To celebrate the 4th of July, and for the sake of posterity, I want to share my favorite policy platforms from America’s history. (For the sake of variety, I will limit it to one per party.) I may not agree with all, or in some cases even most of the propositions contained therein, but they each have a few good ideas which inspired me in my own political opinions. To start this series off, here is the platform which George McGovern ran on in 1972, free of any commentary or editorializing. The only alterations I’ve made to the text are limited to adjusting the formatting so it’s easier to follow.
(For anyone who’s unaware, Senator McGovern is my all-time favorite candidate.)
I. New Directions: 1972-76
Skepticism and cynicism are widespread in America. The people are skeptical of platforms filled with political platitudes—of promises made by opportunistic politicians.
The people are cynical about the idea that a rosy future is just around the corner.
And is it any wonder that the people are skeptical and cynical of the whole political process?
Our traditions, our history, our Constitution, our lives, all say that America belongs to its people.
But the people no longer believe it.
They feel that the government is run for the privileged few rather than for the many-and they are right.
No political party, no President, no government can by itself restore a lost sense of faith. No Administration can provide solutions to all our problems. What we can do is to recognize the doubts of Americans, to speak to those doubts, and to act to begin turning those doubts into hopes.
As Democrats, we know that we share responsibility for that loss of confidence. But we also know, as Democrats that at decisive moments of choice in our past, our party has offered leadership that has tapped the best within our country.
Our party-standing by its ideals of domestic progress and enlightened internationalism–has served America well. We have nominated or elected men of the high calibre of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Adlai E. Stevenson, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson—and in the last election Hubert Humphrey and Edmund S. Muskie. In that proud tradition we are now prepared to move forward.
We know that our nation cannot tolerate any longer a government that shows no regard for the people’s basic needs and no respect for our right to the truth from those who lead us.
What do the people want? They want three things:
They want a personal life that makes us all feel that life is worth living;
They want a social environment whose institutions promote the good of all; and
They want a physical environment whose resources are used for the good of all.
They want an opportunity to achieve their aspirations and their dreams for themselves and their children.
We believe in the rights of citizens to achieve to the limit of their talents and energies. We are determined to remove barriers that limit citizens because they are black, brown, young or women; because they never had the chance to gain an education; because there was no possibility of being anything but what they were.
We believe in hard work as a fair measure of our own willingness to achieve. We are determined that millions should not stand idle while work demands to be done. We are determined that the dole should not become a permanent way of life for any. And we are determined that government no longer tax the product of hard work more rigorously than it taxes inherited wealth, or money that is gained simply by having money in the first place.
We believe that the law must apply equally to all, and that it must be an instrument of justice. We are determined that the citizen must be protected in his home and on his streets. We are determined also that the ordinary citizen should not be imprisoned for a crime before we know whether he is guilty or not while those with the right friends and the right connections can break the law without ever facing the consequences of their actions.
We believe that war is a waste of human life. We are determined to end forthwith a war which has cost 50,000 American lives, $150 billion of our resources, that has divided us from each other, drained our national will and inflicted incalculable damage to countless people. We will end that war by a simple plan that need not be kept secret: The immediate total withdrawal of all Americans from Southeast Asia.
We believe in the right of an individual to speak, think, read, write, worship, and live free of official intrusion. We are determined that our government must no longer tap the phones of law-abiding citizens nor spy on those who have broken no law. We are determined that never again shall government seek to censor the newspapers and television. We are determined that the government shall no longer mock the supreme law of the land, while it stands helpless in the face of crime which makes our neighborhoods and communities less and less safe.
Perhaps most fundamentally, we believe that government is the servant, not the master, of the people. We are determined that government should not mean a force so huge, so impersonal, that the complaint of an ordinary citizen goes unheard.
That is not the kind of government America was created to build. Our ancestors did not fight a revolution and sacrifice their lives against tyrants from abroad to leave us a government that does not know how to listen to its own people.
The Democratic Party is proud of its past; but we are honest enough to admit that we are part of the past and share in its mistakes. We want in 1972 to begin the long and difficult task of reviewing existing programs, revising them to make them work and finding new techniques to serve the public need. We want to speak for, and with, the citizens of our country. Our pledge is to be truthful to the people and to ourselves, to tell you when we succeed, but also when we fail or when we are not sure. In 1976, when this nation celebrates its 200th anniversary, we want to tell you simply that we have done our best to give the government to those who formed it—the people of America.
Every election is a choice: In 1972, Americans must decide whether they want their country back again.
II. Jobs, Prices & Taxes
“I went to school here and I had some training for truck driver school and I go to different places and put in applications for truck driving but they say, ‘We can’t hire you without the experience.’ Now, I don’t have the experience. I don’t get the experience without the job first. I have four kids, you know, and I’m on unemployment. And when my unemployment runs out, I’ll probably be on relief, like a lot of other people. But, being that I have so many kids, relief is just not going to be enough money. I’m looking for maybe the next year or two, if I don’t get a job, they’ll probably find me down at the county jail, because I have to do something.”-Robert Coleman, Pittsburgh Hearing, June 2, 1972.
The Nixon Administration has deliberately driven people out of work in a heartless and ineffective effort to deal with inflation. Ending the Nixon policy of creating unemployment is the first task of the Democratic Party.
The Nixon “game plan” called for more unemployment. Tens of millions of families have suffered joblessness or work cutbacks in the last four years in the name of fighting inflation . . . and for nothing.
Prices rose faster in early 1972 than at any time from 1960 to 1968.
Today there are 5.5 million unemployed. The nation will have suffered $175 billion in lost production during the Nixon Administration by election day. Twenty per cent of our people have suffered a period without a job each year in the last three.
Business has lost more in profits than it has gained from this Administration’s business-oriented tax cuts.
In pockets of cities, up to 40 per cent of our young people are jobless.
Farmers have seen the lowest parity ratios since the Great Depression.
For the first time in 30 years, there is substantial unemployment among aerospace technicians, teachers and other white-collar workers.
The economic projections have been manipulated for public relations purposes.
The current Nixon game plan includes a control structure which keeps workers’ wages down while executive salaries soar, discourages productivity and distributes income away from those who need it and has produced no significant dent in inflation, as prices for food, clothes, rent and basic necessities soar.
These losses were unnecessary. They are the price of a Republican Administration which has no consistent economic philosophy, no adequate regard for the human costs of its economic decisions and no vision of what a full employment economy could mean for all Americans.
Jobs, Income and Dignity
Full employment—a guaranteed job for all—is the primary economic objective of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is committed to a job for every American who seeks work. Only through full employment can we reduce the burden on working people. We are determined to make economic security a matter of right. This means a job with decent pay and good working conditions for everyone willing and able to work and an adequate income for those unable to work. It means abolition of the present welfare system.
To assure jobs and economic security for all, the next Democratic Administration should support:
A full employment economy, making full use of fiscal and monetary policy to stimulate employment;
Tax reform directed toward equitable distribution of income and wealth and fair sharing of the cost of government;
Full enforcement of all equal employment opportunity laws, including federal contract compliance and federally-regulated industries and giving the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission adequate staff and resources and power to issue cease and desist orders promptly;
Vastly increased efforts to open education at all levels and in all fields to minorities, women and other under-represented groups;
An effective nation-wide job placement system to entrance worker mobility;
Opposition to arbitrarily high standards for entry to jobs;
Overhaul of current manpower programs to assure training-without sex, race or language discrimination for jobs that really exist with continuous skill improvement and the chance for advancement;
Economic development programs to ensure the growth of communities and industry in lagging parts of the nation and the economy;
Use of federal depository funds to reward banks and other financial institutions which invest in socially productive endeavors;
Improved adjustment assistance and job creation for workers and employers hurt by foreign competition, reconversion of defense-oriented companies, rapid technological change and environmental protection activities;
Closing tax loopholes that encourage the export of American jobs by American-controlled multi-national corporations;
Assurance that the needs of society are considered when a decision to close or move an industrial plant is to be made and that income loss to workers and revenue loss to communities does not occur when plants are closed;
Assurance that, whatever else is done in the income security area, the social security system provides a decent income for the elderly, the blind and the disabled and their dependents, with escalators so that benefits keep pace with rising prices and living standards;
Reform of social security and government employment security programs to remove all forms of discrimination by sex; and adequate federal income assistance for those who do not benefit sufficiently from the above measures.
The last is not least, but it is last for good reason. The present welfare system has failed because it has been required to make up for too many other failures. Millions of Americans are forced into public assistance because public policy too often creates no other choice.
The heart of a program of economic security based on earned income must be creating jobs and training people to fill them. Millions of jobs—real jobs, not make-work-need to be provided. Public service employment must be greatly expanded in order to make the government the employer of last resort and guarantee a job for all. Large sections of our cities resemble bombed-out Europe after World War II. Children in Appalachia cannot go to school when the dirt road is a sea of mud. Homes, schools and clinics, roads and mass transit systems need to be built.
Cleaning up our air and water will take skills and people in large numbers. In the school, the police department, the welfare agency or the recreation program, there are new careers to be developed to help ensure that social services reach the people for whom they are intended.
It may cost more, at least initially, to create decent jobs than to perpetuate the hand-out system of present welfare. But the return—in new public facilities and services, in the dignity of bringing a paycheck home and in the taxes that will come back in—far outweigh the cost of the investment.
The next Democratic Administration must end the present welfare system and replace it with an income security program which places cash assistance in an appropriate context with all of the measures outlined above, adding up to an earned income approach to ensure each family an income substantially more than the poverty level ensuring standards of decency and health, as officially defined in the area. Federal income assistance will supplement the income of working poor people and assure an adequate income for those unable to work. With full employment and simpler, fair administration, total costs will go down, and with federal financing the burden on local and state budgets will be eased. The program will protect current benefit goals during the transitional period.
The system of income protection which replaces welfare must he a part of the full employment policy which assures every American a job at a fair wage under conditions which make use of his ability and provide an opportunity for advancement. H.R. 1, and its various amendments, is not humane and does not meet the social and economic objectives that we believe in, and it should be defeated. It perpetuates the coercion of forced work requirements.
Every American family knows how its grocery bill has gone up under Nixon. Every American family has felt the bite of higher and higher prices for food and housing and clothing. The Administration attempts to stop price rises have been dismal failures—for which the working people have paid in lost jobs, missed raises and higher prices.
This nation achieved its economic greatness under a system of free enterprise, coupled with human effort and ingenuity, and thus it must remain. This will be the attitude and objective of the Party.
There must be an end to inflation and the ever-increasing cost of living. This is of vital concern to the laborer, the housewife, the farmer and the small businessman, as well as the millions of Americans dependent upon their weekly or monthly income for sustenance. It wrecks the retirement plans and lives of our elderly who must survive on pensions or savings gauged by the standards of another day.
Through greater efficiency in the operation of the machinery of government, so badly plagued with duplication, overlapping and excesses in programs, we will ensure that bureaucracy will cease to exist solely for bureaucracy’s own sake. The institutions and functions of government will be judged by their efficiency of operation and their contribution to the lives and welfare of our citizens.
A first priority of a Democratic Administration must be eliminating the unfair, bureaucratic Nixon wage and price controls.
When price rises threaten to or do get out of control—as they are now—strong, fair action must be taken to protect family income and savings. The theme of that action should be swift, tough measures to break the wage-price spiral and restore the economy. In that kind of economic emergency, America’s working people will support a truly fair stabilization program which affects profits, investment earnings, executive salaries and prices, as well as wages. The Nixon controls do not meet that standard. They have forced the American worker, who suffers most from inflation, to pay the price of trying to end it.
In addition to stabilizing the economy, we propose:
To develop automatic instruments protecting the livelihood of Americans who depend on fixed incomes, such as savings bonds with purchasing power guarantees and cost-of-living escalators in government social security and income support payments;
To create a system of “recession insurance” for states and localities to replace lost local revenues with federal funds in economic downturns, thereby avoiding reduction in public employment or public services;
To establish longer-term budget and fiscal planning; and
To create new mechanisms to stop unwarranted price increases in concentrated industries.
Toward Economic Justice
The Democratic Party deplores the increasing concentration of economic power in fewer and fewer hands. Five per cent of the American people control 90 per cent of our productive national wealth. Less than one per cent of all manufacturers have 88 per cent of the profits. Less than two per cent of the population now owns approximately 80 per cent of the nation’s personally-held corporate stock, 90 per cent of the personally-held corporate bonds and nearly 100 per cent of the personally-held municipal bonds. The rest of the population—including all working men and women—pay too much for essential products and services because of national policy and market distortions.
The Democratic Administration should pledge itself to combat factors which tend to concentrate wealth and stimulate higher prices.
To this end, the federal government should:
Develop programs to spread economic growth among the workers, farmers and businessmen;
Help make parts of the economy more efficient such as medical care—where wasteful and inefficient practices now increase prices;
Step up anti-trust action to help competition, with particular regard to laws and enforcement curbing conglomerate mergers which swallow up efficient small business and feed the power of corporate giants;
Strengthen the anti-trust laws so that the divestiture remedy will be used vigorously to break up large conglomerates found to violate the antitrust laws;
Abolish the oil import quota that raises prices for consumers;
Deconcentrate shared monopolies such as auto, steel and tire industries which administer prices, create unemployment through restricted output and stifle technological innovation;
Assure the right of the citizen to recover costs and attorneys fees in all successful suits including class actions involving Constitutionally-guaranteed rights, or rights secured by federal statutes;
Adjust rate-making and regulatory activities, with particular attention to regulations which increase prices for food, transportation and other necessities;
Remove artificial constraints in the job market by better job manpower training and strictly enforcing equal employment opportunity;
Stiffen the civil and criminal statutes to make corporate officers responsible for their actions; and
Establish a temporary national economic commission to study federal chartering of large multi-national and international corporations, concentrated ownership and control in the nation’s economy.
The last ten years have seen a massive shift in the tax burden from the rich to the working people of America. This is due to cuts in federal income taxes simultaneous with big increases in taxes which bear heavily on lower incomes—state and local sales and property taxes and the payroll tax. The federal tax system is still grossly unfair and over-complicated. The wealthy and corporations get special tax favors; major reform of the nation’s tax structure is required to achieve a more equitable distribution of income and to raise the funds needed by government. The American people neither should nor will accept anything less from the next Administration.
The Nixon Administration, which fought serious reform in 1969, has no program, only promises, for tax reform. Its clumsy administrative favoring of the well-off has meant quick action on corporate tax giveaways like accelerated depreciation, while over-withholding from workers’ paychecks goes on and on while the Administration tries to decide what to do.
