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Thursday, April 28, 2011

An open letter: 10 ways for Ron Paul to get many more progressives on board

Dear Dr. Paul,
While progressives are skeptical of your economic agenda, we find ourselves in agreement with much of what you are advocating, especially restoring American respect and strength in the world through immediately drawing down our overseas military commitments and cutting wasteful, counterproductive and unnecessary military and security spending. We are disappointed with President Obama and are looking to send him and future presidential candidates a message. Challenging him in the 2012 Democratic primary would yield disastrous results. Your candidacy, however, offers us another option. We appreciate your willingness to work with progressives like Senator Sanders and Representatives Frank, Kucinich, and McKinney. For this you have earned our respect and deserve our thanks. We believe that you can and should do more to reach out to disenfranchised progressives. You can help your cause by appealing more to progressives. We acknowledge that you have been doing this consistently; we just want you to amp it up. Your greatest appeal is in your reluctant but pragmatic and humanitarian willingness to allow for current or greater levels of spending on domestic programs and projects if progressives are willing to have a net cut in overall spending. The net cut will come primarily from reductions in military spending and ending overseas commitments. We believe that you can maintain your ideals and your integrity and still get more progressives on board by clarifying the details of your grand compromise and doing the following:

1.) Specify the amount of cuts in defense and other empire building and maintenance you want to make over the next 10 years.

2.) Specify the amount of net cuts and the level of the total budgets over the next 4 years. In other words, tell us how much we progressives can expect to spend on domestic programs and projects in each of the first 4 years of your presidency and how much has to be cut from the overall budgets of each year from 2013 to 2016.

3.) Tell us what excise taxes you want congress to put on legalized drugs like marijuana, heroine and cocaine and how much revenue you would expect to raise from these taxes over the next 10 years. Rates comparable to those on tobacco and alcohol products would be very appealing.

4.) Let us know what other tax revenues you would add. Upping the Trump ante on tariffs on Chinese products in exchange for reductions in domestic spending and income taxes might be doable, especially if you implement number five on this list. A comprehensive plan to base tariff rates on the country of origin's human and civil rights, and labor, environmental and consumer protection policies would be wildly popular with Americans across the political spectrum, especially if you add democracy fees to the purchase of US treasury notes and up the tariffs more for countries who refuse to float their currencies on the open market.

5.) Propose a progressive consumption tax to take the place of the income tax.

6.) Lower the rate of payroll taxes while raising the cap in a revenue neutral way.

7.) Tell us you are willing for states to devise their own health insurance plans and that you will not interfere with states wanting to create single payer and public option systems and to compact with other states in doing so.

8.) Promise to appoint progressives to at least 40% of your domestic cabinet. Naming them in advance of the primaries would work well for progressives. Naming all of your cabinet in advance of the general election would work well with independents, progressives, libertarians, conservatives and all who like to know what they are getting before they get it.

9.) Endorse progressive Democrats, Greens and independents in 2012 House and Senate races against non-libertarian and neo-con Republicans. Urge progressives to vote for you and other libertarian candidates in the 2012 GOP primaries and caucuses.

10.) Promise to pardon all non-violent drug offenders within the first 100 days of your presidency.

Admittedly, this sort of outreach risks sending short-sighted libertarians into the arms of Gary Johnson. It is an unconventional and bold strategy but you have proven yourself to be the type of person who is willing to do the right thing for your country even if it drives the status quo oligarchs crazy. Radical problems require radical solutions. For such a time as this, we need you, Ron Paul, to step forward in a bold, decisive, clear and engaging way.

Yours Truly,

Progressives for Real Change

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