David DeGraw's Proposals for Common Ground for the 99 Percent Movement
- The report: The Economic_Elite_Vs._The_People_of_the_United_States_of_America.
Introduction by David DeGraw:
"Throughout this report, I have presented statistical and fact-based evidence to demonstrate that a strategic attack has been launched against 99% of Americans. Despite the efforts of the mainstream media and most current politicians, awareness of this reality is spreading throughout the United States. VI: How to Fight Back and Win: Common Ground Issues That Must Be WonA recent Rasmussen poll found that only 21% of Americans think that the government has the consent of the governed. An Opinion Research Corp. survey revealed that 86% believe “the system of government is broken.”
An overwhelming majority of the population has come to the realization that our government doesn’t effectively represent us anymore. It is just a matter of time before people start taking it upon themselves to begin organizing on a mass scale. Our survival instinct will soon overwhelm our conditioned passivity and erupt into a powerful countervailing force. However, the longer we hesitate and delay action, the harder it will be to obtain economic and political justice.
We cannot continue to stand by and watch our nation be raped and pillaged like this. We can no longer remain idle and passive while our families’ futures are destroyed as we are sentenced to a slow death.
It’s time for 99% of Americans to mobilize and aggressively move on common sense political reforms.
We will obviously have many differences on how our country should be run, but we can all come together to dismantle the Economic Elite by making several pivotal political reforms. As long as the game is rigged in favor of the Economic Elite, we will all lose. So let’s find common ground and focus on several obvious battles that we need to win, and can win."
“The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which all other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery.” – Thomas Paine, Dissertation on the First Principles of Government
- Electronic Voting: First and foremost, no private corporation should be able to tell us who has won an election without providing an auditable paper trail. Many Democrats felt that Bush stole the 2000 and 2004 elections, and many Republicans felt Obama stole the 2008 election. Of course people are going to feel that elections are stolen when you have a private corporation secretly counting the votes; it is the inevitable result when you can’t verify the election results. In the past few years companies that count the votes have been consolidating, and one company, ES&S, now secretly controls the majority of all our votes. As voting watchdog Brad Friedman stated, “With the ES&S takeover of Diebold/Premier, their nearest competitor, the privately-run election Goliath now has an un-overseeable lock on virtually every election in the United States of America.” It is common sense to say that this is way too much power to be put into one private corporation.
- Campaign Finance: The stunning ruling by the Supreme Court to allow unlimited political spending by the Economic Elite has made a bad situation even worse. We must level the playing field by enacting laws to prevent the overwhelming influence of big money interests in controlling politicians who are forced to pander to them for the ever-increasing need to raise more and more money to have any shot at winning public office. Statistics show how much the Economic Elite already dominate this process: over 90% of the time the candidate who simply spends more money on their campaign wins the election.
- The Two-Party Oligarchy: We must end the two-party system by funding and voting for alternative parties. It is absurd and completely outdated to only have two dominant political parties in a technologically advanced nation of 309 million people. The two-party paradigm is obsolete and creates a system easily manipulated, as the past decade proves with the co-option of the Democratic and Republican parties. We can give our money and support to whomever we like – Libertarians, Tea Party, Progressives, Greens, Independents and the many soon-to-be-created political groups. However, it is pivotal that we immediately cease support for both the Republican and Democratic parties. We understand that there are representatives from both parties who are fighting for our interests, but they are very few and easily marginalized by paid-off party leaders.
- Getting on the Ballot: Republicans and Democrats have created rules to make it increasingly difficult for opposing political parties to even get on the voting ballot. We must make this process easier and invite new parties onto the ticket.
- Debate Commission: The Democratic and Republican control over who is allowed to participate in the nationally televised debates gives the two parties an insurmountable advantage over any other parties. If you are not even allowed to participate in them, you have no shot at winning. Along with this, all candidates should be given a fair share of television coverage.
- Voter Registration: If you are a citizen, you should be automatically registered to vote.
Governmental Policy Formation
- Secrecy, Transparency and Accountability: Government secrecy is at the root of most of our current societal and economic problems. When decisions are made in secrecy, corruption will most often be the result. By throwing light and investigation on the government policy process, we can easily expose the Economic Elite’s agenda and limit their influence. As part of this, all legislation and conference reports must be posted online prior to Congressional debate and vote.
