From: John Stith
Sent: Saturday, June 10, 2000 5:06 PM
Subject: our message: we will end the two-party system
As Carol Miller wrote, I completely agree that we must argue against the two-party system more effectively. In fact, if I were to make one single suggestion to Ralph Nader, it would be that he stop trying to argue that there's negligible differences between Gore and Bush. That argument doens't motivate progressives to support Nader, because it doesn't cause them to believe that voting for Nader will accomplish much (since they don't believe he can win).
What can motivate Nader votes is a vision -- and a real plan -- that we will permanently end the two-party system this decade.
The "end the two-party system" plank is a winner for Ralph. However, a single plank doth not a platform make.
Ralph spoke this week (6/14) on All Things Considered about affordable housing and public transit programs. Ralph emphasized the need to address causes - and not just to parade campaign slogans.
This is one of the most important features of the campaign, in my opinion. The public must be re-educated to expect in-depth discussion of issues during campaigns (as well as between campaigns). We need to learn to tune out sound bytes and bumper-sticker philosophy.
Ralph is raising issues that other candidates avoid - because they can't afford to offend any special interest group. Ralph Nader and the Green campaign are making a significant contribution to the discusion by raising the untouchable issues - those which involve live controversies in communities around the country. When the science is a bit more definitive on the dam-breaching issue, Ralph will take a stand.
I still haven't heard any suggestion about a Green position on inheiritance taxes. The issue is a bit more complex than I first thought - as I learned from the Oregonian column by Robert Landauer (6/13). Sixty years of cost, risk for 2 paydays Landauer discussed the issue of the small private timber grower whose crop may take several generations to mature - meaning multiple inheritance taxation on a single crop of timber. Non-deferrable inheiritance taxes may force these family-owned tree farms into the hands of the major timber corps.
Perhaps a few suggestions from Greens who are knowledgeable about this issue might produce a regionally attractive inheiritance tax position for Ralph. Clearly the timber crop issue is an exception to the need for a tax on otherwise untaxed capital gains and unearned wealth. Currently The Congress is preparing to address the issue of totally eliminating the inheritance tax. President Clinton has promised a veto.
Then there are the recent changes made by the Congress in the bankruptcy laws - for the benefit of credit card companies and other corporate lenders. They are making it far more difficult for people in financial trouble to get out from under the creditor's heel. Ralph has called for Congressional investigations of the credit card company practices. More policy information is needed.
Finally, on campaign finance reform, the following communication describing the Oregon experience with tax credits for campaign contributions indicates that public financing of campaigns may not be an adequate solution to the problem of $$$$ in politics in America - after all, money is the lifeblood of this capitalist society; we live, eat, and breathe money.
Date: 02/08/2000 10:23 am (Tuesday)
Subject: RE: tax credit for political contributions
As you found, we left the personal income tax statistics off our website that described the number of returns claiming various credits. The 1997 personal income tax return statistics show that 47,588 full-year returns claimed a total of $3.377 million of credit. This worked out to an average credit of $71 for the returns that claimed the credit. 3.4% of the total 1,381,479 full-year returns claimed the credit. Given that the return data does not specify how many taxpayers claimed the credit, I can only provide the above 'per return' statistics. (In the case of a joint return, we cannot discern whether one or both of the taxpayers was actually claiming the credit amount.)
The Research Section will be publishing statistics from the the 1998 returns later this Spring. If you have any questions or other statistics requests, please give me an email or phone call.
DOR Research Section
From Brian Setzler off the firstname.lastname@example.org email listserv:
Below is the beginnings of a list I started. I'd like some comments, editing, additions, suggestions, etc..
1. In 1992, it was Bush vs. Clinton and Oregon Greens
urged a vote for Ron Daniels. Like now, many
progressives feared Bush and felt compelled to vote
for Clinton. Does that look like a wise vote now? Can
we handle 8 more years of selling out?
2. In 1996, it was Dole vs. Clinton and Pacific Greens ran Ralph Nader for President. Like now, many progressives feared Dole and felt compelled to vote for Clinton. Who feels better about their vote? The one who voted for Nader working to create change, or the one who voted for Clinton out of fear?
3. As Eugene Debs once said, "Better to vote for who you want and lose, than to vote for who you don't want, and win".
4. A vote for the lesser of two evils is still evil. We have an alternative (Nader/LaDuke) to the evil of two lessers.
5. A vote for Nader strengthens the Green Party and helps build a real grass roots alternative. A vote for Bush/Gore supports the status quo.
6. More than 60 global corporations gave at least $50,000 to BOTH the Bush and Gore campaigns. These corporations KNOW there is little difference between the two.
7. Ralph Nader takes NO corporate or PAC money and accepts no donations greater than $2,000 per individual.
8. A vote for Nader helps the Greens qualify for federal matching funds in the 2004 election. Currently, Gore will qualify for over $30 million in federal matching funds while Nader gets ZERO.
9. In Oregon, a vote for Nader can push us over the 15% threshold on our way to major party status. 10. Our political system has been hijacked by corporate power. A vote for Nader is a vote to take our system back.
11. Republicans AND Democrats are hopelessly corrupt.
12. "The two parties are going downhill and every four years they get worse. And because you think one is not as bad as the other, quite as bad as the other, why legitimize the downward slide?" -- Ralph Nader
13. I'd vote for Gore but Iím afraid Bush might win so I'll be voting for Nader.
14. Gore is AFRAID to debate Nader. How could you possibly support someone for such an important position who wonít participate in debates or discussions.
15. Bill Clinton and Al Gore are to the RIGHT of Richard Nixon on almost every major issue. Would you vote for Nixon?