The Veterans’ Party of America has been formed to provide a viable choice for the American people. It is our goal to place solution oriented leadership into public offices around the nation at all levels of government. We are not far left or far right, but rather, we are a centrist organization dedicated to solving problems. We are moderate and inclusive. Our strength are the US Veterans, their families, their friends, and our fellow citizens. It is our view that the current state of our political system has drifted away from the ideals our nation was founded upon. “Promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,” is in the first paragraph of our Constitution. That statement serves to remind us, and our leadership, as to why this great nation was created. As leaders, our elected officials must own the problems of the office they gain from the moment they are elected. We expect and demand solutions, not excuses, from our leadership. They are to be held accountable for the problems they willingly inherit, or create, until the issue is resolved in accordance with, and under, the parameters set forth in the Constitution.
The Veterans’ Party of America’s Platform will only deal with problems that can be handled by either creating or repealing legislation. Apolitical issues will not be addressed by the Veterans’ Party of America’s platform planks. Legislation of social issues, such as, abortion and gay rights, are unconstitutional. They are not up for debate and guaranteed to all citizens, by the Constitution. These issues have been created to divide voters as these cannot be legislated. This platform is a living document and will be reviewed in accordance with the Party’s Constitution and By Laws in order to meet the ever changing Political Landscape of today’s world.
I. Constitution: The Constitution of The United States of America is, “The Law of the land.” It is not subject to interpretation or indifference by our elected officials. It is the premise and supreme authority from which all governance is derived. The original framers referred to it as an imperfect document. With that in mind, they saw fit to create a living document with provisions for its modification as times and circumstances changed. It is only to be changed by the will of the people by using the ratification process and not by Executive Order or by a particular party in power. Our leadership will adhere to the Constitution. Should amendments be needed due to our evolving national situation and circumstances, our leadership will champion the cause. Under no circumstance shall they create or support laws going against the provisions of the Constitution unless the ratification process has amended the document.
II. Separation of Church and State: The Veterans’ Party of America recognizes that there is no such statement or provision within the Constitution of the United States. We are fully aware that the statement was only brought forth in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, in which he made reference to, “A wall of separation between church and state.” We stand with the Constitution and support freedom of religion. We adhere to the proposition that there shall be no state established church. No single, or group, of peaceful religion(s) shall be placed above another. To ensure this, we, as Americans, must strive to keep religion out of government. We fully recognize and appreciate that one’s religion guides their sound decision making processes and the basis of their good and noble character. We also believe that those without religious affiliation can, and are, just as sound and noble of character and are fully capable of making sound decisions in the best interest of our fellow citizens. As such, we will judge our leadership and the content of their character by their words and actions; not by their religious affiliation.
III. Job Creation: America is in a major economic crisis. Jobs are the key to our recovery. Stimulation of small business and the free market being awarded contracts to complete government funded infrastructure repair projects will be key to a successful recovery.
IV. Border Security: Before Immigration and National Security can be brought into perspective, the borders must be securely sealed, with proper crossing points and transit lanes for legal entrance into America. This is not to hinder legal transit, but to protect our nation. While the federal government is responsible for international borders, airports, and seaports; individual states must be allowed to also guarantee the security of their borders with foreign countries, international airports, and seaports that have transit with international waters.
V. National Defense and Security: The security and safety of our country and people is the highest priority. This is the responsibility of the Federal government. The strength of our nation is our military. Having a strong, well trained, all volunteer force is essential. The military forces of the United States of America belong to the United States of America and are not to be used for foreign entanglements that do not directly threaten our nation’s security. At no time will the needs of National Security violate the inalienable rights guaranteed in the Constitution.
