Inclusion for the poor is our primary motivation…
…Those living in poverty, the abandoned, the sick, the children without stable homes, the addicted, the unemployed, the abused, the unborn, the homeless, the immigrants, the imprisoned, and even those who, though not financially poor, nevertheless find themselves exploited; all those who suffer and wonder if there is even hope. This platform came to be in order to come to their aid.
We believe that the plight of the poor is due neither to their own lack of initiative, nor to an insufficient amount of welfare programs, but is primarily due to a multitude of injustices in the governance of modern America. We believe that removing these injustices will bring true liberty to to those now directly or indirectly burdened by them.
We first honor the laborer, and insist that respect for his dignity and development trump today’s all-consuming thirst for power and profit.
Therefore we Defend Workers.
Though we support Capitalism rightly understood, we nevertheless reject the deification of the so-called “invisible hand” of the free market, blind-faith in which has caused so much suffering, by insisting that markets and industry be regulated according to the moral demands of the natural law, especially justice, honesty, and human dignity.
Therefore we Regulate Big Business
We next strive for a more just distribution of wealth in our nation and in our world, not by socialistically playing robin hood, but by removing malicious societal structures that incite avarice and cause extreme wealth consolidation, while excluding the multitude from development.
Therefore we Fight the Gap Between the Rich and the Poor
We next foster a society in which work and sustenance have a simple and unobstructed relationship, so that one who desires to contribute to society through his work need not be constrained to doing so through a multitude of corporate and government middlemen.
Therefore we Abolish Barriers to Entry
We next fight to rein in Wall Street and other financial powers whose predatory loaning and interest, speculation, and other rampant unjust money-juggling practices have wreaked havoc upon the whole world; especially the poor.
Therefore we Bring Justice to Debt and the Financial Industry.
We next insist upon real concern and serious effort not merely for the “big issues” of the day, but also for the eradication of the day to day injustices that garner little mainstream attention but nonetheless dominate the lives of the poor to an extent that is immediately obvious to anyone who spends time in their neighborhoods.
Therefore we Bring Peace to the Ordinary for the Poor
In a world where “the customer is always right,” and the measure of all things is “the corporate bottom line,” we insist upon a radical redefinition of labor that focuses upon the subjective dimension of work – the laborer himself, instead of considering him a mere means to the end of the product created or service rendered – and the totality of his needs; body and soul, individual and familial, health and happiness. We see in the nature of man the vocation of worker given to him by his Creator, and therefore our fight for dignified and fulfilling work for all is the pivotal aspect of our economic policy.
First, we strive to honor the laborer and ensure that in return for his work, he receives the sustenance due to him, for we regard this as an essential human right.
We insist not merely upon an incremental increase in the minimum wage, but upon the unambiguous federal adoption of a just wage; one which permits no full time employee or his family to be forced to live below the poverty line or work at a part-time rate that would not, if worked full-time, lift them out of poverty. We also advocate for a federal subsidy to ensure that this requirement to pay workers with families more does not amount to a prejudice against hiring them.
We next fight to ensure that in his work, the laborer is guaranteed by the force of the law to be treated with justice and charity.
We lament the prevailing mindset which dictates that unskilled laborers “must not have it too good,” lest they be comfortable where they are and such work becomes incentivized over “moving up in the world.” We insist that society, being no less dependent upon janitors than upon scientists, must recognize the equal dignity of each and allow each to live honorably -- even while still reasonably rewarding the extra effort involved in attaining a higher level education and career. We advocate for an update to labor law, which has not been sufficiently addressed since 1938’s Fair Labor Standards Act, to put an end to modern practices of underpayment, mandatory overtime, mandatory Sunday and religious holiday work, the absence of maternity and paternity leave, psychologically (and sometimes physically) abusive or dangerous work environments, and the like. We also advocate for the extension of these protections to professionals who are now excluded from the majority of them, as current federal law considers them “exempt” from the benefits of the Fair Labor Standards Act, so that their families need no suffer from the policies of corporate bosses who readily disregard the superior importance of the family to the business.
We next defend laborers by enabling and promoting self-employment and family-employment, in light of the principle of subsidiarity, to which we always adhere.
Far better for the worker than any labor law is a mutual charity and proximity between the owners and employees, which is most effectively attained in small and local settings (especially within the home and family) with a larger number of wage-creators. While we do not oppose big businesses for those endeavors that truly demand such size and scope, we seek to place the family and the home where it belongs -- at the heart of economic life -- and to ensure that any type of business that ought to be run in that manner can readily thrive. We do this by exempting home and small-family businesses from regulations that are not needed in their case, providing special infrastructure to facilitate their business needs, criminalizing the many predatory practices undertaken by competing over-sized businesses, and putting an immediate end to all corporate welfare that serves to stifle the small business competition (whether by way of tax breaks, bailouts, grants, or other special privileges and favors that are extended solely or primarily -- whether officially or only practically -- to big business.)
