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Suggested Goals of the Occupy Movement

Citizens Oversight (2011-10-28) Raymond Lutz

This Page: http://www.copswiki.org/Common/M1184
More Info: Budget And Taxation, Campaign Finance Reform, Energy Policy, Occupy San Diego

SUGGESTED GOALS FOR THE OCCUPATION

Ray Lutz -- Version 6

The Occupy Wall Street movement is sweeping the nation and the world. It is the best thing I've seen in my lifetime, perhaps and hopefully resulting in some significant changes and "getting our country back." There have been various lists of demands that is going around, discussions about how to make progress, and debate on what is important and what is not. I make this suggestion to organize the issues into four major categories.

It is very important that we focus on not the symptoms of the disease, but the core causes. If we are able to fix a symptom, then things will be better for a while, but ultimately, the powerful will rebuild their power over time and change things back or worse. If, at the end of our occupation movement, we do not correct at least one of the core causes, the movement will have been largely a failure.

#1. Money out of Politics

Getting money out of politics is the core disease we must fix. If we do not get this, all other corrections will be only temporary.

All elections should be financed using public money with no ties to any specific person or special interest. Wealthy candidates must not be able to buy elections; everyone must adhere to a cap.

Currently, the Supreme Court believes that "Money" equals "Speech," and that it is against first amendment rights to stop anyone from spending money on a candidate or proposition. Unfortunately, it seems now there is no other form of speech. Money has replaced honest debate and discussion. 94% of candidates who won spent more money than their opponents. Generally, no televised debates occur. The political parties exist largely to launder money to avoid campaign finance restrictions. Campaign fundraising is commonly co-opted by corporate players to allow them to amass a war chest and distribute those monies to various candidates that will approve their government contracts. (For example the Duncan D. Hunter campaign was co-opted in this manner by Linden Blue, co-owner of General Atomics, in the 2008 election.)

Money as speech obviously gives the wealthy the ability to get their candidates into power, and thus to get their way.

The Citizens United Supreme Court decision exacerbated this problem, now corporations are viewed as people, and they can spend unlimited sums to support any candidate or ballot measure. These corporations are huge, and may be primarily foreign concerns with no interest in our well being other than their own bottom line. If a single company such as Exxon/Mobil spends only 3% of their net income on elections, they will have outspent everyone else combined in the 2008 elections, and there is no reporting requirements at all.

If we do not fix election financing, almost any other correction we might make can be undone over time, and we will be in the same predicament down the road. What is required?
  • Publicly financed elections. (See http://www.publicampaign.org)

    • Rather than being forced to rely on special interest donors to pay for their campaigns, candidates have the opportunity to raise small donations from their grassroots base to qualify for Fair Elections funding, which ends their reliance on special interest campaign cash. Being freed from the money chase means they have more time to spend with constituents, talking about issues that matter to them. When they enter office, they can consider legislation on the merits, without worrying about whether they are pleasing well heeled donors and lobbyists. Fair Elections would return our government to one that is of, by, and for the peopleónot bought and paid for by special interests.
  • Corporations are not people, the Citizens United case must be overruled by a constitutional amendment. (See http://www.MoveToAmend.org)

  • TV and other media must be required to carry debates and coverage of campaigns. Currently, as soon as you announce you are a candidate, you become taboo and are not covered, debates are rarely held and voters rely on 30-second attack ads and soundbites.

  • Bring Politicians Home -- Representatives should work in their home districts at least 70% of the time and attend meetings in Washington or state capitals no more than 30% of the time, but participate in meetings by live stream and electronic voting. This forces lobbyists to travel to each district instead of just walking down the hall to visit their representative. (See http://bringhomethepoliticians.com)

#2 Financial Industry Reform -- Must be Closely Regulated, Taxed

This step won't work unless #1 also is solved. Even if you fix this for a while, it will slip back into corruption if the banks and financial industry continues to call the shots through massive campaign funding.
  • Banks must not be gamblers. Banks must have tighter regulation and work for a flat, monotonic marketplace, (i.e. not the unstable market speculators prefer) exactly what gamblers do not want.

