFORM ISSUES
Gay Rights/Same-Sex Marriage
The Natural Law Party will support any legislation deemed necessary toprevent discrimination and uphold the constitutionally guaranteed rightsof all American citizens, including all minorities. At the same time, theParty believes that legislation alone will never be able to eradicate prejudiceand bigotry in society. For this we need more effective educational programs-programsadvocated by the Natural Law Party that develop broad comprehension, increasedintelligence, and improved moral reasoning, and that reduce the social stressthat leads to fear, divisiveness, narrow mindedness, and disharmony.
The Natural Law Party also believes that, in principle, government shouldnot attempt to legislate morality or to intervene in the private moral decisionsof its citizenry; the Federal Government was not created for this purpose.Therefore, on principle, the Natural Law Party will not draft legislationto discriminate against, nor to actively support, same-sex marriage. (Itshould be pointed out that under the Natural Law Party's low flat federaltax plan, marriage will confer neither a tax benefit nor a tax penalty.Therefore, from the standpoint of federal tax law, there is no issue thatwould force the Federal Government to involve itself in this issue.)
Legalization of Drugs
Although the legalization of drugs would substantially cut drug-relatedcrimes, only about 20% of total drug-abuse costs are crime related. Theremaining 80% of costs are tied to health, absenteeism, lost productivity,etc. Therefore, the legalization of drugs, even if it increased drug useslightly, could result in increased costs that would overwhelm any crime-relatedsavings. In Holland, for example, where drugs have been legalized, druguse and even the drug trade have increased significantly.
The Natural Law Party is fundamentally dedicated to the development ofthe full potential of the individual. Apart from economic considerations,long-term use of even mild hallucinogens like marijuana has been shown todecrease EEG coherence-the orderly and integrated functioning of the brain.Brain wave coherence is linked to intelligence, creativity, learning ability,academic performance, moral reasoning, psychological stability, and emotionalmaturity. Legalizing drugs could send the wrong signal to the youth, implyingthat drug use is not that harmful.
At the same time, outlawing narcotics has not proved effective in reducingtheir usage. To get to the heart of the drug problem, we have to reducethe desire and the demand for drugs-which the educational programs supportedby the Natural Law Party have been proven to do.
Welfare should not be a lifestyle, but a short-term safety net to assistindividuals who have lost employment or who are out of work to obtain newemployment. The Natural Law Party is in favor of recently enacted welfarereforms to incentivize work, including child care support and a two yearlimit on welfare benefits. However, it is of limited use to incentivizepeople to work if there are no jobs available. The Natural Law Party's pro-growtheconomic policies will create an abundance of good jobs which will placean ever-increasing premium on the value of the worker. In this expansionaryeconomy, which will create more jobs than there are workers, workers willincreasingly be able to dictate their terms of employment-their salary andwork conditions.
Existing state and federal welfare programs should be brought under oneadministrative umbrella at the local level. Structures to oversee welfareadministration need to involve the entire community-a partnership betweenlocal government, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and community residents-withan emphasis on economic development and community self-help. Through programsto improve the financial and quality-of-life conditions at the basis ofwelfare, we can broaden the idea of "welfare" from a notion ofcash or in-kind goods to a more expansive notion of physical, psychological,emotional, and spiritual well-being.
The Natural Law Party believes that affirmative action is a necessaryevil-a stop-gap measure to prevent discrimination in the workplace and inschool admissions policies. However, the Party does not support quotas,since we feel that representatives of all sectors of society find quotasto be demeaning and a source of resentment in the workplace. The NaturalLaw Party upholds laws guaranteeing equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.
In addition, history has shown that it is difficult to legislate equality;government cannot be present in every business and school to ensure thatpeople are always treated fairly. Therefore, the Natural Law Party placesits strongest focus on education programs that can develop broad comprehension,increased intelligence, and improved moral reasoning, thereby reducing thesocial stress that leads to fear, divisiveness, and narrow-mindedness.
The Natural Law Party believes that our working citizens have a rightto associate and to engage in collective bargaining to ensure good workingconditions and fair compensation. Therefore, unions have a role to playand will continue to play this role in the future.
However, the Natural Law Party feels that most powerful way to improvethe job conditions and earnings of American workers is to stimulate jobgrowth, which will make the American worker the prized commodity he or sheshould be. When, through the Natural Law Party's pro-growth economic policies,more jobs have been generated than there are workers to fill them, thenAmerica will be a seller's market from the worker's perspective. He or shewill be able to pick and choose jobs and to dictate salary and conditions-andto do so far more effectively than a union can when jobs are scarce andworkers are plentiful.
Trade Issues (NAFTA, GATT)
Trade is a vital aspect of a thriving U.S. economy. Given that 25% ofthe world's goods are made in America-with only 5% of the world's populationresiding here-we need access to foreign markets to sell our goods. Fairand open trade is therefore essential, and also stimulates competition thatgives American consumers more choices, better product quality, and lowerprices.
With reference to NAFTA, the Natural Law Party believes that any treatyso sweeping in its scope and so crucially important to our economic well-beingmust be constantly and vigorously renegotiated and improved so that we cancompete on a truly fair playing field with our trade neighbors. But theUnited States, as the world's economic superpower and most creative countryon earth, need not fear potential trade competitors like Mexico or China.Instead, we should unleash America's full competitive power by lifting thetax burden that drains our economy and by supporting educational programsthat equip our citizens to compete in today's high-tech economy. The fullcreative potential of our 260 million citizens is tragically underutilized.Through the Natural Law Party's strong educational focus, we can harnessthe unlimited intelligence and creativity of our citizens, thereby boostingthe U.S. economy into a growth phase and strengthening our internationalcompetitiveness.