We next insist that the protection of a labor union should not be merely a privilege for a select few employees of a select few industries.
We believe this prevailing state of affairs only leads to situations of hyper-protection for a few and the complete absence of protections for the many. Instead, we consider labor union protection to be a right extended to all not merely on paper, but in the concrete reality of all common situations of employment. While we do fight for the aforementioned labor law reforms, we also recognize that no sweeping federal law will adequately understand and protect the dignity of all the varied forms of employment, and therefore, with respect for the principle of subsidiarity, we leave most of this work to the individuals in each industry and company in their ability to organize and enter into collective bargaining. We insist upon federal laws that make this ability to organize extremely straightforward and safeguarded, instead of merely guaranteeing legal protection against ramifications for those who seek to organize.
Regulate Big Business
In an atmosphere that craves prosperity through the autonomy of business from the demands of morality, the Common Good Platform insists upon regulation of this realm of society which has become inundated with entities who have developed expertise in the exploitation of their lower employees, their customers, and the common good at large. We reject radical Ayn Randian notions of the rights of markets that, though popular today, verge on a type of anarchy, and on the contrary we see the absolute necessity for the market to be governed according to respect for the dignity and rights of persons, and reverence for the requirements of justice and truth.
First we insist that all businesses pay their employees a just wage and treat them with justice and respect for their dignity by Defending Workers, as described above.
Second we seek to eliminate all attempts to profit by the instigation of hatred, lust, vengeance, or the like: especially in violent media and pornography, in accordance with our Platform's Second Pillar.
Third we advocate for the limitation of any business endeavors that may harm the environment, detract from public beauty, cause excessive noise to residential areas, or in any other way harm the common good of society or put it at risk in the pursuit of profit, in accordance with our Platform's Third Pillar.
Fourth we strive for much stricter standards for honesty in advertising, clarity in contracts, full disclosure in sales, and justice in design & manufacturing (contrary to the rampant practice of planned obsolescence). We see that deceiving customers has become a cornerstone in modern business and the norm in the pursuit of profit, thanks to a foolish and exploitative interpretation of freedom of speech and individual rights, but we insist these practices must be legally regarded as the crimes they, in truth, are.
Fourth we fight to outlaw all corporate welfare. We advocate for the prevention of state, or local governments from giving money (even in the form of tax breaks) to corporate entities in order to compete for their business, and for an end to corporate bailouts and special grants or other privileges that are solely or primarily extended to big businesses. We lament that local and state governments desperately competing with each other over the expansion of private business has caused the poor and middle class to bear the real burdens; especially in property taxes.
Fifth we seek to end overzealous Intellectual Property Protections that serve only to make a few extremely rich at the expense of the many who find themselves in need of what is wrongfully granted monopoly status (especially in the pharmaceutical industry). We advocate for patents and other forms of Intellectual Property protection to only remain in force as long as it takes the holder to recap expenses incurred in Research & Development, as well as a reasonable profit that both rewards the innovation and alleviates the risk.
Sixth we work to remove excessive limitations in liability, inherent in certain corporate structures, that serve only to encourage serial abuses of employees and customers by managers and owners by making them immune to the penalties and punishments that justice demands be imposed for certain violations.
Fight the Gap Between Rich and Poor
In an atmosphere inundated with the notion that “greed is good,” where enormous salaries and accumulations of wealth are deemed an inviolable right for whoever can manage to secure them despite the countless millions who suffer for lack of an infinitesimal portion of these goods, we insist upon a more equitable distribution of income that will naturally arises from just societal structures.
First, we seek to eradicate the underlying causes of today’s “super-salaries” of certain corporate executives, financial managers, celebrities, “top” professionals, and the like; whether they be in the form of monopolies, usury, price gouging, speculation, harmful consolidations of power, or protectionist policies that artificially limit entry into certain professions and groups (especially in various medical, educational, and legal fields).
Next, we strive to eliminate the plethora of loopholes and tax evasion measures (both legal and illegal) used by the rich to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. We do this by advocating for a more equitable tax on capital gains, a simplification of the tax code, and additional financial regulations and transparency on the movement of large sums of money. We insist that the taxes levied on incomes should generally be inversely proportional to the objective and clear societal worth of the work generating the income, and we lament that the very opposite is the case in America today. Enormous profits making the rich still richer -- by money shuffling, financial speculation, and similar practices that in no way promote the Common Good, but only special interests -- is taxed less than ordinary income generated, while it should be taxed far more.
