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Chapter 1 the Eighty Percent Solution | Democratic Party (United States) | United States Government

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CHAPTER 1 THE EIGHTY PERCENT SOLUTION: THE HOPE AND ITS FRUSTRATIONS. Hope, a faltering of hope is our greatest problem, political and economic as well as moral and spiritual in the world today. To take hope as the indispensable ally of insight - Roberto Ungar[i] My aim is to lead us toward participation in the creation of GardenWorld. It took me a few years to arrive at this point. I started with interviews across the political spectrum that convinced me that people at the extremes have much m
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  CHAPTER 1 THE EIGHTY PERCENT SOLUTION: THE HOPE ANDITS FRUSTRATIONS.   Hope, a faltering of hope is our greatest problem, political and economic as well as moral and spiritual in the world today. To take hope asthe indispensable ally of insight - Roberto Ungar [i]  My aim is to lead us toward participation in the creation of GardenWorld. Ittook me a few years to arrive at this point. I started with interviews across the political spectrum that convinced me that people at the extremes have much morein common than we are told about. I saw that their political anger, both left andright, blue and red, was more a way of saying “no” to the trends and events than itwas an affirmation of ways to make things better. Obviously the legislation beforeCongress or in political debates does not add up to an adequate response to our  problems. I began to imagine that there exists a political program that 80% of the US population would vote for, if it were offered, that would be attractive because itwas an adequate approach to the issues that confront us. But it is more the tone andapproach than specifics. People want realistic hope, pragmatism and some seriousworking to reverse negative trends. What we have been offered - by both parties -is militarism and fear and support for old industries, and a state-corporate partnership that is hostile to the interests of everyone, and, if we include quality of lived life and long term expectations, even to the owners of capital. There isfortunately some move within both parties to deal more significantly withunderlying issues.Such a program includes:Available healthcare without bureaucracyJobs in a greener economyBetter distribution of participation in the work and benefits of society  A more attractive and effective DiplomacyEducation that is fun and profoundCommunities that are safe and connect well with natureWe each have our own list but these seem central to quality of life. But the strong backroom tendency is for the Republicans to offer moraloutrage at the lesser sins, and the Democrats offer support to visible fragments of the socially but not economically marginalized. Each is trying to tie together alogical chain of issues in order to win the next election - but they actually avoid theissues that most concern us. This does not add up to a sufficiently viable politicsfor this century. Obama’s approach may allow a deeper resonance, but the task of governance may overwhelm reformist goals. I am proposing that there is a solution to the doldrums of the Democratic andRepublican parties’ inability to address the needs of most of - if not all - the population. Such a platform - one that merely reversed the worst curves of wealthand power concentration and was framed in the Founding Fathers’ values of life,liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - and the avoidance of tyranny - would be ableto gather 80% of the vote and return the country to a more virtuous path, and gainthe tolerance of the world and respect for ourselves. Many of the most wealthywould support this approach. Remember that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett bothhave been against the elimination of inheritance taxes. The problem for the wealthyis to leave their children a livable world, not just a pile of money in a bad context.There are many proposals being published, in this period leading up to thenext election, and they cover aspects of the eighty percent proposal, but to mysurprise do not go far enough to get to the eighty percent, or even strike the votersas practical. The Republican proposals tend to leave out the problem of incomedistribution, and the Democratic proposals tend to leave out the need for vigorous business. Making timely progress on the environment’s pollution and the threat of climate change, as well as just creating good jobs, probably require all - vital business, better distribution of income and wealth, with more participation in theeconomy and society. If these are not integrated, both the business environment(businesses that create both jobs and profit), and environmental restoration are bound to fail – leaving the political process mired in the dumb momentum of the  times. For example, to make business more vital, tough environmental regulationsand energy independence would motivate innovative local and regional business.The retrofitting of buildings for energy efficiency, habitability and aesthetics create jobs which cannot be exported. Generally the population seems to be aware of thisgeneral perspective and gives their leadership poor ratings for not going there andfinding ways to take us with them. Critiques of some of the published proposals arein the appendixAs I got clear about the 80% solution I slowly came to realize that it would be more effective if it were combined with a plausible vision of a better life. Tomake the agenda more evocative, with empowering symbolism, it’s important tohave a vision of where we can go with our modern fruits of science, new Internetconnectedness, and new appreciation of worldwide cultures. GardenWorld is theimage of a world of continuous cultivation from the most awkward inner city to themost remote wilderness, blending the organic and the technological. When our good eye and creativity see the possibility of a GardenWorld enhancement, in food,climate moderation, parks, aesthetics or sociability, we should attempt it. KeepingGardenWorld as the goal in mind helps clarify choices.Thus the title of the book, GardenWorld Politics: American values- toward the 80% solution and a new politics of inclusion.  I start with the basic perception that American politics is not furtheringAmerican values, while our own image of ourselves, and the world's image of us,have become depressingly more negative. What happened to the promise? The promise had evolved from the Declaration's “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness , to the post WW2 return to normalcy and a brighter future, to the peace dividend ? The American promise of the 1776 revolution gave way to the“American Dream”, and Clinton even said “Each American deserves a shot at theAmerican Dream”. Not the promise, not even the dream, but a nightmare lottery of “having a shot”. In the face of the outpouring of material goods we have forgottenabout the goal of a better life for all and a good environment to live it in. We needmore flexibility and experimentation. Making mistakes is OK providing we are notstuck with them. The stickiness of bad solutions is a problem for modern society  since bad solutions have stakeholders who work hard, through lawyers, lobbyistsand congress, to maintain that stickiness.In our time, the neo-liberal policy of globalization turned out to be liberal for the owners of capital and property and their managers, but not generoustowards those who missed out on inheriting property and positioned opportunitythrough connections and education. It is often said that globalization is liftingmany out of poverty. It might be true that the percentage of people in deep povertyis declining, but there is good evidence that those who are left behind are actuallyworse off, not better. Their poverty based income works a less well in a fast pacedand more polluted world.The failure of the liberal and neo-liberal agendas, and the conservative andneo-conservative agendas, to spread benefits, improve the natural environment,and avoid armed conflict means that a new look towards the future will have toemerge. Though the situation could continue to deteriorate in this entropic age ,especially if elites continue to insulate themselves from the consequences of thecurrent system and keep benefits for themselves and their rest of the population isencouraged to be fearful about everything. We live in a time when the economy isdoing well while the people are doing badly. We live in a time whenthe economy is doing wellwhile the people are doing badly. Details count. The economy is doing well for a small number of people. For those who know how to get wealth out of this economy and use it, it feels prettygood. Doing well depends upon point of view. Language like The US economyhad a good fourth quarter hides any analysis of for whom was it good?” Risingincomes hides the current facts that an average, even a median, can rise, while,after increased costs, much more than half the population is losing out, while avery small number are doing amazingly well at accumulating the kind of cash thatleads to the 500,000 acre ranch where Cheney shoots quail. Gross measures, suchas increased national debt, and details, like the selling of ports to foreign country
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