Questions Regarding the American Solidarity Party

A friend of mine has recently joined the American Solidarity Party (ASP).  Being mildly curious about this organization – of whose existence I was, until recently, unaware – I decided to peruse its platform to see what it was all about.  My reading of this document left me with several questions.  These first two concerned issues on which the ASP’s platform was apparently silent.

  1. What is the ASP’s position (if any) on gun-related issues? E.g., Concealed carry, universal background checks, gun registration, assault weapons bans?  What about proposals to expand restrictions on firearms possession by certain persons (e.g., DUI offenders, persons on terror watchlists, “gun violence restraining orders”).
  2. Does the ASP consider birthright citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal aliens, transient aliens, and/or aliens generally to be constitutionally-mandated by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Citizenship Clause?
  3. In the ASP’s view, what role (if any) should the original public meaning of the Constitution play in constitutional law?

These other questions concerned particular aspects of the platform (in quotation marks):

  1. We oppose conscription into the armed services and other forms of compulsory government service . . . .” Does this include jury duty?
  2. We will work to restrict the legal construct of ‘personhood’ for organizations and corporations.” What sort of “restrictions” on corporate personhood does the ASP favor?
  3. We advocate a tax shift from earned income (wages and interest) to unearned income (economic rent).” How is “unearned income” defined; does it include dividends, interest, rental income from rental properties?  What magnitude of tax rates are we talking about?
  4. We advocate . . . legal accountability for the misrepresentation of facts in political advertising.” What form would this “accountability” take, and would it be consistent with existing First Amendment case law?
  5. We insist on legal protection for occupational safety . . . .” How is this different from what OSHA currently does?
  6. We oppose government censorship of the media and the internet.” Does “censorship” include laws prohibiting obscenity and child pornography?
  7. We support stricter controls on consumer credit, including limits on interest and regulation of credit-card companies and payday-loan and title-loan stores.” What sort of “regulation” does the ASP favor for credit cards and payday loans?  Besides interest-rate ceilings, what other “stricter controls” does the ASP favor for consumer credit?
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2 Responses to “Questions Regarding the American Solidarity Party”

  1. The platform is a general set of guidelines upon which candidates are welcome to elaborate; it is not meant to be exhaustive. In cases where I left questions unanswered, it’s because there is no party position that I know of.

    1. On the question of the Second Amendment, the party has no particular position, though I think I represent a plurality (even a majority?) of members when I say that, (a) the amendment has, for some time, been interpreted by the courts to mean a general right to bear arms, apart from membership in a well-regulated militia, and (b) firearms have long been part of American culture, including a long tradition of hunting. Thus, banning firearms, either outright or de facto via extremely strict forms of regulation, is probably neither plausible nor prudent. That having been said, points (a) and (b) do not preclude, at least in my mind, certain measures designed to limit gun violence, such as tighter regulation of assault weapons or more rigorous and consistent background checks.

    2. ASP has no position on whether the constitution implies birthright citizenship. It is my understanding that the current judicial position is that it does, so we’ll certainly go with that until such time as there is a change. I’m sure many ASP members support the idea of birthright citizenship, and would want to see it in our law if it’s ever deemed by the courts not to be present. For me personally, I’m not totally wedded to the idea, though I think we have a serious responsibility to migrants, including to the children of migrants who are born here, which should be codified in law one way or another.

    3. ASP has no position on originalism. I gather there are a goodly number of originalists among its members, but I couldn’t say what proportion they make up.

    4. I don’t imagine it would include jury duty. Does anyone claim to be a conscientious objector from it? If they really made a good case, maybe we’d include that too.

    I know you’re more familiar with the intricacies of the law than I am, but I hope that helps! Do think about joining the ASP discussion group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/christiandemocracyusa/ For that matter, consider joining the party! We could certainly use more members with your eye for the details of law and policy.

  2. dhalsim2 Says:

    I have some answers to your questions. I admit that many answers are vague. I hope you aren’t disappointed by this, but I can’t impute specific clarifications when none are intended by the platform.

    1. Regarding gun-related issues, we take no position. Both gun lovers and gun haters are welcome to join the party, as long as they respect the sanctity of human life.

    2. We have no official position on the birthright citizenship of U.S.-born children, but like most of the country, I haven’t come across any member that questions the legitimacy of this citizenship.

    3. I believe that we all respect the Constitution, including its original intentions.

    4. I don’t think that anyone intended for this to mean jury duty. The question has never come up. That sounds silly though, so perhaps re-wording it might be better.

    5. We oppose the conclusion that corporations are persons as per Citizens United, but haven’t defined this in any more detail.

    6. This is a big one. This plank needs significant re-writing for clarification, as most people completely misunderstand it. Unearned income as is intended in this plank isn’t defined as it is commonly defined in modern America. Here is a comment from a recent Facebook post when I was attempting to explain it to someone else:

    God gave the earth to man for the benefit of all in a fair (though not necessarily equal) distribution. Right now earth’s resources are largely controlled by the few, instead of the many. The goal is to move away from income taxes and move toward taxing things that you have an exclusive right over. When you buy land, you have an exclusive right over that land, so it will be taxed. When you have a fishing rights in a certain area, you’ll be taxed for those rights. If you own a coal mine, oil deposit, natural gas deposit, etc., you’ll be taxed for that exclusive control. This tax system isn’t limited to natural resources. It can also be applied to patents, etc.

    In the end income taxes go way down, and perhaps become non-existent for most. Taxes on land, energy, etc. go up. This is good for the environment and the economy.

    “Could you please explain how this wouldn’t be shocking and bad to farming, especially to farming enterprises near well populated areas. Would they be exempt to some degree since they are producing necessary goods for the population?”

    . . ., taxation on land, what people are calling “ground rent” is only part of the equation on unearned income. Prices will increase for land ownership, but I wouldn’t suspect that ground rent would bear the brunt of the shift in taxation. I think that fossil fuel energy production, logging, and fishing would bear quite a bit of that burden. The theory is sound and advocated by a great many economists. The implementation details would largely be determined by whomever is elected to implement them. When we are large enough to have multiple ASP candidates on stage having a televised debate, it is their policy proposals that will make the difference.

    Note that there are two common criticisms that are lobbed against a shift from income taxes to resource taxes. One is that the increase in prices will disproportionately affect the poor. However, in reality, this can be completely neutralized with tax credits. The second criticism is that if resources are more expensive in the U.S., production will be shifted overseas. This is where eco-tariffs come in. International trade will be taxed based on the ecological policies of the exporting countries. Clean countries will have low tariffs. Polluting countries will have higher tariffs. This helps the global environment. But also, as income taxes are decreased, corporations will migrate here for the tax savings.

    7, 8.. I have nothing more specific on these.

    9. This is admittedly confusing, as in another plank we explicitly denounce pornography. This is possibly as confusing to you as it is to me.

    10. We are against usury, but specific policy is unspecified and left to candidates running for office.

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