The following is a speech we would have liked to have seen a candidate give during the American Presidential campaign of 2000.
ACCEPTANCE SPEECH 2000
Perhaps the single biggest blind spot in our leaders vision, is their lack of concern for the planet we call home. They haven't done anywhere near enough to protect our homeworld & I plan on changing this, & making it the cornerstone of my Presidency. Let me throw out a few figures so you have an idea of where we stand in a historical context.
Approximately 8K years ago our species began cultivating land for agriculture purposes and less than 10M were of our ancestors scattered across the earth.
200 years ago, as the Industrial Revolution sputtered into life, our species breached 1B, a thousand-fold increase since the "Agricultural Revolution".
Today there are over 6B of us, and the poisonous byproducts of our civilization are accumulating each and everyday not only in the biosphere but in our own flesh and blood.
This exponential growth of our species is perhaps the most obvious example of how we have become a threat not only to the Mother Earth, but to ourselves as well. We have no idea how many people this planet can support and who among us wants to find out the hard way?
Were already seeing the first stages of a global climate shift. These changes may be beneficial, but in reality, we have no idea. With the largest economy in the world, American influence upon the global ecosystem is disproportionally enormous as well. Our nation spews out 25-30% of all greenhouse gases, & yet Americans make up only five % of the worlds population.
It seems to myself, were watching the Republicrats fight over who is the closest to the political center, the most moderate. I will have none of that. "The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be...the nation & the world are in dire need of creative extremists."[Martin Luther King]
For example, instead of creating laws banning the use of fossil fuels, I propose we make all products & industries involved with the development of sustainable energy sources, [solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, technology] tax-free. Regulation is often a failure, but we can encourage people to move forward with carrots instead of sticks and help give birth to an entirely tax-free market in sustainable sources of energy.
This is the America I hope to build if Congress, whether Republican or Democratic, allows me to. Not a nation powered by two or three non-renewable sources of energy, but a nation powered by a mosaic of energy sources. Windpower on the plains and coastal areas where applicable, solar in the south, geothermal in the Midwest and Northeast, and biomass wherever appropriate.
The oil interests wish to begin drilling for oil off the north shore of Alaska, yet the Arctic biome has been amoung the hardest hit from global warming. Why do we need to drill for oil there, when we can create, sane & clean energy sources, right here at home? Wind technology has advanced so quickly; our entire nation could be energy self-sufficient if a grid of windmills powered the nation from North Dakota to Texas. Yet entrenched energy interests have fought this idea tooth & nail. [See Scientific American, Energy from the Sun, Sept., 1990]
And my proposals for "greening" our nation are not simply technological. I believe it is time we begin practicing sustainable agriculture in this country. Many of the worlds most knowledgeable scientists are at the vanguard of this movement.
Unfortunately, the producers of artificial fertilizers & pesticides, [special interest groups] have been able to thwart any change in American agriculture as of this date.
Today's industrial agriculture produces a bountiful harvest -- food enough for our country & for export abroad as well. But industrial agriculture's dependence on chemical pesticides & fertilizers is also producing damaged soil, depleted groundwater, polluted rivers, & impoverished rural communities. (I am promoting) a new vision for agriculture -- one that views agriculture as a system working in harmony with the environment while continuing to be highly productive. This kind of agriculture would be sustainable far into the future. (We must work) to transform government policies so that they support sustainable agriculture as they have long supported industrial agriculture. [-Union of Concerned Scientists -http://www.ucsusa.org/]
While encouraging renewable energy resources, and changing the way America cultivates land we should also befriend Americas farmers by allowing them to grow a once popular cash crop & at the same time fight global warming tremendously.
Americas farmers could grow all the paper we need if hemp were legal once again. In fact, Id like Americas economy revolving around hemp by the time I leave the Presidency, much as it does today around oil. Those who question whether the legalization of hemp is a good idea are simply ... ignorant.
