Most of us grew up learning that everyone deserves a fair shake. We all understand that not everyone starts from a level playing field. Moreover, some people – no matter how hard they work – stumble along the way. I’m running for Congress because I believe that extending a hand to help people stand on their own two feet is a responsibility that our politicians have forgotten.
Over the past four decades an increasing share of the income generated in America has gone to the wealthiest few, underscoring the fact that most of us do not get a fair shake. The concentration of wealth and privilege cuts across many lines: urban areas are more prosperous in general than non-urban areas; certain regions, such as our own western counties are struggling while others are thriving; women fare less well than men in a broad variety of ways; people of color are still struggling to gain economic and social parity with the rest of their fellow citizens; and sexual orientation or preference can still be a barrier to economic advancement and social acceptance.
In our democracy the route to a fair shake for all is through the political process. But the flood of money that has been permitted to flow into politics coupled with the growing gap between the haves and the have nots undermines the political system as a path to fairness. It is more and more evident that politicians are following the money rather than tending to the needs of their constituents.
As those that have made it know all too well but sometimes forget, it takes a good sense of direction; support from family, friends and mentors; savvy; access to capital; knowing the right people; and perhaps most of all a lot of luck to succeed. A fair shake for all is about sewing these seeds for all Americans.
How do we ensure everyone has a fair shake? We start by revising the tax code that ensures everyone pays their fare share. From there, we:
1. Build a springboard to success for those who need it:
- A guaranteed minimum income to provide a foundation for those who are struggling
- Ensure affordable housing
- Affordable, universal healthcare
- Provide affordable day care
- Invest in public transportation to make jobs accessible
- Make it easier for employees – professional and working-class – to organize and cooperate across companies & industries
- Federal law to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation
- Vigorously enforce anti-discrimination laws
- Quality elementary and secondary education for all communities regardless of their economic circumstances
- Eliminate financial barriers for those who want to go onto higher education or vocational school; ability to pay should not outweigh qualifications
- Enhanced public safety services in high-risk neighborhoods to include police officers who represent the communities they serve
- Distributed healthcare services, both physical and mental, at point of need in chronically underperforming communities
2. Create job opportunities with good pay and a future:
- Disperse technological innovation across all our communities
- Alter our trade practices to stop the flow of jobs to countries whose markets are not as open as ours and where certain business practices are permitted but would not be tolerated here.
- Regional or even local development funds to attract private capital backed by government guarantees as necessary to struggling areas
- Rebuild our infrastructure to be smart and consistent with the sustainable lifestyle we will need in the future
- Federally-backed capital market for small businesses
- Revamp SBA to provide genuine value-added services
- Incorporate training in entrepreneurialism and innovation in secondary and elementary schools
- Steer more Federally-funded research to regions to create a foundation or support an existing economic foundation for growth
3. Regulate greed that undermines the market:
- Rationalize tax policies across countries to prevent global corporations from taking advantage of loopholes to avoid paying their fair share for public services used
- Restore Glass-Steagall Act
- Restore Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act
- Redefine insider trading to make it easier to prosecute
- Incorporate Glass-Steagall and Dodd-Frank in international law