|From 2011-11-17 (Occupy Portland - N17)|
End of the year, crawling out of my cave for a minute to throw this up. I am not sure if this draft has been revised at all…
Blah. I cannot speak to the health and direction of the local movement. I’ve been out of the loop in self-imposed exile for a couple weeks.
One thing that pops into my mind glancing over the draft of the declaration is... Well, it is hard to put into words. But, basically, it is this... These are national level statements and demands from a local level organization.
To me, the role of a local level organization is to bring local attention and publicity to the national movement. Early on, OWS released a declaration of demands. Is Occupy Portland protesting in solidarity with OWS and the national movement, or are they trying to be a local group making a national impact?
My concerns are vague, and I understand the desire to have a specific document to point to when asked by people, "Why are you doing this?" And that is all well and fine...
To some degree, it strikes the same nerve in me that is tweaked when local city councils make resolutions concerning national and international issues. It is all fine and dandy, but what does it really mean and how is it really their business? And, bottom line, for the most part it, is just words. A city council can decry the, let's use a common example, the invasion of Iraq back in 2003, but there is absolutely nothing they can do about it.
I suppose the purpose of such a declaration as the one below is to say that we, locally, stand in support of those across the country who are upset about these issues, and that is fine. And protest at a local level is an important part of a national protest movement.
Maybe this is the plan, and from my cave I just haven't heard the plan... But the real function of a document like this, in my view, would be to, say, be the locally agreed upon platform to be worked out in some sort of national convention where a declaration for the national movement was hammered out.
Alright, I am not expressing my thoughts clearly today. Back into my cave. I hope some sense of my vague thoughts came through here...
Anyway, here is some food for thought.
Goals for Occupy Portland | Portland Occupier:
Occupy must not be captured by narrow interests and lose sight of its goals. If we are fighting for the 99%, then we must stand for principles that most of the 99%, and nearly all of us, will agree with. We cannot win a fight for democracy unless we stay focused on what we’re working for, remain unified, and have the support of the majority of the public. We must strive to avoid fractious issues and fighting battles we cannot win.
Occupy Portland needs a simple document that affirms the right of the people to govern and lays down the basic principles on which we all can stand. We can and should evaluate many specific proposals from all of our supporters and take action to support the ones that match our principles, and oppose those that conflict, whether in our city, state, or nation. Issues change; tactics change; principles remain.
The Declaration of Occupy Portland | Portland Occupier:
I have seen a vision of the end of Occupy Portland. It looks like a meeting with no actionable agenda, no notes, and no plan for a follow-up meeting. It is organized–maybe–on Facebook alone. And it will have the phrases “ninety-nine percent”, “unity”, and “positive” repeated upwards of twenty times each.
It looked a lot like the Convention for the Declaration of Occupy Portland, held at the Mission Theater on the night of Sunday, December 19th. If I thought for a second that this meeting was all there was to the Occupation, I might have been convinced that this was the end. Thankfully, I know better. But if you want to quantify the distance between this event and a consensus GA after shutting down the city on a Tuesday afternoon in October, it would be measured in miles.
Occupy Portland: "NATIONAL DECLARATION OF OCCUPY PORTLAND TO CONGRESS"
By Owen Sanders in Occupy Portland
This is the proposed draft of the national Declaration of Occupy Portland to Congress. The Declaration contains a preamble, which details our grievances, as well as our belief that conservative and liberal ideas are not naturally opposed but are actually naturally complimentary. Next come the 32 demands, which offer a bold and comprehensive set of solutions to our common problems. Then the Second Bill of Rights, as originally envisioned by FDR with some additions to reflect our 21st century needs. The final paragraph details the strategies we will use to get our demands met. Please let me know what you think, and whether you would be willing to adopt this document as our official Declaration!
