THE COMPLETE HAGELIN/GOLDHABER PLATFORM
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber envision a time when American farmers will farm in full accord with the laws of nature, fully utilizing nature's creativity to yield abundant, healthy food, while protecting the environment and ensuring a vigorous, diversified, sustainable agricultural economy.
The future of agriculture depends on its sustainability -- that is, the ability of agricultural policies and practices to preserve and strengthen the farming economy, ecology, and community for future generations.
The 1996 Federal Agricultural Improvement and Reform Act (FAIR) was heralded as a major change of direction for U.S. agriculture. But it has left many wondering whether crucial, fundamental changes have really been made in agricultural policy, and whether FAIR is fair -- especially for small family farms and for the environment. FAIR does not go far enough to ensure agricultural practices that are sustainable -- financially, environmentally, and socially.
Agriculture is more than a business; it is a cornerstone of our national life. The food produced by farmers is basic to our health and national security, and farmland itself is an irreplaceable resource vital to sustenance of life. Therefore, government must help ensure the long-term viability of agriculture.
We support legislation that will ensure social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture while balancing the following goals: (1) ensuring an economical and healthful supply of high-quality food for consumers; (2) promoting health and longevity in farmers and in the population as a whole; (3) protecting natural resources and the environment; (4) cushioning farmers from the natural and financial instability unique to agriculture; (5) enabling farmers to better pursue financial profitability; and (6) restoring the vitality of rural communities.
We have identified solutions to The Problems faced by U.S. agriculture:
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber are committed to substantially reducing the number of abortions in America. However, we hold that the best way to reduce abortions is through education -- not through legislation.
We support proven educational programs to bring individual and national life into harmony with natural law. These programs develop intelligence and creativity, improve moral reasoning, and promote far-sighted thinking and actions that do not create problems. Such education alone can produce the changes in behavior that will reduce unwanted pregnancies. The Hagelin/Goldhaber administration's strong educational approach, by changing attitudes and behaviors from the inside out, can offer prevention on a realistic basis.
Our nation's history shows that it is difficult to legislate morality. Laws forbidding the manufacture and sale of alcohol during Prohibition had little effect on alcohol consumption. Instead, they led to an increase in crime and the most murderous epoch in our nation's history. Similarly, legislation to outlaw abortions will simply lead to illegal abortions.
For this reason, we believe that it is counterproductive for the Federal Government to outlaw abortion. Furthermore, we hold that the moral responsibility for abortion decisions should be left in the hands of those whose lives are affected most -- the mother, the family, and the doctor -- not the Federal Government.
At the same time, we would encourage a shift from public to private funding of abortion -- specifically, private charity by those who wish to make abortion accessible for women who cannot afford it. Over time, the government should eliminate the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortion as a method of birth control, especially because such use of public funds is morally offensive to millions of taxpayers. We would allow public funding of abortions in cases of rape, incest, or life-threatening medical necessity.
We further believe that private charity to fund abortions could be better used to support proven, community-based programs such as CareNet, which reaches out to women with crisis pregnancies to offer them both material and emotional support, and the "One Church, One Child" adoption initiative founded by Fr. George Clements, which has enabled over 50,000 children to find loving parents and a nurturing home environment.
Our "antigovernment" stance regarding abortion -- neither subsidizing abortions nor legislating them away -- is the only defensible position from the standpoint of the U.S. Constitution, which states in the 10th Amendment that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Our prevention-oriented approach to reducing the number of abortions will produce a much-needed unifying influence on our nation, which has been deeply torn by this highly divisive issue. Our policy serves the interests of both those who are pro-life and those who are pro-choice by (a) decreasing the number of abortions more effectively than legislation and (b) leaving moral responsibility in the hands of those whose lives are affected most. Only this approach can solve The Problem of abortion at its basis and thereby fulfill the goals of all Americans -- those who emphasize the sanctity of life and those who uphold the sanctity of individual freedom.
GIVEN CURRENT LEVELS of crime in America, capital punishment has gained broad popular support as a hoped-for deterrent to the most severe crimes. Unfortunately, experience shows that capital punishment neither effectively deters crime nor saves taxpayer money. Although John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber support a strong penal code, especially for specific, highly egregious violent crimes, the current effort to extend the death penalty to include a wide range of crimes is a desperate public (and highly political) reaction arising from deep frustration with present, ineffective crime-fighting strategies. We would therefore impose a moratorium on the death penalty unless and until our criminal justice system demonstrates its ability to impose this harshest of all sentences justly and fairly.
We support highly effective, proven crime-prevention programs that have been shown to lower crime significantly (see our Crime section). We believe that the national mood will shift away from an outcry for the harshest possible punishment and towards more compassionate solutions once violent crime has been significantly reduced through our prevention-oriented approach.
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber envision an America free of crime, where all citizens live fully in accord with both natural law and national law; where people freely move on the streets without fear; and where Americans live and work together harmoniously for both their own fulfillment and the national good.
Crime costs Americans $450 billion annually . Despite two decades of "get tough" policies -- with longer, often mandatory prison sentences -- the rate of crime in America is high compared to other developed nations . Of gravest concern, juvenile violent crime has spiraled during the past decade -- especially urban gang and school violence using guns . According to the Centers for Disease Control, American youths are 12 times more likely to die by gunfire than their peers in other nations. An FBI crime report concluded that "every American has a realistic chance of being murdered because of the random nature [that] crime has assumed."
America's criminal justice system is under constant strain. Courts, police, probation and parole agencies, and prisons are overworked and inadequate to deal with the high level of crime .
Clearly, a "get-tough" policy is not enough. Effective crime prevention is also crucial. Yet despite the dismal track record of "get-tough" approaches, Republican and Democratic legislators ignore proven preventive strategies and press for more police, more prisons, and stiffer punishment. Consider the following :
Increasing recognition of the need for prevention has led to experimental approaches such as Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) and midnight basketball. Unfortunately, long-term scientific studies have found no significant effects on crime and drug abuse from such programs .
We believe that these "bandaid" approaches do not work because they fail to address the root cause of crime -- the epidemic of stress throughout society. During the past two decades, medical science has documented the alarming rise of stress-related illness such as hypertension, stroke, and heart disease. This same build-up of stress is responsible for a similar rise in social illnesses -- crime, drug abuse, domestic violence, and family disintegration.
Current crime prevention programs overlook the psychological and physiological devastation wrought by constant, traumatic stress. Stress causes a complex psychophysiological chain reaction that makes the nervous system hyperexcited and unstable . Chronic, acute stress leads to serious physiological malfunction. Among other effects, the body's neurochemical balance is distorted, producing abnormally high levels of cortisol (a primary stress hormone) and low levels of serotonin (a key neurotransmitter) . This out-of-balance biochemistry has been linked with anxiety, fear, anger, impulsive violent behavior, and substance abuse .
Moreover, the combined stress of all the individuals in society builds up and creates a dangerous, criminal atmosphere in the whole community. This societal stress and tension becomes a breeding ground for more crime and violence. Thus, to reduce crime, stress must be reduced in at-risk individuals and throughout society.
Reducing social stress -- In addition to a tough penal code as a deterrent to crime, we offer systematic, scientifically proven programs to reduce stress in the individual and throughout society -- thus eliminating the root cause of crime. At least one such program, the Transcendental Meditation program, has been scientifically shown to (1) reduce individual and social stress; (2) reduce cortisol and increase serotonin production in the body, thus counteracting the neurochemical imbalances produced by stress; and (3) decrease anxiety, hostility, and anger, and improve psychological development and moral reasoning .
