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Our Own Agenda :: 10 Policies For a Better America

President Barack Obama faces huge challenges as he takes office. But he's got one asset that is rarely mentioned. Large majorities of Americans agree on some of the most important issues of the day, from health care to foreign policy.

Our Own Agenda. A YES! Take on What Americans Want. YES! Magazine graphic

 

ECONOMY

Our Own Agenda: Economy. A YES! Take on What Americans Want. YES! Magazine graphic

  • Repair and rebuild neglected bridges, railroads, schools, and other infrastructure, designing for climate change & a post-petroleum world.

  • Extend unemployment insurance benefits.

  • Provide tax relief to middle- and low-income families, and reinstate fair taxes on high-wealth individuals and corporate profits.

  • Adopt the Employee Free Choice Act to increase opportunities to unionize.

 


 

67% Favor public works projects to create jobs.

55% Favor expanding unemployment benefits.

73% Say corporations don’t pay a fair share of taxes.

76%
Support tax cuts for lower- and middle-income people.

71% Say unions help their members; 53% say unions help the economy in general.

 

[Sources]

 


 

FAMILIES

Our Own Agenda: Families. A YES! Take on What Americans Want. YES! Magazine graphic

  • Make the minimum wage a “living wage” adequate to keep working families out of poverty.

  • Provide everyone vacation and family leave.

  • Provide gay and lesbian couples with the legal protections afforded to straight couples.

  • Make bankruptcy and foreclosure laws protect families first, not predatory lenders.

 


 

80% Support increasing the federal minimum wage.

59% Favor guaranteeing two weeks or more of paid vacation.

75% Want to limit rate increases on adjustable-rate mortgages.

64% Are not confident that life for our children’s generation will be better than it has been for us.

65% Believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry or form civil unions.

 

[Sources]



CONSTITUTION

 

  • Fully restore habeas corpus for all people in U.S. custody.

  • Protect our right to privacy and freedom from warrantless search and seizure.

  • Keep the internet free of corporate and government censorship and obstruction. Protect “net neutrality.”

  • Restore the balance of power between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.

 


 

70% Support restoring habeas corpus rights for detainees at Guantanamo.

 

 

58% Believe a court warrant should be required to listen to the telephone calls of people in the U.S.

 

 

59% Would like the next president to do more to protect civil liberties.

 

 

68% Believe the president should not act alone to fight terrorism without the checks and balances of the courts or Congress.

 

 

[Sources]

 


 

ENERGY & CLIMATE

 

 


 


79%
Favor mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions.

76% Believe that oil is running out and a major effort is needed to replace it.

90% Favor higher auto fuel efficiency standards.

75% Favor clean electricity, even with higher rates.

72% Support more funding for mass transit.

 

[Sources]

 


 

HEALTH CARE

 

Our Own Agenda: Health Care. A YES! Take on What Americans Want. YES! Magazine graphic

  • Offer all Americans the option of joining a single-payer national health insurance program, paid for with tax dollars.

  • Break the drug companies’ monopoly and lower drug prices by allowing Americans to buy prescription drugs abroad.

 

73% Believe our health care system is in crisis or has “major problems.”

64% Believe the government should provide national health insurance coverage for all Americans, even if it would raise taxes.

55% Favor one health insurance program covering all Americans, administered by the government, and paid for by taxpayers.

69% Believe the government should make it easier to buy prescription drugs from other countries.

 

[Sources]

 


 

FOREIGN RELATIONS

 

 

  • Lead a global effort to abolish nuclear weapons.

  • Rule out unilateral attacks, deploying weapons in space, and torture.

  • Phase out U.S. role as global police, and instead work through the U.N. and other international agencies to develop and enforce international law.

  • Work with other countries to improve global health and environment.

 

81% Oppose torture and support following the Geneva Conventions.

76% Say the U.S. should not play the role of global police.

79% Say the U.N. should be strengthened.

73%
Favor abolishing nuclear weapons, with verification. 80% favor banning weapons in space.

85% Say that the U.S. should not initiate military action without support from allies.



[Sources]

 


 

IRAQ & IRAN

 

 


 

63% Want U.S. forces home from Iraq within a year.

47% Favor using diplomacy with Iran. 7% favor military action.

57% Say going to war in Iraq was the wrong decision.

67% Believe we should use diplomatic and economic means to fight terrorism, rather than the military.

 

[Sources]

 


 

ELECTIONS

 

 

  • Provide public financing for elections campaigns.

  • Bring back the Fairness Doctrine and get broadcasters to open the people’s airwaves to free campaign information.

  • Require voter-verified paper ballots that are audited and can be recounted.

  • End partisan districting and voter-roll purges.

  • Fully implement the Voting Rights Act and enforce existing laws against vote suppression.

  • Restore voting rights to ex-felons who have served their sentences.

 

86% Say big companies have too much power.

74% Favor voluntary public financing of campaigns.

66% Believe intentional acts are likely to cause significant voting machines errors.

80% Say ex-felons should have their voting rights restored.

 

[Sources]

 


 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

 

 


 

65% Believe attacking social problems is a better cure for crime than more law enforcement.

87% Support rehabilitation rather than a “punishment-only” system.

81%
Say job training is “very important” for reintegrating people leaving prison. 79% say drug treatment is very important.

 

[Sources]

 


 

IMMIGRATION

 

 


 

56% Believe NAFTA should be renegotiated.

64% Believe that on the whole, immigration is good for the country.

80% Favor allowing undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. to stay and apply for citizenship if they have a job and pay back taxes.

 

[Sources]

 


Sarah van Gelder wrote this article as part of Purple America, the Fall 2008 issue of YES! Magazine. Research by Noah Grant. Sarah is executive editor and Noah is editorial assistant at YES! Magazine. Photos of Sarah van Gelder and Noah Grant
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