Goal ideas (third party suggestions)

By Steve Kirsch  (650) 279-1008  stk@propel.com
Jan 14, 2003 
Version 1


I asked my political assistant to survey experts in their field and ask them each for a single most important goal in the area(s) they are expert in. The responses are reproduced below.

In many cases, the responses are not appropriate goals. A good goal should be specific, measurable, and meaningful. For example, one person said the goal for education should be "A qualified teacher in every classroom." There are no dates, "qualified" is ambiguous, and most importantly, it isn't meaningful! After all, what good are having qualified teachers if the school is falling apart, the standards aren't high, etc? This is a strategy to improve the education of our kids, not a goal. This document is full of these "non-goals." In the case of education, our goals should be specific related to the quality of the education our kids get, e.g., "we will be within the top 5 countries in the world by 2020 on average student performance as measured  TIMSS and any other reputable method."

I'm not an expert in any of these areas, but I've suggested a goal for each. My goals have (stk) have them.

To complete the planning process, you should have a vision statement for each area. The goals should then be supportive of achieving the vision. For simplification, this document is focused on the goals. For vision and strategies, see Some specific goal ideas in the 10 key areas


Restore 3 key economic indicators (need to specifically choose which 3, e.g., unemployment, consumer spending, etc.) to the levels they were at during the Clinton administration (again, need to research this to set specifics) by 2007 (stk)

Ensure that every American can have a good job at a living wage, with safe working conditions and an adequate pension for a secure retirement. (Jeff Blum, Executive Director, USAction)

Foreign policy

Restore the foreign favorability rating of the US to the levels measured during Clinton's administration by 2006.  To achieve this goal, strategies include: facilitating peace in the middle east, cooperating on treaties we've signed, sign treaties such as Kyoto we should sign, etc. (stk)

Isolate Al Qaeda and offer an alternative vision. (Jane Wales, World Affairs Council)

Advance a Middle-East peace plan, and bring the parties to the table, including Arab states. (Jane Wales, World Affairs Council)

Make the international environment 20% more stable, in order to create a safe and stable international environment in which to pursue America's political, security, economic and humanitarian interests. (Peter Yeo, International Relations Commitee, US House of Representatives)

America's foremost foreign policy goal should be, for every child born after the year 2000 in any developing country, to end illiteracy and assure the equivalent of a high school education. (Alton Frye, Council on Foreign Relations)


Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to level X by date Y. This is the most critical environmental goal. Strategies include: 4 pollutant limitations, higher CAFE standards, plug-in hybrids incentives, and incentives for the manufacturer, infrastructure, and consumer for H2 FCV. Also, increased R&D funding (research and startup) for FCVs. (stk)

Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to 20-25% below 1990 levels by 2020 or 2025, with deeper reductions by 2040-2050. (Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists)

20% reduction in CO2 by the year 2020. (Carl Pope, President, The Sierra Club)

Reduce our nation's net global warming gas emissions to levels adequate to reverse and ultimately halt the global warming trend within our lifetime. (Deb Callahan, League of Conservation Voters)

Use America's technological know-how to require dramatice reductions in four major pollutants emitted by power plants in the nex five years: smog-forming NOx, soot-forming SO2, toxic mercury and carbon dioxide. (Anna Aurilio, USPIRG)


Reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 20% by 2020. Strategies a Manhattan project that would include increased research funding (e.g., for startups, and for university research such as full spectrum solar cells, fuel cell technology, etc.). Also incentives for wind and other clean technologies, RPS requirements,  (stk)

Reduce our use of petroleum - a 50% reduction by 2020. (Thomas Adams, California League of Conservation Voters)

Cut fossil fuel use by 20% by 2020. (Dan Becker, Sierra Club)

Require 20% of electricity to be generated by clean renewables by 2020. Reduce consumption of oil in cars and trucks by 25% by 2020. (Anna Aurilio, USPIRG)

Political reform

Reduce the influence of special interests and restore the power to the people by passing a law in Congress similar to clean money laws in Maine, Arizona, allowing true public financing of federal elections by 2005 (stk)

Restore faith in the political process by increasing voter turnout and grassroots participation, and by reducing the cost of campaigns by providing free or reduced media to candidates. (Donnie Fowler, TechNet)