Forty-three published scientific studies have shown that large groups practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program in one location reduce social stress and violence. These studies, which have investigated the impact of such groups on communities, cities, and entire nations, have consistently found decreases in crime, war deaths, and other negative social indicators, as well as improvements in economy and national mood. This innovative approach offers a highly cost-effective, scientifically proven strategy to eliminate the fundamental cause of crime through reducing individual and societal stress.
Effective prison rehabilitation -- The most cost-effective prevention strategy is to target those individuals who are at highest risk for crime -- the current prison inmate population, 90% of whom will be released from prison. A five-year Harvard study investigated the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique in a maximum security prison. Inmates who learned the practice decreased significantly in stress, aggression, and mental disorders. Violence throughout the prison decreased, and the rate of return to prison among participating inmates was 30-35% less than for four other treatment groups . Similar studies in 28 other maximum security prisons have shown equally impressive results. (Current rehabilitation strategies put the cart before the horse. They try to reeducate and reform inmates without first changing inmates from within by eliminating the stress that makes them uninterested in education or incapable of being reformed .)
Community policing -- In New York City, a new initiative called computer-assisted community policing has been credited with reducing crime by 40% over two years. In this approach, police are assigned to high-crime neighborhoods identified by computer tracking, work closely with these neighborhoods, and are rewarded for preventing crime. According to statistics from the New York Police Department, murder in New York City dropped 31% during the first half of 1995 compared to the first six months of 1994, with similar reductions in other categories of violent crime. This striking improvement led one journalist to refer to New York as "the suddenly safer city" .
Urban revitalization -- Our overcrowded, decaying urban centers obviously contribute to the rise of stress and crime. Any program to reduce crime must involve a comprehensive plan to revitalize the inner cities, as laid out in our Revitalizing Our Inner Cities section.
Drug and alcohol rehabilitation -- A high proportion of crimes are committed under the influence of alcohol and drugs. A 1996 study of crime in New York City found that tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse cost the city's taxpayers and corporations $20 billion in 1994 -- 21 cents of every tax dollar . We would introduce programs proven to reduce drug dependency, eliminate stress, and promote mental and physical health.
Preventing youth crime -- School dropouts are at highest risk for crime and drug abuse. We strongly support more effective educational programs to keep children in school, off the streets, and out of the reach of crime. Our proven educational programs unfold greater creativity and intelligence and develop ideal citizenship by raising life to be in accord with natural law and national law (see our Education section). Our strong educational focus is the true, long-term solution to the pervasive problem of crime.
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber are the only political candidates with a truly comprehensive, scientifically proven strategy to reduce crime. Our approach is the most hard-headed and hard-hitting, since it focuses on scientifically proven programs that work. Our prevention-oriented approach will save the nation hundreds of billions of dollars and prevent immeasurable anguish and suffering in the lives of millions of Americans who are victims of crime each year.
WITH THE END OF THE COLD WAR ERA, the U.S. has an unprecedented opportunity to lead the world in creating a stable and permanent peace, free from fear of aggression and war, in which every nation enjoys invincibility and friendship with every other nation.
Despite the declining threat of superpower confrontation, uncertainty and fear still dominate U.S. defense thinking. History has shown that neither treaties nor arms can ensure peace and security. Regional and ethnic conflicts in the Middle East and Eastern Europe have demonstrated that even small nations can imperil world peace and stability. They can hold other nations hostage through terrorism, ecological warfare, and weapons of mass destruction.
No viable defense against nuclear weapons exists. Nuclear tests in China, India, and Pakistan have stirred fears in the international community of runaway nuclear proliferation. At least 46 nuclear weapons are thought to be missing from the former Soviet arsenal . Arms experts fear that rogue nations and terrorist groups might opt for "back-pack" nuclear weapons carried by foot soldiers. Even after substantial reductions in our own arsenals, thousands of nuclear weapons remain. The military faces huge environmental cleanup costs for its unused arsenals and bases.
Similarly, biological and chemical weapons pose a mounting threat to national security. Their relatively low cost, easily accessible technology, and low-tech applications make them especially dangerous as weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorist groups or even individuals.
The U.S. remains one of the world's biggest arms suppliers. This global arms peddling has tarnished our reputation as a promoter of peace, fostered deep-seated international ill will, and led to a dangerous world in which our own soldiers are forced to confront American weapons on the battlefield. Scarce military resources are squandered on pork-barrel weapons like the $2 billion B2 bomber and the $60 billion flawed missile defense shield -- programs that the Pentagon does not even want .
Finally, military personnel continue to face major health concerns, including problems with stress , alcohol, and a higher rate of cigarette smoking than the civilian population . Post-traumatic stress syndrome, a continuing problem for veterans, is virtually ignored due to lack of solutions, and Gulf War syndrome has underscored the insidious influence of environmental toxins on our primary-level military personnel .
The changing global political landscape mandates a broad reassessment of the purpose, scope, strategy, and financial requirements of U.S. defense. John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber believe that these crucial issues must be decided on the basis of a revised set of priorities reflecting America's realistic defense requirements--not on the basis of short-term political considerations and pork-barrel politics.
We recognize the need to maintain the alertness of our nation's armed forces. Between 1987 and 1999, the U.S. military defense budget was cut by 5%. Since the world remains dangerous and unstable, we believe that the U.S. should not implement further major reductions of defense expenditures at this time. We would maintain our weapons superiority, while focusing more resources on military personnel, training, readiness, and retention -- creating a more flexible force to effectively combat the threat of terrorism and meet our nation's security needs in the post-Cold War world. We believe that such a force, coupled with greater economic and security cooperation, will also help provide the basis for greater international stability.
For example, we believe that funding for costly, wasteful, and ineffective weapons systems could be rapidly scaled down. As part of this down-scaling, we would (1) accelerate the decrease of U.S. nuclear arsenals, which cost $25 billion annually to maintain, (2) immediately and permanently halt all U.S. nuclear testing and nuclear weapons research, and (3) reduce the U.S. presence in NATO and the Pacific Rim, encouraging Western Europe and Japan to contribute more toward the defense of those regions. The role of America should be to foster peace and prosperity in the family of nations, rather than to act as the world's policeman.
To further strengthen our security, the Hagelin/Goldhaber administration would offer a peace-promoting technology that will help neutralize international tensions and conflict and promote stability and harmony within the family of nations. This peace-promoting technology, which is based upon groups of experts collectively practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program, can help to ensure a peaceful world. Only through the addition of this technology to reduce global stress and to generate an actual, physical influence of peace among the family of nations can we responsibly cut defense spending and divert the precious resources of the nation toward more life-supporting and humane programs at home and abroad.
Recognizing our recent failures to prevent conflict and promote lasting peace through military intervention alone, we would therefore support a "prevention wing" in the military -- a true peacekeeping force trained to diffuse regional tensions among warring factions, using proven nonviolent methods of conflict resolution, and to preserve and strengthen national and international peace. By training even 1% of U.S. military personnel in the proven programs that we advocate to reduce stress in individual and national life, America can create a genuine peace-keeping force that can maintain a powerful, integrated, coherent national consciousness and thereby prevent the emergence of an enemy.
We also support new priorities for the U.S. Department of Defense. Selected military personnel and resources could quickly adapt to roles such as drug interdiction and border defense. We believe that economic growth, leading to new industries and jobs, is the best way to help the defense industry adjust to military downsizing. There is strong statistical evidence that more jobs are created through domestic programs than through military spending. In addition, we favor incentives to stimulate investment of private-sector funds and expertise to help industries diversify into nondefense markets.