In recent years, the federal tax system has moved precipitously in the wrong direction. Corporate taxes have dropped from 30 per cent of federal revenues in 1954 to 16 per cent in 1973, but payroll taxes for Social Security—regressive because the burden falls more heavily on the worker than on the wealthy—have gone from ten per cent to 29 per cent over the same period. If legislation now pending in Congress passes, pay-roll taxes will have increased over 500 per cent between 1960 and 1970—from $144 to $755—for the average wage earner. Most people earning under $10,000 now pay more in regressive payroll tax than in income tax.
Now the Nixon Administration—which gave corporations the largest tax cut in American history—is considering a hidden national sales tax (Value Added Tax) which would further shift the burden to the average wage earner and raise prices of virtually everything ordinary people buy. It is cruel and unnecessary to pretend to relieve one bad tax, the property tax, by a new tax which is just as bad. We oppose this price-raising unfair tax in any form.
Federal Income Tax
The Democratic Party believes that all unfair corporate and individual tax preferences should be removed. The tax law is clogged with complicated provisions and special interests, such as percentage oil depletion and other favors for the oil industry, special rates and rules for capital gains, fast depreciation unrelated to useful life, easy-to-abuse “expense-account” deductions and the ineffective minimum tax. These hidden expenditures in the federal budget are nothing more than billions of “tax welfare” aid for the wealthy, the privileged and the corporations.
We, therefore, endorse as a minimum step the Mills-Mansfield Tax Policy Review Act of 1972, which would repeal virtually all tax preferences in the existing law over the period 1974-1976, as a means of compelling a systematic review of their value to the nation. We acknowledge that the original reasons for some of these tax preferences may remain valid, but believe that none should escape close scrutiny and full public exposure. The most unjustified of the tax loopholes should, however, be closed immediately, without waiting for a review of the whole system.
After the implementation of the minimum provisions of the Mills-Mansfield Act, the Democratic Party, to combat the economically-depressing effect of a regressive income tax scheme, proposes further revision of the tax law to ensure economic equality of opportunity to ordinary Americans.
We hold that the federal tax structure should reflect the following principles:
The cost of government must be distributed more fairly among income classes. We reaffirm the long-established principle of progressive taxation —allocating the burden according to ability to pay —which is all but a dead letter in the present tax code.
The cost of government must be distributed fairly among citizens in similar economic circumstances:
Direct expenditures by the federal government which can be budgeted are better than tax preferences as the means for achieving public objectives. The lost income of those tax preferences which are deemed desirable should be stated in the annual budget.
When relief for hardship is provided through federal tax policy, as for blindness, old age or poverty, benefits should be provided equally by credit rather than deductions which favor recipients with more income, with special provisions for those whose credits would exceed the tax they owe.
Provisions which discriminate against working women and single people should be corrected in addition to greater fairness and efficiency, these principles would mean a major redistribution of personal tax burdens and permit considerable simplification of the tax code and tax forms.
Social Security Tax
The Democratic Party commits itself to make the Social Security tax progressive by raising substantially the ceiling on earned income. To permit needed increases in Social Security benefits, we will use general revenues as necessary to supplement payroll tax receipts. In this way, we will support continued movement toward general revenue financing for social security.
Greater fairness in taxation at the federal level will have little meaning for the vast majority of American households if the burden of inequitable local taxation is not reduced. To reduce the local property tax for all American families, we support equalization of school spending and substantial increases in the federal share of education costs and general revenue sharing.
New forms of federal financial assistance to states and localities should be made contingent upon property tax reforms, including equal treatment and full publication of assessment ratios.
Tax policy should not provide incentives that encourage overinvestment in developed countries by American business, and mechanisms should be instituted to limit undesirable capital exports that exploit labor abroad and damage the American worker at home.
Free private collective bargaining between management and independent labor unions has been, and must remain, the cornerstone of our free enterprise system. America achieved its greatness through the combined energy and efforts of the working men and women of this country. Retention of its greatness rests in their hands. Through their great trade union organizations, these men and women, have exerted tremendous influence on the economic and social life of the nation and have attained a standard of living known to no other nation. The concern of the Party is that the gains which labor struggled so long to obtain not be lost to them, whether through inaction or subservience to illogical Republican domestic policies. We pledge continued support for our system of free collective bargaining and denounce any attempt to substitute compulsory arbitration for it. We, therefore, oppose the Nixon Administration’s effort to impose arbitration in transportation disputes through its last-offer-selection bill.
The National Labor Relations Act should be updated to ensure:
Extension of protection to employees of non-profit institutions;
Remedies which adequately reflect the losses caused by violations of the Act;
Repeal of section 14(b), which allows states to legislate the open shop and remove the ban on common-sites picketing; and
Effective opportunities for unions, as well as employers, to communicate with employees, without coercion by either side or by anyone acting on their behalf.
The Railway Labor Act should be updated to ensure:
That strikes on a single carrier or group of carriers cannot be transformed into nation-wide strikes or lockouts;
Incentives for bargaining which would enable both management and labor to resolve their differences without referring to government intervention; and
Partial operation of struck railroads to ensure continued movement of essential commodities.
New legislation is needed to ensure:
Collective bargaining rights for government employees;
Universal coverage and longer duration of the Unemployment Insurance and Workmen’s Compensation programs and to establish minimum federal standards, including the establishment of equitable wage-loss ratios in those programs, including a built-in escalator clause that fairly reflects increases in average wage rates; and
That workers covered under private pension plans actually receive the personal and other fringe benefits to which their services for their employer entitle them. This requires that the fixed right to benefits starts early in employment, that reserves move with the worker from job to job and that re-insurance protection be given pension plans.
American workers are entitled to job safety at a living wage. Most of the basic protections needed have been recognized in legislation already enacted by Congress.
The Fair Labor Standards Act should be updated, however, to:
Move to a minimum wage of $2.50 per hour, which allows a wage earner to earn more than a poverty level income for 40 hours a week, with no subminimums for special groups or age differentials;
Expand coverage to include the 16 million workers not presently covered, including domestic workers, service workers, agricultural employees and employees of governmental and nonprofit agencies; and
Set overtime premiums which give an incentive to hire new employees rather than to use regular employees for extended periods of overtime.
The Longshoremen and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act should be updated to provide adequate protection for injured workers and federal standards for workmen’s compensation should be set by Congress.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 should be extended to be fully effective, and to cover professional, executive and administrative workers.
Maternity benefits should be made available to all working women. Temporary disability benefits should cover pregnancy, childbirth, miscarriage and recovery.
Occupational Health and Safety
Each year over 14,000 American workers are killed on their jobs, and nine million injured. Unknown millions more are exposed to long-term danger and disease from exposure to dangerous substances. Federal and state laws are supposed to protect workers; but these laws are not being enforced. This Administration has hired only a handful of inspectors and proposes to turn enforcement over to the same state bureaucracies that have proven inadequate in the past. Where violations are detected, only token penalties have been assessed.
We pledge to fully and rigorously enforce the laws which protect the safely and health of workers on their jobs and to extend those laws to all jobs, regardless of number of employees. This must include standards that truly protect against all health hazards, adequate federal enforcement machinery backed up by rigorous penalties and an opportunity for workers themselves to participate in the laws’ enforcement by sharing responsibility for plant inspection.
We endorse federal research and development of effective approaches to combat the dehumanizing debilitating effects of monotonous work.
The Sixties and Seventies have seen the struggle for unionization by the poorest of the poor in our country—America’s migrant farm workers.
Under the leadership of Cesar Chavez, the United Farm Workers have accomplished in the non-violent tradition what was thought impossible only a short time ago. Through hard work and much sacrifice, they are the one group that is successfully organizing farm workers.
Their movement has caught the imagination of millions of Americans who have not eaten grapes so that agribusiness employers will recognize their workers as equals and sit down with them in meaningful collective bargaining.
We now call upon all friends and supporters of this movement to refrain from buying or eating non-union lettuce.
Furthermore, we support the farm workers’ movement and the use of boycotts as a non-violent and potent weapon for gaining collective bargaining recognition and contracts for agricultural workers. We oppose the Nixon Administration’s effort to enjoin the use of the boycott.
We also affirm the right of farm workers to organize free of repressive anti-labor legislation, both state and federal.
III. Rights, Power & Social Justice
“We’re just asking, and we don’t ask for much. Just to give us opportunity to live as human beings as other people have lived.”-Dorothy Bolden, Atlanta Hearing, June 9, 1972.
“All your platform has to say is that the rights, opportunities and political power of citizenship will be extended to the lowest level, to neighborhoods and individuals. If your party can live up to that simple pledge, my faith will lie restored.”—Bobby Westbrooks, St. Louis Hearing, June 17, 1972.
“We therefore urge the Democratic Party to adopt the principle that America has a responsibility to offer every American family the best in health care, whenever they need it, regardless of income or any other factor. We must devise a system which will assure that . . . every American receives comprehensive health services from the day he is born to the day he dies, with an emphasis on preventive care to keep him healthy.”-Joint Statement of Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Representative Wilbur Mills, St. Louis Hearing, June 17, 1972.
The Democratic Party commits itself to be responsive to the millions of hard working, lower-and middle-income Americans who are traditionally courted by politicians at election time, get bilked at tax-paying time, and are too often forgotten the balance of the time.
This is an era of great change. The world is fast moving into a future for which the past has not prepared us well; a future where to survive, to find answers to the problems which threaten us as a people, we must create qualitatively new solutions. We can no longer rely on old systems of thought, the results of which were partially successful programs that were heralded as important social reforms in the past. It is time now to rethink and reorder the institutions of this country so that everyone—women, blacks, Spanish-speaking, Puerto Ricans, Indians, the young and the old—can participate in the decision-making process inherent in the democratic heritage to which we aspire. We must restructure the social, political and economic relationships throughout the entire society in order to ensure the equitable distribution of wealth and power.
The Democratic Party in 1972 is committed to resuming the march toward equality; to enforcing the laws supporting court decisions and enacting new legal rights as necessary, to assuring every American true opportunity, to bringing about a more equal distribution of power, income and wealth and equal and uniform enforcement in all states and territories of civil rights statutes and acts.
In the 1970’s, this commitment requires the fulfillment—through laws and policies, through appropriations and directives; through leadership and exhortation of a wide variety of rights:
The right to full participation in government and the political process;
The rights of free speech and free political expression, of freedom from official intimidation, harassment and invasion of privacy, as guaranteed by the letter and the spirit of the Constitution;
The right to a decent job and an adequate income, with dignity;
The right to quality, accessibility and sufficient quantity in tax-supported services and amenities —including educational opportunity, health care, housing and transportation;
The right to quality, safety and the lowest possible cost on goods and services purchased in the market place;
The right to be different, to maintain a cultural or ethnic heritage or lifestyle, without being forced into a compelled homogeneity;
The rights of people who lack rights: Children, the mentally retarded, mentally ill and prisoners, to name some; and
The right to legal services, both civil and criminal, necessary to enforce secured rights.
Free Expression and Privacy
The new Democratic Administration should bring an end to the pattern of political persecution and investigation, the use of high office as a pulpit for unfair attack and intimidation and the blatant efforts to control the poor and to keep them from acquiring additional economic security or political power.
The epidemic of wiretapping and electronic surveillance engaged in by the Nixon Administration and the use of grand juries for purposes of political intimidation must be ended. The rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution, as these concepts have traditionally been understood, must be restored.
We strongly object to secret computer data banks on individuals. Citizens should have access to their own files that are maintained by private commercial firms and the right to insert corrective material. Except in limited cases, the same should apply to government files. Collection and maintenance by federal agencies of dossiers on law-abiding citizens, because of their political views and statements, must be stopped, and files which never should have been opened should be destroyed. We firmly reject the idea of a National Computer Data Bank.
The Nixon policy of intimidation of the media and Administration efforts to use government power to block access to media by dissenters must end, if free speech is to he preserved. A Democratic Administration must be an open one, with the fullest possible disclosure of information, with an end to abuses of security classifications and executive privilege, and with regular top-level press conferences.
The Right to Be Different
The new Democratic Administration can help lead America to celebrate the magnificence of the diversity within its population, the racial, national, linguistic and religious groups which have contributed so much to the vitality and richness of our national life. As things are, official policy too often forces people into a mold of artificial homogeneity.
Recognition and support of the cultural identity and pride of black people are generations overdue. The American Indians, the Spanish-speaking, the Asian Americans—the cultural and linguistic heritage of these groups is too often ignored in schools and communities. So, too, are the backgrounds, traditions and contributions of white national, ethnic, religious and regional communities ignored. All official discrimination on the basis of sex, age, race, language, political belief, religion, region or national origin must end. No American should be subject to discrimination in employment or restriction in business because of ethnic background or religious practice. Americans should be free to make their own choice of life-styles and private habits without being subject to discrimination or prosecution. We believe official policy can encourage diversity while continuing to place full emphasis on equal opportunity and integration.
We urge full funding of the Ethnic Studies bill to provide funds for development of curriculum to preserve America’s ethnic mosaic.
Rights of Children
One measure of a nation’s greatness is the care it manifests for all of its children. The Nixon Administration has demonstrated a callous attitude toward children repeatedly through veto and administrative decisions. We, therefore, call for a reordering of priorities at all levels of American society so that children, our most precious resource, and families come first.
To that end, we call for:
The federal government to fund comprehensive development child care programs that will be family centered, locally controlled and universally available. These programs should provide for active participation of all family members in the development and implementation of the program. Health, social service and early childhood education should be part of these programs, as well as a variety of options most appropriate to their needs. Child care is a supplement, not a substitute, for the family;
The establishment of a strong child advocacy program, financed by the federal government and other sources, with full ethnic, cultural, racial and sexual representation;
First priority for the needs of children, as we move toward a National Health Insurance Program;
The first step should be immediate implementation of the federal law passed in the 1967 Social Security Amendments providing for “early and periodic screening, diagnosis and treatment” of children’s health problems;
Legislation and administrative decisions to drastically reduce childhood injuries—prenatal, traffic, poisoning, burns, malnutrition, rat bites and to provide health and safety education.
Full funding of legislation designed to meet the needs of children with special needs:
The retarded, the physically and mentally handicapped, and those whose environment produces abuse and neglect and directs the child to anti-social conduct;
Reaffirmation of the rights of bilingual, handicapped or slow-learning children to education in the public schools, instead of being wrongly classified as retarded or uneducable and dismissed;
Revision of the juvenile court system; dependency and neglect cases must be removed from the corrections system, and clear distinctions must be drawn between petty childhood offenses and the more serious crimes;
Allocation of funds to the states to provide counsel to children in juvenile proceedings, legal or administrative; and
Creation by Congress of permanent standing committees on Children and Youth.
Rights of Women
Women historically have been denied a full voice in the evolution of the political and social institutions of this country and are therefore allied with all under-represented groups in a common desire to form a more humane and compassionate society.
