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The Gold Party Program

 

1. Reduce the standard workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours immediately.

2. Reduce the standard workweek from 32 hours to 24 hours after two years.

3. Reduce the work day from 8 hours to 7 hours after another two years. (The workweek would then stand at 21 hours.)

4. Mandate that weekly pay for an employee may be reduced by no more than 5 percent when the workweek is reduced. Government may offer temporary wage subsidies in some cases if employers cannot afford the transition costs.

5. If imported goods threaten U.S. employment, abrogate free-trade agreements, replacing them with a system that allows tariffs to neutralize the cost advantage gained by lower standards of labor and environmental protection.

6. Establish a national health program which would take the burden of providing health insurance off employers.

7. Establish a fund to forgive a certain percentage of student-loan debt based on certain criteria.

8. Abolish state licensing for most occupations. Replace this with a system of government testing and monitoring practitioners and disclosing results to the public and, in the case of proven malpractice, expelling persons from the occupation.

9. Drastically reduce U.S. military expenditures and military engagements. Work to upgrade the United Nations so it can assume more of the responsibility for policing the world.

10. Reform criminal sentencing. Drastically reduce the number of prison inmates. Legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational use.

11. Regulate the profession of law, capping the permissible hourly fee.

12. Establish a procedure by which elected officials can overturn court decisions that set new policy.

13. Create a public complaint board with the authority to remove elected officials from office after a process of independent review.

14. Create new financial incentives to discourage consumption of fossil fuels and promote renewable energy.

15. As a sop to the ancien regime, make June 4th a national holiday called "Henry Ford Day".

16. Fix the immigration problem by increasing border security and providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that also involves penalties for the immigrants and their employers and abolishes automatic citizenship for all babies born in the United States.

17. Establish a wealth tax and a more progressive income tax to finance Gold Party programs.

18. Convert Gold Party points into money paid by the government on a one-time basis to Gold Party members after this party gains control of the government.

 

It is understood that each person may disagree with one or more proposals in this package. Instead of bickering about policy during the period of organization building, Gold Party will conduct a national referendum after it gains government power. Each of the eighteen proposals will be on the ballot. Only those proposals that win a majority of the votes cast then will be adopted as government policy under Gold Party sponsorship.

 

Notes

1 and 2 The Fair Labor Standards Act as currently written sets a standard workweek of 40 hours, requires that employers pay a time-and-a-half wage for weekly hours of work scheduled beyond the standard which is paid to the overtime worker, and provides that certain types of employees are exempt from coverage of this act. The act could be amended in the following ways to bring about a reduction in hours: (a) Reduce the standard workweek from 40 hours to a lower number. (b) Increase the overtime rate, if necessary, to provide a stiffer deterrent to scheduling longer hours. (c) Shrink the exempt category. Most employees would be covered but top-level owners and managers (who can effectively set their own salary) and the self-employed would continue to be exempt. (d) Tax away the premium wage instead of paying it to the overtime worker. There should not be an incentive to work longer hours.

3. The Fair Labor Standards Act does not prescribe daily work hours. The Walsh-Healey act, regulating government contractors, does that. However, it should be possible to enact new legislation along those lines.

4. Eventually employers would recoup the extra labor costs in having to hire additional workers to handle the work while the existing work force, working less, is paid almost the same each week. Higher levels of employment at full-scale wages mean higher sales volume and increased profits. But this process would take time for the desired adjustments to take effect. It is important to promise workers that reduced work hours would not bring proportionately reduced wages. Employers would be legally required to maintain wages at 90 percent or more of the previous wage. However, this adjustment may be difficult for some. Therefore, employers could be able to apply for government wage assistance during the period of transition. When the dust settles, more people working fewer hours a week would be earning at least as much as before by operation of the free market.

5. The greatly reduced work hours will put U.S. production at risk from foreign imports. To create a relatively closed economic system in which wages rise with greater employment, is is necessary to protect U.S. jobs from cheap labor abroad while the transition to shorter hours is made. However, the real goal is to encourage higher labor standards abroad, especially reduced work hours, because employment in all industrialized countries is threatened by machines. If that happens, tariff rates in the United States would automatically drop.