Declaration of Occupy Portland to Congress
From time to time, it becomes necessary for the citizenry to exercise their first amendment rights to petition their government for a redress of grievances. We the people of Oregon, the 99%, have occupied our city for this purpose. This is our petition to the Congress of the United States of America.
Big banks, multinational corporations, and the small super-wealthy group of power elites we call the 1% have seized control of our democracy in a covert coup d’état not with guns, but with the insidious influence of lobbyists and legal bribery in the form of campaign contributions. They have used the power they have usurped from the people to wreak havoc on this great nation. They have gambled our money away on risky investments, crashed our economy, decimated our savings, stolen our pensions, eliminated our jobs, and caused the most extreme wealth stratification in American history. They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage. They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give executives exorbitant bonuses. They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right. Corporations have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility. They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regard to health insurance. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit. They have exploited indigenous peoples and stolen their land and resources. They continue to block alternative forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil. Out of greed, they have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, and faulty bookkeeping. They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas. These are just some of the crimes they have committed against the common good.
We reject the fallacy that liberal and conservative ideas are naturally opposed to each other. To the contrary, we believe they naturally complement each other. For too long the 1% have manipulated us into being divided against each other. The 1% have pit Americans against Americans in a bitter fight over so called “wedge issues”. In reality though, neither the Democrat nor the Republican party serve the people anymore. They serve corporations, big banks, big government, and the 1%. If we are to banish this insidious power from the halls of government, we must look past our differences to our commonalities. We must take off our ideological blinders, and see each other for what we are: Americans, citizens united by common grievances. If we are to protect America from the destruction of the 1%, it is imperative that we draw upon the wisdom of both schools of thought.
We believe that People of all political affiliation are united in the belief that all laws must be rooted in the moral principle of do no harm. As Thomas Jefferson put it, “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”
We will fight for laws founded upon this essential moral principle of rightful liberty/do no harm. The following demands are a synthesis of the most urgent demands for reform from conservatives and liberals, as well as libertarians and people of many other political affiliations.
1. ELIMINATE THE CORPORATE STATE: The merger of the political system of Republican Democracy with the economic system of Capitalism has resulted in the establishment of a Corporate government of, by and for the benefit of corporations. Therefore, the American People demand an immediate ban on all private contributions of anything of value, to all politicians in or running for federal office. This ban shall extend to all individuals, corporations, "political action committees," "super political action committees," lobbyists, unions and all other private sources of money or anything of value. Private fundings of campaigns shall be replaced by the fair, equal and total public financing of all federal political campaigns. We, the American People, categorically REJECT the concepts that corporations are persons or that money is equal to free speech because if that were so, then only the wealthiest people and corporations would have a voice in our society. The complete elimination of private contributions must be enacted by law or Constitutional amendment because it has become clear that politicians in the United States cannot regulate themselves and have become the exclusive representatives of corporations, unions and the very wealthy who indirectly and directly spend vast sums of money on political campaigns to influence the candidates’ decisions when they attain office and ensure their reelection year after year. Our elected representatives spend far too much of their time fundraising for the next election rather than doing the People's business and labor under conflicts of interest that make it impossible for them to act in the best interest of the American People. The current system's propagation of legalized bribery and perpetual conflicts of interests has reduced our once great Republican Democracy to a greed driven corporatocracy run by boardroom oligarchs who represent .05 to 1% of the population but own 38% of the wealth and whose incomes have increased 275% since 1979 while most other salaries have remained virtually flat or declined.
2. ABROGATION OF THE "CITIZENS UNITED" CASE: The immediate abrogation, even if it requires a Constitutional Amendment, of the outrageous and anti-democratic holding in the "Citizens United" case proclaimed by the United States Supreme Court in 2010. This heinous decision equates the payment of money to politicians by corporations, wealthy individuals and unions with the exercise of protected free speech. We, the American People, demand that this institutional bribery and corruption never again be deemed protected free speech.