The Democratic Party pledges the following:
A priority effort to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment;
Elimination of discrimination against women in public accommodations and public facilities, public education and in all federally-assisted programs and federally-contracted employment;
Extension of the jurisdiction of the Civil Rights Commission to include denial of civil rights on the basis of sex;
Full enforcement of all federal statutes and executive laws barring job discrimination on the basis of sex, giving the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission adequate staff and resources and power to issue cease-and-desist orders promptly;
Elimination of discriminatory features of criminal laws and administration;
Increased efforts to open educational opportunities at all levels, eliminating discrimination against women in access to education, tenure, promotion and salary;
Guarantee that all training programs are made more equitable, both in terms of the numbers of women involved and the job opportunities provided; jobs must be available on the basis of skill, not sex;
Availability of maternity benefits to all working women; temporary disability benefits should cover pregnancy, childbirth, miscarriage and recovery;
Elimination of all tax inequities that affect women and children, such as higher taxes for single women;
Amendment of the Social Security Act to provide equitable retirement benefits for families with working wives, widows, women heads of households and their children;
Amendment of the Internal Revenue Code to permit working families to deduct from gross income as a business expense, housekeeping and child care costs;
Equality for women on credit, mortgage, insurance, property, rental and financial contracts;
Extension of the Equal Pay Act to all workers, with amendment to read “equal pay for comparable work;”
Appointment of women to positions of top responsibility in all branches of the federal government to achieve all equitable ratio of women and men. Such positions include Cabinet members, agency and division heads and Supreme Court Justices; inclusion of women advisors in equitable ratios on all government studies, commissions and hearings; and
Laws authorizing federal grants on a matching basis for financing State Commissions of the Status of Women.
Rights of Youth
In order to ensure, maintain and secure the proper role and functions of youth in American government, politics and society, the Democratic Party will endeavor to:
Lower the age of legal majority and consent to 18;
Actively encourage and assist in the election of youth to federal, state and local offices;
Develop special programs for employment of youth, utilizing governmental resources to guarantee development, training and job placement; and
Secure the electoral reforms called for under “People and the Government.”
Rights of Poor People
Poor people, like all Americans, should be represented at all levels of the Democratic Party in reasonable proportion of their numbers in the general population.
Affirmative action must be taken to ensure their representation at every level. The Democratic Party guidelines guaranteeing proportional representation to “previously discriminated against groups” (enumerated as “women, young people and minorities”) must be extended to specifically include poor people.
Political parties, candidates and government institutions at all levels must be committed to working with and supporting poor people’s organizations and ending the tokenism and co-optation that has characterized past dealings.
Welfare rights organizations must be recognized as representative of welfare recipients and be given access to regulations, policies and decision-making processes, as well as being allowed to represent clients at all governmental levels.
The federal government must protect the right of tenants to organize tenant organizations and negotiate collective bargaining agreements with private landlords and encourage the participation of the tenants in the management and control of all subsidized housing.
Rights of American Indians
We support rights of American Indians to full rights of citizenship. The federal government should commit all necessary funds to improve the lives of Indians, with no division between reservation and non-reservation Indians. We strongly oppose the policy of termination, and we urge the government to provide unequivocal advocacy for the protection of the remaining Indian land and water resources. All land rights due American Indians, and Americans of Spanish and Mexican descent, on the basis of treaties with the federal government will be protected by the federal government. In addition we support allocation of Federal surplus lands to American Indians on a first priority basis.
American Indians should be given the right to receive bilingual medical services from hospitals and physicians of their choice.
Rights of the Physically Disabled
The physically disabled have the right to pursue meaningful employment and education, outside a hospital environment, free from unnecessary discrimination, living in adequate housing, with access to public mass transportation and regular medical care. Equal opportunity employment practices should be used by the government in considering their application for federal jobs and equal access to education from pre-school to the college level guaranteed. The physically disabled like all disadvantaged peoples, should be represented in any group making decisions affecting their lives.
Rights of the Mentally Retarded
The mentally retarded must be given employment and educational opportunities that promote their dignity as individuals and ensure their civil rights. Educational treatment facilities must guarantee that these rights always will be recognized and protected. In addition, to assure these citizens a more meaningful life, emphasis must be placed on programs of treatment that respect their right to life in a non-institutional environment.
Rights of the Elderly
Growing old in America for too many means neglect, sickness, despair and, all too often, poverty. We have failed to discharge the basic obligation of a civilized people—to respect and assure the security of our senior citizens. The Democratic Party pledges, as a final step to economic security for all, to end poverty—as measured by official standards-among the retired, the blind and the disabled. Our general program of economic and social justice will benefit the elderly directly.
In addition, a Democratic Administration should:
Increase social security to bring benefits in line with changes on the national standard of living;
Provide automatic adjustments to assure that benefits keep pace with inflation;
Support legislation which allows beneficiaries to earn more income, without reduction of social security payments;
Protect individual’s pension rights by pension re-insurance and early vesting;
Lower retirement eligibility age to 60 in all government pension programs;
Expand housing assistance for the elderly; Encourage development of local programs by which senior citizens can serve their community in providing education, recreation, counseling and other services to the rest of the population;
Establish federal standards and inspection of nursing homes and full federal support for qualified nursing homes;
Take the needs of the elderly and the handicapped into account in all federal programs, including construction of federal buildings, housing and transportation planning;
Pending a full national health security system, expand Medicare by supplementing trust funds with general revenues in order to provide a complete range of care and services, eliminate the Nixon Administration cutbacks in Medicare and Medicaid;
Eliminate the part B premium under Medicare and include under Medicare and Medicaid the costs of eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aids, and all prescription drugs and establish uniform national standards for Medicaid to bring to an end the present situation which makes it worse to be poor in one state than in another.
The Democratic Party pledges itself to adopt rules to give those over 60 years old representation on all Party committees and agencies as nearly as possible in proportion to their percentage in the total population.
Rights of Veterans
It is time that the nation did far more to recognize the service of our 28 million living veterans and to serve them in return. The veterans of Vietnam must get special attention, for no end of the war is truly honorable which does not provide these men the opportunities to meet their needs.
The Democratic Party is committed to extending and improving the benefits available to American veterans and society, to ending the neglect shown by the Nixon Administration to these problems and to the human needs of our ex-servicemen.
Medical care—The federal government must guarantee quality medical care to ex-servicemen, and to all disabled veterans, expanding and improving Veterans Administration facilities and manpower and preserving the independence and integrity of the VA hospital program. Staff-patient ratios in these hospitals should be made comparable to ratios in community hospitals. Meanwhile, there should be an increase in the VA’s ability to deliver out-patient care and home health services, wherever possible treating veterans as part of a family unit.
We support future coordination of health care for veterans with the national health care insurance program, with no reduction in scale or quality of existing veterans care and with recognition of the special health needs of veterans.
The VA separate personnel system should be expanded to take in all types of health personnel, and especially physician’s assistants; and VA hospitals should be used to develop medical schools and area health education centers.
The VA should also assume responsibility for the care of wives and children of veterans who are either permanently disabled or who have died from service-connected causes. Distinction should no longer be made between veterans who have seen “wartime,” as opposed to “peacetime,” service.
Educational benefits should be provided for Vietnam-era veterans under the GI Bill at levels comparable to those of the original Bill after World War II, supplemented by special veteran’s education loans. The VA should greatly expand and improve programs for poor or educationally disadvantaged veterans. In addition, there should be a program under which service-men and women can receive high school, college or job training while on active duty. GI Bill trainees should be used more extensively to reach out to other veterans who would otherwise miss these educational opportunities.
The Veterans Administration should provide either directly or through community facilities, a comprehensive, individually tailored treatment and rehabilitation program for all drug- and alcohol-addicted veterans, on a voluntary and confidential basis, and regardless of the nature of their discharge or the way in which they acquired their condition.
There should be an increase in unemployment compensation provided to veterans, and much greater emphasis on the Veterans Employment Service of the Department of Labor, expanding its activities in every state. There should be a greatly enlarged effort by the federal government to employ Vietnam-era veterans and other veterans with service-connected disabilities. In addition, veterans’ preferences in hiring should he written into every federal contract or sub-contract and for public service employment.
Rights of Servicemen and Servicewomen
Military discipline must be maintained, but unjustifiable restriction on the Constitutional rights of members of the armed services must cease. We support means to ensure the protection of G.I. rights to express political opinion and engage in off-base political activity.
We should explore new procedures for providing review of discharges other than honorable, in cases involving political activity.
We oppose deferential advancement, punishment assignment or any other treatment on the basis of race, and support affirmative action to end discrimination.
We support rights of women in the armed forces to be free from unfair discrimination.
We support an amendment of the Uniform Code of Military Justice to provide for fair and uniform sentencing procedures.
Rights of Consumers
Consumers need to be assured of a renewed commitment to basic rights and freedoms. They must have the mechanisms available to allow self-protection against the abuses that the Kennedy and Johnson programs were designed to eliminate.
We propose a new consumer program:
In the Executive Branch.—The executive branch must use its power to expand consumer information and protection;
Ensure that every policy-making level of government concerned with economic or procurement decisions should have a consumer input either through a consumer advisory committee or through consumer members on policy advisory committees;
Support the development of an independent consumer agency providing a focal point on consumer matters with the right to intervene on behalf of the consumer before all agencies and regulatory bodies; and
Expand all economic policy-making mechanisms to include an assessment of social as well as economic indicators of human well-being.
We support legislation which will expand the ability of consumers to defend themselves:
Ensure an extensive campaign to get food, drugs and all other consumer products to carry complete informative labeling about safety, quality and cost. Such labeling is the first step in ensuring the economic and physical health of the consumer. In the food area, it should include nutritional unit pricing, full ingredients by percentage, grade, quality and drained weight in formation. For drugs, it should include safety, quality, price and operation data, either on the label or in an enclosed manual;
Support a national program to encourage the development of consumer cooperatives, patterned after the rural electric cooperatives in areas where they might help eliminate inflation and restore consumer rights; and
Support federal initiatives and federal standards to reform automobile insurance and assure coverage on a first-party, no-fault basis.
The Courts should become an effective forum to hear well-rounded consumer grievances.
Consumer class action: Consumers should be given access to the federal courts in a way that allows them to initiate group action against fraudulent, deceitful, or misleading or dangerous business practices.
Small Claims Court: A national program should be undertaken to improve the workings of small claims courts and spread their use so that consumers injured in economically small, though individually significant amounts (e.g. $500), can bring their complaints to the attention of a court and collect their damages without self-defeating legal fees.
The Quality and Quantity of Social Service
The new Democratic Administration can begin a fundamental re-examination of all federal domestic social programs and the patterns of service delivery they support. Simply advocating the expenditure of more funds is not enough, although funds are needed, for billions already have been poured into federal government programs—programs like urban renewal, current welfare and aid to education, with meager results. The control, structure and effectiveness of every institution and government grant system must be fully examined and these institutions must be made accountable to those they are supposed to serve.
We will, therefore, pursue the development of new rights of two kinds: Rights to the service itself and rights to participate in the delivery process.
Good health is the least this society should promise its citizens. The state of health services in this country indicates the failure of government to respond to this fundamental need. Costs skyrocket while the availability of services for all but the rich steadily declines.
We endorse the principle that good health is a right of all Americans.
America has a responsibility to offer to every American family the best in health care whenever they need it, regardless of income or where they live or any other factor.
To achieve this goal the next Democratic Administration should:
Establish a system of universal National Health Insurance which covers all Americans with a comprehensive set of benefits including preventive medicine, mental and emotional disorders, and complete protection against catastrophic costs, and in which the rule of free choice for both provider and consumer is protected. The program should be federally-financed and federally-administered. Every American must know he can afford the cost of health care whether given in a hospital or a doctor’s office;
Incorporate in the National Health Insurance System incentives and controls to curb inflation in health care costs and to assure efficient delivery of all services;
Continue and evaluate Health Maintenance Organizations;
Set up incentives to bring health service personnel back to inner-cities and rural areas;
Continue to expand community health centers and availability of early screening diagnosis and treatment;
Provide federal funds to train added health manpower including doctors, nurses, technicians and para-medical workers;
Secure greater consumer participation and control over health care institutions;
Expand federal support for medical research including research in heart disease, hypertension, stroke, cancer, sickle cell anemia, occupational and childhood diseases which threaten millions and in preventive health care;
Eventual replacement of all federal programs of health care by a comprehensive National Health Insurance System;
Take legal and other action to curb soaring prices for vital drugs using anti trust laws as applicable and amending patent laws to end price-raising abuses, and require generic-name labeling of equal-effective drugs; and
Expand federal research and support for drug abuse treatment and education, especially development of non-addictive treatment methods.
Family planning services, including the education, comprehensive medical and social services necessary to permit individuals freely to determine and achieve the number and spacing of their children, should be available to all, regardless of sex, age, marital status, economic group or ethnic origin, and should be administered in a non-coercive and non-discriminatory manner.
The Democratic Party respects and supports the frequently-expressed desire of the people of Puerto Rico to freely associate in permanent union with the United States, as an autonomous commonwealth. We are committed to Puerto Rico’s right to enjoy full self-determination and a relationship that can evolve in ways that will most benefit both parties.
To this end, we support equal treatment for Puerto Rico in the distribution of all federal grants-in-aid, amendment of federal laws that restrict aid to Puerto Rico; and we pledge no further restrictions in future laws. Only in this way can the people of Puerto Rico come to participate more fully in the many areas of social progress made possible by Democratic efforts, on behalf of all the people.
Finally, the Democratic Party pledges to end all Naval shelling and bombardment of the tiny, inhabited island of Culebra and its neighboring keys, not later than June 1, 1975. With this action, and others, we will demonstrate the concern of the Democratic Party to develop and maintain a productive relationship between the Commonwealth and the United States.
Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Trust Territories of the Pacific
We pledge to include all of these areas in federal grant-in-aid programs on a full and equitable basis.
We praise the Democratic Congress for providing a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives from Guam and the Virgin Islands and urge that these elected delegates be accorded the full vote in the committees to which they are assigned.
We support the right of American Samoans to elect their Governor, and will consider methods by which American citizens residing in American territories can participate in Presidential elections.
IV. Cities, Communities, Counties and the Environment
“When the Democratic Platform is written and acted on in Miami, let it be a blueprint for the life and survival of our cities and our people.”
Mayor Kenneth A. Gibson U.S. Conference of Mayors New Orleans June 19, 1972 Introduction
Always the vital center of our civilization, the American city since World War II has been suffering growing pains, caused partly by the change of the core city into a metropolitan city and partly by the movement of people from towns and rural areas into the cities.
The burgeoning of the suburbs—thrust outward with too little concern for social, economic and environmental consequences—has both broadened the city’s limits and deepened human and neighborhood needs.
The Nixon Administration has failed to meet most of these needs. It has met the problem of urban decay with tired, decaying “solutions” that are unworthy of the name. It could act to revitalize our urban areas; instead, we see only rising crime, fear and flight, racial and economic polarization, loss of confidence and depletion of community resources.
