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A Proposed Package of Issues for Progressive Republicans
Let's get away from "cultural" issues and come back to the basics. Some of people’s core concerns are: war and peace, jobs, taxation, deficits and the national debt, racial and gender identity, help for working families, protection of natural resources and the environment, illegal immigration, local government inspections, trust in government, free speech, the war on drugs, our health-care system, Wall Street abuse, and free trade. There are generally two sides to each question. Which side should progressive Republicans support?
Progressive Republicans should not offer a pale copy of someone else's point of view. We want something with an edge.
The attempt here is to present a sharply defined set of issues. For each position that is supported, another is rejected. Each supported position should be different that what is currently being advocated by dominant factions in the two major parties.
The following list presents each set of issues in terms of a two-sided question. The proposed position of progressive Republicans is underlined:
(1) Should the United States maintain a strong military to defend our territory and project American power to advance our interests abroad; or should we cut back on military spending and rely more on international institutions such as the United Nations to maintain global security?
(2) Should the U.S. government rely on stimulus spending and public works to ease unemployment during recessions; or should government address the long-term employment problems by reducing the hours of work?
(3) Should taxes never be raised, even upon the wealthy; or should tax increases be an option, along with reduced spending, when government runs deficits?
(4) Is the increased national debt is not a major concern because the United States is big enough to finance the world economy; or do we need to take steps now to reduce the deficit and consider long-term strategies for dealing with the staggering sums of dollars held by foreigners?
(5) Is the Civil Rights model of politics beneficial for Americans; or is it time to put racial, gender, and other divisions behind us, adopt color-blind policies, and let all types of people have self-determined, positive identities?
(6) Would government be intruding on the free market if it mandated certain rights and protections for employees; or is the right of businesses to operate in a community predicated upon the health and well being of that community, including its working people?
(7) Are concerns about degradation of the natural environment generally overblown; or do today’s policy makers have an urgent obligation to conserve and protect natural resources for the sake of future generations?
(8) Should those who entered the United States illegally be sent back to their country of origin, be given full citizenship; or be allowed to stay but be required to register and their employers be required to pay a surtax to cover the social costs incurred by local governments?
(9) Do local governments have an absolute right to conduct building and other inspections any way they please; or should their decisions be subject to review by a higher authority when they appear unrelated to building safety or public health?
(10) Can the American people trust that their government’s greatly expanded intelligence and security apparatus continues to serve their interest; or is it time to investigate the potentially violent networks that exist within the federal government and, in particular, conduct a new inquiry into the tragic events that occurred on 9/11?
(11) Should political correctness rule; or should government continue broadly to uphold the right of free speech and free thought?
(12) Should the current war on illegal drugs be continued; or should we consider legalizing all or some of them?
(13) Does the United States, embracing the principles of free enterprise, have the best system of medicine in the world, or should government play a greater role in the health care industry, either as a health insurer or a direct provider of medical care?
(14) Has the federal government done enough to address the abuses on Wall Street, or should other steps be taken to limit the power of large financial institutions?
(15) Should the U.S. government continue to pursue policies of free trade, or should it work with other national governments in developing a new model of trade that encourages better business practices with respect to labor and the natural environment?
(16) Should the U.S. government put increasing amounts of money into higher education because this is an “investment in the future” that will make our nation more competitive; or is the requirement of a college education without suitable jobs an injustice placed upon young people, especially when student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy?
(17) Is urban traffic a problem best left to individuals and the free market; or should the federal government fund research and demonstration projects designed to cut down on urban traffic congestion and the resulting use of petroleum products?
(18) Should the U.S. government put all its resources toward meeting people’s needs on earth; or should it support a program to create a sustainable human colony in outer space?
See these general policy statements:
The Progressive Republican Tradition and its Prospect for the Future general statement of its legacy and issues (9,757 words)
What is a Progressive? (from an independent Minnesota perspective) (7,176 words)
Why the Democratic Party became a corporatist party by Kevin Drum, Mother Jones (593 words)
Policy of the 5 Fs and 2Ps (254 words)
Platform of the Republican Party in 1860 which nominated Abraham Lincoln for President (1,290 words)
Platform of the Progressive Party in 1912 which nominated Theodore Roosevelt for President (4,782 words)
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