- Lobbying: Along with campaign finance, political lobbying is another way the Economic Elite can easily manipulate our political process financially, in what amounts to legalized bribery. In 2009, a record amount of money was spent lobbying Congress, and now with the new Supreme Court ruling, lobbyists will have even more power to manipulate the political process with what amounts to buying the laws of our nation. Lobbying activities behind closed doors must cease entirely and equal time must be given, transparently, to all the parties directly affected by the law being written.
- Shutting the Revolving Door: No politician should be allowed to profit from government laws or policies which they have written or supported. The practice of leaving a major company to become a politician who then creates and/or supports laws that directly benefit the corporation he or she used to work for, or, conversely, politicians who leave public office to take a high-paying job for a company they have benefited, is a grotesque abuse and manipulation of the democratic process. The revolving door between politics and big business is worse than it has ever been and has corrupted the government like never before.
- Media Concentration: Having a few large multinational corporations dominating the overwhelming majority of our news and information system will never lead to an informed citizenry. Only ten multinational corporations dominate our mainstream media system. These companies are run by 118 individuals who actively work to propagate Economic Elite rule. The people who run these media companies also sit on other corporate boards that often represent a major conflict of interest. Having only 118 people in ten companies dominating a system that creates public opinion for 309 million people is absurd. We must break up this information cartel and support a more diverse and vibrant independent press that fosters real investigative journalism.
- Net Neutrality: The free and open architecture of the Internet is vital to our success. Without an open Internet our most powerful medium for research and communication, and key organizing tool, will be lost. The Internet must be protected from growing forces that seek to control it by limiting our access to information and our ability to communicate on a mass scale.
- Medical Costs: We have disagreements on how to best provide healthcare, but we all agree that whatever the method, the result needs to be lower costs. We have the most expensive healthcare system in the world and we now pay twice as much as other nations. Other than creating huge salaries for health industry-related executives, there isn’t any reason why we should be forced to pay such outrageous sums of money for second-rate care. No American should die due to lack of money, or have to face bankruptcy in order to get life-sustaining treatments.
- Food and Water Supply: Our food and water supply systems have become a major health hazard. The amount of harmful chemicals found in both our food and water have reached record levels and is causing alarming levels of sickness in a growing number of people.
Real Economic Competition
- Most Americans Believe in Competition: If a person works hard, is productive and good at what they do, most everyone believes that they should make more than a person who sits around looking for handouts. However, just as in sports, to maintain a competitive environment you have to have rules in place that prevent people from having an unfair advantage. For those who believe in competition, in capitalism and free markets, you have to acknowledge that what we have now is not a free market based on fair competition. It is a rigged market, where larger institutions like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have an unfair advantage. We cannot allow them to be beyond the law, manipulate the market and then receive taxpayer funds to increase profits and risk-taking while smaller companies, outside of Economic Elite circles, have to play by a much stricter set of rules.
You can’t have free market capitalism when you have government policies favoring companies that have more political clout than others. What we have is socialism for the rich and trickle down economics for the rest of us. We have a market systemically designed to funnel money into the pockets of the richest. If the past few years have proved anything, they have proved that our economy is much more like a pyramid scheme than a free market, where the more money you have, the more money you make. So whatever your economic beliefs and theories might be, let’s all come together to admit that our “free market” is an illusion. We need to make the economic playing field fair so we that can have real competition.
- Redistribution of Wealth: Due to the rigging of our economic and political system, vast sums of wealth have been hoarded by the Economic Elite over the past 40 years. This money must be redistributed to the 99% of Americans who have been robbed and exploited. There will be much heated debate over how this money should be distributed, but we all need to agree that we must first hold the Economic Elite accountable and our wealth must be seized from them.
Restore the Rule of Law
- Investigations and Prosecutions: The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has the power to reveal the inner workings of the financial coup. We must apply intense public pressure and scrutiny to force the Commission into conducting a real investigation. Another urgent priority needs to be a much wider-ranging look at war profiteering. There has been some investigation, but not nearly enough and hardly any prosecution. These are just two of the many investigations that need to be launched. As long as we keep letting the Economic Elite get away with outright theft in broad daylight, we will never be able to restore a nation of law."