This Administration has ignored the cities and suburbs, permitting taxes to rise and services to decline; housing to deteriorate faster than it can be replaced, and morale to suffer. It actually has impounded funds appropriated by a Democratic Congress to help cities in crisis.
The Administration has ignored the needs of city and suburban residents for public services, for property tax relief and for the planning and coordination that alone can assure that housing, jobs, schools and transportation are built and maintained in suitable locations and in needed numbers and quality.
Meanwhile, the Nixon Administration has forgotten small-town America, too, refusing to provide facilities that would make it an attractive alternative to city living.
This has become the American crisis of the 1970’s. Today, our highest national priority is clear and precise: To deal effectively—and now with the massive, complex and urgent needs of our cities, suburbs and towns.
The federal government cannot solve all the problems of these communities. Too often, federal bureaucracy has failed to deliver the services and keep the promises that are made. But only the federal government can be the catalyst to focus attention and resources on the needs of every neighborhood in America.
Under the Nixon Administration, piecemeal measures, poorly funded and haphazardly applied, have proved almost totally inadequate. Words have not halted the decline of neighborhoods. Words have not relieved the plight of tenants in poorly managed, shoddy housing. Our scarce urban dollars have been wasted, and even the Republican Secretary of Housing and Urban Development has admitted it.
The Democratic Party pledges to stop the rot in our cities, suburbs and towns, and stop it now. We pledge commitment, coordination, planning and funds:
Commitment to make our communities places where we are proud to raise our children;
Coordination and planning to help all levels of government achieve the same goals, to ensure that physical facilities meet human needs and to ensure that land—a scarce resource—is used in ways that meet the needs of the entire nation; and
Funds to reduce the burden of the inequitable property tax and to help local government meet legitimate and growing demands for public facilities and services.
The nation’s urban areas must and can be habitable. They are not only centers of commerce and trade, but also repositories of history and culture, expressing the richness and variety of their region and of the larger society. They are worthy of the best America can offer. They are America.
Partnership Among Governments
The federal government must assist local communities to plan for their orderly growth and development, to improve conditions and opportunities for all their citizens and to build the public facilities they need.
Effective planning must be done on a regional basis. New means of planning are needed that are practical and realistic, but that go beyond the limits of jurisdictional lines. If local government is to be responsive to citizen needs, public services and programs must efficiently be coordinated and evolved through comprehensive regional planning and decision-making. Government activities should take account of the future as well as the present.
In aiding the reform of state and local government, federal authority must insist that local decisions take into account the views and needs of all citizens, white and black, haves and have-nots, young and old, Spanish and other non-English-speaking, urban, suburban and rural.
Americans ask more and more of their local governments, but the regressive property tax structure makes it impossible for cities and counties to deliver. The Democratic Party is committed to ensure that state and local governments have the funds and the capacity to achieve community service and development goals—goals that are nationally recognized. To this end:
We fully support general revenue sharing and the principle that the federal income tax should be used to raise more revenues for local use;
We pledge adequate federal funds to halt property tax increases and to begin to roll them back. Turning over federal funds to local governments will permit salaries of underpaid state and local government employees to climb to acceptable levels; and it will reduce tax pressures on the aged, the poor, Spanish and other non-English-speaking Americans and young couples starting out in life;
We further commit ourselves to reorganize categorical grant programs. They should be consolidated, expanded and simplified. Funding should be adequate, dependable, sustained, long-term and related to state and local fiscal timetables and priorities;
There should be full funding of all programs, without the impounding of funds by the Executive Branch to thwart the will of Congress. And there should be performance standards governing the distribution of all federal funds to state and local governments; and
We support efforts to eliminate gaps and costly overlaps in services delivered by different levels of government.
Urban Growth Policy
The Nixon Administration has neither developed an effective urban growth policy designed to meet critical problems, nor concerned itself with the needed recreation of the quality of life in our cities, large and small. Instead, it has severely over-administered and underfunded existing federal aid programs. Through word and deed, the Administration has widened the gulf between city and suburb, between core and fringe, between haves and have-nots.
The nation’s urban growth policies are seen most clearly in the legitimate complaints of suburban householders over rising taxes and center-city families over houses that are falling apart and services that are often non-existent. And it is here, in the center city, that the failure of Nixon Administration policies is most clear to all who live there.
The Democratic Party pledges:
A national urban growth policy to promote a balance of population among cities, suburbs, small towns and rural areas, while providing social and economic opportunities for everyone. America needs a logical urban growth policy, instead of today’s inadvertent, chaotic and haphazard one that doesn’t work. An urban growth policy that truly deals with our tax and mortgage insurance and highway policies will require the use of federal policies as leverage on private investment;
A policy on housing—including low- and middle-income housing—that will concentrate effort in areas where there are jobs, transportation, schools, health care and commercial facilities. Problems of over growth are not caused so much by land scarcity, as by the wrong distribution of people and the inadequate servicing of their needs; and
A policy to experiment with alternative strategies to reserve land for future development—land banks—and a policy to recoup publicly created land values for public benefit.
Many of the worst problems in America are centered in our cities. Countless problems contribute to their plight: decay in housing, the drain of welfare, crime and violence, racism, failing schools, joblessness and poor mass transit, lack of planning for land use and services.
The Democratic Party pledges itself to change the disastrous policies of the Nixon Administration toward the cities and to reverse the steady process of decay and dissolution. We will renew the battle begun under the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations to improve the quality of life in our cities. In addition to pledging the resources critically needed, we commit ourselves to these actions:
Help localities to develop their own solutions to their most pressing problems—the federal government should not stifle or usurp local initiative;
Carry out programs developed elsewhere in this Platform to assure every American decent shelter, freedom from hunger, good health care, the opportunity to work, adequate income and a decent education;
Provide sufficient management and planning funds for cities, to let them increase staff capacity and improve means of allocating resources;
Distribute funds according to standards that will provide center cities with enough resources to revitalize old neighborhoods and build new ones, to expand and improve community services and to help local governments better to plan and deliver these services; and
Create and fund a housing strategy that will recognize that housing is neighborhood and community as well as shelter—a strategy that will serve all the nation’s urban areas and all the American people.
Housing and Community Development
The 1949 Housing Act pledged “a decent home and suitable living environment for every American family.” Twenty-three years later, this goal is still far away. Under this Administration, there simply has been no progress in meeting our housing needs, despite the Democratic Housing Act of 1968. We must build 2.6 million homes a year, including two-thirds of a million units of federally-subsidized low- and middle-income housing. These targets are not being met. And the lack of housing is particularly critical for people with low and middle incomes.
In the cities, widespread deterioration and abandonment are destroying once sound homes and apartments, and often entire neighborhoods, faster than new homes are built.
Federal housing policy creates walled compounds of poor, elderly and ethnic minorities, isolating them in the center city.
These harmful policies include the Administration’s approach to urban renewal, discrimination against the center city by the Federal Housing Administration, highway policies that destroy neighborhoods and create ghettoes and other practices that work against housing for low- and middle-income families.
Millions of lower—and middle-class Americans-each year the income level is higher—are priced out of housing because of sharply rising costs.
Under Republican leadership, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has become the biggest slumlord in the country. Some unsophisticated home buyers have purchased homes with FHA mortgage insurance or subsidies. These consumers, relying on FHA appraisals to protect them, often have been exploited by dishonest real estate speculators. Unable to repair or maintain these houses, the buyers often have no choice but to abandon them. As a result, the FHA will acquire a quarter million of these abandoned houses at a cost to the taxpayers of billions of dollars.
Under the Republican Administration, the emphasis has been on housing subsidies for the people who build and sell houses rather than for those people who need and live in them. In many cases, the only decent shelter provided is a tax shelter.
To correct this inequity the Democratic Party pledges:
To overhaul completely the FHA to make it a consumer oriented agency;
To use the full faith and credit of the Treasury to provide direct, low-interest loans to finance the construction and purchase of decent housing for the American people; and
To insist on building practices, inspection standards and management that will assure quality housing.
The next Administration must build and conserve housing that not only meets the basic need for shelter, but also provides a wider choice of quality housing and living environments. To meet this challenge, the Democratic Party commits itself to a housing approach that:
Prevents the decay and abandonment of homes and neighborhoods. Major rehabilitation programs to conserve and rehabilitate housing are needed. Consumers should be aided in purchasing homes, and low-income housing foreclosed by the FHA should be provided to poor families at minimal cost as an urban land grant. These houses should be rehabilitated and lived in, not left to rot;
Provides federal funds for preservation of existing neighborhoods. Local communities should decide whether they want renewal or preservation. Choosing preservation should not mean steady deterioration and inadequate facilities;
Provides for improved housing quality for all families through strict enforcement of housing quality standards and full compliance with state and local health and safety laws;
Provides effective incentives to reduce housing costs—to the benefit of poor and middle-income families alike through effective use of unused, undeveloped land, reform of building practices and the use of new building techniques, including factory-made and modular construction;
Assures that residents have a strong voice in determining the destiny of their own neighborhoods;
Promotes free choice in housing—the right of all families, regardless of race, color, religion or income, to choose among a wide range of homes and neighborhoods in urban, suburban and rural areas—through the greater use of grants to individuals for housing, the development of new communities offering diversified housing and neighborhood options and the enforcement of fair housing laws; and
Assures fair and equitable relationships between landlords and tenants.
New towns meet the direct housing and community needs of only a small part of our populations. To do more, new towns must be developed in concert with massive efforts to revitalize central cities and enhance the quality of life in still growing suburban areas.
The Democratic Party pledges:
To strengthen the administration of the New Towns program; to reduce onerous review requirements that delay the start of New Towns and thus thwart Congressional mandates; to release already appropriated monies and provide new planning and development funds needed to assure the quality of life in New Towns; and
To assure coordination between development of New Towns and renewed efforts to improve the quality of life in established urban and suburban areas. We also promise to use effectively the development of New Towns to increase housing choices for people now living in central and suburban areas.
Urban problems cannot be separated from transportation problems. Whether tying communities together, connecting one community to another or linking our cities and towns to rural areas, good transportation is essential to the social and economic life of any community. It joins workers to jobs; makes commercial activity both possible and profitable and provides the means for expanding personal horizons and promoting community cultural life.
Today, however, the automobile is the principal form of transportation in urban areas. The private automobile has made a major contribution to economic growth and prosperity in this century. But now we must have better balanced transportation—more of it public. Today, 15 times as much federal aid goes to highways as to mass transit; tomorrow this must change. At the same time, it is important to preserve and improve transportation in America’s rural areas, to end the crisis in rural mobility.
The Democratic Party pledges: To create a single Transportation Trust Fund, to replace the Highway Trust Fund, with such additional funds as necessary to meet our transportation crisis substantially from federal resources. This fund will allocate monies for capital projects on a regional basis, permitting each region to determine its own needs under guidelines that will ensure a balanced transportation system and adequate funding of mass transit facilities.
Moreover, we will:
Assist local transit systems to meet their capital operating needs;
End the deterioration of rail and rural transportation and promote a flexible rural transportation system based on local, state and regional needs;
Take steps to meet the particular transportation problems of the elderly, the handicapped and others with special needs; and
Assist development of airport terminals, facilities and access to them, with due regard to impact on environment and community.
Environment, Technology and Resources
Every American has the right to live, work and play in a clean, safe and healthy environment. We have the obligation to ourselves and to our children. It is not enough simply to prevent further environmental deterioration and the despoilation of our natural endowment. Rather, we must improve the quality of the world in which we and they will live.
The Nixon Administration’s record on the environment is one of big promises and small actions.
Inadequate enforcement, uncertain requirements, reduced funding and a lack of manpower have undercut the effort commenced by a Democratic Administration to clean up the environment.
We must recognize the costs all Americans pay for the environmental destruction with which we all live: Poorer health, lessened recreational opportunities, higher maintenance costs, lower land productivity and diminished beauty in our surroundings. Only then can we proceed wisely, yet vigorously, with a program of environmental protection which recognizes that, although environmental protection will not be cheap, it is worth a far greater price, in effort and money, than we have spent thus far.
Such a program must include adequate federal funding for waste management, recycling and disposal and for purification and conservation of air and water resources.
The next Administration must reconcile any conflicts among the goals of cleaner air and water, inexpensive power and industrial development and jobs in specific places.
These difficulties do exist—to deny them would be deceptive and irresponsible. At the same time, we know they can be resolved by an Administration with energy, intelligence and commitment-qualities notably absent from the current Administration’s handling of the problem.
We urge additional financial support to the United States Forest Service for planning and management consistent with the environmental ideal stated in this Platform.
Choosing the Right Methods of Environmental Protection
The problem we face is to choose the most efficient, effective and equitable techniques for solving each new environmental problem. We cannot afford to waste resources while doing the job, any more than we can afford to leave the job undone.
We must enforce the strict emission requirements on all pollution sources set under the 1970 Clean Air Act.
We must support the establishment of a policy of no harmful discharge into our waters by 1985.
We must have adequate staffing and funding of all regulatory and enforcement agencies and departments to implement laws, programs and regulations protecting the environment, vigorous prosecution of violators and a Justice Department committed to enforcement of environmental law.
We must fully support laws to assure citizens’ standing in federal environmental court suits.
Strict interstate environmental standards must be formulated and enforced to prevent pollution from high-density population areas being dumped into low-density population areas for the purpose of evasion of strict pollution enforcement.
The National Environmental Policy Act should be broadened to include major private as well as public projects, and a genuine commitment must be made to making the Act work.
Our environment is most threatened when the natural balance of an area’s ecology is drastically altered for the sole purpose of profits. Such practices as “clear cut” logging, strip mining, the indiscriminate destruction of whole species, creation of select ocean crops at the expense of other species and the unregulated use of persistent pesticides cannot be justified when they threaten our ability to maintain a stable environment.
Where appropriate, taxes need to be levied on pollution, to provide industry with an incentive to clean up.
We also need to develop new public agencies that can act to abate pollution-act on a scale commensurate with the size of the problem and the technology of pollution control.
Expanded federal funding is required to assist local governments with both the capital and operating expenses of water pollution control and solid waste management.
Jobs and the Environment
The United States should not be condemned to the choice between the development of resources and economic security or preservation of those resources.
A decent job for every American is a goal that need not, and must not, be sacrificed to our commitment to a clean environment. Far from slowing economic growth, spending for environmental protection can create new job opportunities for many Americans. Nevertheless, some older and less efficient plants might find themselves in a worse competitive position due to environmental protection requirements. Closely monitored adjustment assistance should be made available to those plants willing to modernize and institute environmental protection measures.
Science and Technology
For years, the United States was the world’s undisputed leader in science and technology. Now that leadership is being challenged, in part because of the success of efforts in other countries, and in part because of the Nixon Administration’s neglect of our basic human and material resources in this field.
