Thursday, October 16, 2003

Morrison vs. Bass?
Roy Morrison is contemplating a run for the Second Congressional District of New Hampshire, the seat currently held by Republican Charlie Bass. Morrison, who describes himself as "a writer, an energy consultant, an organizer of cooperatives, a father, gardener, activist, kayaker, a Warner, New Hampshire man," sent out an email last week telling people he will form an exploratory committee to look at a run for the Democratic nomination.
"Ecological catastrophe gathers, a malign Bush administration in thrall to the global Empire of Oil is on the march, and still, conventional political discourse seems impoverished by a crisis of the imagination. Our democracy can do better. We must," he wrote.
Morrison has an uphill battle - the Democrats haven't controlled the seat in almost a decade. But he does have some interesting, if not eclectic, ideas. One idea is to "Tax pollution, not income," the name of his new book published on his own publishing company, Essential Books.
The media is already taking his run pretty seriously. He even garned a mention in a Concord Monitor piece about President Bush's job approval ["Voters mixed on opinion of president"], from the Warner Fall Foliage Festival, an event I used to attend as a young boy.

His ideas:
* Ecological Taxation
First, tax pollution, not income. End the income tax and the IRS. Make the market price of goods reflect true costs. We must tax the "bads," not the "goods." An ecological tax system will replace over ten years all federal taxes on income with two new ecological consumption taxes: a Btu-tax on energy and an Ecological Value Added Tax (EVAT)on pollution, depletion and ecological damage. These ecological taxes can easily raise all of the approximately 2 trillion dollars needed to finance the federal budget. The pursuit of lower prices and self-interest will be the path to ecological sustainability. In the 21st century, to do well and pursue our self-interest must also mean to do good.

* A National Trust
Second, kick start an ecological transformation and overcome market failures with government savings and National Trust investment in sustainability. A National Trust, funded by annual government savings, will invest strategically to support sustainability, jobs, and prosperity. Markets, even under an ecological tax regime, will sometimes fail. Our mission is sustainability, prosperity, and democracy, not saving neo-liberal economic orthodoxy. The National Trust will be based on five regional and democratically controlled development banks. These will funded by annual government savings equal to between 2.5 percent and 5 percent of federal budget (50 billion to 100 billion per year). Through the power of compound interest we will build a multi-trillion dollar National Trust in the 21st century. Trust Investment will complement ecological taxation, help save social security and provide an educational birthright for all Americans. And eventually, in a sustainable world, National Trust investment can provide sufficient income to meet all our federal annual revenue requirements. Yes, a 21st century end to all federal taxes is possible. The Platform for the 21st Century shows the way to a tax-free, sustainable future.

* A Negative Income Tax
Third, end poverty and welfare and provide a fair basis for social justice with a Negative Income Tax balanced by a responsibility for National Service. A Negative Income Tax, at reasonable cost, will lift the poorest above the poverty line and working families toward the middle class in exchange for fulfilling a responsibility for National Service by all Americans. Consumption taxes, even ecological ones, are regressive. They tax the poor more heavily than the rich. This can be remedied by a Negative Income Tax (NIT) that supports work and attacks poverty. An expansion of the existing Earned Income Tax Credit provides an easy path to a full Negative Income Tax. The NIT in action will virtually eliminate poverty and welfare. And we will earn a lifetime right to a negative income tax in exchange for meeting our responsibility for a universal 16- 24 month period of National Service.

* A Continental American Union
Fourth, move beyond the destructive limits of the 19th and 20th century nation-state through a democratic, continental American Union of nations. Democracy in the 21st century must be on a continental scale.The Western hemisphere need be an area of dynamic democratic action that rests on dynamic civil societies increasing many-fold their trade and cooperative relationships. In the context of sustainable democracy, prosperity, and justice we can move from a global war system to a peace system. Democracies have already amply demonstrated their non-war-like behavior toward one another. American ultra-nationalists, angry at French active opposition to the Iraq war may change the name of french fries to "freedom fries". But the United States did not, and will not, go to war with France. The historical record makes it absolutely clear that while democracies certainly make war, democracies do not make war with one another. Ever.

Whether you agree with all of his ideas or not, he is at least thinking about things from a different angle and if he makes it past the primaries, will surely make some of the political debates with Bass very interesting.

Riot, the unbeatable high
Punks OOC in Canada: ["Punk fans riot in Montreal"].