DISCLAIMER: I do not attempt to be polite or partisan in my articles, merely truthful. If you are a partisan and believe that the letter after the name of a politician is more important then their policies, I suggest that you stop reading and leave this site immediately--there is nothing here for you.

Modern American politics are corrupt, hyper-partisan, and gridlocked, yet the mainstream media has failed to cover this as anything but politics as usual. This blog allows me to post my views, analysis and criticisms which are too confrontational for posting in mainstream outlets.

I am your host, Josh Sager--a progressive activist, political writer and occupier--and I welcome you to SarcasticLiberal.blogspot.com

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Occupy Boston: My Proposed Demands

As a completely decentralized movement, we have yet to create a central series of demands or guiding principles. The following proposal is entirely my opinion and does not speak to the views of the Occupy Boston group as a whole. I have spent a great deal of time in Dewey Sq. talking to the other protesters about their grievances and proposals and have found that while we have varied ideology, there are several common themes to our ideals. While I believe that the lack of a defined ideology allows us to not alienate any possible support, we must figure out a defined set of demands lest we fracture or simply lose our momentum.

1)  Promote Fair Taxation

A very small portion of our country controls a majority of the wealth. Not only do the 1% have control over far more of the wealth than they have historically, but they also have proportionately lower taxes than those of us who are not as fortunate. I propose we attack this problem in two ways:

1A: The tax code must be reformed to tax the rich at a higher percentage of their income than any lower bracket. Capitol gains must also be taxed as normal income so that those who gain money primarily through investment pay a fair rate. Accompanying the higher set tax rates, the rich and corporations must lose many of their loopholes that they use to reduce their taxes. We are only asking that the rich and corporations pay what is owed to the government so that we can stop picking up the slack.

1B: Corporations and rich individuals must pay their taxes upon making a profit rather than when they repatriate the money. Companies hide money overseas in order to use tax holidays to pay little to no taxes, thus we can eliminate this tax dodge by making them pay their fair share at the time of profit rather than allowing them to wait for a tax holiday.

2) Get Money out of Politics

When money equals political power, those who have little money are unable to have any control over the government. Not only has this problem led to massive institutionalized bias against the poor and numerous attacks on services that the poor use to survive, but it is completely antithetical to our American values. We are a nation "of the people, for the people" where every person has one vote, not a nation "of the people for the rich" where one dollar equals one vote.

2A: Corporations are not people under the law and have no right to interfere in politics

2B: Publicly fund the majority of elections by giving time and money to all candidates that attain a certain level of support. Allow the supplementation of the public funds through private donations, but put limits on the monetary value of donations and increase transparency.  Limit all political donations at $1,000 and create a public database giving the people a way to see where the money is coming from. Individuals are to be kept confidential, but all corporations are to be listed by name.

2C: Ban all politicians and high level aids from lobbying until five years after they have left the public employ. In parallel, ban all regulatory agents from working for any company that they have regulated for a period of ten years.

3) Stop the Deconstruction and Privatization of the National Infrastructure

In recent years there has been a troubling trend in economic policy to privatize public services or even eliminate them altogether. Whether it manifests as Halliburton providing support to our troops or a the privatization of the fire departments, the push to privatize the government often has severe consequences. Privatized services will often cost more than if they were government run, and are run by the profit motive, thus they don't focus upon providing the service but rather turning a profit. I propose a reform of the privatization process that is intended to either limit or ban the privatization of certain services.

3A: A complete moratorium on privatizing: Police, Fire protection, Military,

3B: Increased regulations and limits on privatizing: Education, Water/Sewer, Roads

3C: In addition to the increases in regulations and limits to what can be privatized, I also propose a national single payer healthcare program coupled with a removal of the limits to importation of pharmaceuticals. Essentially, by creating a Medicare for all program, it will serve to keep down the prices of the private healthcare providers. By removing the bans on importation of drugs, we can remove the monopoly that American companies have and thus reduce the price of drugs to everybody. Through the reduction of both insurance costs and prescription costs, we can finally regain control over the skyrocketing medical costs which threaten to bankrupt this country.

3D: Protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid against all attacks.

4) Protect the Rights Of Workers

We must protect the rights and safety of workers because they are the backbone of this country and it is only fair to treat them as such. Corporate profits and high income earnings have grown explosively in recent decades but the wag of the average worker has stagnated. I propose several ideas that when done in concert, would increase the welfare of the average worker.

4A: Protect the right to unionize and put up legislative blocks to prevent state or federal politicians from attempting to ban unions for partisan gain.

4B: Increase the minimum wage to an amount that allows people to live with a decent standard of living without working over 40 hours a week.

4C: Protect the worker's rights to vacation days, sick days, safe working conditions and 40 hour work weeks.

5) Stop the Regulatory Race to the Bottom

Even if we could promote massive economic growth in the private sector through removing regulations it would not be worth it because the average person and the country itself would be the ones to pay the price. Economic regulations are necessary to prevent the over-leveraging of capitol and the plundering of the public by the rich for short term profits. Environmental regulations are necessary so that we do not destroy our planet for short term profits. It is irrelevant how much money is made if it was made by reducing the planet to an uninhabitable state.

5A: Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act so that banks are unable to gamble with our money

5B: Limit large corporate bonuses based upon short term profit when the short term gain is harmful in the long term.

5C: Arrest those responsible for our economic collapse and charge them for their fraudulent actions. Unless we do this, it dooms us to future pain when others are not disinclined to repeat the past actions for personal gain at our expense.

5D: Enact far stricter emission and pollution regulations on all toxic or environmentally dangerous chemicals. Hold all violators and those who damage the environment responsible for all damages that their actions have caused and charge them criminally if applicable.

6) Debt 

Through no fault of their own, many people have amounted massive mortgage and student loan debt. Through predatory lending and corrupt practices, the banks have artificially caused the ballooning in debt, which could ruin many people's lives. I propose several steps to both alleviate the burden of debt and hold those who caused the problems responsible for the debt crisis that they created.

6A: Put an immediate ban on all evictions due to mortgage defaults. As the banks are the primary cause of the debt crisis, they cannot be allowed to simply continue to profit from their bad acts. This would be temporary, but it would allow people to stay in their homes until they gain the capitol to pay off their debt.

6B: Allow all mortgages to be renegotiated so that people are not paying above the market rate for their home mortgages.

6C: Remove the interest rates for all mortgages deemed toxic where the banks acted in bad faith. The mortgage holder will only have to pay off the principle on the debt because the mortgage will be deemed to be a result of the bad faith action of the bank.

6D: Enact an immediate and one-time removal of all interest on current student loans so that the student is only liable for the principle of the loan. With this, it will remove some of the burden on the student while allowing the lender to remain revenue neutral.

6E: Increase the payment flexibility and decrease the interest rates for all student loan debts where the student has graduated. We want to encourage college attendance, thus we can incentivize college by reducing the costs of the college education.

These are my personal views and not reflective of the views of the Occupy Boston group as a whole,
Joshua Sager

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