Finally, we support prevention and rehabilitation programs that have been shown to reduce military stress, decrease alcohol and drug abuse, alleviate post-traumatic stress syndrome, promote better health, and enhance physical and mental performance .
THE MOST EFFECTIVE DEFENSE AGAINST DRUGS is proper education -- education that directly unfolds intelligence and creativity, builds self-confidence, eliminates stress, and raises life to be in harmony with natural law, thereby eliminating the tendency towards drug dependence.
To be effective, education must be deeply satisfying and directly relevant to a person's own life. Such education will eliminate functional and technological illiteracy and also prevent dropouts, who become the principal targets for drugs and drug-related crime (see our Education section).
For those currently suffering from drug dependence, John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber promote programs that have been shown to dramatically reduce drug dependency and to eliminate stress and restore balance in an individual's physiology and psychology (see our Health and Crime sections). We will cut our burgeoning prison population in half by decriminalizing nonviolent drug offenses, directing such offenders to drug education, prevention, and rehabilitation programs.
The responsibility for stemming the drug trade currently belongs to numerous federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Border Patrol of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as many state and local agencies. This fragmented approach inevitably results in overlapping and at times self-defeating investigations, apprehensions, and prosecutions. These conflicts make administration inefficient -- and sometimes result in senseless anomalies that allow known criminals to escape prosecution altogether.
We therefore support procedures that will promote cooperation and coordination among the various law enforcement agencies responsible for interdicting, apprehending and prosecuting individuals and organizations engaged in illegal drug and narcotics activities.
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber envision a flourishing national economy in which no citizen suffers from unemployment, recession, runaway inflation, or any other economic hardship; in which America's businesses are highly competitive in the international marketplace; in which the crippling national debt is reduced and eventually eliminated; and in which the tax burden is significantly decreased, enabling everyone to enjoy greater prosperity and a higher standard of living.
A healthy economy is the key to America's domestic strength and international leadership. Without industrial and corporate might, the U.S. cannot remain competitive in world markets, satisfy domestic needs, or continue to play a major role in world events. America has enjoyed strong economic growth in 1998 and thus far in 1999, but our economy still faces serious challenges.
For example, President Clinton and Congress have taken credit for the recent U.S. budget "surpluses," but in reality they have created an economic illusion through deceptive federal accounting practices. They have not cut spending at all; government spending has only escalated each successive year. They have instead borrowed surplus Social Security revenues to pay for excessive federal spending in other areas. This action jeopardizes the future of the Social Security program, effectively turning Social Security payroll taxes into a 15% flat tax on income rather than an investment vehicle for employee retirement. America is already over $5 trillion in debt -- about $20,000 per citizen -- and in fiscal years 1999 and 2000, despite Congressional Budget Office projections of budget surpluses, the national debt will increase by over $100 billion annually. Any credit for recent U.S. economic growth should rightly go not to government, but to the hard-working Americans whose creativity has led to increased productivity.
In addition, the increasing income disparity between the wealthiest 20% and the other 80% of Americans indicates a great imbalance in our economy. Although profits and productivity have increased during the past two decades, the purchasing power of the average American has declined significantly. For example, in 1993, the average American worker had to spend 26 weeks' worth of wages to buy a car, as compared to 17 weeks' in 1973. Many wage-earners -- especially those in lower income brackets -- have limited resources, no opportunity to save, little job security, and no way to cope with emergency medical needs.
Excessive taxes and a burdensome, overly complex, and punitive tax code stifle economic growth. The seven-million-word tax code is so convoluted that the Internal Revenue Service itself has trouble understanding it, and corporations spend four times as much on tax compliance as they do on taxes . In addition, special-interest groups have successfully manipulated the tax code by creating loopholes to benefit specific businesses -- a practice that results in corporate welfare and creates disincentives to economic growth.
In the words of the Kemp commission, the present tax code "is beyond repair -- it is impossibly complex, outrageously expensive, overly intrusive, economically destructive, and manifestly unfair. . . . We believe [it] cannot be revised, should not be reinvented, and must not be retained" . Yet despite strong popular pressure to change the tax code, Republicans and Democrats, controlled by special interests, have thwarted any meaningful improvement.
American businesses are saddled by the highest health costs in the world. Health benefits have become the third largest expense after raw materials and straight-time pay for most manufacturers, and the second largest expense for most service businesses. For many employers, the cost of corporate health benefits precludes real salary increases for employees, and many otherwise profitable businesses are driven into bankruptcy by these spiraling expenses.
Finally, to maintain our technological edge in the competitive international marketplace, American businesses require highly skilled workers. Alarmingly, our high school students score near the bottom in international comparisons of industrialized nations: 28% of youths entering the U.S. job market are high school dropouts , and the number of Americans earning doctoral degrees has declined in recent years -- yet Congress has cut funding for student loans. America therefore faces a creativity challenge that must be solved for our country to maintain its domestic and economic strength.
Boosting national creativity -- In today's information-based economy, intelligence and creativity (i.e., innovation and ideas) drive economic growth. Clearly, America's most precious natural resource is our human resource -- the unlimited creative potential of our 270 million citizens. Given today's low test scores and high dropout rates, the most crucial economic strategy that government can adopt is to harness America's untapped creativity. We strongly advocate proven educational, job training, and apprenticeship programs that develop intelligence and creativity, prevent school dropouts, and bring life into accord with natural law. Only the full utilization of our human resource through the Hagelin/Goldhaber administration's fundamental commitment to education will ensure America's competitiveness and future leadership in the family of nations. (For a complete discussion of the educational programs that we advocate, see our Education section.)
Lowering taxes -- The most powerful fiscal action our government can take to stimulate the economy is to lower taxes. We will cut taxes responsibly -- while protecting Social Security and Medicare and paying down the national debt -- through reduction of government waste and fraud, and through cost-effective solutions to costly social problems, such as spiraling health costs, crime, and our energy dependence on foreign oil. Many candidates have promised lower taxes, but have been unable to fulfill these promises due to the depth and complexity of problems faced by government. However, our cost-effective solutions will save the nation hundreds of billions of dollars annually, thereby providing a realistic strategy for significant tax reduction that protects the integrity of our important social programs.
One simple and viable way to implement across-the-board tax cuts is through a low flat tax. We will halt the endless manipulation of the tax code by Congress for their favorite corporate sponsors ("corporate welfare") by implementing such a tax. Our plan includes a generous floor of $34,000 (for a family of four) below which American would pay no income tax. Above the $34,000 floor, the tax rate begins at 18% in 2001 and drops to 14% by 2006 as our cost-effective solutions begin to bear fruit. Our low flat tax would stimulate and sustain strong economic growth. This strong economic growth, with its associated increase in government revenues, combined with the savings from our cost-effective solutions, would ensure a balanced budget and gradual repayment of the national debt without borrowing from the Social Security trust fund. This proposal would also reduce the size and scope of the IRS, eliminate loopholes for the wealthy, and put an end to corporate welfare.
In addition to our flat tax proposal, we are also continuing to study alternative tax options, such as a consumption tax, that might decrease the tax burden for Americans. We concur with the Kemp commission's fundamental requirements for a new tax code: fairness, simplicity, neutrality, visibility, and stability .
Enterprise zones -- We will use federally guaranteed loans and targeted capital-gains tax breaks to stimulate capital investment for start-up industries in urban "enterprise zones." By targeting economically deprived urban areas, we can stimulate economic growth where it is most needed, thereby creating more jobs, a stronger sense of community, and the revitalization of our inner cities.
