When in times like ours we find that our two-party system has polarized to the various ends of the right and left with no focal voice to the median of each ideology it becomes apparent and judicious for those marginalized to consider a reconstructed organization centered more nearly to their beliefs. For this reason, I have pondered much about the nature and shape of such an organization and for lack of a better description, I would call it the Middle Of THE Road Party (#MOTHER). This theme also coincidentally pairs with the Rise Up campaign organized by so many mothers and women of America and nearly seems to be a perfect name for such a movement.
Now with a name settled, one must determine what an adopted platform of such a newborn entitiy would form. I submit the following as founding principles:
- Fiscal Responsibility – We all must maintain our household budgets and live within our means. This entails determining what our wants and our needs are as a family. The same holds true with government. It is in the determination of what entails wants or needs where many of our divisions fall. Much of the weeds of this discussion wil need to be rested at a later time, but for now, these are our WANTS AND NEEDS:
- Defense Spending – A common defense is a natural foundational responsibility for government. For this reason, the premier military strength of the United States must be maintained and fostered. This does not mean better scrutiny is not warranted in defense contracts. Quite the contrary, much of the issues related to government spending rests on the original contract negotiations and terms of engagement. To this end, projects should be limited in scope-creep and cost overruns with penalties commensurate with non or under performance in either the product or the service.
- Social Security/Welfare – These programs are vital to the care of our elderly and less fortunate. A few items of change are in order to ensure the ongoing viability of Social Security, namely the cap on wages for contributions need to be ended. Currently if you make more than $118,500 you are not taxed for Social Security for any amounts you make above this cap. Ending this cap will ensure that Social Security is funded in the future and should be an immediate change made to the program. Additionally, all distributions from companies that are not otherwise taxed should be afforded. This keeps the closely held business owner from paying a much reduced salary related to the profits and essentially subverting the Social Security Tax. Like with so many things related to government, a house cleaning is in order and abusive practices related to SSI and Welfare should be closely monitored and doctors running welfare shops should be held to close scrutiny.
- Healthcare – Facilitating our overall stated reason for being a Country of our own; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, maintaining ones health and being permitted to undergo corrective operations toward the overall stated extension of life seems to square with our unalienable rights. For this reason, being able to afford healthcare is a common need of all Americans and not just the rich. To do this, we must tackle the costs of healthcare or no legislation will make sense (just look at the ACA). A further discussion of how these may be mitigated can be found in my article Healthcare Anyone?. For our purposes, universal healthcare is a must for Americans and only works if we all can and do participate.
- Infrastructure – We all have to get from point A to point B. Roads, bridges, tunnels, rails, airports, waterways, etc., are all vital to our way of life and our common defense and should be maintained. Additionally, smart infrastructure development is a must for our future and determining the smartest way to grow our infrastructure to better the quality of life for all Americans is fundamental requirement.
- Security – Sound counterintuitive as a want? As a Nation we walk a fine line bridging freedom and security. The British thought quartering soldiers and the extrajudicial searches of homes was necessary for security. Today, we don’t have soldiers living with us, but the exceptions to the governments search of our personal life coupled with the ever increasing ease of data mining affords us little privacy. Much of the information is gathered, stored, and available on command for our government without even having to lift a pen to get a warrant. If relevant traces are found, they will post facto obtain a warrant to justify any potential infraction upon civil liberty.Now with this said, everyone wants to be safe and secure at all times and in all endeavors of everyday life. But to what expense is this granted? To a dictatorial executive officer that can wield the information gathered at will to destroy competitors in business or politics, this is a wonderful opportunity. Recall that we are Americans! We do not shrink at challenge and we realize adversities often make us stronger as a person, a family and a Nation. Keeping a strong national defense as outlined above and ensuring that our local police forces have appropriate levels of Federal support will server to contain and maintain our safety and security. Nevertheless, the balancing of freedom/security must be duly weighed and considered and the MOTHER party would serve to protect and preserve both.
- Tax Breaks – Everyone wants them, but the tax code is riddled with them. A significant rewriting of the tax code is in order. This should start with removing tax credits for oil and gas exploration and replacing this with a tax credit for employers paying an employee’s student loan. Permitting all out-of-pocket healthcare expenses to be deductible, including the payment of insurance premiums. Equitable taxation of capital gains should be brought in line with the ordinary income tax brackets. Having separate taxing structures for capital gains makes no sense except to afford a more favorable tax class to those with enormous disposable incomes. These are but a few changes that the MOTHER party should encourage.
- Second Amendment – We have it and it is enshrined in our Constitution as a 2nd Amendment to our Bill of Rights. WE have the right to keep and bear arms. That is a right that individuals have, but must still be guarded and can be, under certain circumstances, curtailed to protect the rights of others. For instance, officially diagnosed disabilities that would interfere with one’s ability to safely own or operate a firearm should be an immediate disqualification for gun ownership. There is a plethora of other commonsense regulations that might be considered, but such is too in-depth for this conversation.
- Energy Independence – Many of our conflicts today center around our political ties that are necessitated by our need to import energy stores. We have all the energy we need as a Nation at our disposal. Investments into renewable energy must be made and should be supported by government funding. Recall that cell phones are a direct result of the work that NASA began in the 1960’s.
- Global Warming – It’s a scientific fact. Debate all you want about whether humans caused it or not, we can certainly do something about it. Let’s save our coastal cities and our temperate climates while we can.
- Religious Freedom – It’s so important to our Country that it sounds in our 1st Amendment (before the guns). All are free to worship how they choose and they are also free from a government established religion. Government is here to protect our right to be free to worship how we want (or to not worship).
- Equal Protection Under the Law – Equal protection means just that. Those that denounce the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality, blame the fact that separate laws and rules were formally established for a traditional marriage that were not afforded to same sex couples. Think of Social Security benefits, married filing jointly on tax returns, the ability to apply for a marriage license, etc. Everyone has the right to be treated fairly and equally under the law so that no classes enjoy laws above or below the others.
- Excluding Corporate Money from Politics – Business speech is a right that is permitted under the Constitution, but we as a citizenry have the ability to curtail the flow of money into our political system. The Supreme Court in the Citizens United decision was wrong. Short of having a new Court determination overrule itself, we’re stuck. We need a Constitutional Amendment that affords congress the right to establish limits and rules related to business political contributions. The last time I checked, Wells Fargo can’t walk into the polling station and cast a ballot. So why should my legislator be under their influence with the money they throw at her?
The above-list is not exclusive or extensive of the common sense approach that the majority of the citizens of the United States want and deserve. It’s time we take our Country back from the fringes of society that have divided our politics and lives to the point of causing the gears of society to seize from the strain. Let’s establish the Middle Of THE Road Party and bring this Country in line with its true values that the MAJORITY of Americans share.