Dec 6, 2013
A Freedom Budget for All Americans
Posted on Aug 18, 2013
By Paul Le Blanc and Michael D. Yates, Monthly Review Press
3. Commitment to future generations. We do not conceive of the New Freedom Budget as some kind of a “quick fix” – its principles and objectives are meant to be durable, providing for the freedom and well-being of people in the here-and-now, but also their children and their children’s children, and beyond. This has obvious implications for the manner in which our resources must be utilized as we seek to provide for the needs of all.
4. Comprehensive solution—reject tokenism and fragmented “remedies.” We are persuaded by the insight of A. Philip Randolph, who commented on the fact that, in efforts for racial and economic justice, “we encounter the pessimists and the tokenists, those who counsel ‘gradualism’ and those who urge piecemeal and haphazard remedies for deep-rooted and persistence evils.” Randolph’s response to this holds true for the New Freedom Budget: such a limited approach “becomes an excuse for not beginning or for beginning on a base too small to support the task, and for not setting goals; and the scattered, fragmented remedies, lacking priorities and coordination, often work at cross purposes.”
5. Harmony with global neighbors. This principle addresses what we see as one of the most serious limitations of the earlier Freedom Budget, highlighted by its “neutrality” in regard to the U.S. war in Vietnam. The United States cannot resolve its own problems if it is guided by a foreign policy designed to establish or maintain something like “the American Century,” which meant domination of the global political economy by the United States. The well-being of the people of the United States cannot be secured at the expense of other peoples. There must be harmony between U.S. foreign policy and the domestic policies associated with the New Freedom Budget. As Martin Luther King insisted, policies of violence and exploitation must be replaced with those of mutual respect, cooperation, and economic justice.
We believe that to make freedom a reality, we must struggle to win:
1. Full employment
2. Adequate income for all who are employed
3. A guaranteed minimum adequacy level of income for those who cannot or should not work
4. Adequate and safe housing for all
5. Health care for all
6. Educational opportunity for all
7. Secure and expanded transportation infrastructure
8. Secure and expanded social security
9. Food security for all
10. A sustainable environment
11. Cultural freedom and enrichment for all (arts, parks, sports, recreation)
12. Reduction in the inequality of income and wealth, to ensure realization of objectives
We hope that readers will not only engage with the interesting and inspiring history of the original Freedom Budget but will be animated with the desire to put a New Freedom Budget into practice. The principles and objectives presented here can perhaps be seen as catalysts for further development by everyone who wants a different, more egalitarian and humane society than the one in which we now live.
We are certain of one thing. Unless radical change occurs, unless the power of the 1% is broken and the power of the 99% is asserted, the people of the United States, and nearly every other country in the world, are soon going to inhabit a world in which most of us will experience declining economic and political security, rising workplace exploitation, and a rapidly deteriorating environment. The time to think, to act, to make the world we want, is now.
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