THE PLATFORM OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE PARTY
An Emergency Party for People of the Center
[A Work in Progress]
We of the Infrastructure Party believe that for as long as America's campaign finance laws continue to allow non-human Special Interests to contribute to both sides of every congressional race in the United States simultaneously (far more commonplace than the public realizes), America's political process will remain a mess.
It was supposed to have been a government of the people, not a government of the Special Interests.
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The Infrastructure Party avoids divisive issues for the sake of being able to attend to universal issues. Everyone needs good roads. Everyone needs pure drinking water. Things that are universal.
Divisive issues are pursued outside the Party through other means. The Infrastructure Party itself doesn't take a position on things that are divisive, only things that are universal.
When America's campaign finance laws again become sane the Infrastructure Party will dissolve and pass into history.
PART I - LAND USE
PLANK 1 - BUBBLE ZONING
If you’re familiar with the name Buckminster Fuller or Bucky Fuller then you can skip to the next plank. You already know what Bubble Zoning is.
Early in the 20th century Fuller proposed constructing huge geodesic domes over America’s cities to create year-round climate control. Instead of heating every house in town separately you heat the entire town as a whole. The hot air that rises to the top of the dome gets circulated back down to the bottom of the dome instead of letting it escape to heat the stratosphere. No more anti-freeze, no more snow shovels, no more winter coats. Outside the dome it may be winter but inside it’s T-shirt weather all year round.
This reverses America’s present land use assumption in a thought-provoking new way.
1 - Today, any land not set aside for wilderness is automatically considered open for development.
2 - Under Bubble Zoning, any land not set aside for development is automatically considered wilderness, the exact opposite.
Instead of America being islands of wilderness set in an ocean of development the way it is today, it becomes islands of development set in an ocean of wilderness, which in turn functions as a national recreation area.
Every county decides for itself if it wants a manicured wilderness or a raw wilderness. A manicured wilderness is one where little kids hand feed carrots to the deer. A raw wilderness is one with packs of starving wolves right on the other side of the glass.
Except for motor vehicles traveling the highways between the domes, all engines and motors are forbidden in the wilderness. Muscle power only. A man with an ax can’t destroy the wilderness. A man with a chainsaw can. That’s why.
The wilderness is open to all 24/7, 365 days a year. If some forest lover wants to turn squatter and vanish into the wilderness forever, he can. This is still America, thank God. If he wants to build himself a cabin and carve out a small subsistence farm off in the boonies somewhere he can do this too, but a horse or an ox must pull the plow. No engines. Muscle power only. (Exceptions for battery-powered electric motors, for example, hard drives, CD players, handicapped-assistance, etc.)
As a practical matter Fuller’s domes might be replaced by rectilinear enclosures which can be expanded or contracted more economically.
PLANK 2 - THE NATIVE AMERICAN RENAISSANCE
Native American tribes should be encouraged to recreate their native cultures in the ocean of wilderness created by Bubble Zoning. They merit special permission for year-round subsistence hunting using traditional weapons.
PLANK 3 - BIKE & BRIDLE PATH
An Interstate Bike & Bridle Path connecting all the Bubbles, analogous to the Interstate Highway System but for muscle-power only, human or animal.
The Path is more than mere recreation and physical fitness, it’s also the primary means of access to the ocean of wilderness. Campers and hikers can leave the Path and vanish into the brush at any point.
PLANK 4 - NATIONAL FAIR & NATIONAL FAIRGROUND
We believe America should have a National Fair, to celebrate all things American. We believe the National Fairgrounds should be located at the Little Big Horn in order to celebrate, in addition to everything else, Sitting Bull’s victory over the racist Custer.
PART II - GETTING THE MONEY STRAIGHT
PLANK 5 - CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
We believe the fountainhead of all the evils afflicting America today is non-human institutions donating money to political campaigns, so-called “special interests.” Every trade association worthy of the name donates to BOTH sides of every congressional campaign in the nation SIMULTANEOUSLY, to ensure that they’re covered no matter who wins. In exchange, they get laws passed that amount to a conspiracy against the public.