3. COMPREHENSIVE CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND ELECTION REFORM: Abolishing the Electoral College in favor of the Popular Vote in presidential elections. Subject to the above ban on all private money and gifts in politics: enactment of additional campaign finance reform requiring new FCC regulations granting free air time to all candidates; total public campaign financing to all candidates who obtain sufficient petition signatures and/or votes to get on the ballot and participate in the primaries and/or electoral process; implementation of nationwide uniform election rules applied to all voting districts requiring equal access to third parties to appear on ballots and instant runoff voting or ranked choice voting; abandoning easily hackable electronic voting machines in favor of paper ballots to ensure accuracy and provide a paper trail; shortening the campaign season to three months; allowing voting on weekends and holidays so working class people don’t have to choose between going to work and voting; issuance of free voter registration cards to all citizens who are eligible to vote so that they cannot be turned away at a polling station because they do not have a driver's license or other form of identification; and expanding the option of mail-in ballots and verifiable internet voting.
4. ELIMINATE ALL PRIVATE BENEFITS AND "PERKS" TO POLITICIANS: Prohibiting all federal public employees, officers, officials or their immediate family members from ever being employed by any corporation, individual or business that the official specifically regulated while in office; nor may any public employee, officer, official or their immediate family members own or hold any stock or shares in any corporation the official specifically regulated while in office until a full 5 years after their term is completed; a complete lifetime ban on the acceptance of all gifts, services, money or thing of value, directly or indirectly, by any elected or appointed federal official or their immediate family members, from any person, corporation, union or other entity that the public official was charged to specifically regulate while in office. The term "specifically regulate" shall mean service on a committee or sub-committee or service within any agency or department of the federal government responsible for the regulation of the person, union, corporation or entity seeking to confer a benefit. In sum, elected politicians and public employees in regulatory roles may only collect their salary, generous healthcare benefits and pension. Any person, including corporate employees, found guilty and convicted of violating these new ethics rules in a court of law by proof beyond a reasonable doubt, shall be sentenced to a term of mandatory imprisonment of no less than one year and not more than ten years.
5. TERM LIMITS: Members of the United States House of Representatives shall be limited to serving no more than four two-year terms in their lifetime. Members of the United States Senate shall be limited to serving no more than two six-year terms in their lifetime. The two-term limit for President shall remain unchanged. Serving as a member of Congress or as the President of the United States is one of the highest honors and privileges our culture can bestow. These positions of prominence in our society should be sought to serve one's country and not provide a lifetime career designed to selfishly increase personal wealth and accumulate power for the sake of vanity and hubris.
6. MAKE JUDGES ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PEOPLE: Judges shall be elected by the People. This process shall be facilitated by holding publicly funded debates and publishing judge’s records.
7. EMPLOY MILLIONS OF AMERICANS BUILDING A 21ST CENTURY INFRASTRUCTURE FOR AMERICA: We clearly need faster broadband connections, a smart electrical grid, more efficient ports and airports, high speed rail to provide safe, cheap, rapid transportation around the country, and an upgrade of our old investments in roads, bridges, rails, water and sewage systems, and levees. Therefore, millions of jobs shall be created by building America a state of the art 21st century infrastructure. An infrastructure bank shall be created to fund this effort, which foreign governments, private entities and our own government may invest in. Individual citizens will also get to invest in it by buying Build America Bonds of amounts between $100 and $1 million. The bonds will mature after ten years, at which point the $600 billion return will easily pay for the $10 billion we initially invest.
8. EMPLOY MILLIONS OF AMERICANS MEETING ALL OUR ENERGY NEEDS WITH CLEAN FUELS: The surest way to create jobs, cut costs, enhance national security, cut the trade deficit by up to 50 percent, and fight global climate change is to change the way we produce and consume energy. Winds across America carry the potential of generating 37 trillion kilowatt hours, almost ten times our existing needs. We have the technology to harness that potential. Most importantly, every billion dollars invested in wind creates 3,300 jobs. The same amount of money invested in solar, another vital clean energy source, yields 1,900 jobs. Let’s make it happen.