Next, we advocate for additional measures to limit and prevent the excessive consolidation of wealth. We achieve this by way of additional taxes on windfall profits, luxury purchases, and dividends on large stock holdings. We lament that, for example, a minivan is taxed at the same rate as a yacht, and we seek to proportion taxes not merely to the price of the sale, but to the importance of the item.
We likewise insist that the basic necessities for a dignified living must never be taxed. We appreciate that existing laws recognize this truth as it pertains to food (the sale of which is not taxed), but we lament that it fails to apply to things equally or similarly necessary: water and basic dignified housing and transportation. In this regard, we insist that property taxes on the first $150,000 of value of a primary dwelling be outlawed, and that truly necessary revenue lost by this change be replaced by incrementally increasing the tax rate on homes assessed above this value.
Abolish Barriers to Entry
In an economic setting where the powerful entities who have secured the channels of production go to great pains to secure their market share and build up barriers to individuals, families, and small businesses from entering, and a plethora of local, state, and federal regulations that, though often well intentioned, unduly burdened small entrants and prevent their flourishing, we insist that economic life be not only made possible for these small entrants, but even geared toward a preference for their success.
First, we fight to exempt truly small or home-run businesses from many existing regulations , while also fighting to further regulate larger companies that intrinsically call for such regulation due to the lack of proximity in them between wage earners and wage creators, as well as product creators and consumers .
Next, we advocate for a significant reduction of zoning laws so that they no longer prevent individuals from running home businesses that do not seriously detract from the atmosphere of the neighborhood. We likewise insist upon a right-to-farm that enables homeowners to use their own land, however small it may be, to provide whatever sustenance it is capable of rendering safely while still being appropriate for its surroundings.
Next we advocate for additional infrastructure, incentives, and support to be provided by federal, state, and local governments aimed at enabling the flourishing of home and small business. We advocate for free public market space where individuals and home businesses can bring their products and services, free publicity for small entrants into the local market, and fee-waivers for these small entrants in industries that now require burdensome licenses and permits.
Bring Justice to Debt and the Financial Industry
In a time when millions of people in America and billions worldwide are suffering from exploitation by financial structures, and yet the resolve to fix the underlying issues remains entirely absent from the mainstream political process, we insist upon bold, fearless, and immediate measures being taken to bring justice to debt and the financial industry. We reject financial thinking that naively asserts, against all concrete experience, that utilitarian notion “whatever is useful for the individual will necessarily lead to the betterment of all,” and instead we fight for transparency, subsidiarity, justice-based regulation, and solidarity. We further insist that the financial sector be entirely at the service of the real economy (which itself must be entirely at the service of real people), treated only as a mere means to this end, and that virtuous investments that contribute to the development of people are rewarded and its opposite at least disincentivized.
We first fight to put a definitive end to the excessive interest rates that are now the cause of exclusion for huge swaths of the population, and amount to a truly unbearable burden for them. We reject the federal government’s current failure to act to end usury as a cowardly surrender to powerful financial interests under the guise of reverence for the erroneous principle “Laissez-faire,” and instead insist that all loans in America be capped at an interest rate far lower than is now widely permitted.
We next insist upon a renunciation of the erroneous principle “perception is reality” in markets, and rather call to task unnatural and consumerist growth wherever it is found, recognizing that such a situation can only result in disaster.
Bring Peace to the Ordinary for the Poor
In a political atmosphere where even those who do brand themselves as advocates for the poor in reality restrict their concern and efforts simply to whatever the media presents as an expedient over-arching “campaign issue,” we have come to insist that a serious initiative must take place to address the multitude of dire and urgent issues that the poor around the country must face from day to day; issues that are immediately clear to anyone who spends so much as one hour walking through their neighborhoods. We reject the notion that the fundamental rights of citizens that pertain to their more ordinary daily affairs must be left to the market or to local ordinances, and instead insist that our federal government respond to its call to safeguard these rights where appropriate.