VI. Immigration: Our nation has found itself in a quagmire with illegal immigration. At the time of this platform, America has an estimated 11.7 Million illegal immigrants. The costs to grant full Amnesty would bankrupt America. The cost to deport each one would also create our nation’s financial ruin. A tiered system to allow illegal immigrants to report to local centers, with a set grace period, that the Immigration service will operate and begin processing for one of three levels. The immigrant will pay all fees to process.
a. TIER I: Any illegal immigrant found not registered after the grace period, will face immediate deportation. Those with criminal convictions are leveled for deportation. Any person found attempting to enter the United States during or after this grace period will be deported as TIER I. All TIER I will be permanently barred from returning to the United States of America.
b. TIER II: These illegal immigrants are not prepared for filing at this time and may need to acquire an education, language proficiency for employment, and/or either obtain a sponsor or become self-sufficient. This status will allow those illegal immigrants to have a set period of time to reach the point of being able to file for Permanent Residency status. Failure to reach status to file at the end of the allowed period will result in deportation.
c. TIER III: Will allow illegal immigrants to begin their process of legal immigration without preference over those already residing in the United States or those who have existing applications filed from foreign nations. Those processing must gain employment and pay taxes. During this time, for an aggregate of one year only will welfare be allowed, under extreme hardship resulting from the death of an immediate family member residing in the same household.
VII. Education: The education of our youth is critical to our future as a nation. As federal mandates are a violation of the Tenth Amendment and the slow ruination of our education system, we will push to return schools back to local control. The elected officials in the local communities know what needs to be done. They live in these communities and visit the schools. Federal mandates involving high stakes testing, teacher evaluations, and Common Core State Standards will be done away with. Any decisions made with regards to education reform will not be made without input from teachers from across the nation, at the local levels. No one knows what needs to be done better than those in the classroom every day. No Federal monies will be given to “for profit” charter schools or private schools.
VIII. Foreign Policy: American policies should not stretch to interference with the internal affairs of sovereign nations. As a member of the global community, we all work to make the lives of all world citizens better, but we should not mandate the affairs of other countries.
IX. Foreign Aid: While it is in the best interest of the United States of America to help build and maintain other nations, it is more imperative to take care of our own people, first. Foreign Aid must be evaluated on a case by case basis with justification as to the benefit it will have on our country, not just another nation. A review should also be made of sending machinery and training in farming and related infrastructure rather than sending cash. Peace and stability is important as is the health and welfare of our own people.
X. Balanced Budget: The spending by the government must be reined in. A smaller government will cost less. By cutting spending, taxes can be reduced. As part of a balanced budget, our national debt must be substantially reduced annually to leave our future generations free of our mistakes. This will require a Constitutionally Amendment to ensure future prosperity.
XI. Earned Benefits: The men and women who have served, and are currently serving, our nation honorably at all levels of government are deserving of our very best. It is the position of the Veterans’ Party of America, that no cut to any promised and earned benefit shall be done without the prior, or simultaneous, cut to all federal benefits, including Congressional benefits. One group should not be singled out due to our elected official’s inability to manage the nation’s coffers or their making deals that they have no intention of honoring. Any cut to entitlements or benefits must begin with cuts to congressional salaries and retirement benefits first, if only a token amount to serve as a gesture of solidarity to the people they serve and represent. We view benefits as something earned. Examples of earned benefits include, but are not limited to, Social Security, Federal Employee Retirement Pay, Military Pay and Benefits, Military Retirement Pay, Tri Care, Veterans’ Medical Care, and Medicare. States have the right to place their state level benefits in their platform. We view entitlements as something given for simply existing and being a citizen within the borders of our great nation. These include, but are not limited to, welfare, housing assistance, Earned Income Credit, and Medicaid.
XII. Tax Reform: The current tax system is not fair. Some segments of our society pay more than others, in a percentage of income earned to taxes paid.
Here is how it currently works: Let’s say we have two taxpayers A and B. A has a taxable income of 10,000 and B has a taxable income of 20,000. For this example we will set their tax rate at 10 and 15 percent respectively. Taxpayer A owes 1,000 in income tax and B owes 2,500 in income tax. Logically one would think that taxpayer B would owe more than 2,500 because 15 percent of 20,000 is 3,000. Now for the actual math. Taxpayer A's taxes are calculated at a straight forward 10 percent of his/her taxable income. Taxpayer B has a couple of steps to calculate his/her taxes, this is because of the concept of income tax brackets. For this purpose the bracket upper limit between the two is set at 10,000 and below for the 10 percent bracket and 10,001 and above for the 15 percent bracket. Taxpayer B pays 10 percent of the first part of his/her taxable income and 15 percent for the remainder. So for the first 10,000 a 10 percent rate is levied and for the next 10,000 a 15 percent rate is levied. Therefore 10 percent of the first 10,000 is 1,000 and 15 percent of the next 10,000 is 1,500 and add the two together you get 2,500. This pattern would be repeated for additional tax brackets paying the levied rate only for the amounts over the upper limit of the lower bracket and adding the amounts assessed in the lower brackets.
