I watched my first national political convention in 1976. I was in high school at the time, but watching the gavel-to-gavel coverage and listening to speeches and commentary somehow captured my attention. Now it’s 40 years later and with decades of policy and political experience, those speeches come across to me a lot differently, and, for most part, not for the better. Maybe it’s cynicism; maybe it’s knowing that the issues are more complicated than the kind of sound bite, red meat rhetoric solutions you hear at these conventions.
But one place where there might be a little more than sound bite rhetoric is the party platforms. I know from experience that these documents are drawn up with some care and thought. Subcommittees of the platform committee labor over words and phrases. So perhaps there is more to be gleaned by examining the platform.
Here is a look at key parts of the 2016 GOP Platform that pertain to Goodwill’s priorities.
On protecting the charitable deduction the GOP platform states, “Because of the vital role of religious organizations, charities, and fraternal benevolent societies…they should not be subject to taxation and donations to them should remain deductible.”
The platform suggests reinstating the work requirements from the 1996 Welfare to Work legislation for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. It also proposes separating SNAP from the Department of Agriculture but doesn’t indicate where this program should be located.
Regarding social security, the platform opposes raising payroll taxes and appears to promote private accounts, though not by name probably because a vast majority of American’s oppose the idea. The problem here is that any solution to solvency simply can’t be achieved without a premium adjustment.
The platform supports the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the ABLE Act (Achieving a Better Life Experience) that allows parents or guardians to put aside savings for youth with disabilities without compromising the benefits the child might be receiving, such as SSI.
Some areas that we regret the platform did not address are support for legislation giving opportunities to those re-entering society from incarceration, such as the Second Chance Act, and the importance of the Pell grant program in helping low income students reach for a college education.
We provided a link above to the full platform. Tell us what you think in the comments section at the end of the blog.
Next up: The 2016 Democratic Platform.