We first fight for a nationwide end to localities adopting a permissive and essentially licentious attitude toward a few unruly residents of poor neighborhoods destroying the peace for everyone living in them; these residents being permitted to do so by police forces whose only orders are to respond to the serious crimes that (though also comprising a plague on the poor) are relatively rare when compared to the day-to-day peace that is lost (but at no cost to the local politician’s media image when he cites crime statistics) by blatantly aggressive driving; cars with sub-woofers and custom mufflers that rattle nearby windows; loud swearing that makes taking children outside a grave risk to their innocence; inappropriate music that must be heard by hundreds of people thanks to one person’s preferences; verbal harassment of the weak and strangers by those who deem themselves masters of their neighborhood, and so forth. But the freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution does not imply the freedom to utterly destroy the peace at a whim, and the lives of the poor would be drastically improved by authorities ceasing to permit those behaviors that needlessly disturb the life of those nearby. As our Constitution asserts, all have a right to equal treatment under the law, and this must also mean equal access to law enforcement’s benefits despite what neighborhood a person lives in, for what is allowed to transpire in poor neighborhoods would never be allowed to transpire in the more well off neighborhoods in this country.
We next fight to bring justice and charity to social services. When the poor go to the county Social Services Office for help, which is a cornerstone of many of their lives, they are too often treated as mere objects. This is the inevitable consequence of a system that completely lacks, in its very design, solidarity and subsidiarity. One result of this we see is that substance abuse, in the form of alcoholism, illegal drug abuse, and prescription drug addiction, has wreaked havoc on entire populations of poor, which is often initiated by or even consists in a social work system’s intervention that inundates with psychotropic medication those it ostensibly serves in order to make them easier to cope with. Such utter disregard for the totality of the person, though now so commonplace as to be presupposed by self-serving bureaucracies that seek only to check-the-box in saying they have dealt with a “case” and thereby secure further funding, is a trend that we fight with great effort. We strive to ensure that each person who is dealt with by the various Federal, State, and Local agencies involved in social work is treated in his or her individuality of both body and soul. This initiative, though no easy to define or undertake task, must consist in a greater cooperation with local groups (especially Churches and other faith-based endeavors), a more serious listening to the needs and wants of the individual and especially a greater consideration of his or her family and religious needs, a greater flexibility in addressing these needs without the burden of red tape and one-size-fits-all solutions (which must not merely become more money thrown at the problem), and other efforts to ensure that the entire Social Service System in this country serves the Common Good instead of merely perpetuating itself.
We next work to ensure that the urban poor are granted access to the same degree and quality of infrastructure that outlying wealthier suburbs have. We lament that while some politicians boast of their handout programs in a thinly veiled attempt to buy votes, their detachment from the poor makes them overlook something so simple yet fundamental as how poor people get from place to place. A poor single mother abandoned by the father of her child must often navigate dangerously damaged sidewalks with a stroller if she is lucky, but often must risk life and limb pushing it along the road due either to the total absence of a sidewalk, or its inability to be passed due to disrepair or lack of snowplowing. Meanwhile, in suburbs inhabited by the rich, barely used beautiful sidewalks stretch for miles and roads are routinely repaved even when completely unneeded. But the poor have a right to the same quality and presence of infrastructure that the rich do, and this must be federally ensured for all.
We next fight against the convenience store addictions that dominate the lives of so many of our nation’s poor because the government says that cigarettes are unfit for human consumption, but “generously” permits citizens to smoke them if only they will pay an enormous tax. Likewise gambling, in some places banned, is in other realms undertaken and monopolized by government entities who run lotteries as an additional and unbearable tax on those who understandably cannot resist the temptation to exhaust their already dangerously low income in pursuit of the minuscule prospect of becoming rich. In both cases the rich grow richer and the poor are exploited. We fight for a nationwide end to government run lotteries, and serious restrictions on privately run lotteries and gambling. We also call for a reduction of taxes that primarily affect the poor, especially for example on cigarettes (though we agree with efforts aimed at curbing cigarette smoking, we do not believe in doing so by financially punishing the poor), to have these revenues replaced by luxury taxes like those passed by Congress in the 1990s.
We next work to foster initiatives to enable the poor themselves to become the primary builders of better, cleaner, safer, and more beautiful neighborhoods. We lament the fact that, while huge percentages of the poor remain incapable of finding work, the houses in which they live are crumbling and vacant, decaying buildings are densely interspersed with those that are inhabited. Such a glaring disconnect can only be the result of serious injustices in the structure of modern society. While we first and foremost hope that the resolution of this problem will come from abolishing barriers to entry, promoting local living, protecting public beauty, and other efforts described in this platform, we also advocate for initiatives aimed directly at solving this problem, such as free basic home-renovation training for citizens who are willing to commit to a certain amount of local work in that industry, and the suspension of work-search of work requirements for these same citizens who are capable of demonstrating the progress they have made in such renovations.