Wednesday, February 07, 2007

One Green's View of the State of the State

I have a slightly different view of the state of the state.
I’m a member of the Green Party of Michigan.

The party that agreed with the people about not shooting doves – the bird of peace.

The party that wants real protection for the Great Lakes, too.

The party that would support our troops -- our people -- by bringing them home to help rebuild Michigan.

The party working on tax plans to sustain our economy, our environment, and the public-policy programs supporting both.

A party that fights for the rights of all citizens and voters -- of any party, or no party -- to take full part in their government.

A party based on values -- values we share with each other . . . and with you. Because Green values are American values. Don’t believe it? Just listen to some of our ideas. (Haven’t heard much about them before? Ask your favorite news media why not.)

Greens know Michiganders shouldn’t have to die in Bush’s war. We shouldn’t have to pay $12 billion a year for it, either. (That’d cover the Single Business Tax!) We need to bring our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors in the National Guard back home -- to do good and necessary work here in Michigan.

And we need them home to help rebuild a healthy, sustainable economy for our state. For Greens know Michigan continues to lose jobs. We have the highest rate of foreclosures in the nation; schools have been closing even before the basic-grant cuts they now face. Our people face hunger and homelessness and utility cut-offs.

It was unsustainable and irresponsible to wipe the Single Business Tax off the books without a replacement ready. To sustain needed government programs in the short term, Greens propose replacing the SBT with a straight tax on business income. If corporations are going to claim they’re legal persons, they should pay income tax like the rest of us. And the tax should be fair: gently progressive, with basic exemptions to assure a living income for small business owners – and a cap on gigantic giveaway deductions from taxable income for mega-salaries and other excessive compensation.

Greens also believe in looking at the long term -- though some problems aren’t as far off as folks used to think. Global warming, for example. We’re working on designing a carbon tax that can sustain our economy and our environment and encourage our auto industry to move in the right direction for the future, without burdening our poorer citizens who have less choice in their transportation.

Energy is a crucial connection between our economy and our environment – Greens know we can’t sustain one without the other. A wise, sustainable energy policy starts with conservation and energy efficiency. It doesn’t rely on more unthinking consumption of oil . . . or on corn grown using petrochemical fertilizers and turned into “alternative” fuel that costs consumers more and gives us fewer miles per gallon -- while car companies get false CAFE credit for higher mileage! To thrive in future markets, the “Big Three” must learn to live with the fact that burning our seed corn is no more sustainable than eating it -- and use truly clean and efficient technologies.

Nor can we go on letting other corporations pump, bottle, and export millions of gallons of Michigan water a day -- for free! -- before it can bubble up into trout streams and swimming ponds, and replenish the Great Lakes. Greens support real protection for our state’s namesake wonders -- and for all Michigan’s natural resources, whether privately owned or held in public trust for us all.

A sustainable economy must be founded on economic fairness and social justice. Our government has been ignoring the cracks in that foundation for too long -- and too many of our people have fallen through those cracks. All the citizens of Michigan deserve food, water, and housing; livable wages; universal health care; healthy homes, schools, communities, and workplaces. Greens will keep working to ensure that people aren’t unjustly deprived of these basic necessities of life.

But we do without something other parties see as an absolute necessity: Greens don’t take PAC money. We don’t believe in the Golden Rule of campaign finance and government -- the one that says those who have the gold make the rules. We believe in grassroots democracy -- government for the people because it’s government by the people. All the people, of any party -- or no party. That’s also why we support election reforms to make sure all voters count and all votes are counted: equal equipment and fair treatment for all communities, so we really do help Americans vote . . . Instant Runoff Voting to make sure winners have majority support, even if they have to be nice to other candidates to get it . . . verified voting with recounting of paper ballots if there are any problems or questions.

If you have any questions about the Green Party of Michigan -- if you’d like to know more about us -- please visit our Web site at or call 734-663-3555.

Peace. Non-violence. Ecological wisdom, sustainability, focus on the future. Social justice, feminism, respect for diversity; personal and global responsibility. Decentralization, community economics, grassroots democracy. If you believe in these values -- you may already be a Green. Join us. Help make Michigan a Green and growing place.

John Anthony La Pietra
386 Boyer Court
Marshall, MI 49068

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