Draft GPUS Platform Amendment National Debt
2004 PLATFORM ON THE NATIONAL DEBT
The national debt is approaching 7 trillion dollars, and the diversion to interest payments is nearly 20 percent of tax revenues. The Green Party calls for immedicate debate and action to stop this transfer of wealth from tax payers to the wealthy.
For many years the federal government borrowed hundreds of billions of dollars. Money that should have been going into a better “safety net” for the poor, homes for the homeless, environmental and public lands conservation, sustainable jobs, research and development, roads and bridges, schools and the technologies of tomorrow, has been lost to servicing the national debt. We cannot ignore the consequences of our nation’s past deficits and the related costs of debt service.
Working people and the small business community are shouldering a disproportionate amount of the debt burden. Yet the incurrence of the federal debt was, to a large degree, the end product of those who were on watch during the Cold War and military-defense industry buildup. Also, hundreds of billions were lost in the savings and loan bailout, and to loopholes, tax breaks, and multinational corporate tax avoidance. Hundreds of billions were lost due to a failed tax code that has been held prisoner to special interests and has produced historic gross inequities between corporate America and working Americans.
During the 1980s, our national debt grew from approximately $1 trillion to over $5 trillion and we refused to fund Social Security, food stamps, public housing, higher education, public transportation, and other services.
1. We must continue to move toward reduction of the national debt and compensate for the neglect that the deficits caused.
2. We believe a comprehensive approach that forms a basis for a debt reduction plan would include debt payback, increased revenues, and decreased expenditures in some areas.
3. We support increases in domestic and discretionary spending, which is our nation’s essential “safety net” to protect those most in need. We support increases in the portion of entitlement benefits (one-fifth) that go to children, the lowest income, elderly, and disabled. These include food stamps, family assistance, Medicaid, and supplemental security income.
4. We oppose privatization of Social Security. We support increased funding for Social Security, public housing, higher education, public transportation, environmental protection, renewable energy, and energy conservation.
5. To help compensate for our nation’s neglect, we support tax increases on mega-corporate and wealthy interests, defense budget reductions, and entitlement reductions for those who can most afford reductions. Entitlement spending is over one-half of the federal budget. One way to reduce entitlement costs substantially is by means testing, which is scaling back payments to the six million citizens in families with incomes over $50,000 annually.
6. We must revitalize the public sector. As taxes on working people have been unfairly increased, many important public services have been sharply reduced. Corporate-backed politicians are using the anti-government sentiment they have so carefully engineered to kill vital programs that many employers have always despised. If corporations continue to get their way, OSHA will be gutted, our environmental and labor laws will be worthless, our public health system will be dismantled, and the safety net and public universities will be only a dim memory.