Cutting corporate health costs -- The enormous burden of corporate health care expenditures can best be reduced by improving employee health. Research shows that appropriate preventive health care programs can significantly improve health and reduce health care costs , thereby freeing financial resources for greater productivity, profit, and investment. Therefore, our administration would encourage businesses to implement such programs to improve corporate health and productivity and to reduce employee stress and substance abuse .
Creating macroeconomic stability through increased social coherence -- We also support programs that have been shown to dissolve social stress and conflict, thereby providing a more positive and stable environment for economic growth and prosperity. Most analysts are aware of how businesses are influenced by macroeconomic factors such as inflation, unemployment, global economic cycles, and the threat of international conflict. However, businesses are also in a position to change macroeconomic trends in a positive direction for the benefit of the organization and society as a whole. For example, research has found that even a single group of 7,000 to 10,000 practitioners of Transcendental Meditation and its advanced programs can produce a significant decrease in inflation and unemployment rates, as well as improvements in other economic indicators . Businesses that incorporate such programs into their employee benefits packages help ensure economic stability by creating a more coherent and stable society. The recent meltdown of the Asian financial markets underscores the need to insulate the U.S. economy from global economic volatility, and the establishment of such coherence-creating groups will help to protect our nation's current economic strength.
Sharing the benefit -- As the economy continues to improve, we anticipate higher pay, better working conditions, shorter work hours, and a shorter work week. We believe that the American work force should reap the benefits of a powerful economy through a higher standard of living.
Through cost-effective solutions to the nation's problems, responsible tax reduction, and proven programs to boost national intelligence and creativity, our administration will propel the economy into a sustained growth phase. This pro-growth policy will simultaneously create jobs, reduce unemployment, balance the budget through increased government revenues, and retire the national debt. Our economic platform offers a comprehensive, viable strategy to accomplish these goals.
The Solution TO ALL OUR NATIONAL PROBLEMS lies in proper education. John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber advocate scientifically proven educational programs that can unfold the full creative potential of every student and produce ideal citizens capable of fulfilling their highest aspirations while contributing maximum to the progress of society. By harnessing America's greatest resource -- the unlimited creativity of our 270 million citizens -- our education platform can bring fulfillment to education and ensure America's competitiveness and continuing leadership in the family of nations.
Education in America is not working. Even though the United States spends more money per student than any other country, our students still rank far behind most of their international peers in math and science -- and well behind U.S. test scores of 20 years ago. Twenty-eight percent of our high school students drop out -- the highest rate of any industrialized nation -- and those who graduate are often ill prepared to enter the work force .
Drug and alcohol abuse continues to undermine our nation's students and rob them of their mental clarity, motivation, self-esteem, and ability to focus . Moreover, juvenile violent crime has increased markedly during the past decade, especially gang and school violence using guns . According to the Centers for Disease Control, American youths are 12 times more likely to die by gunfire than their peers in other nations.
The culturing of inner values has all but disappeared from our nation's schools. Yet James Madison observed in the Federalist Papers that democracy cannot function unless our leaders and citizens are "in a higher degree of virtue than any other form" of government.
America's problems are human problems -- crime, drug abuse, domestic violence, and declining health. Only through the full development of our human resource can we rise above the reach of problems. Yet research has shown that students graduating from our current educational system use at most 5-10% of their full mental potential . A new and effective approach to education is clearly needed.
Education is for enlightenment -- the full development of mind, body, and behavior. We promote proven educational programs that directly increase intelligence and creativity and simultaneously improve moral reasoning, self-reliance, and mental and physical health and well-being. These programs include sound educational approaches to nutrition , natural, preventive health measures , effective drug prevention programs , and innovative curriculum development, including programs to develop the full mental potential of students.
While focusing on dissemination of knowledge, current approaches to education ignore the most fundamental component of learning -- the consciousness or intelligence of the student, which is the basis of gaining knowledge. Today's educational approaches provide no knowledge of consciousness and no scientifically proven technology to develop it. These approaches do not comprehensively develop the brain physiology, causing incomplete cognitive and emotional development and less-than-comprehensive thinking. This fundamental failure is the ultimate source of The Problems afflicting education today.
Current proposals to improve education often focus on information technologies, such as computer access to the Internet, that offer larger and larger volumes of data. However, without an educational approach that can develop more than 5-10% of a student's full mental potential, no amount of information will ever produce truly educated, ideal citizens.
We propose to upgrade the U.S. Department of Education to a Department of Educational Excellence, which would charter several federally funded model schools to promote the most effective educational innovations proven to boost educational outcomes, taken from America's most successful public and private schools. Based on the success of these programs, parents and educators across the country could choose the ones they felt would be most appropriate and effective in their neighborhoods. Rather than dictate educational curricula at the local level, the Federal Government could thereby play a crucial research and leadership role in expanding educational choices for parents and students, improving educational outcomes across the nation.
We believe the teaching of our children should be an honored profession with commensurate compensation. We would raise teacher salaries by $10,000 per year through a program of block grants to the states. This would foster greater competition for teaching positions, thereby promoting higher standards.
We also support federally funded vouchers to expand parental options for school choice, to foster competition among schools, and to provide sound alternatives for children trapped in schools that are chronic underperformers. These vouchers could be used to pay for any school of the parents' choice -- public, private, or parochial -- provided that the school maintains high academic performance on standardized national tests. The free-market competition that this voucher system will engender will help reverse declining educational outcomes in America.
We support education, job training, and apprenticeship programs to prepare all Americans to compete in today's fast-paced economy, fully harnessing our most precious national resource -- the unlimited intelligence and creativity of our 270 million citizens.
In additional we support the following initiatives:
Most of the educational programs that we promote have already been successfully applied in diverse educational settings worldwide and have therefore been the subject of extensive scientific research. The results of such programs include the significantly improved educational outcomes mentioned above -- increased intelligence, creativity, motivation, academic performance, moral reasoning, psychological maturity, and social responsibility -- as well as a higher quality of life among students and faculty.
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber will create a future in which renewable, nonpolluting, inexpensive energy is abundantly available, the air in our cities is pure and clean, and our rivers and lakes are free of pollution. We foresee a time when waste is efficiently managed; when the needless destruction of forests and species diversity has ceased; when there are many more parks, gardens, and fountains; when new jobs have been created to develop renewable energy sources, conserve energy, and protect the environment; and when global cooperation ends environmental threats to the future of humankind.
The standard of living and the economic vitality of the United States depend on the increasing availability of inexpensive, clean, renewable sources of energy.
Until now, the U.S. has relied mainly on fossil fuels. Coal, oil, and natural gas account for the majority of energy used for electricity, heat, transportation, and industry. However, these fuels are nonrenewable and limited in supply. Their use results in air pollution, acid rain, pollution from mercury and other contaminants, the threat of global warming, and other environmental hazards that may endanger future generations with irreversible global changes. Air pollution kills 64,000 Americans a year -- a higher death toll than for auto accidents [1, 2]. The indirect costs of burning fossil fuels -- health care, damage from acid rain, the impact on tourism and quality of life, etc. -- are incalculable .
Oil imports are responsible for a large percentage of our trade deficit. America's dependence on foreign oil creates economic vulnerability and political instability between the U.S. and the Middle East. For example, Desert Storm, with its enormous attendant costs, was largely to protect America's critical oil interests in the Middle East. The costs of such military operations must be added to the high health and environmental costs of fossil fuels.
By subsidizing these costs with taxpayer dollars, the Federal Government artificially suppresses the cost of fossil fuels relative to sustainable alternatives, such as wind and solar, which are not subsidized. The government thereby perpetuates our continued dependence on fuels that are environmentally and economically unsustainable.