As Democrats, we understand the enormous investment made by the nation in educating and training hundreds of thousands of highly skilled Americans in science and technology. Many of these people are now unemployed, as aerospace and defense programs are slowly cut back and as the Administration’s economic policies deprive these Americans, as well as others, of their livelihood.
So far, however, the Nixon Administration has paid scant attention to these problems. By contrast, the Democratic Party seeks both to increase efforts by the federal government and to stimulate research in private industry.
In addition, the Democratic Party is committed to increasing the overall level of scientific research in the United States, which has been allowed to fall under the Nixon Administration. And we are eager to take management methods and techniques devised for the space and defense programs, as well as our technical resources, and apply them to the city, the environment, education, energy, transportation, health care and other urgent domestic needs. We propose also to work out a more effective relationship between government and industry in this area, to stimulate the latter to a greater research and development effort, thus helping buoy up the economy and create more jobs.
Finally, we will promote the search for new approaches in science and technology, so that the benefits of progress may be had without further endangering the environment—indeed, so that the environment may be better preserved. We must create a systematic way to decide which new technologies will contribute to the nation’s development, and which will cause more problems than they solve. We are committed to a role for government in helping to bring the growth of technology into a harmonious relationship with our lives.
The earth’s natural resources, once in abundant and seemingly unlimited supply, can no longer be taken for granted. In particular, the United States is facing major changes in the pattern of energy supply that will force us to reassess traditional policies. By 1980, we may well have to depend on imports from the Eastern Hemisphere for as much as 30 to 50 percent of our oil supplies. At the same time, new forms of energy supply—such as nuclear, solar or geothermal power—lag far behind in research and development.
In view of these concerns, it is shocking that the Nixon Administration still steadfastly refuses to develop a national energy policy.
The Democratic Party would remedy that glaring oversight. To begin with, we should:
Promote greater research and development, both by government and by private industry, of unconventional energy sources, such as solar power, geothermal power, energy from water and a variety of nuclear power possibilities to design clean breeder fission and fusion techniques. Public funding in this area needs to be expanded, while retaining the principle of public administration of public funds;
Re-examine our traditional view of national security requirements in energy to reconcile them with our need for long-term abundant supplies of clean energy at reasonable cost;
Expand research on coal technology to minimize pollution, while making it possible to expand the efficiency of coal in meeting our energy needs;
Establish a national power plant siting procedure to examine and protect environmental values;
Reconcile the demand for energy with the demand to protect the environment;
Redistribute the cost of power among consumers, so that all, especially the poor, may be guaranteed adequate power at reasonable costs;
Develop a national power grid to improve the reliability and efficiency of our electricity system;
End the practice of allowing promotional utility advertising as an expense when rates are set; and
Find new techniques to encourage the conservation of energy. We must also require full disclosure of the energy needs of consumer products and home heating to enable consumers to make informed decisions on their use of energy.
As with the supply of energy, no longer can we take for granted the precious resources we derive from the oceans. Here, too, we need comprehensive national and international policies to use and protect the vast potential contained in the sea. In particular we must:
Agree with other nations on stopping pollution of the seas, if they are not one day to become one large sewer, or be filled with dangerous poisons that will deprive us of vital food resources;
Agree with other nations on the conservation of food resources in the seas and promote the use of management techniques that will end the decline of the world’s fish catch on the continental shelf through international cooperation for fishing gear regulations and species quota and preserve endangered species;
Agree on an international accord for the seas, so resources can be shared equitably among the world’s nations. We must be prepared to act constructively at next year’s Conference on the Law of the Seas;
Begin to reconcile competing interests in the future of the seas, including our national security objectives, to protect ocean resources in cooperation with other nations; and
Support strongly the protection of ocean mammals (seal, whale, walrus) from indiscriminate destruction by both foreign and tuna fishing industries, but specifically exempting those native Americans whose subsistence depends completely on their total use of the ocean’s resources.
Ninety percent of all salt water fish species live on our continental shelves, where plant life is plentiful. For this reason, we support monitoring and strict enforcement of all safety regulations on all offshore drilling equipment and on environmentally-safe construction of all tankers transporting oil.
For generations, Americans have been concerned with preserving the natural treasures of our country: Our lakes and rivers, our forests and mountains. Enlightened Americans of the past decided that the federal government should take a major role in protecting these treasures, on behalf of everyone. Today, however, neglect on the part of the Nixon Administration is threatening this most valued heritage—and that of our children. Never before in modern history have our public lands been so neglected and the responsible agencies so starved of funds.
The Democratic Party is concerned about preserving our public lands, and promoting policies of land management in keeping with the broad public interest. In particular, it is imperative to restore lost funds for land, park and forest management. It is imperative that decisions about the future use of our public lands be opened up to all the people for widespread public debate and discussion. Only through such an open process can we set ground rules that appropriately limit the influence of special interests and allow for cohesive guidelines for national land-use planning.
We are particularly aware of the potential conflicts among the use of land, rivers, lakes and the seashore for economic development, large-scale recreation and for preservation as unspoiled wilderness. We recognize that there are competing goals, and shall develop means for resolving these conflicts in a way that reflects the federal government’s particular responsibilities as custodian for the public. We need more National Seashores and expansion of the National Park system. Major steps must be taken to follow up on Congressional commitment to scenic riverways.
Recreation areas must be made available to people where they live. This includes the extension of our national wilderness preserves to include de facto wilderness areas and their preservation free of commercialization. In this way, we will help to preserve and improve the quality of life for millions of our people.
With regard to the development of the vast natural resources on our public lands, we pledge a renewed commitment to proceed in the interests of all our citizens.
“The American people want overwhelmingly to give to our children and adults equitable educational opportunities of the highest possible quality, not predicated on race, not predicated on past social accomplishment or wealth, except in a compensatory way to those who have been deprived in the past.” Governor Jimmy Carter, Atlanta Hearing, June 9, 1972.
Our schools are failing our children. Never, more than now, have we needed the schools to play their traditional role—to create a sense of national unity and to reconcile ethnic, religious and racial conflicts. Yet the Nixon Administration—by ignoring the plight of the nation’s schools, by twice vetoing funds for education—has contributed to this failure.
America in the 1970’s requires something the world has never seen: Masses of educated people —educated to feel and to act, as well as to think. The children who enter school next fall still will be in the labor force in the year 2030; we cannot even imagine what American society will be like then, let alone what specific jobs they may hold. For them, education must be done by teaching them how to learn, how to apply man’s wisdom to new problems as they arise and how to recognize new problems as they arise. Education must prepare students not just to earn a living but to live a life—a creative, humane and sensitive life.
Achieving educational excellence requires adequate financial support. But today local property taxes—which do not keep pace with inflation—can no longer support educational needs. Continued reliance on this revenue source imposes needless hardship on the American family without supplying the means for good schools. At the same time, the Nixon recession has sapped the resources of state government, and the Administration’s insensitivity to school children has meant inadequate federal expenditures in education.
The next Democratic Administration should:
Support equalization in spending among school districts. We support Court decisions holding unconstitutional the disparities in school expenditures produced by dependence on local property taxes. We pledge equality of spending as a way to improve schools and to assure equality of access to good education for all children;
Increase federal financial aid for elementary and secondary education to enhance achievement of quality education anywhere, and by fully funding the programs passed by the Congress and by fully funding ESEA Title I;
Step up efforts to meet the special needs and costs of educationally disadvantaged children handicapped by poverty, disability or non-English-speaking family background;
Channel financial aid by a Constitutional formula to children in non-public schools;
Support suburban-urban cooperation in education to share resources and expenses;
Develop and implement the retraining of displaced black and other minority teachers affected by desegregation; and
Continue with full federal funding the breakfast and lunch programs for all children and the development of other programs to combat hunger.
Early Childhood Education
Our youngest children are most ignored by national policy and most harshly treated by the Nixon Administration. President Nixon’s cruel, irresponsible veto of the Comprehensive Child Development Act of 1971 indicates dramatically the real values of the present Administration.
That legislation struck down by President Nixon remains the best program to bring support to family units threatened by economic and social pressures; to eliminate educational handicaps which leave disadvantaged children unable to compete in school; to prevent early childhood disease before it results in adult disability; to interrupt the painful, destructive cycle of welfare dependence, and, most important, to allow all children happy lives as children and the opportunity to develop their full potential.
We support legislation for positive and preventive approaches to early childhood education.
These approaches should be designed to help eliminate educational handicaps before they require remedial treatment. A Democratic President will support and sign a program for universal comprehensive child development.
We should give reality to the right of mentally retarded children to adequate health care and educational opportunities through such measures as including necessary care under national health insurance and federal aid to assure an opportunity for education for all retarded persons.
Equal Access to Quality Education
The Supreme Court of the United States in Brown v Board of Education established the Constitutional principle that states may not discriminate between school children on the basis of their race and that separate but equal has no place in our public education system. Eighteen years later the provision of integration is not a reality.
We support the goal of desegregation as a means to achieve equal access to quality education for all our children. There are many ways to desegregate schools: School attendance lines may he redrawn; schools may be paired; larger physical facilities may be built to serve larger, more diverse enrollments; magnet schools or educational parks may be used. Transportation of students is another tool to accomplish desegregation. It must continue to be available according to Supreme Court decisions to eliminate legally imposed segregation and improve the quality of education for all children.
Ten per cent of school children in the United States speak a language other than English in their homes and communities. The largest of the linguistic and cultural groups—Spanish-speaking and American Indians—are also among the poorest people in the United States. Increasing evidence indicates an almost total failure of public education to educate these children.
The drop out rates of Spanish speaking and Indian children are the worst of any children in the country. The injury is compounded when such children are placed in special “compensatory” programs or programs for the “dumb” or the “retarded” on the basis of tests and evaluations conducted in English.
The passage of the Bilingual Education Act of 1967 began a commitment by the nation to do something about the injustices committed against the bilingual child. But for 1972-73, Congress appropriated $35 million—enough to serve only two per cent of the children who need help.
The next Democratic Administration should:
Increase federal support for bilingual, bicultural educational programs, pre-school through secondary school, including funding of bilingual Adult Basic Education;
Ensure sufficient teacher training and curriculum development for such schools;
Implement an affirmative action program to train and to hire bilingual-bicultural Spanish-speaking persons at all levels in the educational system;
Provide inventories for state and local districts to initiate bilingual bicultural education programs;
Require testing of bilingual-bicultural children in their own languages; and
Prohibit discrimination against bilingual-bicultural children in school.
Academic accomplishment is not the only way to financial success, job satisfaction or rewarding life in America. Many young Americans think that college is the only viable route when for some a vocational-technical career offers as much promise of a full life. Moreover, the country desperately needs skilled workers, technicians, men and women who understand and can handle the tools and equipment that mean growth and jobs. By 1975 the need for skilled craftsmen will increase 18 per cent while the need for college-trained persons will remain stable.
Young people should be permitted to make a career choice consistent with their interests, aptitudes and aspirations. We must create an atmosphere where the dignity of work is respected, where diversity of talent and taste is encouraged and where continuing opportunity exists to keep pace with change and gives a saleable skill.
To aid this, the next Democratic Administration can:
Give vocational-technical education the same priority in funds and emphasis previously given academic education;
Support full appropriations for the recently-passed Occupational Education Act;
Strengthen the career counseling programs in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education so that young people are made aware of all of the opportunities open to them and provide special kinds of vocational-technical education and experience to meet specific area needs;
Develop and promote a climate conducive to free, rational choice by young people, dispelling the current prejudices that influence career decisions for most young people almost from birth;
Establish a lifetime system of continuing education to enhance career mobility, both vertically and laterally, so that the career choice made at 18 or 20 years of age does not have to be the only or the final choice; and
Grant equal representation to minorities and women in vocational technical education.
We support universal access to opportunities to post-secondary education. The American education system has always been an important path toward social and economic advancement. Federal education policy should ensure that our colleges and universities continue as an open system. It must also stimulate the creative development and expansion of higher education to meet the new social, economic and environmental problems confronting society. To achieve the goals of equal opportunity in education, to meet the growing financial crisis in higher education and to stimulate reform of educational techniques, the next Democratic Administration should:
Support guaranteed access for all students to loan funds with long-term repayment based on future earnings. Not only the poor, but families with moderate incomes must be provided relief from the cost of a college and professional education;
Grant supplements and contingent loans to institutions, based on enrollment of federally-aided students;
Provide research funds to stimulate a partnership between post-secondary, secondary and primary education, in an effort to find new patterns for learning and to provide training and retraining of teachers, especially in urban areas;
Develop broad opportunities for lifelong learning including encouragement for post-secondary education throughout adult years and permit “stopping-off” during higher education;
Develop affirmative programs in universities and colleges for recruitment of minorities and women for administrative and teaching positions and as students; and
Create incentives for non-traditional education which recognize the contribution of experience to an individual’s educational status.
Arts and Humanities
Support for the arts and humanities is one of the benchmarks of a civilized society. Yet, the continued existence of many of America’s great symphonies, theatres and museums, our film institutes, dance companies and other art forms, is now threatened by rising costs, and the public contribution, far less than in most advanced industrial societies, is a fraction of the need.
We should expand support of the arts and humanities by direct grants through the National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities, whose policy should be to stimulate the widest variety of artistic and scholarly expression.
We should support long-range financing for public broadcasting, insulated from political pressures. We deplore the Nixon Administration’s crude efforts to starve and muzzle public broadcasting, which has become a vital supplement to commercial television.
VI. Crime, Law and Justice
“I think we can reduce crime. Society has no more important challenge because crime is human conduct and more than any other activity of people it reflects the moral character of a nation.” -Ramsey Clark, Washington Hearing, June 23, 1972.
We advocate and seek a society and a government in which there is an attitude of respect for the law and for those who seek its enforcement and an insistence on the part of our citizens that the judiciary be ever mindful of their primary duty and function of punishing the guilty and protecting the innocent. We will insist on prompt, fair and equal treatment for all persons before the bar of justice.
The problem of crime in America is real, immediate and fundamental; its costs to the nation are staggering; nearly three-quarters of a million victims of violent crime in one year alone; more than 15,000 murders, billions of dollars of property loss.
The indirect, intangible costs are even more ominous. A frightened nation is not a free nation. Its citizens are prisoners, suspicious of the people they meet, restricted in when they go out and when they return, threatened even in their own homes. Unless government at all levels can restore a sense of confidence and security to its people, there is the ever-present danger that alarm will turn to panic, triggering short-cut remedies that jeopardize hard-won liberties.
When law enforcement breaks down, not only the victims of street violence suffer; the worker’s health and safety is imperiled by unsafe, illegal conditions on the job; the society is defenseless against fraud and pollution; most tragically of all, parents and communities are ravaged by traffic in dangerous drugs.
