Thursday, August 04, 2005

It's De-Mushy

Over at The Radical Middle, Mark Satin has rather quietly put forward 12-point platform for creative-centrist organizing.

Satin's proposals are on their face impressively bold, though they'll be familiar to his readers. They include: a flat tax (with a sizeable exemption of $20,000 for singles, $40,000 for a family of four); a national service draft; universal health care via subsidized private insurance; universal parental counseling (!) and preschool; personal "stakeholder accounts" from birth; and so forth.

For now, I'll refrain from my desire to comment on the particulars of his proposals - certainly, readers of this site may want to check them out. Instead, I'd like to ask a simple question: does this dramatic platform effectively challenge the image of centrism as mushy and unprincipled, as Satin argues?

Talk amongst yourselves.

5 Comments:

At 11:51 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Mark is simply one of the most intelligent Centrists we have. We should consider his plan very seriously. And we should also consider the truth he lays out at the beginning of the piece--we have to have an agenda. It's not enough to just say we regject the extremes of the right and the left. We must find the alternative solutions to lead our nation forward.

Do I agree with all 12 points Satin lays out? I don't know. Some I've been arguing in favor of for awhile (flat tax). Some I'm not so sure about (increasing foreign aid when so much of aid is squandered and stolen as it is). And some are so radicial I'd never even considered ($10,000 for every poor child to save in their own account).

These are ideas we need to debate. These are the kinds of ideas that the new version of The Yellow Line will hopefully be about. We should all give it a week or so to think about and then start debating each suggestion point by point.

 
At 12:06 AM, Blogger JBD said...

I agree, Alan - and welcome aboard, Tom! I think a discussion about each of Mark's points would be excellent, and will undoubtedly elicit some great debate.

 
At 1:23 AM, Blogger amba said...

I've been reading Mark's newsletters for over 20 years. He's a former pie-eyed idealist who went to law school to ground himself. The idealism lingers, but where Mark is bold is precisely in going out and looking for these radical yet possibly practical new proposals. If even one out of fifty is viable and transforming, it's worth it. So, yes, let's go at them one by one.

 
At 1:34 AM, Blogger amba said...

Can't wait to get my teeth into #11. I've been well taught by a friend in the smart philanthropy movement that the Jeffrey Sachs "throw more money at it" approach not only will not succeed in ending extreme poverty; it's already been tried and failed. TBC.

 
At 2:10 PM, Blogger Jonathan C said...

Are there any centrists left who actually oppose the balance budget ammendment? If there are among us, please be the first to post.

Alan, I'm not big on a flat tax, can't wait to get into it with you on that one.

Numbers 5 and 9 seem the closest and dearest to my heart. If I have time this weekend (my wife and I are flying to Alabama to see the inlaws), I'll try to post something on one of those.

 

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