In addition to the environmental hazards posed by current energy use, toxic agricultural and industrial chemicals threaten the health and safety of all Americans. Recent estimates indicate that exposure to such chemicals is a factor in 75% of all cancer cases in the U.S. .
Short-sighted environmental policies contribute to alarming reductions of earth's nonrenewable resources. Approximately 93% of the virgin forests in the Pacific Northwest have been cut, and most of the remainder is scheduled to be cut in the next few years -- nearly all of it on public lands. Biodiversity is being threatened at an alarming rate, not only in our vanishing forests, but in the oceans. Hundreds of thousands of sea mammals are being exterminated by drift-net fishing. More than 50% of our wetlands that provided habitats for wildlife have been destroyed, and overgrazed prairie lands are being increasingly eroded.
At the recent summit in Kyoto, Japan, where all nations assembled to address global environmental concerns, the U.S. Government took a stand to protect economic interests that it perceived to be in conflict with environmental interests. Protecting the environment was equated with loss of jobs, increased costs of goods, and loss of economic vitality. Today, America's environmental protections are being further eroded by a Congress held captive to special interest groups.
Hagelin and Goldhaber are committed to increasing both energy efficiency and the use of renewable, safe, and nonpolluting energy sources. This approach will protect our environment, create energy self-sufficiency, and add to the economic prosperity of the nation. Through programs that will create new jobs and new industries in energy conservation and renewable energy sources, our administration will move away from the hazardous and wasteful use of fossil fuels in ways that will simultaneously benefit the environment and save the nation hundreds of billions of dollars.
To improve energy efficiency and self-sufficiency, we will:
We do not support the development of nuclear energy. At present, municipalities subsidize nuclear plants and the Federal Government funds nuclear reactor construction with tax-deductible bonds. But no one can safeguard for 10,000 years the highly toxic wastes generated by these reactors -- which is what the Federal Government has agreed to do. (The government's efforts to clean up these wastes is yet another subsidy for pollution-generating energy sources.) In addition, the known worldwide reserves of low-cost, high-grade nuclear fuel are running low, which will soon necessitate a transition to the next generation of nuclear power plants: advanced converters and breeder reactors. These reactors have the technological advantage of producing their own fuel, but they also produce bomb-grade fissionable materials as unavoidable by-products. With the widespread availability of bomb-grade material, nuclear containment becomes effectively impossible. Therefore, for both economic and security reasons, we do not support further development and construction of nuclear energy plants.
We will lead the effort to clean up America's polluted air, rivers, lakes, beaches, wetlands, and oceans by tackling industrial pollution at its source. When businesses are forced to stop polluting, they frequently come up with innovative ways to make use of their polluting by-products. In Scandinavia, for example, businesses in any given region collectively decide how to use polluting wastes from one business as part of the manufacturing process of another, with the goal of zero pollution.
To eliminate toxic waste, we support research into innovative technologies such as the plasma torch, a cost-effective process that cooks contaminated soil into inert, harmless glassy rocks suitable for road gravel. A similar technology, devised for liquid nuclear waste, drains out water and salts and turns the remainder into glass logs that are safer for long-term storage.
We will also work to prevent the destruction of the earth's forests, the decimation of the diversity of species, and the potential damage from ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect. A moratorium should be declared on cutting timber in national parks, national forests, and national monuments until a sustainable management plan for cutting is instituted.
To make these changes requires flexibility and ingenuity in the development of new environmentally sound technologies -- not giving up the present standard of living, but raising it through developing energy sources, industries, and modes of transportation that are in harmony with nature.
The programs we support for cleaning up the environment and protecting it from irreversible damage will stimulate the economy -- actually paying a dividend of increased energy efficiency and economic vitality -- and create new jobs and industries in energy conservation and renewable energy sources. Cleaning up polluted rivers and lakes will increase fishing industries, increase tourism, and increase revenues from outdoor recreational activities. Cleaning the air will reduce the medical costs of respiratory disease and lung cancer. Protecting forests and reducing exhaust emissions will avert the potentially disastrous expenses of adapting to climatic changes due to global warming.
Since pollution is primarily caused by human behavior, bringing the individual and the nation into harmony with natural law will greatly facilitate implementation of the above programs. We therefore support educational programs that promote broad comprehension and "pollution-free behavior" -- behavior that is in accord with natural law, and does not create problems for society or the environment.
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber are deeply committed to strengthening the well-being of every American family by restoring the fundamental moral values that have sustained the minds and hearts of our citizens for generations. Such universal family values include honesty, integrity, responsibility, industriousness, self-discipline, compassion, generosity, and mutual respect. By bringing individual and family life into accord with natural law, we can largely erase the present epidemic of family breakdown and moral decay and create a society in which parents, children, families, and society mutually nourish and strengthen each other in their growth toward fulfillment.
American families today are under unprecedented financial, social, and environmental stress, making it difficult for parents to create loving, stable homes for their children.
These financial, social, and environmental challenges that parents face today have given rise to an increase of stress in family life. These rising levels of stress throughout society undermine the harmony and integrity of family life, so important to the growing stability and vitality of our nation. Other political parties decry domestic violence, child abuse, divorce, and the breakdown of morality, but they have been unable to offer effective solutions to these problems.
We offer proven programs that address the root cause of the breakdown of family life today -- epidemic stress levels throughout society, especially in our densely populated urban centers. Medical researchers report an alarming rise in stress-related illness -- including stroke, hypertension, and heart disease. This same epidemic of stress is responsible for the widespread growth of "social disease" -- domestic violence, child abuse, family decay, crime, and drug abuse. The most effective solution is therefore to reduce accumulated stress in the whole population, so that all individuals, and especially parents, are able to make the most life-supporting decisions in their personal lives and decisions that are most nourishing to the lives of their children.
We would therefore support the permanent establishment of coherence-creating groups on the national, state, and local levels to dissolve communitywide tension and negativity. These programs have been scientifically demonstrated to reduce crime, violence, and negative trends throughout society, and to create a harmonizing influence in collective consciousness, enabling diverse individual interests and tendencies to coexist without creating conflict between family members and in society as a whole.
In addition, our cost-effective solutions to the nation's problems and pro-growth economic policies will create jobs, stimulate growth, and ease the financial strain experienced by so many American families (see our Economy section). We believe that primary-care parents should not be forced by economic necessity to work, since their role as parents is vital for the strength and stability of future generations.
We also strongly support the role of the senior, most experienced members of our society as the source of wisdom and guidance for all other members of the family and the community, and regards the widespread isolation and loneliness of our senior members as a significant loss to America. We support mentor and housing programs that can reverse this trend and maintains a deep commitment to protecting the lives and rights of our country's senior members.
Most importantly, the strong educational programs that we endorse will significantly support and strengthen family unity and the natural unfoldment of each member's full potential. These programs have been scientifically shown to develop intelligence, emotional maturity, moral reasoning, and harmonious relationships, and to reduce anxiety, substance abuse, and antisocial behavior (see our Education section). Such outcomes will help different generations of a family to live together, to nourish each other, and to establish the harmony, respect, and mutual enrichment that is the ideal of family life.
The family is the source of life for every individual, and as such is the primary training ground for social behavior. The quality of the home determines the quality of civilization. By strengthening and reenlivening the family from the inside, and by eliminating the stress attacking the family from the outside, the Hagelin/Goldhaber administration will give parents the opportunity to reawaken universal family values in their children and thus secure a bright future for our nation.