The Nixon Administration campaigned on a pledge to reduce crime—to strengthen the “peace forces” against the “criminal forces.” Despite claims to the contrary, that pledge has been broken:
Violent crime has increased by one-third, to the highest levels in our history;
Fueled by the immense profits of narcotics traffic, organized crime has thrust its corruption farther and farther, into law enforcement agencies and the halls of justice;
The Department of Justice has become the handmaiden of the White House political apparatus, offering favors to those special interests which buy their “law” in Washington;
The Justice Department has failed to enforce laws protecting key legal rights, such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and
Nixon and Mitchell use federal crime control funds for political purposes, squandering $1.5 billion.
To reverse this course, through equal enforcement of the law, and to rebuild justice the Democratic Party believes:
The impact of crime in America cuts across racial, geographic and economic lines;
Hard-line rhetoric, pandering to emotion, is both futile and destructive;
We can protect all people without undermining fundamental liberties by ceasing to use “law and order” as justification for repression and political persecution, and by ceasing to use stop-gap measures as preventive detention, “no-knock” entry, surveillance, promiscuous and unauthorized use of wire taps, harassment, and secret dossiers; and The problems of crime and drug abuse cannot be isolated from the social and economic conditions that give rise to them.
Effective law enforcement requires tough planning and action. This Administration has given us nothing but tough words. Together with unequal law enforcement by police, prosecutors and judges, the result is a “turnstile” system of injustice, where most of those who commit crime are not arrested, most of those arrested are not prosecuted, and many of those prosecuted are not convicted. Under this Administration, the conviction rate for federal prosecutions has declined to one-half its former level. Tens of thousands of offenders simply never appear in court and are heard from again only when they commit another crime. This system does not deter crime. It invites it. It will be changed only when all levels of government act to return firmness and fairness to every part of the criminal justice system.
Fear of crime, and firm action against it, is not racism. Indeed the greatest victims of crime today—whether of business fraud or of the narcotics plague—are the people of the ghetto, black and brown. Fear now stalks their streets far more than it does the suburbs.
So that Americans can again live without fear of each other the Democratic Party believes:
There must be equally stringent law enforcement for rich and poor, corporate and individual offenders;
Citizens must he actively involved with the police in a joint effort;
Police forces must be upgraded, and recruiting of highly qualified and motivated policemen must be made easier through federally-assisted pay commensurate with the difficulty and importance of their job, and improved training with comprehensive scholarship and financial support for anyone who is serving or will contract to serve for an appropriate period of police service;
The complex job of policing requires a sensitivity to the changing social demands of the communities in which police operate;
We must provide the police with increased technological facilities and support more efficient use of police resources, both human and material;
When a person is arrested, both justice and effective deterrence of crime require that he be speedily tried, convicted or acquitted, and if convicted, promptly sentenced. To this end we support financial assistance to local courts, prosecutors, and independent defense counsel for expansion, streamlining, and upgrading, with trial in 60 days as the goal;
To train local and state police officers, a Police Academy on a par with the other service academies should be established as well as an Academy of Judicial Administration;
We will provide every assistance to our law enforcement agencies at federal and local levels in the training of personnel and the improvement of techniques and will encourage mutual cooperation between each in its own sphere of responsibility;
We will support needed legislation and action to seek out and bring to justice the criminal organization of national scope operating in our country;
We will provide leadership and action in a national effort against the usage of drugs and drug addiction, attacking this problem at every level and every source in a full scale campaign to drive this evil from our society. We recognize drug addiction as a health problem and pledge that emphasis will be put on rehabilitation of addicts;
We will provide increased emphasis in the area of juvenile delinquency and juvenile offenses in order to deter and rehabilitate young offenders;
There must be laws to control the improper use of hand guns. Four years ago a candidate for the presidency was slain by a handgun. Two months ago, another candidate for that office was gravely wounded. Three out of four police officers killed in the line of duty are slain with hand guns. Effective legislation must include a ban on sale of hand guns known as Saturday night specials which are unsuitable for sporting purposes;
A comprehensive fully-funded program is needed to improve juvenile justice, to ensure minimum standards, to expand research into rehabilitation techniques, including alternatives to reform schools and coordinate existing programs for treating juvenile delinquency; and
The block-grant system of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration which has produced ineffectiveness, waste and corruption should be eliminated. Funds should go directly to operating agencies that are committed to change and improvement in local law enforcement, including agencies concerned with research, rehabilitation, training and treatment.
Drug addiction and alcoholism are health problems. Drugs prey on children, destroy lives and communities, force crimes to satisfy addicts, corrupt police and government and finance the expansion of organized crime. A massive national effort, equal to the scale and complexity of the problem, is essential.
The next Democratic Administration should support:
A massive law enforcement effort, supported by increased funds and personnel, against the suppliers and distributors of heroin and other dangerous drugs, with increased penalties for major narcotics traffickers;
Full use of all existing resources to halt the illegal entry of narcotics into the United States, including suspension of economic and military assistance to any country that fails to take appropriate steps to prevent narcotic drugs produced or processed in that country from entering the United States illegally, and increases in customs personnel fighting smuggling of hard drugs;
An all-out investigative and prosecutory effort against corruption in government and law enforcement. Where corruption exists it is a major factor in permitting criminal activity, especially large-scale narcotic distribution, to flourish. It also destroys respect for the law in all who are conscious of its operation. We are determined that our children—whether in the ghetto or in a suburban high school shall no longer be able to see a pusher protected from prosecution, openly plying his trade;
Strict regulation and vigorous enforcement of existing quotas regulating production and distribution of dangerous drugs, including amphetamines and barbiturates, to prevent diversion into illegal markets, with legislation for strong criminal penalties against drug manufacturers engaging in illegal overproduction, distribution and importation;
Expanded research into dangerous drugs and their abuse, focusing especially on heroin addiction among the young and development of effective, non-addictive heroin treatment methods;
Concentration of law enforcement efforts on major suppliers and distributors, with most individual users diverted into treatment before prosecution;
Immediate placement in medical or psychiatric treatment, available to any individual drug abuser without fear of disclosure or harassment. Work opportunities should be provided for addicts in treatment by supported work and other programs; and
Drug education in schools based on fact, not scare tactics to teach young people the dangers of different drugs, and full treatment opportunities for youthful drug abusers. Hard drug trafficking in schools must be met with the strongest possible law enforcement.
Organized and Professional Crime
We are determined to exert the maximum power and authority of the federal government to protect the many victims who cannot help themselves against great criminal combinations.
Against the organized criminal syndicates, we pledge an expanded federal enforcement effort; one not restricted to criminals of any particular ethnic group, but which recognizes that organized crime in the United States cuts across all boundaries of race, national origin and class.
Against white-collar crime, we pledge to enforce the maximum penalties provided by law. Justice cannot survive when, as too often is the case, a boy who steals a television set is sentenced to a long jail term, while a stock manipulator who steals millions is only commanded to sin no more.
At least where life or personal injury are at stake, we pledge to seek expanded criminal penalties for the violation of federal laws. Employers who violate the worker safety and health laws, or manufacturers who knowingly sell unsafe products or drugs profit from death and injury as knowingly as the common mugger. They deserve equally severe punishment.
Rehabilitation of Offenders
Few institutions in America are as uniformly condemned and as consistently ignored as our existing prison system. Many prisons that are supposed to rehabilitate and separate, in fact train their inmates for nothing but brutality and a life of further crime. Only when public understanding recognizes that our existing “corrections” system contributes to escalating crime, will we get the massive effort necessary for fundamental restructuring.
Therefore, the Democratic Party commits itself to:
Restoration, after release, of rights to obtain drivers licenses and to public and private employment, and, after completion of sentence and conditions of parole, restoration of civil rights to vote and hold public office;
Revision of sentencing procedures and greater use of community-based rehabilitation facilities, especially for juveniles;
Recognition of the constitutional and human rights of prisoners; realistic therapeutic, vocational, wage-earning, education, alcoholism and drug treatment programs;
Making correctional personnel an integral part of the rehabilitative process;
Emergency, educational and work-release furlough programs as an available technique, support for “self-help” programs; and
Restoration of civil rights to ex-convicts after completion of their sentences, including the right to vote, to hold public office, to obtain drivers’ licenses and to public and private employment.
The Quality of Justice
Justice is not merely effective law enforcement —though that is an essential part of it. Justice, rather, expresses the moral character of a nation and its commitment to the rule of law, to equality of all people before the law.
The Democratic Party believes that nothing must abridge the faith of the American citizens in their system of law and justice.
We believe that the quality of justice will be enhanced by:
Equal treatment for all citizens in the court without fear or favor—corporations as well as individual offenders;
Swift trials for accused persons;
Equitable pre-trial release systems and the elimination of plea bargaining abuses;
Ending subversion of the legal system for political gain in court appointments, in antitrust cases and in administration of law enforcement programs;
Administering the laws and funding enacted by the Congress;
Respecting and abiding by Constitutional protections of due process; and
Abolishing capital punishment, recognized as an ineffective deterrent to crime, unequally applied and cruel and excessive punishment.
VII. Farming and Rural Life
“A blight hangs over the land caused by misguided farm policies.”—Tony Dechant, Sioux City hearing, June 16, 1972.
For many decades, American agriculture has been the envy of the world; and American farmers and American ranchers have made possible a level of nutrition and abundance for our people that is unrivaled in history, while feeding millions of people abroad.
The basis for this success—and its promise for the future—lies with the family-type farm. It can and must be preserved, in the best interests of all Americans and the nation’s welfare.
Today, as dwindling income forces thousands of family farmers into bankruptcy each year, the family-type farm is threatened with extinction. American farming is passing to corporate control.
These trends will benefit few of our people, while hurting many. The dominance of American food production by the large corporation would destroy individual enterprise and links that millions of our people have with the land; and it would lead to higher prices and higher food costs for everyone.
Major efforts must be made to prevent this disaster for the fabric of rural life, for the American farmer, rancher, farm worker and for the consumer and other rural people throughout our nation;
Farm income must be improved to enable farmers, ranchers and farm workers to produce a steady and dependable supply of food and fiber products in return for full parity; and
We must recognize and fulfill the social contract that exists between the family-farm producers of food and the non-farm consumer.
The Democratic Party understands these urgent needs; the Nixon Administration does not and has failed the American farmer. Its record today is consistent with the Republican record of the past: Low prices, farm surpluses that depress the market and callous disregard for the people in rural America.
This Administration has sold out agriculture to interests bent on eliminating family-type farmers and bent on delivering agriculture to conglomerates, agribusiness giants and rich investors seeking to avoid taxes.
Its policies have driven farm income as low as 67 per cent of parity, unequalled since the Depression. Between 50,000 and 75,000 farm families are driven off the land each year. Hundreds of thousands of demoralized people are being forced into overcrowded cities, emptying the countryside and bankrupting small business in rural towns and cities.
The Nixon Administration tries to hide its failures by misleading the people, juggling the parity formula to make prices look higher, distorting reports to make corporate farming look insignificant and trying to break up the U.S. Department of Agriculture and still the farmer’s voice.
The Democratic Party will reverse these disastrous policies, and begin to recreate a rural society of widespread family farming, individual opportunity and private and cooperative enterprises, where honest work will bring a decent income.
We repudiate the Administration’s set aside program, which pushes up the cost of farm programs while building huge surpluses that depress prices.
We repudiate the Report of the USDA Young Executives Committee which would eliminate the family-type farm by ending price support, loan and purchasing programs on all farm commodities and which would put farm people on the welfare rolls.
We repudiate a Presidential commission report recommending that future federal investment in many small towns and cities should make their decline merely more bearable rather than reverse it.
In place of these negative and harmful policies, the Democratic Party pledges itself to take positive and decisive action:
We will replace the 1970 Farm Act, when it expires next year, with a permanent law to provide fair prices to family type farm and ranch operators. This law will include loans and payments to farmers and effective supply management to raise family farm income to 100 percent of parity, based on the 1910-14 ratios.
We will resist a price ceiling on agriculture products until farm prices reach 110 per cent of parity, based on the 1910-14 ratios, and we will conduct a consumer education program to inform all Americans of the relationship between the prices of raw commodities and retail prices;
We will end farm program benefits to farm units larger than family-size; and
We will work for production adjustment that will assure adequate food and fiber for all our people, including low-income families and individuals whose purchasing power is supplemented with food stamps and that can provide enough commodities for export and for the Food for Peace Program.
Exporting Our Abundance
For many years, farm exports have made a major contribution to our balances of trade and payments. But this benefit for the entire nation must not be purchased with depressed prices for the producer.
The Democratic Party will ensure that:
Prices for commodities sent abroad as exports or aid return the cost of production plus a profit for the American farmer;
We will negotiate international commodity agreements to include prices that guarantee prices to producers based on cost of production plus a reasonable profit;
We will require U.S. corporations producing commodities outside the country for consumption here to pay duties high enough to prevent unfair competition for domestic producers;
We will assure that the same rigid standards for inspection of domestic dairy products and meat will be applied to imports; and
We will create a strategic reserve of storable commodities, insulated from the market, rotated regularly to maintain quality and stored to the extent possible on farms.
Strengthening the Family Farm
These policies and actions will not be enough on their own to strengthen the family farm. The Democratic Party also recognizes that farmers and ranchers must be able to gain economic strength in the marketplace by organizing and bargaining collectively for the sale of their products. And they need to be free of unfair competition from monopoly and other restrictive corporate practices. We therefore pledge:
To remove all obstacles to farm bargaining for the sale of products;
To extend authority for marketing orders to all farm commodities including those used for processing;
To prohibit farming, or the gaining of monopolistic control of production, on the part of corporations whose resources and income derive primarily from non-farm sources;
To investigate violations and enforce anti-trust laws in corporation-agriculture-agribusiness interlocks;
To prohibit corporations and individuals from setting up tax shelters or otherwise engaging in agriculture primarily for the purpose of tax avoidance or tax loss;
To encourage and support the use of cooperatives and membership associations in all areas of the country, which we pledge to protect from interference, punitive taxation or other hindrances; and
To assist small rural cooperatives to promote projects in housing, health, social services, marketing, farming, employment and transportation for rural areas with such things as technical assistance and credit.
