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Four policies that would work for the Democrats

Zyphlin

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Here's a little thinking exercise here. Take a look at the general platforms and views of the Democratic party. To a point, we want to be a bit stereotypical here. However we don't want to over exaggerate those stereotypes to a level where it is a parody of things. A bit of "compromising" of democrat principles is allowed but it should stay within a realistic level. With that in mind, here's the question.

Democrats and left leaning individuals, state four generalized policies you'd want to see as the "main focus" of a Democratic national campaign. The first key thing to this would be a need to excite and encourage turnout of democrats. Second to that is attracting moderates. Third to that is attracting republicans.

Republicans and right leaning individuals, state four policies that the Democratic party could pursue as the focus of a national campaign that could potential give you pause enough to examine their candidates or platform. This is not necessarily saying you'd vote for them, in large part because the Republican oppositions positions are ambiguous here. It is simply a four policy focus that is in line with Democratic philosophy but would be enough to at least make you take the moment to think on a possible vote for the other side.

Moderates/Independents, look at the two questions and pick the one that is closer to your lean even if that lean is slight.
 

Psychoclown

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Energy policy In particular, ending our dependance on foreign oil. Oil has all sorts of externality costs that the free market can't address - pollution and its used to fund various nations that are openly hostile to the US and our interestes. A few things I'd like to see..

Working towards making our own oil and oil shale reserves technologically and economically viable. We have a lot of untapped potential fields still within the US, but they aren't viable yet.

Increased taxation on gasoline (once it makes economic sense). As I said before, oil has externality costs that are not accounted for in the market. I think the federal government would justifed in taxing it to account for those hidden costs. Plus higher taxes will lower demand, thus incentivizing manufactuers to come up with more fuel efficient vehicles at an affordable price.

And funding for alternative energy. Power cells, solar, wind, bio-fuel. I don't care which one and it could be all of them, as long as they are truly viable alternatives. I read once a while ago that producing ethonal was a net energy loss, not sure if that is still true as technology has advanced, but I want make sure we're spending our time and money on things that will pay off, and not using energy policy as way to hand out subsidies to favored industries.

Drug Policy I don't expect legalization anytime soon. Heck, I'm not holding my breath for decriminalization anytime soon, but I'd like to at least see a national discussion on our current policy and costs of it. I don't think most people realize the amount of money we spend on investigating, prosecuting, and incarcerating drug offenders. Nor do they realize the potential tax revenues or the fact that we're creating an artificial black market that funds violent criminal cartels and at times, even terrorist organizations.

I think Democrats are probably better positioned to make that move, since they don't have to deal with the moral guardian social conservative types.

Entitlement Reform. I don't expect either party and Democrats in particular to gut entitlement programs, but at least lets ease the burden. Demographics are working agaisnt us as the Boomers continue to move into retirement and are not being replaced by new workers entering the workforce. When Social Security became the law in 1935, the average life expectancy was 62. SS was only for folks who beat the odds and lived longer than expected. Now life expectancy is almost 78 years in this country. If you want to remove infant mortality rates to get maybe a more accurate comparison, upon reaching age 21 in 1940 53.9% of males and 60.6% of females would reach 65. In 1990, 72.3% for males and 83.6% of females. Clearly more and more people are living longer and longer lives, and we need to adjust our old age entitlement programs to reflect that reality. We need to up the age of eligibility dramatically.

Life Expectancy at Birth by Race and Sex, 1930–2005 — Infoplease.com
Life Expectancy for Social Security
 

Korimyr the Rat

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  • A serious approach to public school reform that involves more than capitulating to NEA demands.
  • Real nationalized healthcare.
  • Expand the Space Program.
  • Embrace wholeheartedly their efforts to promote equal rights for the GLBTOMGWTFBBQ and stop dithering around the issue.

:kitty:
 

Redress

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Looking at the Democratic National Committee platform(What We Stand For | Democrats.org, surprise, I agree with it mostly. To pick 4 things, important to me and I think most key to the countries success:

1: Investing in a clean-energy economy, and providing tax credits to spark manufacturing of windmills, solar panels, and electric cars here at home

This is something we have been doing in Michigan as of a few years ago, and with some real success until the economy melted down. Now the industry is down like every other industry, but I think when things recover it is both something that will strengthen our economy, and improve things ecologically and reduce our dependence on oil and coal. I think there is no real downside to this.