THE END OF THE COLD WAR ERA has brought the international community to the threshold of a new era of global peace and harmony. John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber believe that the United States should lead the world forward in creating new relationships governed by mutual friendship and cooperation, free from aggression and armed conflict. America is faced with a historic opportunity to help create a new world, in which peace is perpetual and every nation upholds the flag of every other nation.
America's meddlesome and invasive foreign policy has sown the seeds of enmity throughout the world. Most of our foreign aid is military aid. We are the world's leading arms peddler, providing weapons to both sides of most international conflicts. Our troops are often forced to confront our own weapons on the battlefield. America's foreign policy has fostered ill will throughout the world and has us the principal target of terrorism on Earth.
From 1946 to 1993, the U.S. spent $439.6 billion on foreign aid -- 35% of which was military aid. However, these expenditures have not brought peace, economic stability, or greater economic cooperation to the family of nations. We continue to live in a dangerous world troubled by widespread violence and regional conflicts, as evidenced by the Gulf War, the ethnic violence in Bosnia, and continuing terrorism in the Middle East. Moreover, as a major supplier of the world's armaments, the U.S. has directly contributed to such conflicts.
In addition, no real consensus exists concerning the purpose, allotment, and amount of foreign economic aid now that the historical goal of containing communism is no longer an issue. There is an urgent need to address America's deteriorating relations with China, multibillion-dollar trade deficit with Japan, and economic competition with Western Europe. These relationships are especially troubling in view of the continuing U.S. financial commitment to defending Japan, as well as Germany and Western Europe.
Americans naturally wish to help the emerging democracies of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, yet protest substantial funds given directly to Russia and other republics because of so many pressing priorities at home. U.S. aid to developing countries has also been criticized because of countless instances in which funds either were wasted on projects that did not help the people or failed to reach the people due to misuse by the recipient governments.
Hagelin and Goldhaber would create an immediate shift in U.S. foreign policy away from military aid toward a more life-supporting policy based on the exportation of U.S. know-how. American expertise and technical assistance in such critical areas as business administration, entrepreneurship, education, sustainable agriculture, and environmental technologies, supplemented where necessary with economic support, should replace military aid as a principal instrument of U.S. foreign policy.
This new type of life-nourishing assistance will allow many developing countries to become financially self-sufficient and thereby to eliminate hunger and poverty. Such a policy would contribute to a more affluent and flourishing global trade and a more prosperous, harmonious, and secure family of nations.
Since the end of the Cold War, America's security interests have begun to shift from military concerns to global economic and environmental issues. America is called to leadership in developing a foreign policy that most intelligently meets this challenge. This foreign policy must respect and honor the diversity of cultures, religions, races, and economic and political systems of the world, while promoting the value of unity -- so that every nation will respect and uphold the sovereignty and cultural integrity of every other nation in an unprecedented flow of economic cooperation and goodwill. Above all, we must ensure that our precious national resources are applied effectively and not wasted through inefficiency, mishandling, or inappropriate allocation. Foreign aid decisions must be made in consultation with the people of recipient countries, from both the government and nongovernmental citizens' groups.
In a peaceful and harmonious world family, we can conceive of reducing our own military expenditures and realizing a significant "peace dividend," directing some of our enormous defense expenditures towards our own social programs, including investment and development as an economic superpower.
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber uphold the Second Amendment. We will vigorously enforce existing gun control laws, since we believe that the widespread availability of guns is, in itself, a significant contributing factor to the rise of violent crime. We also support child safety locks, waiting periods and background checks to help prevent guns from falling into the hands of children and convicted felons. We believe that this stance represents a suitable balance between public safety and the constitutional right to bear arms.
At the same time, we hold that the current debate over gun control overlooks the root cause of this issue. The climate of fear and tension pervading America's cities and towns is largely responsible for the proliferation of guns and their use in acts of violent crime. We are the only political candidates to offer scientifically proven programs to reduce built-up social stress and thereby reduce crime and violence (see our Crime and Rehabilitation section).
Within six months of the implementation of these programs, we anticipate a dramatic reduction in crime rate as stress is neutralized and the whole population spontaneously becomes more in harmony with both natural law and national law. In this improved atmosphere, the perceived need for -- and the actual use of -- weapons will naturally diminish.
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber are committed to ensuring a long and healthy life for every American. By bringing life into accord with natural law, the prevention-oriented health programs we propose will significantly reduce disease and promote the health and vitality of all Americans. As our nation's health improves, we can lift the massive burden of health care costs, thus freeing our nation's resources for greater progress and prosperity.
America spends more on health care than any other nation . Yet Americans endure some of the poorest health of any developed nation .
Why is the U.S. medical system such a cost-effectiveness disaster? The answer is that we don't have a health care system -- we have a disease care system, bought and paid for by special interests. This system focuses on the management of illnesses, rather than on the prevention of disease and the promotion of health. But the vast majority of our national health is influenced by factors over which this disease-based approach has little control -- such as nutrition, stress, societal problems, and environmental toxins. Consequently, in the absence of effective prevention, our present disease care system can never create a truly healthy society.
Recent research shows that at least 50% of deaths and 70% of disease in America are self-inflicted -- caused by an epidemic of unhealthy habits, including improper diet, inadequate exercise, smoking, and alcohol abuse . Thus, the vast majority of disease is preventable . Yet we spend less than 1% of our health sector budget on prevention.
Incredibly, Republicans and Democrats consistently ignore proven prevention-oriented approaches to health, and Medicare specifically bans funding for most preventive services . Following the federal example, most private health insurance companies also refuse to cover prevention. No health care reform bills debated in Congress have focused on improving health; they have dealt only with problems in disease-care financing and delivery, hoping to save money by streamlining and downsizing the system.
Spiraling health care costs have dramatically increased the cost of health insurance, and at least 40% of U.S. citizens are now inadequately covered or have no medical insurance. Health care expenditures have also placed a heavy burden on American businesses; if employee insurance costs continue to rise, many companies will face insolvency.
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber support cost-effective, prevention-oriented health care, proven to prevent disease and save money in the best possible way -- by keeping people healthy. By focusing on the prevention of disease and the promotion of health, we offer a solution to the health care crisis that is comprehensive, cost-effective, and scientifically proven.
Our health care platform has two aspects.
Through our two-pronged approach of preventive health care and financial incentives, we can rescue Medicare and Medicaid from bankruptcy, save the nation approximately $500 billion a year in health care costs, and prevent untold pain and suffering.
To structure meaningful health-benefits options for all Americans without disastrously increasing the federal budget deficit, we must responsibly decrease health care outlays per person -- a particular challenge as the population ages. Although we support a Medicare prescription drug benefit, the most effective and humane way to achieve this goal of reduced costs is to prevent disease in the first place by strengthening the human immune system and eliminating the imbalances that ultimately cause disease.
The prevention programs that we support incorporate the most up-to-date knowledge of nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction, as well as the use of natural herbal preparations, natural dietary supplements, and alternative medical treatment modalities. Americans favor such approaches. There are now more visits to alternative medicine practitioners than to conventional doctors . Research has consistently shown that the prevention programs we endorse significantly reduce the need for conventional medical treatment by empowering individuals to take better care of their own health .
Our national health care debate has degenerated into an argument over "who should pay for whose disease," with little attention given to preventing disease and improving health. Funding for proven prevention services has been denied to Americans, largely because the lobbying influence of over 1,000 medical PACs (political action committees) has shaped legislation and preserved the status quo .