Institutional donations to political campaigns have no other purpose except to buy special favor and corrupt honest process, and therefore must end. Only live humans with names and addresses should be allowed to donate money to political campaigns. Never again corporations, firms, associations, unions, political action committees, nor any other non-human entity.
Moreover, all donations must be public and in the daylight. Nothing secret. Secret money is dirty money.
PLANK 6 - UNIVERSAL MINIMUM WAGE - FIXED AT 10% OF US CONGRESSMAN'S PAY
We believe the nations of the world must agree to a Universal Minimum Wage, and that the United States should take the lead in establishing and phasing in such a Universal Minimum Wage. We believe it should be fixed at 10% of whatever an American Congressman is getting in any given year, so every time the scallawags give themselves a raise they give the minimum wage crowd a raise too.
We believe that any wage lower than the Universal Minimum Wage must be seen as de facto slavery and a crime against humanity. Never again can multi-national employers be allowed to tell a country’s workers to work for less or get no work at all.
We believe that after the Universal Minimum Wage is law, the next great advancement in the working man’s position should be the 32-Hour, 4-Day Work Week. This will be reached only if it’s set it as a goal, and we set it as a goal now.
PLANK 7 - UNEMPLOYMENT & THE NATIONAL TASK FORCE
We believe people who’ve become economically dislocated and fallen through the cracks, for whatever reason, should be offered immediate employment in their choice of the two branches of the National Task Force, a new organization to be run by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Navy Seabees competitively, to attend to projects of national urgency, such as the National Water Main, Interstate Bike & Bridle Path, and the National Rails.
Task Force veterans, like military veterans, receive GI Bill Education Benefits to help them get whatever education they need to fulfill their ambition, but at 90% of the rate the military veterans are getting.
The Task Force accommodates handicapped and families too.
The goal is access to education, whether vocational or academic. It’s one of the great truths of life that everybody is good at something. It’s just a matter of figuring out what, then connecting them to the needed education. That's the other purpose of the National Task Force, to connect the economically-dislocated to the retraining needed to access the jobs that are going unfilled, and also create a safe and supportive environment for people who’ve been derailed by bad luck.
PLANK 8 - HOMELESSNESS
The Social Security Administration must triage the homeless and determine if they’re unlucky, disabled or mentally ill.
For the unlucky, a counselor should tell them about the National Task Force and introduce them to a recruiter.
For the disabled, a counselor should enroll them in Social Security’s own disability program.
For the mentally ill, Social Security must open a Housing Division and provide supervised housing.
Homelessness in America must end, even for the mentally ill. Especially for the mentally ill.
PLANK 9 - RESTITUTION
No matter what religion you subscribe to, stealing is wrong. A whole lot of slaves got their wages stolen and a whole lot of Native Americans got their land stolen, and America’s scorecard up in heaven is never going to be right until there’s restitution.
It’s absurd for a thief to ask forgiveness but not be willing to give back that which was stolen. Until there’s restitution America will NOT be able to get out from under whatever moral onus she now carries, and we will instead pay in the form of endless social costs and other ills.
Of course we can’t afford it but we can still work out a payment plan, and it’s a lie to pretend we can’t.
PLANK 10 - HEALTH CARE & CONFIDENTIALITY
More than three out of every ten American health care dollars don’t go to health care at all, they go to insurance companies. Removing the insurance companies from the loop would cut America’s health care costs by more than 30% right off the top.
The Federal Government already operates four different free health care delivery systems, the Army Medical Corps, the Navy Hospital Corps, the Air Force Medical Service and the Veterans Administration. We believe all four should be expanded into complete nationwide free systems, with patients free to use whichever they have the most confidence in, and switch freely.
Tax revenue pays, same as with Police, Fire, Ambulance, Coast Guard, etc. Sickness can strike anyone at any time, the same as crime, fire or drowning. Just as you don’t need a credit card when your house catches fire, likewise you shouldn’t need one when sickness strikes. It also cuts costs a whopping 30% in one stroke, bad for insurance company stockholders but good for the American republic.
