The 'other' candidates

Posted: Thursday, October 05, 2000

The following editorial appeared in Wednesday's edition of the Wichita Eagle:

One presidential debate down, two more to go. But George W. Bush and Al Gore aren't the only ones on the campaign trail.

Though they are getting only a fraction of the attention, the Green Party's Ralph Nader, Reform's Pat Buchanan and the Libertarians' Harry Browne all have something to contribute.

These three candidates don't stand a chance -- polls show that combined they have attracted less than 10 percent of likely voters -- but they have championed ideas worth consideration, if only for a fuller discussion and understanding of domestic and international issues.

Among the things Nader is advocating:

Put price restraints on prescription drugs developed with tax money, and block monopolies by issuing production licenses to several companies at once. If companies balk, the government should take over production.

Raise the income cap on Social Security taxes or expand the tax to cover executive bonuses and stock options.

Recover "hidden surpluses" by stopping subsidies of sports stadiums, drug companies and agribusiness, then redirect the money into public transit and low-cost housing.

Rewrite the Uniform Building Code to require all new homes to be adaptable for disability access.

Buchanan wants to:

Reclaim sovereignty in the face of globalization by renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, pulling out of the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, and requiring the United Nations to leave New York.

Decrease involvement in regional conflicts by bringing troops home and deploying them on the Mexican border to block illegal immigration.

Lower the tax burden in several ways, including imposing a 10 percent tariff on imports and using the money to end all taxes on small businesses.

Browne would like to:

Reduce the government to just the functions authorized in the Constitution.

End the war on drugs, and pardon nonviolent federal drug offenders to make room in prisons for violent criminals. Allow addicts to seek treatment without fear of prosecution.

Pay off the federal debt and buy private retirement accounts for Social Security recipients by auctioning off "the assets the government shouldn't own," including western lands, power companies, unused military bases and commodity reserves.

Repeal federal taxes on personal and corporate income, gifts, estates and capital gains. Constitutional functions, such as national defense and federal courts, can be paid for with current excise taxes and tariffs.

By offering a different perspective, these candidates give Americans a chance to question our own presumptions, the status quo and the course we will set for the future.

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