The Hagelin/Goldhaber campaign, which does not accept PAC contributions, is committed to changing this unethical and inhumane situation. John Hagelin has worked closely with the U.S. Congress for the past decade to introduce wording into health care bills in both the House and the Senate that would provide coverage for any scientifically verified, cost-effective, proven preventive program. He spearheaded the formation of the largest bipartisan congressional caucus, dedicated to scientifically proven, prevention-oriented solutions in health care and other critical public policy areas. The Hagelin/Goldhaber prevention-oriented approach has such commonsense appeal that it has gained the support of conservative and liberal members of Congress alike.
Our approach to health care provides a unifying influence in the political debate by transcending surface bickering over money and solving the health crisis at its basis -- by improving the health of Americans. The enormous savings generated by the prevention-oriented programs we promote, coupled with the financial incentives created by medical vouchers and savings accounts, will allow the government to realistically finance medical coverage for the 46 million Americans who are currently uninsured.
The programs of preventive health education that we advocate are also unique in raising health care to a new level: development of the full potential of every citizen and reduction of individual and societal stress by promoting life in accord with natural law. This approach goes beyond "behavioral modifications" such as smoking cessation, which have low compliance and cannot be enforced in a free society. Research shows that stress is responsible for the persistence of life-damaging habits despite overwhelming medical evidence and governmental warnings. By neutralizing individual and social stress, the programs that we support can improve the effectiveness of such behavioral-modification programs by significantly enhancing compliance. In this way we can achieve a lasting social transformation toward more life-supporting, health-promoting behavior among our citizens.
Our approach is unique in offering high-quality health care for all, while providing a net cost savings for the nation.
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber support a comprehensive, cost-effective plan to revitalize our inner cities. Our plan includes proven programs for education; job, technical, and management training; crime prevention; drug rehabilitation; urban revitalization; social welfare; economic development; and the development of a stronger sense of community. To guarantee the plan's success, we would supplement all these programs with scientifically validated technologies to reduce social stress and unfold the full creative potential of people of all ages.
America's decaying urban centers are monuments to decades of flawed public policies. Billions of dollars are wasted on programs that fail to revitalize our cities because they do not go to the root of The Problem. They fail to unlock the inner creative genius of the people, and they fail to reduce the alarming rise of stress in society, which is at the basis of the widespread epidemic of crime, violence, alcohol and drug abuse, and disease. For example, a recent report from the U.S. Justice Department noted that 81% of weapons arrests take place in cities, and that teenagers accounted for 23% of these arrests. University of Cincinnati criminologist Frank Cullen commented in USA Today that this trend relates "to an absence of family and social structure to support them. Together, that's a lethal combination."
Without addressing the root causes of stress at the basis of urban decay and unrest, all other efforts for economic recovery and urban renewal are destined to fail.
Hagelin and Goldhaber offer something new -- something that has been shown by scientific evidence to actually work. This approach involves two steps: (1) reduction of built-up social stress, followed by (2) implementation of practical programs to improve community life and solve costly social problems.
To reduce stress, we support the establishment of coherence-creating groups practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program. Extensive research, published in leading scientific journals, has found that when a small proportion of a population collectively practices this program there is a significant reduction in negative tendencies, such as crime, violence, sickness, and accidents, and a strengthening of positive social and economic trends in the population as a whole. Such programs will prevent the accumulation of stress and frustration that has erupted as violence in cities across the nation. In the more harmonious atmosphere generated by these programs, a deeper and more integrated sense of community will emerge as the best security against inner city crime and decay.
After reducing social stress and creating a more coherent social atmosphere, we will introduce practical solutions to costly social problems and specific programs to promote progress in every city. We will use federally guaranteed loans and targeted capital-gains tax breaks to stimulate capital investment for start-up industries in urban "enterprise zones." We will rebuild urban infrastructure and promote community planning that includes ample parks and green spaces and the construction of homes and buildings that are human friendly, nontoxic, and in harmony with natural law. In addition:
OUR NATION'S FOUNDERS strove to create a democracy that would guarantee fundamental human rights and hold the government accountable to the people. John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber are committed to restoring this vision to the American political process and overcoming the bipartisan conflict and special interest control that has paralyzed and subverted our government.
We support long-overdue election and campaign reforms to restore government accountability to the people, including (a) equal access to the ballot, the media, the debates, and the public for all qualified candidates, (b) the elimination of PAC and soft-money funding of campaigns, and (c) a shift toward public sponsorship of campaigns in order to reduce the undue influence of special interest money on election outcomes. Such reforms will fulfill every American's right to complete information about all candidates and their platforms while freeing elected officials to focus on serving their country rather than seeking campaign contributions.
We envision a future in which elections are a time of national celebration, free of negative campaigning -- a time when the nation takes pride in its achievements and plans collectively for the future.
There is no Constitutional basis for America's current two-party system. In fact, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson specifically warned against political parties, which they feared would become entrenched as elitists and servers of special interests, unresponsive to the needs and desires of the people.
Today we find ourselves in this very situation. Frustrated by political gridlock, many Americans feel that government has grown into a self-serving, self-perpetuating partisan body that neither reflects nor recognizes their desires. Recent polls indicate that 86% of Americans feel that their elected officials will never solve the nation's problems, partly because political infighting has frozen the machinery of government. Consequently, the U.S. has the lowest voter turnout of any country in the world.
Over 60% of Americans favor the formation of a new, major political party. Americans want change and are deeply frustrated with both Republican and Democratic candidates. Traditionally, third parties have introduced important new ideas, such as women's suffrage and the abolition of slavery, into our national political debate. As former Chief Justice Earl Warren commented: All political ideas cannot and should not be channeled into the programs of our two major parties. History has amply proved the virtue of political activity by minority, dissident groups, which innumerable times have been in the vanguard of democratic thought and whose programs were ultimately accepted. The absence of such voices would be a symptom of grave illness in our society . Yet the Republican and Democratic parties continue to exert an effective stranglehold on the political process, preventing crucial new ideas from emerging via third parties and their candidates.
Current campaign laws unfairly discriminate against independent and third-party candidates. In 1996, Republicans and Democrats received $148 million taxpayer dollars to run their general election campaigns -- including $25 million to hold meaningless presidential nominating conventions -- while independent and new-party candidates typically receive nothing. In most cases, access to the ballot is automatic for Republicans and Democrats, but independent and third-party candidates face the most rigid, discriminative, and unwieldy procedures in the world. For example, until 1998, it was more difficult for a new party to get on the ballot in Florida than in all the countries of Europe combined .
The present ballot-access barriers for third parties blatantly violate the 1990 international Helsinki accords that guarantee universal and equal suffrage to all adult citizens "without discrimination," including equal access to the ballot and the media. Ironically, the United States is the world's foremost proponent of these accords .
We support election reform that returns American democracy to the high ideals envisioned by our nation's founders -- a democracy that fairly represent the views of all its citizens and candidates. To achieve this, we support the following initiatives:
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
The election process is far too long and expensive. Elected representatives spend too much of their terms fundraising and campaigning for re-election. The United States has the longest campaign season -- yet the lowest voter turnout -- of any country in the world. The exorbitant cost of campaigns favors the wealthy candidates and those who receive large contributions from political action committees (PACs) and other special interest groups. Research has shown that over 90% of all campaigns are won by the candidate who spends the most. Consequently, government has become a hostage to wealthy special interests rather than responsive to the people.
In 1994, the Republicans supported campaign finance reform and won a landslide victory. However, once they became the majority party, the Republicans became the majority beneficiaries of PAC funds and the biggest recipients of special interest money in history . Similarly, despite strong public pressure today, no campaign finance reform will take place during the present Congress.