To ensure TRUE confidentiality of medical records, even from the government’s own snoops, patients’ charts must be numbered not named, like Swiss bank accounts. Patients’ real names are never known to the system in the first place. They enroll under a chart number and whatever first name they want to be called by. Unless a patient is famous the system itself won’t know who he is. (Doctors don’t need your last name to treat you, all they need is your chart and medical history.)
PLANK 11 - TAX-FREE AMERICA
PART 1 - We believe America could become a tax-free state someday. We believe it’s just a matter of managing things properly.
We believe the US Treasury should create a Federal Lock Box. Money that goes into the Lock Box never comes out, it just stays there and generates interest forever. Half of each year's interest goes back into the Lock Box to increase the principle and half goes to finance current spending.
When the day comes that America’s spending can be covered by half the lock-box interest, America becomes a tax-free state. Moreover, since the other half of each year's interest is being put back into the Lock Box unendingly, the total interest generated increases unendingly. The America of the future could be a country where the government provides everything the public could ever want, not only free of charge but also without anyone being taxed to pay for it all.
Admittedly this will take a long time. Still, that's no reason not to get started. President Kennedy never lived to see man land on the moon and yet others did, because of his vision. Likewise, we may never live to see a Tax-free America and yet others might, because of our vision.
PART 2 - The Floating Exemption Line
But the Lock Box by itself isn't enough. It's good but it's incomplete. What's also needed is a refinement that phases out taxes over the years by means of an ever-increasing Exemption Line.
Imagine a floating Exemption Line below which all income is tax-free. Starting modestly, the Exemption Line might be, say, $3,000. No one pays tax on the first $3,000 of income. Babysitters, paper boys, kids who wash cars on weekends, all these will be exempt from paying taxes if their income never rises above $3,000.
But the Exemption Line can be raised slowly. At first it might be $3,000, but it can be raised to $4,000, then $5,000, and on and on and on. As the Exemption Line floats upward, the tax burden gradually shifts from the middle class to the rich. Sooner or later the Exemption Line reaches the $50,000-$100,000 range, at which point the middle class effectively no longer pays taxes, only the rich do. But even the rich are paying less and less because more and more of the tax burden is being paid by the ever-growing interest from the ever-growing Lock Box.
The ever-growing Lock Box and the ever-rising Exemption Line, given time, leave America a tax-free state. Just because it might take a hundred years or more is no reason not to get started. It's said that man is the only animal who realizes he has a future. Is that true?
Part 3 - Strategy
In America there are two ways to change the law:
1] an Act of Congress, and
2] an Amendment to the Constitution.
An Act of Congress requires a mere Congressional vote and is much easier to get than an Amendment to the Constitution which requires three-quarters of the 50 states to agree to the Amendment (which in practice is a stupendous political undertaking involving the co-ordinated efforts of thousands of people in all 50 states).
The peril is that the easy-to-get Act of Congress can be overthrown by any subsequent, just-as-easily-gotten Act of Congress. Today Congress may vote the Lock Box sacred and inviolate but tomorrow they could as easily vote to raid it for spending money.
An Amendment to the Constitution, on the other hand, can be undone only by another Amendment to the Constitution. Just as the original decision to create the Lock Box required three-quarters of the 50 states, likewise any decision to raid the Lock Box for spending money would also require three-quarters of the 50 states.
We therefore believe the winning strategy is to create the Lock Box and Exemption Line by an Amendment to the Constitution, rather than a mere Act of Congress. This will be a more difficult path but a more reliable one.
If followed faithfully it will eventually make America a tax-free state.
PLANK 12 - ELECTRIC MONEY
America needs a medium of exchange that politicians can’t inflate, something like gold or silver but with enough volume to fill all the wallets, purses and cash registers in the land, something gold and silver never were able to do.
We believe the solution is to use electricity for money. Not electricity in storage batteries, but slips of paper redeemable for electricity when you use them to pay your monthly electric bill. Electricity is incorruptible like gold and silver yet limitless in supply. The existing dollars continue to circulate and float alongside the kilowatts. Buyers and sellers trade in either or both, according to their enlightened self-interest.
