A 2024 Freedom Agenda (ver. 0.1)

FDR Memorial Copyright © 2002. Some rights reserved CC BY-SA 3.0.

President Biden has trailed the idea of a Freedom Agenda as the central theme of his re-election campaign. (“The freedom for women to make their own health-care decisions, the freedom for our children to be safe from gun violence, the freedom to vote and have your vote counted. For seniors to live with dignity, and to give every American the freedom that comes with a fair shot at building a good life.”) It of course harkens back to FDR’s Four Freedoms (“the freedom of speech, the freedom of worship, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear”).

What would a Bidenish Freedom Agenda look like if I were designing it for the 2024 campaign? Here’s my first very tentative stab at a draft.  It’s not as pithy as FDRs!

Political Freedom

  • Freedom to vote. End political gerrymanders. Require states to enact policies that provide sufficient polling places and times to ensure fair geographic access, allocate resources designed to cut waiting times at polls, and set times to vote that fall outside working hours. Stronger rules, at least for ballots with federal elections, designed to minimize partisan meddling with vote counting and reporting.
  • Freedom from tyranny. Protection against tyrants foreign and domestic. We need to be vigilant against domestic militias and other insurrectionists. We should continue our support for Ukraine and Taiwan lest we embolden their neighboring tyrants. Meanwhile, we should reduce our support for autocrats who abuse their people, and support pro-democracy movements, whenever strategically possible.

Personal Autonomy and Empowerment

  • Freedom to control your own body. National legislation to overturn state laws telling people what they can do with their bodies, notably most forced birth legislation, and also most limits on what parents can do in directing their children’s care.
  • Freedom to breathe. A strong clean air and clean water environmental agenda.  Seek to remove the vast majority of man-made toxic–and especially carcinogenic and hazards to reproduction–out of our air, water, and food. Revisie our public health system to prepare for the next pandemic, so we don’t have to be afraid of each other’s breath.
  • Freedom to learn. Public college should return to its history of being very low cost, or maybe even free.  We could start with community college and the first two years of a four-year degree in state college. Plus,
    • Freedom to read. Stop  book-banning in schools based on parental vetoes that extend beyond their own children, while still leaving space for educators to select age-appropriate books for curricula and school libraries.
    • Freedom to know. Stop textbook censors who are blocking mention of historical facts such as race discrimination, civil rights, and the Holocaust.
  • Freedom to age in dignity. Solve the social security funding crisis even if it means new revenue source including removing the cap on social security taxes. Do  not require people to work until they are older to retire, nor to survive on less when they do.

Economic Freedom

  • Freedom to compete. Revive strong anti-trust enforcement, and re-tool it for new digital markets. Market power is too concentrated in a large number of industries. Part of this is the rise of network industries, and the so-called ‘winner-take-all’ economy but a lot of it is just due to lax anti-trust enforcement. When competition falls to monopolies, capitalism looses its dynamism, and owners and managers of dominant firms accrete more wealth and power than is healthy for society along with the ability to acquire (and sometimes choke off) innovative potential competitors.  At its worst we get ‘too big to fail’ firms that can extort government support with insufficient consequences for management and shareholders when the firms make bad decisions.
  • Freedom to organize. Revise state and federal laws to remove anti-union bias, including so-called right-to-work laws. It’s clear that unions do more for wage equity than any other single thing.

Missing from the above is something about global warming.  “Freedom from roasting” doesn’t sound quite right….but “Freedom from climate change” or “Freedom from Carbon” sounds like a pipe dream.

Not on ver 0.1 of the list but maybe belongs on it: Freedom to travel   Gun control. Better policing, which protects the innocent while not committing violence on them; probably this will require setting up new kinds of paramedics and social workers to take on dealing with people whose primary issues are due to illness and other factors.

Important issues that may not lend themselves to this treatment.

  1. Taxation/deficit issues in the shadow of inflation.
  2. Immigration reform.
  3. Basic structural reform of the national government:
    1. Ethics rules and term limits for the Supreme Court;
    2. Restructuring the Senate so it more closely reflects the national population — currently most states have smaller populations than LA County alone, but they each have two Senators.  Something is wrong there. but ‘freedom from the dead hand of the past’ is not a good slogan…..
This entry was posted in 2024 Election. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A 2024 Freedom Agenda (ver. 0.1)

  1. S says:

    Freedom to have a future or Freedom from a lack of future? Re global warming? Maybe freedom from an unstable future.

  2. Gabion Walls says:

    Yeah, freedom from what/where exactly? This is why the country is in a really bad state…

    [Note from the management: The URL to this comment has been disemvoweled.]

  3. Nic says:

    All this will come down to is a freedom for Government to selectively decide what your freedoms are according to their power and vote desires.

    For example: when the next big pandemic comes around, do you think the Government will respect your bodily autonomy? Of course not, they will try to close things down, mask you up, and give you drugs as a condition of some of your freedoms. Just like COVID. Meanwhile, bodily autonomy will be absolute when it comes to abortion. You know it.

    I’m not making any point here about the good or bad of any off these situations, I’m simply pointing out that “freedom” will only mean what power thinks it should mean. It won’t make anything sacrosanct.

    This is nothing but campaigning, disguised as policy, so that uniformed and unthinking people are attracted to the shiney words.

    • Michael says:

      I’m genuinely mystified why anyone thinks that there is a legal or moral right to spread plague.

      Certainly even the most cursory foray into US history shows that prevention of the spread of contagious disease has always been seem as a legitimate exercise of the ‘police power’. I suppose there might in some eyes be some federalism issue, as this used to be seen as a state power rather than federal, but I think that ship sailed over 100 years ago.

      • Nic says:

        I guess you are my exhibit A.

        Aside from that, hasn’t it been made completely clear by science yet that there was no way to stop it? The masks couldn’t work. Multiple studies have shown this. And even the government has admitted that the vaccine could neither prevent infection, not spread. These kinds of vaccines simply don’t work this way. It was all a lie to support and cover for the incorrect knee-jerk shut it all down reaction, based on fear. A mistake to explain and justify another mistake. How much damage to people’s freedom and autonomy did this inflict? The fact that we now know it was a bad reaction, yet you are ready to do it again, just proves my point.

Comments are closed.