9. EMPLOY MILLIONS OF AMERICANS MAKING OUR BUILDINGS ENERGY EFFICIENT: Every billion dollars invested in retrofitting big buildings for energy efficiency creates 7,000 jobs; in home retrofits, 8,000 jobs. McKinsey & Company estimates that with an investment of $520 billion in efficiency improvements, we could save $1.2 trillion by 2020, cut consumption 23 percent, and create about 4 million new jobs. According to The Center for American Progress estimates that the United States could achieve 50% of the reductions required to cut our greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 through greater efficiencies alone. For these reasons, the federal government shall launch an aggressive, fifty-state building retrofit initiative.
In many cases banks won’t give builders loans to retrofit their buildings because they’re too far in debt or are not deemed credit-worthy. To solve this problem, the government shall set up a Small Business Administration loan guarantee program to assure the banks they will be repaid. A $15 billion fund could guarantee $150 in loans and create a million jobs.
The government shall allow energy companies to pay for the retrofits themselves, since they get the extra energy capacity retrofits provide to sell to other costumers. To do that, utilities have to be permitted to “decouple” their rates from energy usage, charging slightly more per kilowatt hour on retrofitted buildings, or houses, until the cost of the retrofits are recovered. A tax incentive shall be given to companies for doing this.
Additionally, the big banks have told many school districts they can’t borrow money to do a retrofit because they’re already at their debt capacity. The government shall pass a law requiring rating agencies to exempt retrofits when calculating debt capacity for schools, because the schools don’t take on new obligations; they just keep paying their utility bills at the same dollar amount until the costs are covered.
Public-employee and labor-union pension funds shall be used to finance investments in the infrastructure bank and in energy retrofits, especially for schools, colleges, and government buildings. They offer decent returns at very low risk and, unlike many investments in their portfolios, will create millions of jobs.
The government shall launch an initiative to paint every black tar roof in every city in America white and plant rooftop gardens, which on a hot day can cut a buildings energy usage by over 30%. This will also create millions of jobs perfect for young people looking to get in on the ground level of the clean energy economic boom.
The government shall extend the tax credit for creating new green technology jobs beyond 2011, which is when they’re currently set to expire.
10. EMPLOY MILLIONS OF AMERICANS FINISHING THE SMART GRID: Finish the smart grid, with adequate transmission lines, at least enough to connect the areas where the wind blows hardest and the sun shines brightest to the population centers that use the most power. Our grid is divided 140 largely autonomous areas of varying capacity. This leads to electricity disruptions that cost the economy $100 billion a year. Fixing it entirely would cost twice as much but would provide a quick return, paying for itself within two years and becoming profitable after that. This will create millions of jobs, especially in sunny, windy rural areas that have been left behind for decades, including rural Native American reservations that are too rural to sustain casinos.
11. FILL AMERICA’S CURRENT 3 MILLION JOBS OPENINGS FASTER WITH JOB SKILLS TRAINING: The government shall set up a fund to invest in training the unemployed and underemployed in 21st century job skills so everyone can take advantage of the new jobs created by the previous proposals, as well as our current 3 million job openings. We also recommend the establishment of an online international job exchange to match employers with skilled workers or employers willing to train workers in 21st century skills.
The government shall increase the preparation and recruitment of, and incentives for, young Americans to get degrees and take jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Student loans shall be forgiven in exchange for a certain number of years’ work in these areas.
12. OFFER AN X-PRIZE OR ITS EQUIVALENT FOR IDEAS THAT PROMOTE INNOVATION AND JOB CREATION: Winners shall be awarded on a sliding scale based on the number of jobs created, with a 10,000 job minimum.