You go to the supermarket. You pay the checkout girl with little slips of paper that say dollars. Suppose you paid her with little slips of paper that said kilowatts instead, would it matter? Would you care? Would she? The prices would have to be adjusted roughly 15 to 1, but other than that, if everything everywhere could be bought and sold in kilowatts as an alternative to dollars, would anyone care?
It would create a currency the politicians could never corrupt.
These little slips of paper have value because people can use them to pay their electric bill. You're giving over mere paper but getting real electricity in return. That's where the rubber meets the road, when people pay their electric bill and see that the paper kilowatts buy real electricity, as the system promised.
The electric companies in turn produce a kilowatt for less than a kilowatt and the difference is their profit.
The banks, as always, take in deposits and lend out loans, only now in either dollars or kilowatts.
Anyone who can produce electricity can go into business creating money, legitimately. If a guy lives on the side of a mountain and has a stream running through his backyard, he can build a small hydroelectric plant and use its output to cut his own electric bill. If the output is beyond what his household needs, the surplus goes into the local grid and gets credited to his bank account. If it’s a big enough turbine he can retire.
The great difference between a dollar and a kilowatt is that the kilowatt’s value is constant and eternal, like gold. A kilowatt is a kilowatt and will always be a kilowatt, just as an ounce of gold is an ounce of gold and will always be an ounce of gold. No matter who’s in power, no matter who wins the war, no matter who loses the war, an ounce of gold will always be an ounce of gold. The same with the kilowatt. It’s value is beyond the power of politicians to inflate or deflate. God not man made electricity, just as God not man made gold. Forty billion years from now when the last of the stars is burning out a kilowatt will still be a kilowatt. Political corruption can no more inflate a kilowatt than it can inflate an ounce of gold.
Using electricity for money solves the problem that gold and silver always had when mankind tried using them for money, namely, that the overall volume available was so minute that there wasn’t anywhere near enough to fill an entire nation’s wallets, purses and cash registers. Commerce and prosperity choked because of this. Wars broke out because of it. Paper kilowatts, by contrast, can be issued in adequate supply to fill every wallet, purse and cash register on the planet.
We therefore believe the Treasury should circulate notes denominated in kilowatts to float freely alongside America’s dollars, and require:
1] that all sellers price their goods and services in kilowatts, in addition to dollars. If they don’t have confidence in kilowatts then they can set their kilowatt prices unattractively high so no one will trade kilowatts with them. But they have to post some kind of a price in kilowatts. They can’t fail to post a price in kilowatts.
2] that all electric power companies in America accept paper kilowatts for the purchase of electricity. (Today, electricity wholesales at about 6 cents a kilowatts and retails at about 12 cents. That's why Utilities pay such sweet dividends. But how much does it cost to PRODUCE a kilowatt? That varies from plant to plant. If it costs a huge plant half a kilowatt to produce a kilowatt, what kind of profit is that?)
Using electricity for money creates a currency which can never be inflated.
PART III – LONG OVERDUE IDEAS
PLANK 13 - INDELIBLE EMAIL RETURN ADDRESSES
We believe the Internet must be redesigned to include indelible return addresses, to end spam, malware and all the other monkey business.
PLANK 14 - TOXIC SEWERS AND SOLAR DUMPING
We believe America’s building codes must be refined to require a second sewer system to capture toxic and irreducible waste for solar dumping at a future time when costs have dropped sufficiently. We believe this is better than letting it find its way into the ocean or water table.
We believe buildings already built should be equipped with plastic drums for capturing toxic and irreducible waste.
We believe solar dumping is the only acceptable way to get rid of toxic and irreducible waste. We deplore the idea of trying to bury it or otherwise hide it somewhere on earth, and see this as a terrible trick to play on future generations.
PLANK 15 - NATIONAL WATER MAIN
We believe too much of America’s valuable fresh water washes out to sea.
We believe the National Task Force should be assigned to build thousands of small dams and reservoirs everywhere in America’s mountains and high ground to hold back the snow melt and rainwater, both to prevent flooding downstream and to have water to pipe to drought zones.