Hemp has played an important role in American history. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were hemp farmers. Betsy Ross flag was 100% hemp cloth; the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper. The principal reason for its popularity is environmental: growing hemp maintains the earth's natural balance and requires no chemical herbicides or pesticides. While timber for paper pulp takes 100 years to grow, hemp's life cycle is only 100 days; hemp cultivation would stop the destruction of our forests. In the early 1600's hemp was considered such a vital resource that laws were passed ordering farmers to grow it. Taxes were paid with hemp and the United States Census of 1850 counted 8,327 hemp plantations growing cannabis hemp for cloth, canvas, and other necessities. Hemp has a great potential to change a lot of things. Most significantly, making paper from hemp instead of trees can cut down on the destruction of our forests and preserve natural habitats. Also, many fuels and auto parts can be made from hemp fibers, which reduce the amount of resin introduced into the air we breath. Economically speaking, hemp can help out farmers and families in the Midwest who are struggling now that the demand for domestic tobacco has dropped off. [http://www.hemptimes.com/library/knowledge/index.tpl link dead currently]
At the same time, our government currently subsidizes the timber industry [3.5] billion annually. In essence, we make their profit margins higher by spending the taxpayers money, your money, to create roads no one but the timber interests need. If I become President, & Congress agrees, not only this subsidy will stop but almost all other forms of "corporate welfare" as well.
You see the problem with creating a sane government, one that will benefit everyone in the long run, is the entrenched interests who are making money hand over fist with the status quo. They resist change, not because these changes are illogical or unscientific, but simply because they stand to lose vast sums of money.
I plan on changing all of this if Congress will allow me. The time has come for a President who takes into account the entire nation & is not simply another puppet of the lobbyists on Capital Hill. It is time to end this charade here & now.
Next up, how about if we begin to seriously promote recycling? Let us take a look at other countries that have successful economies & make recycling a major part of the way they do business. It seems in nations where landfill space is severely limited, they have created packaging revolving around plastics which can be almost instantaneously recycled. There are several different grades & essentially any form of packaging is recyclable. This could easily become part of our own economy within a year or so. The problem is many special interests, those that produce non-recyclable goods, will have nothing to do with it.
On education, the Republicans are saying, "Those people wealthy enough to afford private schools should be given a voucher to help pay for these institutions of the elite." Not on my watch. If you can afford to send your children to private schools, as my own parents did, well then thats great, but the government is not going to subsidize private schools for the top 5% of this nation, while an even larger percentage of our children has never even seen a computer. Simply put, vouchers will siphon resources from public education. At the very least, vouchers should be limited to public schools.
When it comes to taxes, both parties have allowed taxes to be cut across the board, even though the wealthiest one % of the American people own over 70% of her assets.
If you want a tax cut, how about exempting those who make less than 15K annually & raising Federal income tax rates progressively, dollar by dollar, until it reaches 90% for the wealthiest Americans? Is Rush right, or Robin Hood? Why should someone, who makes 20K a year pay 15-20% in taxes, while someone who inherited a 100M only pays 33%?
America prospered during the 80s under Ronald Reagan, but at what price? The total Federal debt grew from one trillion in 1980 to [four, five] in [1988,1992]. The economy has also prospered under Clinton, but sensibly & with fiscal discipline. As much as the conservatives will hate to admit it, the Federal debt went from 5 to 3.5 trillion under Slick Willie's stewardship. Is cutting all Americans taxes the wisest thing we can do?
If we plan on tinkering with the tax code, lets cut the rates for lower incomes & offset it by raising it on those more affluent. I suggest a progressive income tax, removing all those who make less than 15K annually off the income tax roles & raising the rate progressively, up to 90%, for the wealthiest Americans.
Do we really need to give a tax break to the 75,000 or so people in this country whose incomes are more than one million dollars a year? Why should people making less than 15K annually have to pay 10-20% of their income while those who have never worked a day of their life are only taxed ~33% on the dividends from their stock portfolios?
If were going to cut taxes, lets do so sensibly & without reducing revenues so we can continue to use the surplus to reduce the national debt. I suggest we cut rates for those who need it the most, & at the same time raise them for those with money to spare, so we dont create the deficits of the 1980s. Our government must remain fiscally sound & not give tax breaks to those who have no need of them.
If Americas first truly progressive income tax is implemented and made into law, I would then favour abolishing the capital gains tax. Without creating a progressive income tax, however, eliminating the capital gains & estate tax is unjustly favourable to the wealthiest 5% of the nation. With a progressive income tax, eliminating the capital gains & "death" tax only seems logical. I also propose that with inherited estates, the sum may be divided over a ten-year period, and then simply be considered income.
