(By the Greene County Democratic Committee)
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We are Democrats because:
1. Democrats believe that our communities have a responsibility to help those who are unable to help themselves, and our governments at all levels are effective means for all of us to work together in a common effort to improve the lives of the less fortunate, which results in a more desirable community for everyone.
2. Democrats believe that our free enterprise economic system is effective in maximizing economic production, but history has shown that without any controls on the system it will produce extremely undesirable side effects, including misuse of investors’ funds; price fixing; abuse of workers; environmental degradation; and severely inequitable wealth distribution. Governments have an essential role to play in minimizing these undesirable side effects as well as helping to correct damage already done.
3. Democrats believe that governments at all levels are the only effective means of implementing the rule of law, to help ensure justice, equity, non-discrimination, and equal opportunity for all. Governments are not always effective or just, but citizens have the power to correct such problems through the political process.
4. Democrats believe that governments should not restrict an individual’s freedom of action as long as it does not harm others, and that governments should not be used to impose any particular religious doctrine or practices. Separation of church and state is an essential principle ensuring our freedom.
5. Democrats believe that the Federal government must ensure an effective defense against real aggressors or threats to our physical safety, while avoiding any military adventures intended to impose our policies, economic interests, religious beliefs, or lifestyle on others.
6. Democrats believe that governments should practice sound financial management, including building budget surpluses during good economic times, to permit effective government assistance during economic crises without creating crippling levels of debt.
1. Continuation of the Social Security program in its present form to help ensure a dignified life for the elderly and disabled.
2. Continuation of the Medicare program to ensure health care for the elderly and disabled, with improvements to manage cost growth more effectively.
3. Essential health care availability for everyone, regardless of income or wealth.
4. An education system that provides everyone an opportunity to use their talents and abilities.
5. Effective regulation of banks, brokers, corporations and all other private institutions handling other people’s money, to avoid a repeat of the financial crisis that caused the Great Recession of the Bush Administration.
6. Effective environmental protection regulations and enforcement.
7. Support for labor unions and the rights of workers to organize into unions, because unions are an effective means of minimizing abuse of workers and ensuring safe working conditions with a livable wage.
8. An end to the tax breaks for the wealthy, including ending the income tax breaks for the wealthy enacted during the Bush Administration, an end to the low tax rates on dividends and capital gains which primarily help the wealthy, and an end to the exemption from Social Security taxes on any income over $127,200 annually. These actions are essential to help the Federal government undo the deficit built up during the Reagan and Bush Administrations, and it would ensure the permanent solvency for the Social Security program.
9. Fair and feasible immigration reform that recognizes the reality that many illegal immigrants come to this country because employers provide jobs to them, usually with low wages. A major portion of the burden of resolving this problem must be placed on employers of illegals, rather than entirely on the illegal workers and those attempting to guard the borders.
10. The right to equal legal protection and privacy for all, including women, racial minorities, followers of minority religions, and gays and lesbians.
11. An end to expenditures for the unnecessary military adventures, such as the Bush/Cheney misadventure in Iraq; an end to spending on unneeded hardware systems simply to support defense contractors; and a phase-down of the American role as the only international police force by working with allies to assume their fair share of responsibility.
12. Action to eliminate the Federal budget deficit over the next ten years, through reduced spending, elimination of many special-interest tax credits, and an increase in tax rates in higher income brackets, so that the burden is shared equitably by all, rather than primarily by lower income citizens. We can return to a budget surplus like that at the end of the Clinton Administration without destroying the safety net for Americans.