PLANK 16 - ENERGY FROM SPACE
We believe the best way to provide for America’s very long-range energy needs is to resurrect NASA's 1980’s proposal for a system of solar power satellites in synchronous orbit. (This was immediately crushed by the oil lobby when it was first introduced. NASA should have specified private ownership, Exxon-Mobil, and whomever else. The idea would have gotten a much warmer welcome.)
NASA says we could cut costs enormously by using metal refined from lunar ore, which is already up in space. You don't have to fly large amounts of mass up from Earth in a Space Shuttle, obviously costly.
PLANK 17 - THE NATIONAL RAILS
We believe the nation’s railroad tracks should be re-organized into a toll road, The National Rails, a dividend-paying public utility open to all users.
The existing railroads should be compensated for their lost portion of the rail bed with National Rails stock.
Enterprising businessmen should be free to lease equipment, hire engineers and provide whatever freight or passenger service is in demand.
We believe it should be national policy to make it easy, cheap and convenient for truckers to get heavy, highway-crushing trucks up off the highways and onto the rails. To encourage this, the National Rails should have its own power plants the same way the phone company has its own power plants, and provide free electricity to all users of the system the same way the phone company does. This would also lower production costs in every part of the economy and be a helpful stimulus.
PLANK 18 - ELECTRONIC INTERSTATE
We believe America should build smart cars and a smart Interstate. You tell your car’s computer where you want to go then drive to any entrance ramp. Your car’s computer then connects with the system computer and between the two of them they drive you to the exact exit ramp you specify, be it two miles or two thousand miles.
PLANK 19 - POST OFFICE KEY REGISTRY
The Post Office should offer free encrypted keychain tags.
The tags have your name and address in an encryption only the Post Office can read. Any Good Samaritan can drop lost keys in any mailbox and the Post Office delivers them to the owner’s snail mail address. No more lost keys in America.
PART IV - SPIRITUAL POLLUTION
PLANK 20 - NO MORE SEX FOR MONEY
We know that if we pollute our physical environment then we have to live in a polluted physical environment. But it's also true that if we pollute our spiritual environment then we have to live in a polluted spiritual environment.
We believe sex for money is spiritual pollution and no more acceptable than physical pollution.
We believe that sex for money can be wiped out most effectively by busting the Johns because they’re where the money comes from that drives the sex trade.
We believe the Federal Government should run stings and bust Johns as needed to shut down ALL sex for money in America. This should not be entrusted to the local level. Only a Federal case will put the proper fear of God into the Johns.
Johns must find girl friends. If they don’t they face fines, embarrassment and maybe even jail. Just as we outlaw physical pollution, so must we outlaw spiritual pollution.
PLANK 21 - PORN/EROTICA, NO RECOGNIZABLE MODELS
As centrists we recognize there’s a case for erotica as a defensible accoutrement to the good life.
But we also believe that pornography models, typically young, witless and in need of money, plant a time bomb in their own futures by creating porn in which their faces are recognizable. At the time of the shoot, they’re reassured by sleazy pornographers that no one will ever see or care, but what’s far more likely is that a week before her wedding some creep is going to show the porn to her fiancee.
We believe society has an obligation to protect the young from their own witlessness. We believe erotica in which the models are identifiable should be outlawed for the models’ sake. Vendors of erotica must either obscure the models’ identities or use artist renderings.
PLANK 22 - RIGHT TO VOTE CONFERRED BY CEREMONY
The right to vote should be conferred by ceremony in order to impress on the youngsters how important it is.
PLANK 23 - IN GOD WE TRUST
Once a year, after Election Day, the Party faithful gather for the National Caucus and everyone tries to figure out the election results. Then everyone goes home to celebrate Thanksgiving and recognize, as Billy Graham put it, that Thanksgiving is the acknowledgement of a debt that can never be paid.
We of the Infrastructure Party believe that the beginning of all wisdom is the recognition of the reality of God. Until you see this you see nothing.
We believe the U.S. Constitution is one of the greatest gifts God ever gave the human race, and that it must be protected and defended against the perils of our age and passed along intact to the Americans of the future as a treasured legacy.
We believe the American way of life can be preserved forever if the American people can protect and defend their Constitution, and we dedicate ourselves to this protection and defense, not with guns but with infrastructure.
God bless America.