No Labels Policy Playbook

For America's Next President

Four Goals

You probably don’t need to be told that childish name-calling and directionless debates have replaced principled discussion and intellectual honesty as the hallmarks of our politics.

But No Labels believes that our leaders can change their stripes and put the country first…if we give them a jump start. Toward that end, we’ve developed the No Labels National Strategic Agenda … ideas that the next President can begin to work on right away, in Minute One of his administration.

The National Strategic Agenda is comprised of four goals – developed internally and through a nationally-conducted poll of voters – that we believe are vital to a thriving and vibrant America:

Create 25 million new jobs over the next ten years

Despite gradual improvement in the economy since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, and particularly notable employment gains in late 2014, too many Americans are still out of work. It’s led some to speculate that jobless recoveries may be the “new normal.” But there is nothing normal about millions of Americans being out of work or toiling away in low-pay positions for which they are overqualified.

Joblessness isn’t just a personal tragedy. It’s also a national crisis, because it robs our economy of legions of people who want to invent, innovate, create and contribute. Solving this crisis will require a more creative and flexible response from the U.S. government. Just decreasing taxes or increasing spending — which are often the go-to policy options for the right and left — won’t cut it.

It’s time for policymakers to treat this problem with the urgency it deserves, and to commit to helping create 25 million jobs over the next decade.

Secure Social Security & Medicare for the next 75 years

Social Security and Medicare are true lifelines for tens of millions of Americans across the country. But these lifelines are fraying. Social Security and Medicare are not sustainable on their current trajectories due to the retirement of the enormous Baby Boom generation, falling birth rates, and rising healthcare spending. There are no easy answers to this challenge.

We must, on the one hand, provide the benefits that our seniors have earned and depend on for a growing share of their medical and living expenses. On the other hand, there is no realistic way to reduce America’s debt without reforming the way we currently fund and provide benefits through Medicare and Social Security.But securing Social Security and Medicare is not impossible. There are a number of relatively modest and gradual changes to how benefits are paid and how these programs are funded that can keep Social Security and Medicare secure for another 75 years. One way or another, Washington needs to find a solution for the sake of this generation and the next

Balance the federal budget by 2030

If the money we spend as a nation consistently outpaces the money we bring in, the burden of our increasing debt — including the interest we pay on it — will crush us.

Unfortunately, that’s where we’re headed. America’s federal debt is big and projected to get much bigger for a number of reasons, including an aging, longer-living population, rising long-term healthcare costs and a weak recovery from the Great Recession.

America’s debt-to-GDP ratio is around 74%. That’s higher than at any time in U.S. history, except for a short period after World War II, and more than double what it was in 2007.

The budget trajectory we’re on is unsustainable and we ignore this warning at our peril. That’s why America’s leaders need to commit to balancing the federal budget by 2030.

Make America energy secure by 2024

For decades, America’s political leaders have stressed the need for our country to achieve energy independence. But in our global economy, energy independence is at best a partial solution to the twin energy challenges we face:

  1. The world needs a lot more energy in the future; and
  2. That energy needs to be increasingly clean to mitigate the effects of climate change.

That’s why what America really needs isn’t energy independence. It’s energy security. When a nation is truly energy-secure, its economy has the flexibility and diversity of fuel supplies to withstand the unexpected but inevitable surprises, be it a shift in energy prices or supply, an environmental crisis or an outbreak of war.

To achieve energy security by 2024, America must strive for more energy supply from domestic sources; more efficient use of energy; more modern, reliable and resilient electrical generation and transmission; and a more sustainable (less polluting) energy fuel mix.

 

No Labels’ work to forge a new center begins with organizing citizens. But it must culminate in a new kind of Congress that is finally capable of doing the people’s business.

To that end, No Labels has inspired the creation of a new Problem Solvers Caucus – featuring dozens of House Democrats and Republicans – committed to working constructively across the aisle to advance the goals of No Labels’ National Strategic Agenda.