13. GIVE EMPLOYERS AN INCENTIVE TO NOT LAY OFF WORKERS: One reason the German unemployment rate is 2% lower than ours is that in tough times, employers and employees can agree to reduce everyone’s hours and pay in a system called Kurzarbeit, “short work.” Our government shall legalize and encourage this practice instead of layoffs by paying the employee 60% of his or her wages. This will be cheaper than full unemployment payments, keep skilled workforces intact, and help the economy recover.
14. END OUTSOURCING: Subject to the elimination of corporate tax loopholes and exploited exemptions and deductions stated above, offering tax incentives to businesses to remain in the United States and hire our citizens rather than outsource jobs. An "outsourcing tax" should be introduced to discourage businesses from sending jobs overseas. Providing tax breaks to companies that invest in reconstructing the manufacturing capacity of the United States so that we again make everyday products in the United States rather than importing them from countries like China and India. Corporations must be incentivized to make slightly less profit by hiring American workers rather than maximizing every penny of profit to the detriment of society.
“Insourcing” efforts shall be supported and funded by the government. The number of empowerment zones shall be increased and the reach of the New Markets Initiative shall be increased. Both these initiatives which began during the Clinton administration, give businesses extra incentives to invest in areas of very high unemployment and low per capita incomes. The government shall provide free training and the cash equivalent of a ten-year property-tax holiday for investments that create more than a certain number of jobs or reopen a closed factory, an idea that was first suggested by Newt Gingrich.
15. INCREASE AMERICAN EXPORTS: For instance, negotiate long-term contracts to sell food to China, Saudi Arabia, and other nations facing food shortages. This would generate a good income for our farmers, it would hold down big destabilizing spikes in food prices, and it would buy the United States the time we need to reduce our reliance on China to buy our debt securities and on Saudi Arabia to keep imported oil flowing at affordable prices.
16. FUND AMERICA’S SMALL BUSINESSES: Expand the role and funding of the Small Business Administration. Small businesses are the heart of the American economy. Our country’s nearly thirty million small businesses have created most of America’s new jobs over the last fifteen years, generated more than half our nonfarm GDP, and paid the salaries of more than half our private-sector workers. If they were a single corporation, they would be “too big to fail”, and it’s time we started acting accordingly.
Sadly though, 60% of small business loans are rejected by the big banks. According to Gallup’s chief economist, 40% of small businesses are hiring fewer workers than they need. This is where the SBA will step in, offering loan guarantees of 50 to 85% for bank loans to small businesses with 100% guarantees for disaster loans. Banks that refuse to give loans to small businesses shall be penalized heavily with tax hikes and aggressive legal prosecution.
The government shall legalize and promote “crowd-funding”. Crowd-funding is the term used for receiving small sums of money over the Internet. It allows start-ups or small businesses that are seeking to expand to raise money directly from individuals without going through the big banks.
17. REIGN IN THE GOVERNMENT’S OUT OF CONTROL SPENDING: End corporate welfare, government subsidies, and bailouts. Subsidized businesses have an unfair advantage that allows them to remain competitive. Any business that is unable to compete in the free market shall be allowed to fail without government bailouts or subsidies. Commercial farms, for example, which have brought down the price of food and pushed small, organic farms out of business shall no longer be subsidized. Commodity prices will begin to reflect their real value and the best and most trustworthy businesses would rise to the top. The two exceptions to this are research and development tax credits, particularly for alternative fuels, and tax credits for creating jobs here in America.
In addition, it was recently revealed that the Federal Reserve lent out $12.3 trillion to foreign central banks. We want our money paid back…with interest.
18. END PERPETUAL WAR FOR PROFIT: Recalling all military personnel at all non-essential bases and refocusing national defense goals to address threats posed by the geopolitics of the 21st century, including terrorism, global climate change, and limiting the large scale deployment of military forces to instances where Congressional approval has been granted to counter the Military Industrial Complex's goal of perpetual war for profit. The annual savings created by updating our military posture will be applied to the social programs outlined herein to improve the quality of life for human beings rather than assisting corporations to make ever-increasing profits distributed to the top 1% of wealth owners.