As you can see, higher earners actually pay less in taxes on their total income. There are also tax exemptions for some sources of income (such as entertainment and sports industries). A national consumption (sales) tax will make it fair based on the spending of people versus their income. Essential life items, such as foods purchased from a store, or any other location that is not a food serving industry (i.e. restaurants), should be exempt. Abolishing income tax will require a Constitutional Amendment prior to initiating a national consumption tax.
XIII. Welfare Reform: A comprehensive overhaul of the welfare and social system must be made to ensure those that truly need it, can receive it, while eliminating the abuses that exist. A workfare program to help Americans get back on their feet, learn a trade or return to school will better our nation. By reducing costs and getting people back to work, helping those that need help and the encouragement of the use of charities will aid in making our nation strong again. Any drug testing for receipt of welfare shall be the decision of the state.
XIV. Election Reform: State election laws should be equitable, and ensure voter fraud does not occur. In states that do not require identification to vote, an affidavit should be signed in the presence of the polling place supervisor and filed. Filing a false affidavit would be treated as a felonious violation of federal election laws. Additionally, state election codes should be changed so to not hinder voting, or voting choices, including removing restrictions that discourage the formation of political parties, removing the ability of any parties to manipulate the system. Corporations and unions are not individuals, therefore they should not be allowed to contribute to political campaigns. Individuals should be the only contributors to the political process, with a financial cap on contributions.
XV. Congressional Pay and Benefits: We believe that the pay and benefits of our elected representatives has gotten completely out of hand. We will strive for solutions, basing those solutions on more control of these monies by the States. As the House of Representative and Senate members are elected by their states, to represent their states, their salaries should be paid by the states that elected them. Salaries should also be set by the state. Federal retirement will not apply to members of Congress. Any benefits will come from the elector’s state and must meet the same criteria as all state employees. This will require a Constitutional Amendment.
XVI. Term Limits: As the states elect their Representatives and Senators, the states should be allowed to set term limits on their elected officials. These laws are, for the most part, fair and necessary, and we do not contest them. This may require a Constitutional Amendment.
XVII. Resource Sustainability: As a matter of basic survival and national defense, The Veterans’ Party of America believes sufficient efforts must be made in adopting, implementing, and managing sustainable and reasonable Resource Management Programs. These Resource Management Programs include, but are not limited to: water, soil, timber, fauna, agriculture, fossil fuels, renewable energy sources, and waste management. Resource Management is a state jurisdiction issue. However, the Federal Government must be involved in establishing reasonable minimum guidelines, as well as for assisting with coordinating Resource Management efforts for multi-state resources. The Veterans’ Party of America believes reducing our carbon footprint is a noble effort. It is a fact that global temperatures have risen over the last century with the last ten to fifteen years remaining level, and as such, we will not buckle to reactionary legislation introduced by those supporting the alarmist view of, “Global Warming and Climate Change,” nor will we passively sit on the sideline as resources are consumed and damaged with reckless abandon by aggressive industries seeking profits. It is also a fact that mankind has survived two previous eras with much higher temperatures. Our stance is to be prudent when seeking answers to reducing our carbon footprint and conserving what we have today for future generations. We will support reasonable legislation to do so without overburdening our industrial production and growth. We want clean air, water, and healthy habitats for our wildlife along with jobs and economic development. It is our belief that we can achieve all by working together in a prudent and reasonable manner.
XVIII. Corporate Subsidies: Large, multi-state corporations should not receive any corporate subsidies unless the cause of the corporation’s failing is from direct government pricing mandates. We oppose the government demanding businesses sell products at set prices.
XIX. Unions: Skilled trade unions, that provide an apprenticeship program, are vital to the continuing growth of those trades and our nation. These trade unions should also bear responsibility for any failures to adequately train and set standards within their respective trades. All Americans have a right to work. With the exception of skilled trade industries, no American should be forced to join a union as a condition of employment. If the union performs well, and truly helps their members, people will want to join the union.