  • Derivatives Market must be regulated. Consider outright ban on derivatives. No insurance for securities or moving risk around as was done with the derivatives market.

  • Responsibility for coining money should NOT be delegated to the private banks.

  • Authority of the Federal Reserve Bank must be drastically reduced (They secretly performed some 16 trillion in bailouts with no approval from anyone). Congress must be able to audit the Federal Reserve Bank, which is the only bank they can not audit at present.

  • Govt should erase debt to Federal Reserve, which exists for no purpose other than to make bankers rich.

  • Break up the big banks. Any corporate entity that is considered "Too big to fail" must be split up so they can fail and no bailouts will be considered.

  • Impose a transaction fee on wall street trades of a fraction of a percent on each trade.

  • Increase capital gains taxes, esp. on short-term trades.

  • Treat gambling winnings on wall street as regular income and not as capital gains, unless each investment is held at least 30 days (or some similar period of time). The average short-term computer trader holds securities for an average of 11 seconds, which contributes to market instability.

  • Government should provide a debit card with no fees whatsoever, to become electronic currency, and allow direct payment without VISA, M/C and other profiteers in the picture.

  • Eliminate off-shore tax havens and require a minimum tax on corporations that do business in the U.S.

  • Force banks to modify upside down mortgages and avoid foreclosures. This was supposed to happen under the TARP program but very little has been done.

#3 Convert War Machine to Sustainable Energy Development

Currently, 60% of discretionary budget is spent on wars and the "military industrial complex." We have two wars ongoing which are providing little if any value, yet are costing us some $40 billion a week or more, and impacting the military forces in terms of fatalities, injuries, PTSD, etc. plus hundreds of bases world wide. If we do nothing, this area will continue to eat up a unrealistic portion of our budget and keep us in wartime austerity.
  • Take the profit out of war. Military Industrial Complex companies that get war contracts must be nonprofit and strictly regulated. As a result, wars-for-profit will stop because they are simply not profitable. Any company that receives more than 50% of its revenue from the government or from companies that receive revenue from the government must be nonprofit, not traded on wall street, and must not contribute to candidates, run campaigns, etc. (already the case if goal #1 is realized.)

  • End the current wars, including use of private mercenary contractors. (See nonprofit MIC, above)

    We've heard these are over several times but for some reason, have not stopped, but continue to persist because of the profit motive.
  • Invest heavily in renewable energy infrastructure to stop buying expensive foreign energy, put people to work, and save billions on power we currently buy from other places but could be generating for free. We have plenty to do, and it is just a matter of pushing forward and doing it.

  • Move away from the debt-based economy and toward value-based economy. All energy infrastructure projects add value, and should be paid without corresponding debt.

  • Conduct an independent investigation into 9/11 and follow evidence wherever it may lead to either substantiate the rationale for two wars or else root out corruption that got us into them.

#4 Social Justice

Social justice issues, if not corrected, will become a huge drain on our economy.
  • Provide adequate safety net for seniors and unemployed who have fallen out of favor by the capitalistic system. Reverse attempts to gut both Social Security and Medicare.

  • Reduce job off-shoring by corporations by eliminating tax incentives and requiring all companies to openly report hiring / outsourcing practices, so that consumers can "Buy American."

  • Government must work to create jobs by investing directly in infrastructure and public works projects, esp. energy infrastructure projects that stop us from expending money off-shore.

  • End capital punishment.

  • Outcome-based compensation for care providers and gradual migration to Single-payer healthcare nonprofit insurance (i.e. "medicare for all").

  • Free or low-cost Internet for everyone. Cities outfitted with WIFI in all public areas.

  • Legalize cannabis products, esp. including industrial hemp, place it in the open market, tax it, and allow vendors to settle differences in court rather than by using guns. Expedite release of prisoners who were guilty of prior "war on drugs" failed regulations regarding cannabis products.

  • Break up media empires. Every point of view should have a venue.

  • Reopen care facilities to reduce homelessness.

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Title Suggested Goals of the Occupy Movement
Publisher Citizens Oversight
Author Raymond Lutz
Pub Date 2011-10-28
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Topic revision: r4 - 2016-05-16, UnknownUser
 

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