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The Reform Party of the United States of America was started by Ross Perot, a billionaire businessman who ran for U.S. president in 1992 and 1996. The party began as an alternative to the Democratic and Republican parties and was touted as a way to restore government accountability. One of the key concepts of the Reform Party is having a government that respects the interests and welfare of the general population.
Like any other political party, the Reform Party is defined by its basic philosophies on how government should operate. The Reform Party’s position on economic spending, for example, encourages more accountability. It advocates a balanced budget and paying down the federal debt. To reduce the budget deficit, the party maintains, wasteful programs should be cut, and subsidies for special interests should be eliminated.
Other issues on which the Reform Party takes a stand include health care and strict enforcement of immigration laws. In 2010, new government health care laws, the growing national debt and an emotionally charged debate over immigration brought these three issues to the forefront. The party also believes that the terms for members of the House and Senate should be reduced to three and six years, respectively. Providing Social Security benefits for those who paid into the system and reducing corporate welfare, or government payments to support businesses, also are important to the Party.
A “new and fair” tax system also should be implemented, according to the Reform Party. This includes analyzing all possible kinds of taxes, according to the party’s position statement. The kinds of taxes that might be debated are value-added taxes and taxes on bank transactions, income, sales, gasoline and assets.
The Reform Party further maintains that the U.S. can no longer allow unbridled immigration. Part of the problem, it says, is the use of immigration visas that allow businesses to hire illegal immigrants. This practice should be abolished because it lowers the salaries and living standards of all workers, according to the Party. The party believes that using the military to protect the borders will help reduce illegal immigration.
Other groups also identify themselves as being a part of the Reform Party and call for changes in the government. Anyone who is researching or joining any Reform Party group should understand its history, leadership and stance on current issues. Reform Party groups can be national, regional or local in scope.