19. END THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN: An immediate withdrawal of all combat troops from Afghanistan and a substantial increase in the amount of funding for veteran job training and placement. New programs dedicated to the treatment of the emotional and physical injuries sustained by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Our veterans are committing suicide at an unprecedented rate of one person every 80 minutes and we must help now.
20. BANKING AND SECURITIES REFORM: Immediate reenactment of the Glass-Steagall Act and increased regulation of Wall Street and the financial industry by the SEC, FINRA, the Justice Department and the other financial regulators. The immediate commencement of Justice Department criminal investigations into the Securities and Banking industry practices that led to the collapse of markets, $700 billion bank bail-out ("T.A.R.P.") and financial firm failures in 2007-2008. Introduction of a small financial transaction fee to collect a "sales tax" on each and every stock trade and all other forms of financial transactions. Uniform regulations limiting what banks may charge consumers for ATM fees, the use of debit cards and other miscellaneous "fees." Ending the $4 billion a year "hedge fund loophole" which permits certain individuals engaged in financial transactions to evade graduated income tax rates by treating their income as capital gains which are taxed at a much lower tax rate (approximately 15%).
21. END THE MORTGAGE CRISIS:
Every citizen whose mortgage is worth more than their home shall have the mortgage principal written down or its term extended at a low interest rate. If over the life of the mortgage or at an earlier sale the value of the home goes up again and it is sold at a profit, the owner shall share the profit with the lender.
The borrowers who can’t make even the reduced payments shall be given the option of swapping their deed for a multiyear lease, with modest rental payments sufficient to cover taxes, insurance, and maintenance, and the option to buy the home back at market value when the lease expires, or earlier, if the borrower’s financial circumstances permit.
The government shall incentivize banks and all other mortgage holding entities public and private to get their houses into rentable shape and to charge the lowest possible rates so that the houses can be filled more quickly, which will prevent further depression of the housing market.
The houses to be rented shall be given retrofits and energy audits. The renters shall continue to pay the same rent until the savings have paid off the cost of the retrofits and audits, after which time the rent will be reduced to reflect the resulting 20% reduction in utility bills. This will have the added benefit of creating millions of jobs.
People with government-guaranteed mortgages shall be allowed to refinance at the current low interest rate.
The Federal Reserve shall incentivize banks to lend to small business owners by charging 1% interest on the money the banks leave languishing in the Fed. The interest rate shall increase to 2% for banks who make more deposits in the Fed than they give out loans.
22. STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS: Implementation of a student loan debt relief forgiveness program. Our students are $1 trillion in debt from education loans alone with few employment prospects due to a financial collapse directly caused by the unbridled and unregulated greed of Wall Street. Interest on these debts should be reduced and deferred for periods of unemployment and the principal on these loans forgiven over time by phasing in a graduated corporate tax surcharge. This surcharge will also act as reparations for Wall Street's intentional and reckless conduct leading to widespread unemployment, the economic collapse in 2007-2008, the multi-billion dollar bailout of Wall Street, current worldwide recession and turmoil in international markets. The tax code will also be amended so that employers will receive a student loan repayment tax deduction for paying off the loans of their employees.
23. END THE FED. The immediate formation of a non-partisan commission, overseen by Congress, to audit and investigate the economic risks and possibility of eliminating the privately-owned Federal Reserve Bank and transferring its functions to the United States Treasury Department.
24. END CURRENCY MANIPULATION: Implementing immediate legislation (see e.g. H.R. 639) to encourage China (which undervalues its currency by an estimated 25% to 40%) and our other trading partners to end currency manipulation and reduce the trade deficit.