Guaranteeing Farm People a Voice
None of these policies can begin to work unless farmers, ranchers, farm workers and other rural people have full rights of participation in our democratic institutions of government. The Democratic Party is committed to seeing that family-type farmers and ranchers will be heard and that they will have ample opportunity to help shape policies affecting agriculture and rural America. To this end:
We support the appointment of a farmer or rancher as Secretary of Agriculture;
We oppose all efforts to abolish or dismantle the U.S. Department of Agriculture;
We will require that decisions relating to dams and other public land-use projects in rural areas involving federal funds be considered at well-publicized public hearings. Government is not now giving adequate protection to individual rights in condemnation procedures. It must set new and better procedures and requirements to, assure individual rights;
We supported the United Farm Workers in their non-violent efforts to gain collective bargaining recognition and contracts. We also support unemployment insurance compensation benefits, workman’s compensation benefits and delivery of health services for farm workers; and
We support the removal of sugar workers from the custody of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Revitalizing Rural America
Sound rural development must start with improved farm income, which also promotes the prosperity of the small businesses that serve all rural people. But there must be other efforts, as well, to ensure equity for farm and rural people in the American economy. The Democratic Party pledges:
To support the rural cooperative electrification and telephone programs and to implement rural transportation programs as explained in the section Cities, Communities, Counties and the Environment of this Platform. We will extend the agricultural exemption in the Motor Carriers Act to products and supplies and ensure rural areas an equitable share of Highway Trust Funds;
To apply general revenue sharing in ways that will permit state and local taxation of family farm lands on the basis of value for farm use rather than value for land speculation;
To guarantee equal treatment of rural and urban areas in the provision of federal funds for schools, poverty programs, health facilities, housing, highways, air services, pollution control, senior citizen programs and employment opportunities and manpower and training programs;
To provide loans to aid young farm families and small businesses to get established in rural areas; and
To ensure agricultural research toward an examination of the social and economic consequences of technology.
The prime goal of land grant colleges and research should be to help family farms and rural people.
VIII. Foreign Policy
“The Administration is continuing a war—continuing the killing of Americans and Vietnamese —when our national security is not at stake.
“It is our duty as the opposition party to point out the Administration’s errors and to offer a responsible alternative.”—W. Averell Harriman, New York Hearing, June 22, 1972.
Strength in defense and wisdom in foreign affairs are essential to prosperity and tranquility. In the modern world, there can be no isolationism in reality or policy. But the measure of our nation’s rank in the world must be our success in achieving a just and peaceful society at home.
For the Nixon Administration, foreign policy results have fallen short of the attention and the slogans:
After four years of “Vietnamization,” the war in Southeast Asia continues and Nixon’s plan is still a secret;
Vital foreign policy decisions are made without consultation with Congress or our allies; and
Executive secrecy runs wild with unparalleled efforts to intimidate the media and suppress those who seek to put a different view before the American people.
The next Democratic Administration should:
End American participation in the war in Southeast Asia;
Re-establish control over military activities and reduce military spending, where consistent with national security;
Defend America’s real interests and maintain our alliances, neither playing world policeman nor abandoning old and good friends;
Not neglect America’s relations with small third-world nations in placing reliance to great power relationships;
Return to Congress, and to the people, a meaningful role in decisions on peace and war; and
Make information public, except where real national defense interests are involved.
Nothing better describes the need for a new American foreign policy than the fact that now, as for the past seven years, it begins with the war in Vietnam.
The task now is still to end the war, not to decide who is to blame for it. The Democratic Party must share the responsibility for this tragic war. But, elected with a secret plan to end this war, Nixon’s plan is still secret, and we—and the Vietnamese—have had four more years of fighting and death.
It is true that our involvement on the ground has been reduced. Troops are coming home. But the war has been extended in Laos and Cambodia; the bombing of North Vietnam has been expanded to levels of destruction undreamed of four years ago; North Vietnam has been blockaded; the number of refugees increases each day, and the Secretary of Defense warns us of still further escalation.
All this has accomplished nothing except to prolong the war. The hollowness of “Vietnamization”—a delusive slogan seeming to offer cheap victory—has been exposed by the recent offensive. The Saigon Government, despite massive U.S. support, is still not viable. It is militarily ineffective, politically corrupt and economically near collapse. Yet it is for this regime that Americans still die, and American prisoners still rot in Indo-China camps.
The plight of these American prisoners justly arouses the concern of all Americans. We must insist that any resolution of the war include the return of all prisoners held by North Vietnam and other adversary forces and the fullest possible accounting for the missing. With increasing lack of credibility, the Nixon Administration has sought to use the prisoners of war as an excuse for its policies. It has refused to make the simple offer of a definite and final end to U.S. participation in the war, in conjunction with return of all U.S. prisoners.
The majority of the Democratic Senators have called for full U.S. withdrawal by October 1, 1972. We support that position. If the war is not ended before the next Democratic Administration takes office, we pledge, as the first order of business, an immediate and complete withdrawal of all U.S. forces in Indo-China. All U.S. military action in Southeast Asia will cease. After the end of U.S. direct combat participation, military aid to the Saigon Government, and elsewhere in Indo-China, will be terminated.
The U.S. will no longer seek to determine the political future of the nations of Indo-China. The issue is not whether we will depose the present South Vietnamese Government, rather when we will cease insisting that it must be the core of any political settlement. We will do what we can to foster an agreement on an acceptable political solution but we recognize that there are sharp limits to our ability to influence this process, and to the importance of the outcome to our interest. Disengagement from this terrible war will not be a “defeat” for America. It will not imply any weakness in America’s will or ability to protect its vital interests from attack. On the contrary, disengagement will enable us to heal domestic diversions and to end the distortion of our international priorities which the war has caused.
A Democratic Administration will act to ease the hard transitions which will come with the end of this war. We pledge to offer to the people of Vietnam humanitarian assistance to help them repair the ravages of 30 years of war to the economy and to the people of that devastated land.
To our own people, we pledge a true effort to extend the hand of reconciliation and assistance to those most affected by the war.
To those who have served in this war, we pledge a full G.I. Bill of Rights, with benefits sufficient to pay for an education of the veteran’s choice, job training programs and the guarantee of employment and the best medical care this country can provide, including a full program of rehabilitation for those who have returned addicted to dangerous drugs. To those who for reasons of conscience refused to serve in this war and were prosecuted or sought refuge abroad, we state our firm intention to declare an amnesty, on an appropriate basis, when the fighting has ceased and our troops and prisoners of war have returned.
We propose a program of national defense which is both prudent and responsible, which will retain the confidence of our allies and which will be a deterrent to potential aggressors.Military strength remains an essential element of a responsible international policy. America must have the strength required for effective deterrence.
But military defense cannot be treated in isolation from other vital national concerns. Spending for military purposes is greater by far than federal spending for education, housing, environmental protection, unemployment insurance or welfare. Unneeded dollars for the military at once add to the tax burden and pre-empt funds from programs of direct and immediate benefit to our people. Moreover, too much that is now spent on defense not only adds nothing to our strength but makes us less secure by stimulating other countries to respond.
Under the Nixon stewardship of our defense policy, lack of sound management controls over defense projects threatens to price us out of an adequate defense. The reaction of the Defense Department to exposure of cost overruns has been to strike back at the critics instead of acting to stop the waste.
Needless projects continue and grow, despite evidence of waste, military ineffectiveness and even affirmative danger to real security. The “development” budget starts pressures for larger procurement budgets in a few years. Morale and military effectiveness deteriorate as drugs, desertion and racial hatreds plague the armed forces, especially in Vietnam.
The Democratic Party pledges itself to maintain adequate military forces for deterrence and effective support of our international position. But we will also insist on the firm control of specific costs and projects that are essential to ensure that each defense dollar makes a real contribution to national security. Specifically, a Democratic Administration should:
Plan military budgets on the basis of our present needs and commitments, not past practices or force levels;
Stress simplicity and effectiveness in new weapons and stop goldplating and duplication which threatens to spawn a new succession of costly military white elephants; avoid commitment to new weapons unless and until it becomes clear that they are needed;
Reject calls to use the SALT agreement as an excuse for wasteful and dangerous acceleration of our military spending;
Reduce overseas bases and forces; and
Rebuild the morale and military tradition of our armed forces through creative programs to combat drug abuse, racial tensions and eroded pride in service. We will support reforms of the conditions of military life to restore military service as an attractive career for men and women from all segments of our society.
By these reforms and this new approach to budgeting, coupled with a prompt end to U.S. involvement in the war in Indo-China, the military budget can be reduced substantially with no weakening of our national security. Indeed a leaner, better-run system will mean added strength, efficiency and morale for our military forces.
Workers and industries now dependent on defense spending should not be made to pay the price of altering our priorities. Therefore, we pledge reconversion policies and government resources to assure jobs and new industrial opportunities for all those adversely affected by curtailed defense spending.
We urge abolition of the draft.
Disarmament and Arms Control
The Democratic Party stands for keeping America strong; we reject the concept of unilateral reductions below levels needed for adequate military defense. But effective international arms control and disarmament do not threaten American security; they enhance it.
The last Democratic Administration took the lead in pressing for U.S.-Soviet agreement on strategic arms limitation. The recent SALT agreement is an important and useful first step.
The SALT agreement should be quickly ratified and taken as a starting point for new agreements. It must not be used as an excuse for new “bargaining chip” military programs or the new round of the arms race.
The next Democratic Administration should:
Carry on negotiations to expand the initial SALT agreement to other areas, especially to seek limits to the qualitative arms race and to begin reducing force levels on each side;
Seek a comprehensive ban on all nuclear testing, verified, as SALT will be, by national means;
Press for wide adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, signed in 1968, and for extension of the concept of nuclear free regions;
Seek ratification of the Protocol on Chemical Warfare without reservations;
In concert with our allies, pursue with the U.S.S.R. mutual force reductions in Europe; and
Widen the range of arms control discussions to include new subjects, such as mutual budget cuts, control of arms transfer to developing countries, restrictions on naval force deployments and other measures to limit conventional forces.
U.S. and the World Community
A new foreign policy must be adequate for a rapidly changing world. We welcome the opportunity this brings for improved relations with the U.S.S.R. and China. But we value even more America’s relations with our friends and allies in the Hemisphere, in Western Europe, Japan and other industrialized countries, Israel and the Middle East, and in the developing nations of Asia and Africa. With them, our relations must be conducted on a basis of mutual trust and consultation, seeking to strengthen our ties and to resolve differences on a basis of mutual advantage. Throughout the world, the focus of our policy should be a commitment to peace, self-determination, development, liberty and international cooperation, without distortion in favor of military points of view.
Europe.—Europe’s increasing economic and political strength and the growing cooperation and self-confidence of its people have made the Atlantic Alliance a partnership of equals. If we face the challenge of this new relationship, our historic partnership can endure.
The next Democratic Administration should: Reduce U.S. troop levels in Europe in close consultation with our allies, as part of a program to adjust NATO to changed conditions. What is essential in our relations with the other NATO nations is not a particular troop level, but our continued commitment to collective defense;
Pledge to work in greater cooperation with the European economic communities to ensure that integration in Europe does not serve as a formula for discrimination against American goods and enterprises;
Cease American support for the repressive Greek military government; and
Make the voice of the United States heard in Northern Ireland against violence and terror and against the discrimination, repression and deprivation which brought about that awful civil strife.
We welcome every improvement in relations between the United States and the Soviet Union and every step taken toward reaching vital agreements on trade and other subjects. However, in our pursuit of improved relations, America cannot afford to be blind to the continued existence of serious differences between us. In particular, the United States should, by diplomatic contacts, seek to mobilize world opinion to express concern at the denial to the oppressed peoples of Eastern Europe and the minorities of the Soviet Union, including the Soviet Jews, of the right to practice their religion and culture and to leave their respective countries.
Middle East.—The United States must be unequivocally committed to support of Israel’s right to exist within secure and defensible boundaries. Progress toward a negotiated political settlement in the Middle East will permit Israel and her Arab neighbors to live at peace with each other, and to turn their energies to internal development. It will also free the world from the threat of the explosion of Mid-East tensions into world war. In working toward a settlement, our continuing pledge to the security and freedom of Israel must be both clear and consistent.
The next Democratic Administration should: Make and carry out a firm, long-term public commitment to provide Israel with aircraft and other military equipment in the quantity and sophistication she needs to preserve her deterrent strength in the face of Soviet arsenaling of Arab threats of renewed war;
Seek to bring the parties into direct negotiations toward a permanent political solution based on the necessity of agreement on secure and defensible national boundaries;
Maintain a political commitment and a military force in Europe and at sea in the Mediterranean ample to deter the Soviet Union from putting unbearable pressure on Israel.
Recognize and support the established status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with free access to all its holy places provided to all faiths. As a symbol of this stand, the U.S. Embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; and
Recognize the responsibility of the world community for a just solution to the problems of the Arab and Jewish refugees.
Africa.—The central feature of African politics today is the struggle against racism and colonialism in Southern Africa. There should be no mistake about which side we are on. We stand for full political, civil and economic rights for black and other nonwhite peoples in Southern Africa. We are against white-minority rule. We should not underwrite a return to the interventionism of the past. But we can end United States complicity with such governments.
The focus of America’s concern with Africa must be on economic and social development. Economic aid to Africa, without political conditions, should be expanded, and African states assured an adequate share of the aid dollar. Military aid and aid given for military purposes should be sharply reduced.
All military aid to Portugal should be stopped and the Nixon $435 million deal for unneeded Azores bases should be canceled.
U.N. sanctions against the illegal racist regime in Southern Rhodesia should be supported vigorously, especially as they apply to chrome imports.
The U.S. should give full support to U.N. assertion of its control over Namibia (South West Africa), in accordance with the World Court’s ruling.
The U.S. should make clear its opposition to the radical totalitarianism of South Africa.
The U.S. government should act firmly to press U.S. businesses in South Africa to take measures for the fullest possible justice for their black employees. Blacks should be assigned at all levels to U.S. offices in South Africa, and throughout Africa. The South African sugar quota should be withdrawn.
No U.S. company or its subsidiary should be given U.S. tax credit for taxes paid to white-minority-ruled countries of Africa.
Japan.—Our relations with Japan have been severely strained by a series of “Nixon shocks.” We must restore our friendship with Japan, the leading industrial nation of Asia and a growing world power. There are genuine issues between us and Japan in the economic area, but accommodation of trade problems will be greatly eased by an end to the Nixon Administration’s calculated insensitivity to Japan and her interests, marked by repeated failures to afford advance warnings, much consultation over sudden shifts in U.S. diplomatic and economic policy that affect Japan.
India, Pakistan and Bangla Desh.—A Democratic Administration should work to restore the damage done to America’s friendship with India as a result of the Administration’s folly in “tilting” in favor of Pakistan and against Bangla Desh. The alienation by the Nixon Administration of India, the world’s largest democracy, and the continued suspension of economic aid to India have seriously damaged the status of the United States in Asia. We pledge generous support for the essential work of reconstruction and reconciliation in Bangla Desh. At the same time, we will maintain friendship and developmental assistance to the “new” Pakistan which has emerged from these sad events.
China.—The beginnings of a new U.S.-China relationship are welcome and important. However, so far, little of substance has changed, and the exaggerated secrecy and rhetoric of the Nixon Administration have produced unnecessary complications in our relationship with our allies and friends in Asia and with the U.S.S.R.
What is needed now is serious negotiation on trade, travel exchanges and progress on more basic issues. The U.S. should take the steps necessary to establish regular diplomatic relations with China.
