Contract with the Planet
August 9, 2002

The original version of Contract with the Planet has since evolved into a document called “The Ten Principles,” which can be read on the True Majority website [].

True Majority was founded by Ben Cohen, Co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s. It is a grassroots education and advocacy project of Priorities, Inc., a non-profit, non-partisan, tax-deductible, 501(c)(3) corporation.

The Ten Principles have been endorsed by Greenpeace, Rock the Vote, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Peace Action, the National Head Start Association, Global Exchange, The Interfaith Alliance, The Nation magazine, Sojourners, Rainforest Action Network, the United Nations Association/USA, Women's Action for New Directions (WAND), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), National Council of La Raza, and a long and growing list of Americans.

The future continues to be uncertain for this Afghan mother and her family. Credit: United Nations photo
1. Attack World Hunger and Poverty as if Our Life Depends on it: It Does.
Anchor our foreign policy in the compassion for the poor that unites all the world's religions. Reduce the debts of impoverished countries. End America's sad history as the world's leading exporter of weapons. Shift foreign aid from buying weapons to feeding people.

2. Champion the Rights of Every Child, Woman and Man.
Make America stand for justice, not expediency. Stop turning a blind eye to governments that abuse their own people. Ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. If punishing a foreign tyrant means, in actual practice, punishing the women and children who are his victims, desist, and find another path.

After fleeing military terror, a child returns to East Timor. Credit: United Nations photo
3. Pay our UN Dues Ungrudgingly and End our Obstructionism to the World's Treaties.
Throw America's full weight behind the United Nations. Pay our UN dues on time and without conditions. Withdraw our lonely vetoes of the landmine ban, the bans on chemical and biological weapons, the Kyoto accords and the International Criminal Court. Show once again the "decent respect for the opinions of mankind" that our Declaration of Independence affirms.

4. Reduce our Dependence on Oil.
Oil holds us hostage to regimes hated by their own people; their hatred transfers to us. America is 5% of the world's people but we generate 25% of the pollution that causes global warming. It's our duty to lead. We will reduce our consumption 25% by 2010.

5. Lead the World to an Age of Renewable Energy.
Make a Moon Mission scale commitment to develop solar and wind power technologies. Set and meet a goal of 20% of our energy from renewable sources by 2010.

6. Close the Book on the Cold War and End the Nuclear Nightmare Forever.
Cast a cold eye on giant weapons designed to destroy giant enemies that no longer exist. Cancel obsolete Cold War weapons. We applaud the nuclear force cuts announced by President Bush, but even 2,000 warheads poised and aimed at Russia are unwise. We squander $35 billion a year on this obsolete arsenal. Save most of that money, take our missiles off "launch on warning" and invite all nuclear nations to negotiate a nuclear weapons ban.

7. Renounce Star Wars and the Militarization of Space.
Reaffirm the ABM treaty. After spending $134 billion dollars (twice our lifetime commitment to cancer research!) our military has nothing to show for its obsession with a dubious National Missile Defense but the deep suspicions of our new allies. Enough is enough.

8. Make Globalization Work for, not against, Working People.
Open the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to the public. Let sunshine into the councils of the World Trade Organization and the North American Fair Trade Agreement. Affirm that the welfare of the planet's people supersedes corporate patents and profits.

9. Get Money out of Politics.
Curtail the vast corrupting influence of corporate campaign contributions, which make Congress beholden to private interests. Enact public campaign financing--we can fund it entirely by closing a single offshore tax loophole!

10. Close the Gap between Rich and Poor at Home.
All these words will ring hollow to the world if America does not close the chasm between Rich and Poor in our own society. We will fully fund Head Start and healthcare insurance for the millions of American children who can't get either, and invest the money needed to build and nourish schools worthy of this great nation.

How it Adds Up
This New Contract for the Planet is revenue-neutral. By ending programs that are detrimental to America’s security and harm our nation’s role in the world, the Contract provides $40 billion in savings.

The Contract invests that sum in programs that enhance security by attacking poverty at home and abroad, restoring the environment and celebrating the dignity of all the people of the world.

Investments in New Jobs for Old Glory

Increase humanitarian and economic aid to poor countries: $10 billion

Renovate America's crumbling schools over 10 years: $10 billion (1)

Reduce debts of impoverished nations: 9 billion

Provide health insurance to all uninsured American kids: $ 6 billion (2)

Increase federal funding for clean energy and energy efficiency: $ 2 billion (3)

Public financing of federal elections: $ 1 billion (4)

Fully fund Head Start: $ 2 billion (5)

TOTAL: $40 billion

Savings from Cutting Outmoded Programs

Reduce nuclear arsenal to 1,000 warheads: $15 billion (6)

Cut Cold War weapons: $12 billion (8)

Eliminate Star Wars: $8 billion (9)

Curb international weapons sales: $4 billion (10)

Eliminate offshore corporate tax loophole: $1 billion (11)

TOTAL: $40 billion

  1. 1.U.S. General Accounting Office, "School Facilities: America’s Schools Report Differing Conditions" (GAO/HEHS-96-103), 1996.

  2. Margo Edmunds, Martha Teitelbaum, Cassy Gleason, "All Over the Map: A Progress Report on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program," Children’s Defense Fund, July 2000. The American Academy of Pediatrics, "An Analysis of the Costs to Provide Health Care Coverage to the Children and Adolescent Population Aged 0 21, Conducted by Towers Perrin" (adjusted for inflation),

  3. Interlaboratory Working Group. Scenarios for a Clean Energy Future (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Renewable Energy Laboratory) November, 2000. Also see, Union of Concerned Scientists, Clean Energy Blueprint.

  4. Public Campaign determined the cost of Clean Money Campaign Reform to federal congressional elections is about $1.3 billion per election cycle or $650 million per year for all House and Senate races.

  5. Head Start Bureau, "2000 Head Start Fact Sheet,", Craig Turner of the Head Start Bureau, telephone interview, Jan.12, 2001.U.S. Census Bureau, "Poverty Status of People in 1999,"

  6. Dr. Lawrence Korb, "A Realistic Defense Budget for the New Millennium," Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, 2001.

  7. These include the F/A-18E/F fighter, the F-22 fighter, the V-22 Osprey, the RAH-66 Comanche helicopter, the Crusader artillery system, and the Virginia Class new attack submarine.

  8. Budget of the United States, FY 2002.

  9. Budget of the United States, FY 2002.

  10. Bill Hartung, World Policy Institute.

  11. Citizens for Tax Justice.

For more information contact:
Contact the websites and resources in the above article.

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