For example, say you inherit a farm or business from your parents. The net worth is one million dollars. Instead of being taxed 90% on the lump sum, you can divide its value over a ten-year period, paying a far smaller %. In this way, truly huge estates would not escape paying back some of what they have received from this country, and yet smaller estates would escape far more intact.
I would also favour cutting the taxes corporations have to pay IF a progressive income tax is created. Especially on small businesses with profits less than $100,000 annually. In truth, with smaller businesses there should be no taxes at all. It is my wish we stop taxing small businesses & encourage entrepreneurs to go into business for themselves, knowing full well, their first profits are all their own. The owners can choose whether they wish to reinvest these profits back into their business or create a larger personal income.
On Social Security the Republicans wish to allow individuals to invest their own funds; but what happens if your investments are wiped you out? Social security and welfare are a safety net which should not be tampered with lightly. If anything, those people with a [million] or more in net assets should not be receiving social security checks.
During the Depression, people didnt have money to spend and therefore a recovery was non-existent. With welfare and social security, we guarantee people will have money to spend in the event of bad times, and the economy is far less likely to bottom out. What happens if the investments you have chosen suddenly evaporate? It is nice to think of the greater returns we might receive by risking our social security funds, but there is after all a downside to all of this.
"The name of the game with retirement planning is not to get rich," "Instead, the goal is not to be poor." Yet poverty is a real possibility for retirees. To understand just how tricky this stuff can be, suppose you retired at year-end 1969, lived until 1999 and held a portfolio that included 60% stocks, 30% bonds and 10% Treasury bills. Over 30 years, that mix generated a generous 12.3% average annual return, while inflation ran at 5.2% a year. But even if you knew your average returns were going to be that good, you could still have gone badly wrong. Theres a hitch. While returns over the 30 years were good, the early results were dreadful, especially during the 1973-4 stock market crash. Because of those rotten early results and the accompanying inflation, you would have rapidly depleted your portfolio if you had used a 6.5% withdrawal rate and run out of money after just 15 years. Indeed for your portfolio to support you through the 30-year stretch, you had to limit your withdrawal rate to just 4.7%"People say they can do better with annuity But theyre just focusing on long run average rates of return and not thinking about what can go wrong." Moreover ."Some people will get significantly below-average results."You have enormous uncertainty."Theres a case to be made for some sort of guaranteed income, whether its from Social Security, an annuity or a defined-benefit pension plan."As you weigh these risks, the notion of monthly check for rest of your life seems pretty appealing. Im not saying that the Social Security system cant be improved. But having some sort of insurance whether it takes the form of an annuity or a guaranteed check from the government doesnt seem like such a terrible idea [Getting Going, the Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2000, pg. C1 Jonathan Clements]
I believe we should promote holistic medicine as opposed to the modern western "health care industry" which has grown out of control.
We are suffering from the sickness business, which is composed of hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies. They treat the human being as a consumer and call it the "health care business." But it is the sickness care business, and they dont want to change it because over 800B a year is spent in this business by Americans. [Holistic] medicine can help people take charge of their own lives. Most physicians agree that 50 to 80 percent of all human disabilities are psychosomatic . mind-generated. If thats true, why are they treating these diseases with drugs? Drugs are really dangerous. One doctor outlined 22 destructive side effects of three drugs used for hypertension. But hypertension is not a disease. It is just a bad habit in the autonomic nervous system. Through biofeedback training, people can learn to control the vascular system so they dont have hypertension. We demonstrated that. But whos paying attention? Not the insurance companies, not the medical organizations some doctors are- and not the hospitals. Why? You have to have a big cash flow if you are going to make money. And to have a big cash flow you make sure that people dont get the idea that they can take charge of at least half their problems. That would reduce the annual cash flow from 800B to, maybe, 400B. [Venture Inward, Sept/Oct, 1993, Presidents Message, Charles Thomas Cayce]
I do not believe we need to infringe upon our Second Amendment rights anymore than we already have, especially after seeing what has happened in Britain & Australia recently with their own laws involving gun control. It seems criminals will always find a way to buy a gun. The one-week waiting period and ban on automatic weapons are more than enough & Thomas Jefferson himself said, "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep & bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." [http://www.jpfo.org/]
I not only believe in abortion, I believe we should subsidize prophylactics & other forms contraception throughout the world. [See Scientific American, The Unmet Need for Family Planning, Jan., 2000]
I believe [I felt the bullet press against my tempel before I heard the gunshot .