GoldParty.org
   
to: main page
   
   

More on the Issues

   

The program of government supported by Gold Party will be what the members, using the weighted-voting system, ultimately decide to support. It cannot be predicted with accuracy at this time. What party members want at the time of taking over the government, they will get.

Even so, it may be helpful to propose an agenda of issues at the outset of Gold Partys activity. People become involved in politics because of issues. This is what drives them to become involved in political organizations. Rather than offer a blank slate, this web site will suggest certain topics as a starting point for developing the party’s agenda.

Keep in mind that the goal of Gold Party is to grow in size to the point that it can take over the government. To attract majority support, it would have to avoid the kinds of issues which fundamentally divide people because of demographic or personal characteristics. Religious or lifestyle positions such as those related to gun control and abortion should also be avoided. The purpose is not to change people (or people’s thoughts or behavior) but to change government policy.

So what is left? First, most Americans can agree that they must regain control of their government, now in the hands of wealthy individuals and other special interests. Second, government should promote a system of employment which provides an adequate income for all people without putting an additional strain on the environment. Third, government should maximize personal freedom. Except to maintain order and security, it should not intrude unduly in people’s lives. Fourth, the U.S. government should become more peaceful. It should abandon imperial or superpower aspirations and work cooperatively with other nations to address the world’s common problems. Wars should be avoided.

The progress of civilization will come from what people can create given personal freedom, not from what government initiates. Freedom is the cornerstone of our society and system of government. This starts with freedom of speech, thought, communication, assembly, and religion, all features of our Bill of Rights. Free markets are also important to a free society. In reality, however, government regulation is an element of free markets. The proper relationship between government and the business sector is critical to a healthy economy. Still another aspect of a free society is the provision of free time; for without adequate leisure, there is little opportunity for self-chosen activity. But this gets back to the question of free markets and economic policy.

A central feature of Gold Party’s agenda, as it is imagined here, would be government regulation in the area of working hours. A shorter workweek is long overdue in the United States. While many would regard government intervention as a violation of free markets, regulation of hours is really a way to maintain balance in the supply and demand for labor. Through unlimited immigration, free trade, and automation, American employers have succeeded in creating an oversupply of labor and (through automation) an undersupply of demand which drives down wages. Since labor is the focal point of an individual’s entitlement to the community’s provision of goods and services, the society itself cannot be healthy unless working people can support themselves adequately through the labor which they contribute. Income without labor (“welfare”) is not a morally acceptable alternative.

The federal government could effectively reduce work hours by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act to reduce the standard workweek to a level below 40 hours or reduce overtime work. Admittedly, this proposal is controversial. Since the economic aspects require more discussion than what can be offered here, there is a link to another website, shorterworkweek.com. That said, one should also recognize that the free-market effect of reduced working hours cannot be realized in national economies alone. The “closed system” in which supply and demand find balance would be at the level of the global economy. That means that we will also have to bring trade policy into the equation.

If Gold Party can create a grassroots movement that succeeds in taking over the government, this action itself will accomplish much of what is entailed in the first point, taking back the government from special interests. Once government power is achieved, the problem will be to institutionalize democracy. An obstacle is the fact that private commercial interests control the communications pipeline that connects political candidates to individual voters. The government has given the broadcast industry a monopoly to use certain frequencies to send their radio or television out to the public. These businesses charge political candidates large sums of money to run commercials at election time; and to acquire this money, the candidates must receive donations from individuals or groups which want something in return. So money controls our political process.

The answer is to open up the process of political communication so that candidates who cannot raise the money to air such commercials are able to compete in the marketplace of ideas. To an extent, political parties can have their own internal channels of communication; but, over the long run, they are hard to maintain. Government-controlled media are also not an attractive alternative. Yet, the public owns the airwaves. Government may now have to intervene in some way to provide political candidates opportunities for more extended and less expensive communication with voters.

Government therefore faces the challenge of regulating business in the public interest as an alternative to owning and operating business entities. Socialism as an economic model is generally less attractive than the free-market model because the totalitarian merger of political and business power creates more possibilities for abuse.

That said, we must recognize that much of what passes today for “free-market” decisions are really political decisions masquerading as judgments of economic merit. Business interests intrude so heavily in the decisions of government. With the advent of “big government” has come more government contracts with business, more subsidies, and more tax benefits targeted to particular industries. Additionally, government regulates certain products of business to ensure “quality” when a principal effect of this regulation is to restrict competition and drive up prices. Big business, in effect, conspires with government to keep the small players down. Therefore, arguments about preserving prerogatives of the “free market” must be taken with a grain of salt. In our particular society, the free market hardly exists.

It may be, then, that, if Gold Party should happen to gain political power in the United States, there would likely be the biggest reassessment of government’s role in the economy since the New Deal. In some ways, that role would shrink; in other ways, it might expand. Corporate welfare as we know it would likely be ended. But government would also assume new powers to intervene on the behalf of labor - not necessarily on behalf of labor unions but of individual workers - while retaining the basic free-market mechanisms to control price and supply. Where job incumbency has acquired undue privilege, government might intervene to take this away. Free-market competition, not political alliances and attachments formed over time, should set the level of wages as much as possible.

Again, there is no guarantee that, if Gold Party adopts a particular program, its members will support this program or will vote for political candidates who support the program. There is no guarantee that such candidates, once elected to office, will carry out their campaign promise to support the program. What would help to connect the program more solidly to a course of government action would be if, in the course of organization-building and campaigning, the issues were freely and endlessly discussed. The Gold Party program should be discussed and debated at great length before the elections take place so that expectations are clearly established, both as to how members vote and what elected officials will decide.

In the end, people will not support any program unless it is perceived to be in their own best interests. A widespread sense of fairness and legitimacy is the best guarantor that political programs will be put into effect. Extensive study, criticism, discussion, and debate increases that sense. People need to know what they would be getting if Gold Party comes to power.

Links to Related Topics:

How hours reductions relate to free markets 812 words
What to do about Labor Displacement 614 words

 

Click for a translation into:

French - Spanish - German - Portuguese - Italian

to: main page   shorterworkweek.com  

GoldParty.org



COPYRIGHT 2007 Thistlerose Publications - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
http://wwwgoldparty.org/issues.html