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Unsafe at Any Speed

February 23, 2004

Ralph Nader announced his candidacy for president on Meet the Press with Tim Russert on Sunday. For those who missed it, here is a sneak peak at the de facto 2004 Nader campaign platform.

At first glance, it looks strikingly similar to George W. Bush’s program. At second and third glance, too.

Economic, Tax and Retirement Policy

  • Dramatically overhaul overtime work rules, cutting incomes for millions of working Americans.
  • Ensure upward income redistribution by making the Bush tax cuts permanent.
  • Permanently repeal taxes on estates and capital gains.
  • Produce a $521 billion federal budget deficit in FY 2005.
  • Prevent unions from requiring member contributions to political activities with a program ironically called “Paycheck Protection”
  • Privatize Social Security over time, starting with allowing individuals to divert 16% of their contributions to personal investment accounts. Create a $2 trillion gap in Social Security trust fund over 10 years as a result.
  • Undermine U.S. biotechnology leadership with a ban on federal funding for new stem call research.

Health Care

  • Privatize Medicare beginning in 2010.
  • Create Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) that encourage younger and healthier Americans to withdraw from larger insurance pools, raising premiums for everyone else.
  • Encourage Association Health Plans that actually increase costs to employers and organizations.
  • Cap medical malpractice awards at $250,000.

Foreign Policy, National Security and Homeland Defense

  • Undermine the entire framework of post-WWII American alliances around the world.
  • Democratize the Middle East through the example of a liberated Iraq.
  • Curtail civil liberties at home under the auspices of a strengthened Patriot Act.
  • Maintain the world’s only embargo against Cuba, a country which poses no strategic threat to the United States in the aftermath of the Cold War.
  • Withhold funds from the UN for family planning programs.

Social Policy

  • Overturn Roe v Wade.  Allow states to deny a woman's right to choose.
  • Support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
  • Spend $8 billion dollars in grants to religious organizations for evangelization under the thinly veiled guise of social services. Do not enforce discrimination laws against these same organizations receiving federal funds.
  • Redefine the federal judiciary for a generation with appointments enshrining states’ rights. Make the federal bench an appendage of the Federalist Society.
  • Encourage the teaching of Creationism as an alternative to Evolution.


  • Undermine public schools attended by 90% of America’s school children by offering vouchers to private and religious schools.
  • Underfund the No Child Left Behind Act.

The Environment

  • Commence drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
  • Withdraw the United States from the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Overturn Clinton administration targets for carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Raise acceptable levels for arsenic in drinking water.
  • Gut the Clean Air Act with a program ironically called “Clear Skies.”
  • Encourage logging on public lands for sub-market prices with a program ironically called “Healthy Forests.”

Energy Policy

  • Refuse to increase fuel efficiency standards for cars, SUVs and light trucks.
  • Provide tax benefits to energy producers to increase domestic oil production, including drilling in ANWR.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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