The savings and loan crisis is a prime example of what happens when government is financed and controlled by special interest groups. The savings and loan deregulation was brought about by the influence of the powerful savings and loan lobby, which furnished large campaign contributions to the President and to Congress. The effects of this S&L deregulation and the consequent irresponsible handling of depositors' funds cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars -- thousands of dollars for every taxpayer.
Campaign finances have usurped the focus of our elected leaders by forcing them to attend to fundraising rather than doing their jobs and solving the nation's problems. For example, it can take $10 million or more to run an effective Senate campaign; consequently, incumbents must raise $5,000 every day they are in office. Hence the lure of PAC funding becomes too compelling to resist.
Unlike the major-party candidates with PAC funding, independent and third-party candidates encounter formidable financial obstacles to media access in this electronic age. In addition, the frequent exclusion of these candidates from participation in televised debates, due to the stranglehold of the two major parties on the democratic process, prevents new ideas and new solutions from entering the political process.
The Hagelin/Goldhaber administration will promote fairness in campaign financing through public sponsorship of election campaigns and will support legislation to correct injustices through the following campaign finance reforms:
THE RIGHTS OF ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber will take action wherever necessary to ensure the constitutional rights of all Americans. At the same time, we recognize the difficulties in "legislating" equality: equal rights legislation has not succeeded in eliminating discrimination.
Government cannot be present at all times and in all places to ensure that people treat each other fairly. Instead, we intend to reduce prejudice and bigotry in society through more effective educational programs that develop broad comprehension, increased intelligence, and improved moral reasoning, and by reducing social stress that leads to fear and divisiveness. These programs will help create a unifying influence among our citizens and throughout society.
Natural law is that basic element in the universe that constantly nourishes the life of every individual and every living species. We are the only political candidates who base their platform on this universally nourishing quality of natural law. Until now, democracy has been willing to compromise the interests of the minority for the sake of the majority. This is because democracy has so far been based on limited principles of manmade law, which are not sufficiently comprehensive to be simultaneously nourishing to everyone. When such principles compromise the interests of the minority, inevitably some segments of our population remain unfulfilled. The result is an increase in stress and frustration, which inevitably erupts as crime, sickness, and other problems throughout society.
By basing its administration on the most universal principles of natural law, our comprehensive, prevention-oriented solutions to America's problems are capable of providing universal nourishment, protection, and fulfillment to all citizens of the nation, including all the diverse groups that compose the richness and plurality of our great society.
We believe that increased participation in government by women and by minorities will bring greater strength and balance to the administration. In this context, we note that approximately a third of the candidates running for office with the Natural Law Party are women or minority candidates.
Equal Opportunity for All
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber will take action wherever necessary to prevent discrimination and ensure the constitutionally guaranteed rights of all American citizens, including all minorities. However, more than that, we will support effective education that expands comprehension and overcomes intolerance, prejudice, and bigotry born of narrow-mindedness.
Legalization of Drugs
Although the legalization of drugs would substantially cut drug-related crimes, only about 20% of total drug-abuse costs are crime related. The remaining 80% of costs are tied to health, absenteeism, lost productivity, etc. Therefore, the legalization of drugs, even if it increased drug use slightly, could result in increased costs that would overwhelm any crime-related savings.
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber are fundamentally dedicated to the development of the full potential of the individual. Apart from economic considerations, long-term use of even mild hallucinogens like marijuana has been shown to decrease EEG coherence -- the orderly and integrated functioning of the brain. Brain wave coherence is linked to intelligence, creativity, learning ability, academic performance, moral reasoning, psychological stability, and emotional maturity. Legalizing drugs could send the wrong signal to the youth, implying that drug use is not that harmful.
At the same time, outlawing narcotics has not proved effective in reducing their usage. Therefore, we will cut our burgeoning prison population in half by decriminalizing nonviolent drug offenses, directing such offenders to drug education, prevention, and rehabilitation programs. To get to the heart of the drug problem, we have to reduce the desire and the demand for drugs -- which the educational programs supported by Hagelin and Goldhaber have been proven to do.
Welfare should not be a lifestyle, but a short-term safety net to assist individuals who have lost employment or who are out of work to obtain new employment. John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber are in favor of recently enacted welfare reforms to incentivize work, including childcare support and a two-year limit on welfare benefits. However, it is of limited use to incentivize people to work if there are no jobs available. Our pro-growth economic policies will create an abundance of good jobs, which will place an ever-increasing premium on the value of the worker. In this expansionary economy, which will create more jobs than there are workers, workers will increasingly be able to dictate their terms of employment -- their salary and work conditions.
Existing state and federal welfare programs should be brought under one administrative umbrella at the local level. Structures to oversee welfare administration need to involve the entire community -- a partnership between local government, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and community residents -- with an emphasis on economic development and community self-help. Through programs to improve the financial and quality-of-life conditions at the basis of welfare, we can broaden the idea of "welfare" from a notion of cash or in-kind goods to a more expansive notion of physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber believe that affirmative action is a necessary evil -- a stop-gap measure to prevent discrimination in the workplace and in school admissions policies. However, we do not support quotas, since we feel that representatives of all sectors of society find quotas to be demeaning and a source of resentment in the workplace. We uphold laws guaranteeing equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.
In addition, history has shown that it is difficult to legislate equality; government cannot be present in every business and school to ensure that people are always treated fairly. Therefore, we place our strongest focus on education programs that can develop broad comprehension, increased intelligence, and improved moral reasoning, thereby reducing the social stress that leads to fear, divisiveness, and narrow-mindedness.
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber believe that our working citizens have a right to associate and to engage in collective bargaining to ensure good working conditions and fair compensation. Therefore, unions have a role to play and will continue to play this role in the future.
However, we feel that most powerful way to improve the job conditions and earnings of American workers is to stimulate job growth, which will make the American worker the prized commodity he or she should be. When, through our pro-growth economic policies, more jobs have been generated than there are workers to fill them, then America will be a seller's market from the worker's perspective. He or she will be able to pick and choose jobs and to dictate salary and conditions -- and to do so far more effectively than a union can when jobs are scarce and workers are plentiful.
Trade is vital to a thriving U.S. economy. Trade stimulates competition that gives American consumers more choices, better product quality, and lower prices. Especially today, with America leading the global information revolution--the largest technological and economic explosion in history--it is vitally important to U.S. jobs and the economy that we achieve broad access to the international marketplace with American products. Unfortunately, as in other areas of U.S. government policy, our trade policies are dictated by special interests. Current trade policies
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber support balanced, tailored, nation-to-nation trade polices that
America's crucial trade treaties, such as NAFTA, must be revisited and vigorously renegotiated--with adequate representation by labor, environmental, and human rights proponents to ensure that America's interests are truly upheld. In particular, the World Trade Organization (WTO), with its sweeping authority to adjudicate international trade disputes, has become a tool of multinational corporations, which have inside access to WTO negotiations that typically occur in secret. We would give the WTO twelve months to adopt more open, democratic procedures--with adequate labor, environmental and human rights input--or we would withdraw the U.S. from the WTO and negotiate individual, tailored trade relationships with America's various trade partners.
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber will disincentivize illegal immigration by enforcing our immigration laws and by working to improve economic conditions in neighboring countries.
Ending Partisan Politics
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber will bring together the best ideas, programs, and leaders from all political parties and the private sector to serve the interests of all Americans.
Breaking the Two-Party Stranglehold
John Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber will break the two-party death grip on America's political process by opening up the presidential and other debates to all legally qualified candidates, providing equal access to our publicly owned airwaves, and reforming discriminatory ballot access laws.