6. The national health program would handle preventive check ups and routine medical procedures without charge. The more exotic and expensive procedures would not be covered. Here it would be necessary for individuals to purchase their own insurance. Special government programs might help people with special needs.

7. We are wandering into uncharted territory here. Fairness should dictate whose student loans are paid and to what extent. However, our national leaders and others have misled the young generation on the need to borrow heavily for education with no realistic prospect of finding employment to repay the debt. Some debt relief is owed.

8. Occupational licensing has been overdone, usually at the urging of practitioners themselves. The state should not exclude people from working in particular fields without good cause. Full disclosure of testing results and cases of malpractice ought to be enough. The present system is a concealed subsidy to educators whose prior services are deemed necessary to apply for licenses.

9. The American empire does not serve the interests of the American people. Shrink this destructive and expensive operation back to what is truly needed to defend the nation.

10. The United States has the largest number of incarcerated persons in the world. This is justice run amok. While there is some danger in releasing convicted criminals, it is expensive and unjust to maintain the current level of imprisonment. Recognize, too, that there are vested interests in the present system. Some people profit financially from other people's incarceration.

11. The legal system has traditionally operated as if it were the "Wild West" or a casino. Anything goes that a judge will buy. All lawyers offer is better access to governmental adjudication. It would be better to have uniform justice, uninfluenced by money, than for higher fees to purchase or more knowledgeable or creative lawyering to win cases. Government has a perfect right to regulate this industry. The rest of us would be better off if it did. Lawyering does not create wealth.

12. In a democratic society, it is unjust that unelected judges given lifetime appointments should be able to set public policy by the decisions they render in particular court cases. This authority is unconstitutional; it was simply usurped by the courts. The elected legislators and executives should now assume the power to override judicial decisions, sending duly authorized statements to the courts that certain of their more questionable decisions are null and void and will not be enforced.

13. State government should establish a separate board for reviewing public complaints against elected officials, especially judges. The current election process is a farce since the public has little information on which to base voting decisions. Judicial review is undermined by the excessive deference given lower-court decisions by appellate courts. There should be an independent process by which complaints made against elected officials are reviewed and decisions are made whether the particular offense merits removal from office. We need this extra check on governmental abuse.

14. Higher taxes on fossil-fuel production and consumption would discourage use. Government subsidies are appropriate for renewable-energy technologies in the development phase.

15. Henry Ford first drove an automobile on the streets of Detroit on June 4, 1896. (Charles King hit the streets earlier in the same year.) In June 1946, the city of Detroit held a public celebration, the automotive "Golden Jubilee", to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that event, painting its streets gold. Henry Ford himself was present at that celebration. Now, in 2014, the city of Detroit badly needs something of its own to celebrate. Give Detroit residents and the hordes of auto mechanics and enthusiasts around the country a holiday to focus their attention. On Henry Ford Day, June 4th, maybe academic economists will take the time to read his writings on the benefits of higher wages and shorter hours. This website quotes Ford on the occasion of his introducing the five-day week in 1926.

16. Although this is a highly divisive issue, some compromise ought to be reached balancing the fact of law breaking against the imperative for humane treatment of individuals. Here is one possible solution. In the future, government needs to enforce its own laws.

17. Taxation is confiscation of certain money. There is no reason why wealth should not be taxed especially if a person became wealthy by paying an unduly small share of his income in taxes compared with others or engaging in nonproductive, even predatory, enterprises in finance or elsewhere.The wealthy classes have shifted the burden of taxation to others. Gold Party now shifts the burden back to them. Government power gives it the ability to take money from the rich. In this revolution, unlike others, no one gets killed. (See about the wealth transfer.)

18. The rationale for converting Gold Party points into money is adequately explained elsewhere. How much money are we talking about? Let's say Gold Party promises members $5,000 for each point. Let's assume that the members have an average of 4 points. Let's assume that every single voter in a U.S. national election is a Gold Party member. In the 2012 presidential election, a total of 126,849,000 votes were cast for Obama and Romney. Considering these three factors, we would have a total commitment of $2.537 trillion to be paid from the U.S. Treasury to Gold Party members on a one-time basis. In comparison, the federal budget submitted for 2013 was $3.8 trillion. Now, of course, the likely payoff to Gold Party members would be considerably less. This is a ball park number. (See about the wealth transfer.)

 

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