No Labels

Policy Playbook for America's Next President

About the No Labels Policy Playbook

National Strategic Agenda

Download a full PDF of the Policy Playbook here.

Since we launched in 2010, No Labels has had a distinct focus: Bringing America’s leaders together to solve big problems.

To solve a problem — any problem — leaders first need to unite behind goals, and then commit to working together to achieve those goals.

To identify broad bipartisan goals for America, No Labels did extensive national polling to determine where the American people want Washington to get to work. Drawing on this feedback, we created a National Strategic Agenda focused on four goals:

  • Create 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years
  • Balance the federal budget by 2030
  • Make America energy secure by 2024

The National Strategic Agenda tells our leaders where the people want our nation to go. The No Labels Policy Playbook for America’s Next President shows how we can get there.

The Policy Playbook for America's Next President

For the past two years, No Labels has worked diligently to create a playbook for our next president that represents both good politics and good policy.

Working with our pro-bono partner Deloitte Consulting, No Labels conducted almost 20 policy workshops featuring policy experts, former senior government and military officials, and business and community leaders from across the political spectrum. Along the way we researched, debated and discussed hundreds of discrete policy proposals in areas including tax, budget, health care, Social Security and Medicare, investment and innovation, energy, education and regulation.

If an idea was deemed good policy in our workshops — meaning our experts thought it could make progress against one or more of the four goals in the National Strategic Agenda — No Labels took it straight to the people.

In an effort to find the sweet spot where good policy and good politics intersect, No Labels once again conducted national polling to survey the American people’s feelings on policy options and strategic choices facing the country.

The end result is the No Labels Policy Playbook for America’s Next President, featuring 60 ideas, the vast majority of which poll above 60% overall and at least 50% among Democrats, Republicans and independents.* The few ideas in the playbook that don’t reach this ambitious polling threshold are included because our policy experts believed them essential to reaching one of the four goals. Some of these are new ideas, while others build upon or expand existing government efforts.

This policy playbook, if implemented in its entirety, wouldn’t necessarily get America all the way there on each of the four National Strategic Agenda goals. But it would represent a substantial — even historic — step forward.

Of course, no single policy idea exists in isolation. Pull one policy lever and it affects many others. For example, if America enacted a smarter immigration policy that protected our borders and preserved our heritage as a nation of immigrants, we could grow our labor force and enhance our pool of high-skilled talent. This would lead to the potential for greater innovation and ultimately, more jobs. We could also expand the number of workers paying into safety net programs at a time when we desperately need more revenues to pay for increasing numbers of beneficiaries. In turn, easing these entitlement burdens goes a long way toward helping us bring balance to the budget.

So the No Labels Policy Playbook for America’s Next President was created with this interconnectedness in mind, with ideas that are complementary and can often help make progress against multiple National Strategic Agenda goals at once.

*Polling data derived from three national surveys conducted by Cohen Research Group in February and March 2016. Each survey had a sample size of at least 1,000 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does the National Strategic Agenda and the Policy Playbook for America’s Next President fit together?

A: The National Strategic Agenda sets a vision for where America needs to go. The Playbook provides a path to get there.

Q: Why doesn’t the Policy Playbook address X problem?

A: No policy agenda can solve every problem and we didn’t try to do so here. We took on four really big goals that are important to the American people and presented 60 common sense ideas to solve them. This is an effort to kick-start a long overdue debate on serious problems. But it’s just the beginning.

Q: Why did No Labels include X policy in the Playbook? Why not Y policy?

A: The ideas in this package are illustrative. If someone has a better idea to solve a problem, we welcome it.

We don’t expect members of Congress or the next administration—who have their own policy teams and priorities—to embrace every or even most ideas in this book.

But we do expect them to stop procrastinating. To stop pretending there is no common ground to be found. There is and this Playbook proves it.

Q: What is the fiscal impact of your Playbook ideas? Can the nation afford them?

A: The ideas in the Playbook—if packaged together correctly—can definitely be implemented in a way that is consistent with the No Labels’ goal of balancing the nation’s budget. With the Playbook, we are providing the essential raw materials that leaders need to create comprehensive and fiscally responsible reforms. It’s up to them to actually do it.

Q: Why aren’t your tax reform policies more specific?

A: Tax reform is so complex with so many moving parts. So what we tried to do in the Playbook is to very clearly define the problems with the tax code and to suggest common sense directional solutions. Decisions on where to set rates need to be hashed out in Congress. But you can expect more ideas from No Labels on taxes and other issues at our December event.

Q: Why doesn’t your energy security platform include much about climate change?

A: No Labels energy security goal has three components:

  • Decreasing use of oil in transportation
  • Transitioning to more sustainable power generating fuels
  • Building a smarter more secure electric grid

All three of those areas involve policies that will help fight climate change by increasing adoption of cleaner fuels and enhancing energy efficiency.

Q: How did you pick the particular metrics for each of the four goals and what do they actually mean?

A: The four goals have end points of about a decade or more. No Labels wanted enough time for realistic solutions to take effect, but not so much time that Washington could procrastinate. Here’s a little more background on each of the goals:

  • Create 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years

The last time the U.S. economy was really humming was in the 1990s, when it was adding 2-3 million jobs annually. That’s how we got to 25 million jobs.

  • Secure Social Security and Medicare for the next 75 years

Social Security and Medicare’s actuaries define program solvency over 75 years. So does No Labels.

  • Balance the federal budget by 2030

No Labels’ budget goal does not mean that the government’s revenues and expenses must be in complete balance every year. Instead, the government should work to reduce the burden that federal debt imposes on our economy to a stated level and ensure that it will no longer be rising by 2030.

  • Make America energy secure by 2024

No Labels’ energy security goal has three components:

  • Decreasing the share of oil in the U.S. transportation sector
  • Developing a more sustainable, less polluting energy mix
  • Creating a smarter, more secure electric grid