25. MONETIZE AND REDUCE THE FEDERAL DEBT: Adoption of an immediate plan to reduce the national debt to a sustainable percentage of GDP by 2020. Reduction of the national debt to be achieved by fair progressive taxation, monetizing the debt, and cuts in spending to corporations engaged in perpetual war for profit, the "healthcare" industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the communications industry, the oil and gas industry, and all other sectors that currently use the federal budget as their private income stream. We agree that spending cuts are necessary but those cuts must be made to facilitate what is best for the People of the United States of America, not multinational and domestic corporations who currently have a stranglehold on all politicians in both parties.
Furthermore, the debt shall be monetized. The national debt consists of securities: bills, bonds and notes. The U.S. government shall issue new fiat currency to buy back all the securities and take them out of circulation. Because securities act as cash this would not increase the overall money supply and cause inflation. Instead it would just eliminate the debt and taxpayers would no longer have to pay interest on it.
26. A FAIR TAX CODE: A complete reformation of the United States Tax Code to require ALL citizens and corporations to pay a fair share of a progressive, graduated income tax by eliminating loopholes, unfair tax breaks, exemptions and unfair deductions, subsidies and ending all other methods of evading taxes. The one exception is that corporations shall pay no tax on money that they bring back from overseas if it’s invested to create jobs. Pass President Obama’s payroll tax cuts, which would save workers and small businesses thousands of dollars annually and incentivize employers to raise wages and create jobs. In addition, pass Obama’s proposed $4,000 tax credit for employers who hire people who’ve been out of work for more than six months, rising to $5,600 for unemployed veterans and $9,600 for disabled veterans.
The current system of taxation unjustly favors the wealthiest Americans, many of whom pay fewer taxes to the United States Treasury than citizens who earn much less and pay a much higher percentage of their incomes in taxes. Any corporation that does business in the United States and generates income from that business shall be fully taxed on that income regardless of corporate domicile or they will be barred from earning their profits in the United States so that companies that pay their taxes can take that market share.
27. HEALTHCARE FOR ALL: Medicare for all or adoption of a single-payer healthcare system. The Medicaid program will be eliminated.
28. PROTECT THE PLANET:
Publicly elect EPA officials. Let the people choose who runs the EPA. This will help keep corporate and political interests out of the EPA and hold leaders accountable.
Eliminate conflicts of interest. Businesses partnering or researching with the EPA would have to prove their actions do not harm the environment. For example, the American Chemistry Council would no longer be able to work with the EPA unless pesticide manufacturers and other harmful chemical companies were banned from their council. Get corporate influence out of politics and the politicization of scientific research in general. Eliminate any funding or lobbying from corporations toward the FDA, EPA, NSF, NEA, CDC, etc.
Enact new comprehensive regulations to give the Environmental Protection Agency expanded powers to shut down corporations, businesses or any entities that intentionally or recklessly damage the environment, and to criminally prosecute individuals who intentionally or recklessly damage the environment. Tax the pollution that can’t be prosecuted. Sufficient penalties make will make polluting prohibitive so it is phased out and the real costs of healthy goods will become apparent.
An estimated $700 billion a year of taxpayer money is spent by the world’s governments to promote environmentally destructive activities such as coal mining, overfishing, pesticide use, overpumping of aquifers, and the burning of fossil fuels. To save the environment, the government shall stop funding its destruction.
Invest heavily in the research, development, production, and consumption of clean alternative sources of energy, such as wind, solar, and geothermal. Subsidize green companies that create jobs here in America.
Convert all landfills into power generators. This technology has already been implemented in India, Brazil, and Sweden, and its benefits are enormous: closing landfills, building recycling business in plastic, metal, glass and organic fertilizer, and using excess energy to provide steam heat to power factories or provide electricity for the grid. We could create jobs, improve public health, and free land for more productive purposes. Once the cost of a solid waste plant is recovered, it’s a great source of cheap power.
Keep developing more efficient biofuels. Continue to promote biofuels, including biodiesel, by funding research to reduce conversion costs and providing tax incentives to help the ethanol plans switch to more efficient stocks when the corn subsidy dies. The sugar subsidy shall only be continued for companies that convert the majority of their sugar into biofuel.