Every person should be able to vote, every vote should be counted, and issues, not money, should be the basis of political decision making. (Jeff Blum, Executive Director, USAction)

Over the next 10 years, limit campaign spending with a constitutional amendment, limit campaign contributions to $100, and provide candidates with substantial free and reduced-cost TV, radio and mailings. (Anna Aurilio, USPIRG)

National security

Reduce the threat of terrorism by improving our international image back to levels before Bush by 2008 by acting as a force for peace and offering assistance to countries when requested and working cooperatively and constructively with international organizations such as the UN.  (stk)

Reduce the nuclear danger, by drawing down and securing former Soviet forces, through Nunn-Lugar CTR, ratifying the CTBT, and actually destroying the warheads from dismantled strategic forces - (Jane Wales, World Affairs Council)

To create a multilateral regime that verifiably bans all weapons of mass destruction and creates a functioning international system to respond to crises. (Stephen Young, Union of Concerned Scientists)

Ensure that all nuclear weapons and fissile material worldwide are secure and accounted for. Special emphasis on securing and accounting for tactical nuclear weapons and fissile material in Russia. (William C. Potter, Director, Center for Nonproliferation Studies and Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and Institute Professor. Monterey Institute of International Studies)

To protect America from nuclear attack by securing and eliminating as much nuclear material as possible in the next ten years. (Joseph Ciricionne, Director, Non-Proliferation Project, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

No nuclear detonations, accidental or purposeful, state or non-state in the next two decades. (John Isaacs, Council for a Livable World)

Increase spending to secure nuclear weapons and material -- non-proliferation programs -- with the goal by the end of 2020, all nuclear and radioactive materials everywhere are secured and accounted for under strict, uniform international standards. (John Isaacs, Council for a Livable World)

The eradication or neutralization of anti-American terrorist groups. (Democratic staff of the House Armed Services Committee)

Thwart the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives, particularly in those cases in which such materials or weapons might reach the hands of terrorist groups. (Democratic staff of the House Armed Services Committee)


Provide a K-12 education opportunity for every Americans that is comparable to the quality of education delivered in the best countries in the world by 2020. The proof here is that our students should perform on international exams comparable to the leading countries, i.e., be within the top 5 by 2020 on an international scale (stk)

A quality public school for every child, regardless of where they are born or to whom they are born. (Jeff Blum, Executive Director, USAction)

Elimination of the "achievement gap" in achievement that consigns minorities, immigrant children and lower income students to educational failure and inferior economic opportunities. (John Lawrence, Democratic Chief of Staff, Committee on Education and the Workforce, US House of Representatives)

Double the number of 19 year olds participating in higher education and quadruple the number of college ready graduates. (Tom Vander Ark, Gates Foundation)

Every American, no matter their age, race, or income, should have the opportunity and ability to pursue post-secondary education. (Michael Dannenberg, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, US Senate)

Have a high quality teacher in every classroom. (Michael Dannenberg, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, US Senate)

Health care

Universal coverage for all citizens by 2010. In essence, do for the US what Gov. Dean did in Vermont.  (stk)

Quality, affordable health care for all Americans. (Jeff Blum, Executive Director, USAction)

Universal coverage, using the Canadian system as a model. (Thomas Adams, California League of Conservation Voters)

Social security

Secure financially social security by 2008 so that it does not fall apart over the next 30 years. (stk)

The present system should be secured financially and not privatized, so that it remains the anchor of the nation's retirement system.(Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect)


Put in place by 2010 a tax system that is substantially simpler for citizens (and the IRS) than what we have now. (stk)

A tax system that is based on the principles that people should pay according to their ability to do so, and that raises an adequate amount of funds to meet basic social needs. (Jeff Blum, Executive Director, USAction)

Comprehensive tax policy -- including rates, incentives, credits and cuts -- must be made fairer across the board to restore genuine progressivity to overall tax policy, not simply the formal rates that have little relationship to the actual taxes that are paid. (John Lawrence, Democratic Chief of Staff, Committee on Education and the Workforce, US House of Representatives)

Tax policy should be a system of taxation that is simple, fair and based on the ability to pay (though this is hard to quantify) (Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect)

Tax simplification for individual taxes. (Thomas Adams, California League of Conservation Voters)