James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Outline of a Political Program

The recently formed political party, the Boston Tea Party has a set of interim bylaws including:
ARTICLE 4: PLATFORM

a) The Party's platform is as follows:

The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.

b) Notwithstanding any other or subsequent provisions for amendment to these bylaws, the Party's platform, and the entirety of this article, shall be perpetual and unmodifiable.

But it also has room for a "program:"
ARTICLE 5: PROGRAM

a) The Party's program shall be adopted biennially in convention in even-numbered years in synchronicity with the election cycle of elections to the US House of Representatives and shall expire with the adoption of the subsequent program.

b) The program shall consist of no more than five specific policy recommendations relevant to the election cycle for which it is adopted.

What the contents of the program might be, nobody knows. There were at least initial plans for the party's organizational convention (to be held on-line) to be this August 19, though I haven't seen any more specific announcement. I signed in and am a "member" of the party, though I consider myself more of an observer rather than an active participant.

But this does have me thinking: if I ran a political party, what would those "five specific policy recommendations" be? I'm thinking that for a new party determined to march in the direction of smaller government, these recommendations should be a) consistent with the goal of smaller government, and b) popular among a variety of constituencies, regardless of ideology. The items in the platform must appeal to common sense, getting potential voters to say, "I'm voting for Candidate A because he pledges to do these things I agree with."

With that in mind, I thought up a lot more than five "specific" policy recommendations, but I have thought of five general themes which should connect with people across the ideological spectrum, and which would indicate moderate, incremental steps in the direction of small, limited government. Not just libertarians and patriotist/paleoconservatives, but moderate Democrats and Republicans could endorse most of them. These themes are Eliminate the Terror Threat, Restore National Sovereignty, Reform Congress, Balance the Budget, and Lower Energy Costs. Time does not permit me to elaborate on all points, but I thought I'd throw these suggestions "out there." I might elaborate later.

1. Eliminate the Terror Threat:

a. Get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and stop meddling in the Middle East. This would be devastating to terrorist recruitment efforts.
b. Investigate 9-11, for real this time, to answer valid questions from the 9-11 Truth Movement.
c. Restore Privacy Rights: Repeal the Patriot Act and Real ID Act, stop warrant-less NSA spying and end ridiculous, cumbersome, and intrusive airport security measures.
d. Focus on borders, coasts, and other entry points to keep criminals and likely terrorist suspects out of the country.

2. Restore National Sovereignty

a. Get out of NAFTA, CAFTA, and other “free trade agreements.” “Trade Agreements” do not mean free trade, they just add another layer of government intrusion.
b. Prohibit “North American Union” planning in Executive Branch Agencies, and stop construction of the NAFTA super highway.
c. Deny any obligation to pass laws to “comply” with the requirements of supra-national organizations.

3. Reform Congress:

Disclosure: I am part of the DownsizeDC.org team. These ideas are Downsize DC’s ideas; I would have endorsed these in any case.

a. Read the Bills Act: Members of Congress must swear that they’ve read the bills they vote for.
b. Write the Laws Act: This will stop legislation by Executive Order and by Administrative Agency bureaucrats; legislation is Congress’s responsibility. Legislation without representation is undemocratic, unconstitutional, and a tremendous hindrance to small business and the economy as a whole.
c. Single Subject Act(coming soon from DownsizeDC.org): A bill can not combine separate, unrelated topic into one in order to hide unpopular bills in more popular ones. For example, the Real ID Act could not have been inserted into a bill on appropriations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

4. Balance the Budget

Cut federal spending by 10% - preferably by first eliminating pork and corporate welfare, but across the board if no other solution is available.

Combined with ending the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, this should put the budget near balance. This would reduce the Grandchild Tax and the Inflation Tax, and set the stage for income tax cuts. There will be another benefit; government purchasing crowds out economic activity that would otherwise have occurred in the market. Less government means more productive economic activity.

5. Lower Energy Costs

a. Stop threatening Iran; definitely don’t go to war.
b. Remove any regulatory and tax hindrances to developing alternative fuels
c. Make friendly relations and peaceful commerce the foundation of American foreign policy.

Any thoughts?

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