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My platform - Phil's Rambling Rants
November 1st, 2006
09:30 pm

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My platform
I won't ever run for President.  I don't have the social skills to actually do the job, to say nothing of running a successful campaign.  But if filkertom can post his platform, I can post mine.

Note that I'm trying to limit this list to things within the power of the President.  My legislative agenda and my Constitutional reform agenda are good topics for other posts.  Still, I'm sure I could easily make this list a lot longer, but this will do for a first draft.
  1. During my term of office, I will not campaign for my own reelection or for the election of any other candidates, nor will I solicit or accept any campaign contributions.  The office I am elected to is a full-time commitment; it is a conflict of interest and a betrayal of the voters to spend any of my time on election campaigns when I was elected to do the country's business.
  2. My first act as President will be to sign the Kyoto Protocol on Global Climate Change.  My administration will seek to improve on Kyoto by making its targets more meaningful and applying them to all of the world, but we must start the process with a public gesture to the rest of the world on this single most important issue the human species faces.
  3. My second act as President will be to present to Congress legislation authorizing a steadily increasing tax on all burning of fossil carbon, equivalent to 5 cents per gallon of 100% gasoline per month.  20% of the revenue from this tax will be used to pay for lower taxes on the poorer citizens who will feel a disproportionate impact from this tax.  10% of the revenue will encourage environmentally sound renewable energy, including wind and solar and especially biomass, by providing long-term guarantees of high enough prices that these technologies are economically viable.  The remaining 70% will go to paying down the national debt.
  4. If I am faced with any vacancies on the Supreme Court, I will allow and encourage the Senate to perform its Constitutional duty by providing advice as well as consent.  I will, however, flatly refuse to nominate any candidate who will not state publicly, under oath, that any legislation or other act of government which forces one group's religious views on others is unConstitutional and unAmerican, including but not limited to unequal treatment of homosexuals, restrictions on abortion or on free speech about abortion, insertion of overt Christian references into public business such as "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance or posting the Ten Commandments in courtrooms, or diverting public money to pay for religious schools.
  5. My military policy is as follows:  I will return all National Guard and Reserve troops to their bases as soon as possible, and seek to restore both the morale and the materiel of these units which have been so abused by the current administration.  I will see to it that our active duty military has the manpower and resources to handle real threats to our national security such as Iran and North Korea.  (I am not advocating attacking these nations, but by putting ourselves in a position where we clearly could not attack them if we did want to, the Bush administration bears much of the blame for the situation we now find ourselves in in those countries.)  I will fire any general who advises me that we can effect useful changes on the ground in other countries with air power, and see to it that we have the ground forces necessary to actually win any conflict we must be involved in.
  6. The Congress is on notice that I will sign no legislation which I have not actually read, and I will veto any legislation which contains provisions which are unacceptable, no matter how necessary or desirable other provisions are.  The Congress is also on notice that I don't read very fast, so they really need to work on keeping the laws they want signed short and coherent.  Further, I will either sign or veto laws; I repudiate the notion of "signing statements" and will ignore any which my administration inherits.
  7. Because the Presidency is the most important job in America, it is self-evident that any compensation package valued at more than the President's $400,000 salary is excessive and frivolous; therefore the IRS will be directed to no longer consider paying such amounts as a legitimate business expense.  They will be taxed as corporate profit.
  8. When I take the oath of office, the phrase and the concept of the War on Terror are retired.  Terrorism is certainly a problem, but in the big picture, it is only a real threat to America when we react by ceasing to be America.  We will not cower, we will not throw away our Constitutional rights and freedoms in the name of fighting the people we say want to kill us for our freedom, and my Administration will not use the bogeyman of terrorism to justify any policy other than legitimate law enforcement against people actually engaged in terrorist acts.
  9. I want a single payer national health care system, but I'm not convinced we can pay for it.  I'll be looking for ways to make it work -- really work, as in paying providers the full amount they need to make their services available to all comers -- but until then I propose the following reforms, which I will promptly submit to Congress for their consideration:  (a) Any health insurance plan has to take all comers and cover all needed treatment, with no preexisting conditions, no moral exclusions, and no yearly or lifetime limits on coverage.  Rates may increase moderately with age and with chosen risky behavior such as smoking, but all people covered by a company must have the same premium schedule.  (b) Mental health, vision, and dental problems must be covered fully. (c) The cost of employer-provided health coverage may no longer be hidden.  The cost of health insurance must be included in the gross pay line and show up as a deduction. (d) If a person chooses to pay for their own health care, either opting out of their employer plan or if they don't have an employer plan, the full cost of the premiums is tax deductible.  (e) An employee with an employer paid plan may opt out and take the cash instead.  The employer may require that the employee have coverage, but they can't require that it be the company plan. (f) Drug companies and other providers may not price discriminate; they must sell their medicine to uninsured patients, the government, or private insurers for the same price.
  10. Our government is far too secretive.  Under my administration, any material which is classified at any level must be reviewed annually, and declassified if it is not clearly necessary that it remain secret.  Any document which has been secret for two years can only be approved for continuing classification by an officer at the general level if it is military, or a Cabinet undersecretary.  After 5 years, only Cabinet secretaries or members of the Joint Chiefs may keep things secret.  After 10 years, I will only allow things to remain secret on my personal authority.  All material is declassified after 25 years.  All declassified documents will be immediately made available on the Internet.

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From:tigertoy
Date:November 2nd, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC)
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I'm trying to limit it to the real Constitutional powers of the President. The President cannot grant himself the line-item veto; I would use it if I had it, but even if there was political will for it, it would take years to amend the Constitution. Claiming the right to a retroactive veto is even more autocratic; I would not make myself better than W by doing the same things I revile him for (claiming powers way beyond the Constitution) just because I was using my illegal powers for good.

If this were my "what I would do if the aliens came down and made me dictator" post, it would be a lot more radical.
(Deleted comment)
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From:tigertoy
Date:November 2nd, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC)
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Wow, I actually was able to find the answer to a question using Google.

Wikipedia sums it up:
The President of the United States was briefly granted this power by the Line Item Veto Act of 1996, passed by Congress in order to control "pork barrel spending" that favors a particular region rather than the nation as a whole. The line-item veto was used 11 times to strike 82 items from the federal budget by President Bill Clinton.

However, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas F. Hogan decided on February 12, 1998 that unilateral amendment or repeal of only parts of statutes violated the U.S. Constitution. This ruling was subsequently affirmed on June 25, 1998 by a 6-3 decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case Clinton v. City of New York.

I personally believe the Court was wrong; Congress explicitly has the power to make its own rules for how laws are written, and I believe that if they choose to extend that to letting the President cut bits out, they can. But it is now settled law that the only way to break the power of the omnibus budget resolution is by amending the Constitution, and right now the political climate is so bitterly divided that we couldn't pass a Constitutional amendment that said the sky is blue.
(Deleted comment)
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From:daev
Date:November 2nd, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
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I'd vote for that, Phil! The great thing about your platform is that it would all be considered sensibly mainstream by the standards of the '60s, '70s, and even early '80s, which goes to show how stupid our country has gotten that your ideas now sound radical.
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