Rebuild our Economy
I believe our nation has the resources to revitalize our communities and provide hope to our children for a better future — all we lack is leadership and willpower.
Our communities were built through hard work, honest labor, and innovation. We are an interdependent network of shopkeepers, farmers, construction workers, teachers, engineers, inventors. Hardworking Americans have made our nation the richest country in the world and the richest country in human history, but you wouldn't know it by walking down the main street of any of our towns or cities. Our nation's wealth has been stolen by a small group of elites and they are hoarding it, out of sight. Our leaders must have the vision and the integrity to demand that this wealth be returned to the people of our nation.
Decades of government policy have stacked the deck against working men and women. We’ve seen small businesses lost to national corporations, and careers that support families replaced by low-wage jobs. The American dream is dying, as all the wealth we've made, and continue to make, shifts to the top. In an age of automation, off-shoring, and short-sighted trade deals, we need a new economy strengthened from the ground up. We must return to supporting our neighbors and building our communities, so our economy will be sustainable.
We must create jobs for Americans and residents in the Southern Tier:
- Infrastructure: We must invest heavily in infrastructure projects, rebuild our highways, bridges and electrical grid, and bring broadband internet to every home.
- Renewable energy: When the government provides subsidies to businesses, those tax dollars should be directed to companies and institutions that are working for the good of our nation and the future, including renewable energy companies. We need to create new jobs in the green tech sector and end our dependency on fossil fuel sources.
- Research and technology: I support more research into alternative energy production, multi-phase grids, energy storage solutions, mechanisms to reduce consumption, and so forth. America needs to be a leader in new technology and new technology jobs.
- Jobs and environment: When moving to renewable technology, we must guarantee training, jobs and/or income for workers who are displaced. We have to protect jobs AND the environment, not one or the other.
- Guaranteed full employment: I support the creation of a federal job guarantee program, to be administered by states and local agencies, with federal wages paid directly to workers. Alternatively, I am interested in talking about other full-employment initiatives. Everyone deserves the dignity of a job they can do with pride, at a livable wage, so they are not forced to turn to charity.
I support fair taxation in order to stimulate the economy:
- Top tax rate: We must return the top tax rate to at least 60 percent. (During President Eisenhower's administration, the top tax rate was over 90 percent; currently, it is under 40 percent.) The super-rich have benefited unfairly from recent economic chaos. They must pay back some of these profits to help our economy recover.
- Investment income: We must tax investment income at the same rate as workers' wages.
- Estate tax: We must restore the estate tax, so that wealth and income gaps don't widen even further.
- Social Security: We must fully fund social security by removing the social security cap.
- Lower and middle-income Americans: Tax rates for lower and middle-income Americans must remain low, and the minimum wage needs to be increased to $15 an hour. When lower and middle-income Americans don't have disposable income, that leads directly to economic stagnation.
Our economy can not succeed if groups of people are exploited or neglected. I support rights and protections for American citizens and consumers:
- Healthcare: We must move to a Medicare for All healthcare system, away from a system that gives profits to insurance companies at the expense of the people. Health care is a human right, and Medicare for All would be much more effective and cost-efficient than our current system.
- Level playing field: We must provide a level playing field so that companies that behave responsibly are not at a market disadvantage. We should incentivize companies that pay a living wage or reduce their carbon footprint, for example, and impose fees on those that don't.
- CEO pay: Companies that give their CEOs outrageous salaries, incentives, and other compensation should not receive subsidies, tax breaks, or government contracts.
- Separate commercial and investment banking: We need to protect consumers and taxpayers against risky bank investments by re-enacting Glass-Steagall. Too many people lost their life savings or retirement accounts in the 2008 economic collapse.
- Banking: We need to stand up to Wall Street exploitation by breaking up the big banks, enacting a tax on stock transactions, and recreating the old post office banking system, which used to provide a safe and inexpensive alternative for consumers on Main Street.