Other Asian Countries.—The future of Asia will be determined by its people, not by the United States. We should support accommodation and cooperation among all Asian countries and continue to assist in economic development.
Canada.—A Democratic Administration should restore close U.S.-Canadian cooperation and communication, respecting Canada’s nationhood and pride. In settling economic issues, we should not compromise our interests; but seek mutually advantageous and equitable solutions. In areas such as environmental protection and social policies, the Americans and Canadians share common problems and we must act together.
Latin America.—The Good Neighbor policy of Franklin Roosevelt and the Alliance for Progress of John Kennedy set still-living goals-insulation from external political conflicts, mutual non-interference in internal affairs, and support for political liberty, social justice and economic progress. The Nixon Administration has lost sight of these goals, and the result is hostility and suspicion of the U.S. unmatched in generations.
The next Democratic Administration should:
Re-establish an inter-American alliance of equal sovereign nations working cooperatively for development;
Sharply reduce military assistance throughout the area;
Strive to deepen the exchange of people and ideas within the Hemisphere;
Take account of the special claims of democratically-elected governments on our resources and sympathy;
Pursue a policy of non-intervention by military means in domestic affairs of Latin American nations;
Recognize that, while Cuba must not be permitted to become a foreign military base, after 13 years of boycott, crisis and hostility, the time has come to re-examine our relations with Cuba and to seek a way to resolve this cold war confrontation on mutually acceptable terms; and
Re-establish a U.S.-Mexico border commission, with Mexican-American representatives, to develop a comprehensive program to desalinate and eradicate pollution of the Colorado River and other waterways flowing into Mexico, and conduct substantial programs to raise the economic level on both sides of the border. This should remove the economic reasons which contribute to illegal immigration and discourage run-away industries, in addition, language requirements for citizenship should be removed.
The United Nations.—The U.N. cannot solve all the great political problems of our time, but in an increasingly interdependent world, a world body is essential and its potential must be increasingly relied upon.
The next Democratic Administration should:
Re-establish the U.N. as a key forum for international activity, and assign representatives with the highest qualification for diplomacy;
Give strong executive branch leadership for U.S. acceptance of its obligations for U.N. financing, while renegotiating arrangement for sharing U.N. costs;
Abide by the binding U.N. Security Council decision on Rhodesia sanctions, and support U.N. peace-keeping efforts;
Work for development of enforceable world law as a basis for peace, and endorse repeal of the Connally Reservation on U.S. acceptance of World Court jurisdiction; and
Work to involve the U.N. increasingly on the complex technical and social problems such as pollution, health, communication, technology and population policy, which are worldwide in scope and demand a worldwide approach, and help provide the means for these U.N. efforts and for U.N. economic development functions.
International Economic Policy
In a prosperous economy, foreign trade has benefits for virtually everyone. For the consumer, it means lower prices and a wider choice of goods. For the worker and the businessman, it means new jobs and new markets. For nations, it means greater efficiency and growth.
But in a weak economy—with over five million men and women out of work—foreign imports bring hardships to many Americans. The automobile or electrical worker, the electronics technician, the small businessman—for them, and millions of others, foreign competition coinciding with a slack economy has spelled financial distress. Our national commitment to liberal trade policies takes its toll when times are bad, but yields its benefits when the economy is fully employed.
The Democratic Party proposes no retreat from this commitment. Our international economic policy should have these goals: To expand jobs and business opportunities in this country and to establish two-way trade relations with other nations. To do this, we support the following policies:
End the high-unemployment policy of the Nixon Administration. When a job is available for everyone who wants to work, imports will no longer be a threat. Full employment is a realistic goal, it is a goal which has been attained under Democratic Administrations, and it is a goal we intend to achieve again;
Adopt broad programs to ease dislocations and relieve the hardship of workers injured by foreign competition;
Seek higher labor standards in the advanced nations where productivity far outstrips wage rates, thus providing unfair competition to American workers and seek to limit harmful flows of American capital which exploit both foreign and American workers;
Adhere to liberal trade policies, but we should oppose actions and policies which harm American workers through unfair exploitation of labor abroad and the encouragement of American capital to run after very low wage opportunities for quick profits that will damage the economy of the United States and further weaken the dollar;
Negotiate orderly and reciprocal reductions of trade barriers to American products. Foreign nations with access to our markets should no longer be permitted to fence us out of theirs;
Support reform of the international monetary system. Increased international reserves, provision for large margins in foreign exchange fluctuations and strengthened institutions for the coordination of national economic policies can free our government and others to achieve full employment;
Support efforts to promote exports of American farm products; and
Develop ground rules for pollution controls with our industrialized trading partners so that no country gains competitive advantage at the expense of the environment.
Poverty at home or abroad is part of a common problem. Great and growing income gaps among nations are no more tenable than such gaps among groups in our own country. We should remain committed to U.S. support for economic and social development of countries in need. Old ways of providing aid must be revised—to reduce U.S. involvement in administration; to encourage other nations to contribute jointly with us. But funding must be adequate to help poor countries achieve accelerated rates of growth.
Specifically, the next Democratic Administration should support:
Provision of more assistance through international organizations, along with measures to strengthen the development agencies of the U.N.; A curtailment of military aid;
Improved access to the markets of industrial nations for the products of the developing countries;
A greater role in international monetary affairs for poor countries; in particular distributing the new Special Drawing Rights in support of the poor countries; and
A fair share for poor countries in the resources of the seabeds.
The Methods and Structures of U.S. Foreign and Military Policy
The needed fundamental reordering of U.S. foreign and military policy calls for changes in the structure of decision-making, as well as in particular policies. This means:
Greater sharing with Congress of real decisions on issues of war and peace, and providing Congress with the information and resources needed for a more responsible role;
More honest information policies, beginning with a fundamental reform of the document classification system and including regular press conferences by the President, his cabinet and senior advisors;
Ending the present drastic overbalance in favor of military opinion by redefining the range of agencies and points of view with a proper claim to be heard on foreign and military policies;
Subjecting the military budget to effective civilian control and supervision;
Establishing effective executive control and legislative oversight of the intelligence agencies;
Ending political domination of USIA’s reporting and Peace Corps dedication and, in general, making it clear that the White House understands the crucial distinction between dissent and disloyalty; and
Urging the appointment of minority Americans to top positions of ambassadors and diplomats, to let the world know that America is a multi-racial nation and proud of it.
IX. The People & the Government
“Our people are dispirited because there seems to be no way by which they can call to office a government which will cut the ties to the past, meeting the challenge of leadership and begin a new era of bold action.
“Bold action by innovative government—responsive to the people’s needs and desires—is essential to the achievement of our national hopes.”—Leonard Woodcock, President, United Auto Workers, New York Hearing, June 22, 1972.
Representative democracy fails when citizens cannot know:
When public officials ignore or work against the principles of due process;
How their public officials conduct the public’s business;
Whether public officials have personal financial stakes in the very matters they are legislating, administering or enforcing; and
What special interest pressures are being exerted on public officials by lobbyists.
Today, it is imperative that the Democratic Party again take the lead in reforming those practices that limit the responsiveness of government and remove it from the control of the people.
The seniority system is one of the principal reasons that party platforms—and parties themselves—have lost meaning and importance in our political life. Seniority has weakened Congress as an effective and responsive institution in a changing society. It has crippled effective Congressional leadership and made it impossible to present and enact a coherent legislative program. It has permitted the power of the Democratic majority to be misused and abused. It has stifled initiative and wasted the talents of many members by making length of service the only criterion for selection to the vital positions of Congressional power and leadership.
We, therefore, call on the Democratic Members of the Congress to use the powers inherent in their House and Senate caucuses to implement the policies and programs of the National Democratic Party. It is specifically not intended that Democratic members be directed how to vote on issues on the floor. But, in order that they be responsive to broad party policies and programs, we nonetheless call upon Members of Congress to:
Choose committee chairmen as provided in existing caucus rules and procedures, but by separate open ballot; chair-people should be chosen who will carry out party policies and programs which come within the jurisdiction of their committees;
Assure that Democratic programs and policies receive full and fair consideration and are brought to a vote in each house;
Discipline committee members, including chair-people, who refuse to comply with caucus instructions regarding the reporting of legislation from their committees; and
Withhold any seniority benefits from a Member of Congress who fails to overtly identify with the Democratic organization in his state which is recognized by the National Democratic Party.
Public business should be transacted publicly, except when national security might be jeopardized.
To combat secrecy in government, we call on the Democratic Members of Congress and state legislatures to:
Enact “open meetings” legislation, barring the practice of conducting the public business behind closed doors. This should include so-called mark-up sessions by legislative committees, but should allow for exceptions involving national security and invasions of privacy. To the extent possible, the same principle should apply to the Executive Branch;
Assure that all committee and floor votes are taken in open session, recorded individually for each legislator; record caucus votes, and make all of these available to the public;
Urge reservation of executive privilege for the President alone;
Urge that the judgment in the U.S. Senate in a contested election case be rendered in open Senate session;
Immediately strengthen the Federal Freedom of Information Act. Congress should improve its oversight of Executive secrecy by requiring federal agencies to report annually on every refusal to grant information requested under the Act. Citizens should have full recourse to the courts to deal with violation or circumvention of the Act. It should be amended to allow courts to review the reasonableness of a claim of executive privilege; and
Administer the security system so as to limit the number of officials who can make a document secret, and provide for frequent declassification of documents. Congress should be given the means to obtain documents necessary to fulfill its responsibilities.
We also call on the Democratic Members of the House of Representatives to take action through their caucus to end the “closed rule,” which is used to prevent amendments and votes on vital tax matters and other important issues, and we call on the Democratic Members of the Senate to liberalize the cloture rule, which is used to prevent votes in that body, so that after full and extensive debate majority rule can prevail.
There is, among more and more citizens, a growing revolt against large, remote and impersonal government agencies that are not responsive to human needs. We pledge to build a representative process into the Executive Branch, so that individuals affected by agency programs can be involved in formulating, implementing and revising them. This requires a basic restructuring of procedures—public hearings before guidelines and regulations are handed down, the processing of citizen complaints, the granting of citizen standing and the recovery of litigation fees for those who win suits against the government.
We recommend these specific changes in the rule making and adjudication process of the federal government:
There should be no non-written communication between an agency and outside parties about pending decisions. All written communications should promptly be made a part of the public record;
All communications between government employees and outside parties about possible future action should be made a part of the public record;
All government employees involved in rule-making and adjudication should be subject to conflict of interest laws;
The Justice Department should make available to the public any consent decree 90 days prior to its submission to court, to allow any interested party to comment on it to the Court; and
The Justice Department should report to Congress each year, to explain its action on major suits.
In addition, we must more effectively protect consumer rights before the government. The consumer must be made an integral part of any relationship between government and institutions (public or private) at every level of proceedings whether formal or informal.
A Democratic Administration would instruct all federal agencies to identify American Indians, Asian Americans and Spanish-speaking Americans in separate categories in all statistical data that note racial or ethnic heritage. Only in this way can these Americans be assured their rights under federal programs.
Finally, in appropriate geographical areas, agencies of the federal government should be equipped to conduct business in such a fashion that Spanish-speaking citizens should not be hampered by language difficulties.
Conflict of Interest
The public interest must not be sacrificed to personal gain. Therefore, we call for legislation requiring full disclosure of the financial interests of Members of Congress and their staffs and high officials of the Executive Branch and independent agencies. Disclosure should include business directorships held and associations with individuals or firms lobbying or doing business with the government.
Further, Congress should forbid its members to engage in the practice of law or to retain association with a law firm while in office. Legislators serving on a committee whose jurisdiction includes matters in which they have financial interest should divest themselves of the interest or resign from the committee.
A total overhaul of the present system of financing elections is a national necessity. Candidates should not be dependent on large contributors who seek preferential treatment. We call for Congressional action to provide for public financing of more election costs by 1974. We recommend a statutory ceiling on political gifts at a reasonable limit. Publicly owned communications facilities such as television, radio and the postal service should be made available, but on a limited basis, to candidates for federal Office.
Regulation of Lobbyists
We also call upon Congress to enact rigorous lobbying disclosure legislation, to replace the present shockingly ineffective law. There should be full disclosure of all organized lobbying—including names of lobbyists, identity of the source of funds, total receipts and expenditures, the nature of the lobbying operation and specific target issues or bills. Reports should be filed at least quarterly, with criminal penalties for late filing. Lobbying regulations should cover attempts to influence both legislative and Executive Branch decisions. The legislation should specifically cover lobbying appeals in subscription publications.
As a safeguard, we urge the availability of subpoena and cease-and-desist powers to enforce these conflict of interest, campaign financing and lobby disclosure laws. We also affirm the citizens’ right to seek enforcement through the courts, should public officials fail in enforcement.
Taking Part in the Political Process
The Presidential primary system today is an unacceptable patchwork. The Democratic Party supports federal laws that will embody the following principles:
Protect the opportunity for less-known candidates to build support;
Establish uniform ground rules; Reduce the cost of primary campaigns;
Promote maximum voter turnout; Ensure that issues are clarified;
Foster the selection of nominees with broad popular support to assure the continued viability of the two party system;
Ensure every citizen the ability to take part in the Presidential nomination process; and
Equalize the ability of people from all income levels to participate in the political decision-making processes of the Democratic Party, by providing financial assistance through party funds for delegates, alternates and standing committee members to state and national conventions.
We also call for full and uniform enforcement of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But further steps are needed to end all barriers to participation in the political process:
Universal voter registration by post card; Bilingual means of registration and voting; Bilingual voter education programs; Liberalized absentee voting;
Lower minimum age requirements for service in the Senate and House of Representatives;
Minimum residency requirements of 30 days for all elections, including primaries;
Student voting where they attend schools; Study and review of the Hatch Act, to see what can be done to encourage good citizenship and reasonable participation by government employees;
Full home rule for the District of Columbia, including an elected mayor-city council government, broad legislative power, control over appointments, automatic federal payment and voting representation in both Houses of Congress; No discriminatory districting;
We favor a Constitutional change to abolish the Electoral College and to give every voter a direct and equal voice in Presidential elections. The amendment should provide for a run-off election, if no candidate received more than 40 percent of the popular vote;
Early ratification of the equal rights amendment to the Constitution;
Appointment of women to positions of top responsibilities in all branches of the federal government, to achieve an equitable ratio of women and men;
Inclusion of women advisors in equitable ratios on all government studies, commissions and hearings; and
Laws authorizing federal grants on a matching basis for financing state commissions of the status of women.
These changes in themselves will not solve the problems of government for all time. As our society changes, so must the ways we use to make government more responsive to the people. Our challenge, today, as always, is to ensure that politics and institutions belong in spirit and in practice to all the people of our nation. In 1972, Americans are deciding that they want their country back again.