2: Responsibility from unscrupulous businesses that break the law: Employers who exploit undocumented workers undermine American workers, and they have to be held accountable.

The biggest thing we can do to limit the number of illegal immigrants in this country is stop them from succeeding when they get here. It sounds harsh, but I think it is also necessary. If businesses know that the cost of hiring illegals exceeds the cost of hiring legal workers at a wage they will work for, then jobs for illegals goes away and the flow of illegals into the country should slow. Just as you cannot stop drug use by arresting all the users, you cannot stop illegal immigration by arresting all the illegals.

3: Bring unprecedented accountability to federal spending

This pretty much speaks for itself, and has so far not gone so well for Obama. We need to reform how we spend money. We need to look at all spending, and work to reduce all spending. We need to balance the budget so that the next time we hit a recession, spending to stimulate the economy does not get so over the top.

4: Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our national security

This is, to my mind, more important than it sounds. Part of unit cohesion is being open and honest with those around you. With DADT, gays serving cannot be open and honest. DADT reduces unit cohesion and reduces the recruit pool available, both of which to my mind reduce our military effectiveness.
 

Psychoclown

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Redress: I'm a little surprised to see DADT make your top four list. Obviously it probably does keep some gays from enlisting, but as we can see by gay soldiers who have come out, not all gays stay away from the military. On the flip side, I heard John Stossel quote a poll that said 17% of current soldiers would seriously consider not re-enlisting if DADT was repealed. So I'm not sure there will be a net gain in recruitment/retention of soldiers in the short term.

Similarly on unit cohesion, I'll take you at your word when you say DADT can negatively affect unit cohesion, since I've never served in the armed forces and have no experience to refute or confirm that claim. But I do believe repeal will have short term negative affects on unit cohesion as well. There will be a transition period until gay soldiers become no big deal.

All that said, I do think DADT should and will be repealed. My issue is one of timing. I don't think its wise to roll out a controversial change while our troops are in combat overseas. Let's get our military back home, safe and sound, and then we can deal with DADT and transition into a more open and honest policy. Also, I don't see it as a make or break issue for many people, outside of some gay rights activists. I think your other three issues are far more pressing than DADT.
 

Redress

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Psychoclown,

Short term there will be issues when DADT is repealed, but long term I think it leads to a stronger military. Also, I remember that Britain did a similar poll, got similar results, but the problem with reduced re-enlistment did not materialize. I can dig around for the source on that comment if you want.
 

Psychoclown

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I'd love to see the source if you can find it. If not, no big deal. And I do agree that repealing DADT will be beneficial in the long term. But let me ask you this, do you favor immediate (or near immediate) repeal or would you rather wait util our troops are no longer in combat to make the change?
 

Redress

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This is not the source I read, but it has the same information, plus some other interesting stuff: BBC News - Gays in the military: The UK and US compared

Some 10% said they would leave the armed forces if gays were allowed to serve openly.

Large-scale resignations from the UK armed forces were widely expected in some quarters, when the ban on gays was lifted - but in practice they did not materialise.


There was this expectation that there would be problems, but it just didn't happen
Dave Small, ex-Royal Navy Stonewall associate
I favor getting it done as soon as possible. Waiting for our troops to not be deployed is to my mind not realistic, as I think we will have troops deployed, or on the verge of deployment, for quite some time.
 

tacomancer

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The top four things I would like to see are:
1. End dependence on foreign energy imports.

This one would be very hard to achieve, but I believe it holds the key to other issues I would like to see resolution on. Those include fewer troops abroad and less foreign intervention.

2. Real socialized healthcare

While the interpretation of the data goes back and forth. What data I have seen convinces me that a more nationalized healthcare scheme is good for both health and finances. It would relieve burden in many people and allow them to be more able to work, becoming more productive citizens, which in turn would help the country and its economy.

3. Entitlement reform.

This one is for both major parties. We need to not spend drastically more than we take in taxes. While views on appropriate levels of spending and taxes will vary from person to person, we need to have a balanced budget for the long term stability of the country.

4. Streamlining government.

The first thing that needs to be done here, is to make government purchasing procedures resembles those of a company. Reward managers who reduce spending while maintaining or improving the department's key indicators. This would also require more autonomy and less top down controls on what departments do, but I think that would be fine if coupled with measured results. Once this is done, it would be a natural progression to reducing unnecessary staff and other resources, as well as a better integration with IT systems.
 
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