Keep the tax credits for producing and buying electric and hybrid vehicles. Also, increase the pace at which the federal automobile fleet is being converted. We can’t afford to lose this market to the Chinese, who are forging ahead, as are other nations, with electric-vehicle production.
29. REFORM PUBLIC EDUCATION: Mandating new educational goals to train the American public to perform jobs in a 21st century economy, particularly in the areas of technology and green energy, taking into consideration the redundancy caused by technology and the inexpensive cost of labor in China, India and other developing countries. Eliminating tenure in favor of merit performance and paying our teachers a competitive salary commensurate with the salaries of employees in the private sector with similar skills because without highly-skilled teachers, there will never be a highly-skilled workforce and the United States will fall further and further behind its competitors.
30. RESTORE OUR CIVIL LIBERTIES: Repeal the Patriot Act. End so called “constitution free zones” where the 4th amendment is suspended, in which 2/3 of American citizens live. For too long we have succumbed to terror and sacrificed our liberty. As Ben Franklin said, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
31. MAKE OUR PRISON SYSTEM JUST: As described in a 2009 publication by the Justice Policy Institute, “Federal, state and local governments are spending a combined $68 billion dollars a year on a system that does not definitively improve public safety, but, instead, destabilizes communities, harms families, and derails the lives of individuals. Research has shown that over the last 10 years, states that have increased their prison populations have not seen concurrent decreases in violent crime. At the same time, the states that have reduced their incarceration rates have seen some of the largest drops in violent crime.” Some initial steps for reform could include redirecting funds from prisons to community support services such as rehabilitation, substance abuse treatment, restorative justice programs such as victim/offender mediation, community service, and restitution. We can learn from states such as Texas, Nevada, New York, New Jersey and Georgia, who have successfully cut down their prison populations and recidivism rates.
32. STOP BIG BANKS FROM BANKRUPTING DEVELOPING NATIONS: Withdraw support from the IMF, the World Bank, and the Bank for International Settlements. This international banking trio is destroying the world. They bankrupt countries, charge astronomical interest rates, require unfair loan conditions, and create development strategies that benefit Multinational Corporations rather than the residents of the country.
Furthermore, we hold that it is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.
This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty. As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial and information economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these truths have become accepted as self-evident. The government shall ratify the following Second Bill of Rights, under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all of the 99%—regardless of station, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or creed.
(1) The right to a transparent and accountable government responsive to the will of the People and never again beholden to corporations, banks, and the power elite.
(2) The right to a share of the ownership of the commons, including air, water, and public spaces.
(3) The right to employment with a living wage to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.
(4) The right of every family and individual to a decent home.
(5) The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.
(6) The right to Social Security, to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.
(7) The right to a globally competitive, affordable education.
(8) The right to privacy. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
(9) The right to freedom from censorship of the Internet.
(10) The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad.
In order to turn the dream of a better world contained in this Declaration into a reality, we will spread our message far and wide until every American has heard the call. We will identify and work with allied lawmakers on writing bills that are faithful to this dream, on introducing them to the state legislatures and Congress, and on building bipartisan support to vote them into law. We will put pressure on lawmakers that have been bought by the 1% to vote in accordance with the will of the People with massive direct action and public awareness campaigns, and by calling on our allies in the faith, labor, and business communities. If any lawmakers continue to oppose the will of the People, we will run third party candidates of our choosing against them. And we will win.
—Occupy Portland and the 99%
-“The 99% Declaration” by the OWS 99% Declaration Working Group.
-The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
-The EU Social Charter.
-“Back to Work” by President Bill Clinton.
-President Delano Roosevelt’s January 11, 1944 message to the Congress of the United States on the State of the Union.
-Various articles from AlterNet, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Al Jazeera, and more.