Giving everyone the chance to live the American Dream and prosper
The People First Platform
Millions of people remain uninsured, with millions more remaining underinsured. People needlessly die because they have to decide whether to call 911, or rush themselves to the hospital. People needlessly die because they have to ration their insulin because their hospital bills are too high.
I don't believe this is right. For this reason, and more, I support a Medicare for All system. A Medicare for All system would:
- save billions of dollars in national spending, through the nationalization of healthcare programs and other reforms to parts of the current healthcare system, specifically reducing costs by 10.3%,
- be a more fiscally stable system, benefitting not just the people, but also the government and businesses who spend a heavy amount of money on health insurance, with net savings estimated to be around 1.4% per year overtime accumulated,
- expand the benefits covered to areas such as health, vision, dental, long-term care, reproductive, and more,
- expand that care to everyone in the United States, regardless of employment status, income, housing status, etc,
- eliminates networks, co-pays, and deductibles, saving people money,
- decreases net costs on middle and working-class families by 2.6-14.0% of their income,
- and is estimated to save more than 68,000 lives every year, comparative to the current system.
Current systemic problems plague our workforce, such as increased housing costs, food costs, transportation costs, and more, which leave many scrambling for money for other utilities like rent. Many workers are no longer able to sustain basic standards of living.
This is why I support an increased $25/hour minimum wage. Here's why:
- Prior to 1968, the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation and productivity growth. However, since then, it began to slow to a crawl. If this trend had continued, the minimum wage would be $25/hour by this point.
- Workers would make at least $48,000 a year, compared to $15,080 a year with the current $7.25/hour minimum wage.
- There is historical precedent for this, including with companies like Bank of America and Aspiration.
- Housing costs alone can cost up to $30, as shown by a 2015 study from Bloomberg. This makes even a $15/hour minimum wage completely unlivable.
The United States has stuck with the two-party electoral system since 1796. Back in the day, it worked just fine. Now, many problems have arisen, and the two-party system is long outdated, and leaves many voters behind.
I support moving to a proportional representation parliamentary voting system.
A two-party system brings about many issues systemically that are part of the foundation of the system.
- The two-party system is responsible for the Electoral College, which has historically limited and hurt third party viability.
- The system relies on electors, not individual voters -- to determine final count.
- This has created a domino effect. Third party candidates are left out of debates, news, media, and rarely get attention. This also includes independents.
- All of this doesn't just hurt candidates, it also hurts voters who do not support either of the 2 main parties: Democratic or Republican.
On the other hand, the parliamentary system has brought forth many positives throughout its historical lifetime.
- The parliamentary system has a focus on legislation and laws, rather than party affiliation.
- The systems main feats are accountability, responsibility, and transparency with citizens.
- Whatever percentage a party receives is the percentage of representatives in the government within that party.
- This system allows for many parties and people to work together, and come to common solutions that overall benefit everyone.
This specific issues platform relating to policing justice and historical accountability have been adopted from parts of the Ten Demands for Justice platform. You can learn more here >>
Historically, our criminal and policing systems have been racially targeting, corporate-owned, and has made very little effect on actually circumventing crimes overall.
- Acknowledge how deeply ingrained the conjoined concepts of crime and punishment are in our society — and how this was constructed during the Age of Reason and the rise of capitalism, initially as a reform by Protestants and Quakers to replace with penitence (see: "penitentiary") the barbaric earlier forms of public capital punishment (e.g., stoning, hangings, amputations, etc.)
Today, as Harvard sociologist Devah Pager has said, “Prison is no longer a rare or extreme event among our nation’s most marginalized groups… Rather it has now become a normal and anticipated marker in the transition to adulthood,"
- acknowledge that in the United States crime and punishment are racialized — dating back to post-slavery Black Codes, chain gangs and the transformation of petty thievery into a felony, and continuing today through racial profiling and the criminalization of entire communities of color.
As Angela Davis puts it: "[T]he category 'lawbreakers' is far greater than the category of individuals who are deemed criminals since, many point out, almost all of us have broken the law at one time or another... Thus, if we are willing to take seriously the consequences of a racist and class-biased justice system, we will reach the conclusion that enormous numbers of people are in prison... not so much because of the crimes they may have indeed committed, but largely because their communities have been criminalized,"
- acknowledge that policing, sentencing and incarceration are directly tied to corporate interests; as lawyer Steve Donziger says, "In the criminal justice field, the raw material is prisoners, and industry will do what is necessary to guarantee a steady supply. For the supply of prisoners to grow, criminal justice policies must ensure a sufficient number of incarcerated Americans regardless of whether crime is rising or the incarceration is necessary,"
- acknowledge that prison is not meant for penitence or rehabilitation, as exemplified by the decision to add an amendment to the 1994 crime bill that eliminated all Pell Grants for prisoners, effectively defunding all higher education programs,
- acknowledge that there is no reason that our society, and how it deals with crime and why people commit crimes, has to be this way — and that our current system doesn't work to deter crime or better our communities,
- and acknowledge that the idea that reallocating police funds to public social services is an unpopular idea is false and disingenuous.
Connecting to historical accountability, we must take action and work to:
- reallocate resources and some funds from police organizations to impacted communities,
- demilitarize the police,
- eliminate discriminatory policing, prosecution, and sentencing,
- institute complete law enforcement transparency and accountability,
- independently investigate all police crimes and abuses of power,
- install community representation, oversight, and safety measures,
- end counter-protest violence,
- apologize and provide reparations,
- and end the war on drugs.
A good education can lead to a good-paying job. It can lead to discovering a new career path. It can even lead to new business opportunities. However, many are restricted from doing this because of the prices of tuition, college fees, and more.
I support tuition-free college for all. Here's why:
- Free college would give young people new opportunities and allow them to get even better jobs, due to the high cost of a degree no longer being an obstacle.
- It wouldn't just help people themselves, but also everyone else, as it would boost our country's productivity and GDP, due to people getting into better, higher-paying jobs, thus allowing them to invest more into the economy.
- Free college for all would also help eliminate historic inequalities that have barred many from getting into a good college, or a college at all.
On top of this, evidence increasingly shows that free college is beneficial. It has bipartisan support, would allow many more students to be eligible, allow broader choice of college, and more.
"In addition to decades of results on general financial aid programs, we have a growing number of studies on state and local programs that all show positive evidence—the 'laboratory of democracy' at work. The idea of a large, federal free-college program therefore has more and more credibility." Read more from Brookings >>
These past elections have made a strong case for ending the Electoral College, which I support.
The way that states get counted vary wildly depending on what state you're in. Some states have way more delegates, some don't. That may not sound like an issue, but this causes a huge problem: it leaves voters underrepresented and uncounted, especially in rural areas.
We saw this just as recently as 2016, where Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote 304-227 -- despite Hillary winning the popular vote by 2.9 million. More worryingly, this has been an ongoing problem for decades. See John Quincy Adams in 1824, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Benjamin Harrison in 1888 and George W. Bush in 2000, for example.
The Electoral College also creates a problem with swing states vs non-swing states. Technically, a majority is 50.01% of the vote. Meaning, that with just .01% over the threshold, a candidate could get 100% of the Electoral College vote -- not considering the other 49.98% of voters.
"A presidential candidate could be elected with as a little as 21.8% of the popular vote by getting just over 50% of the votes in DC and each of 39 small states...a candidate could lose with 78.2% of the popular vote by getting just under 50% in small states and 100% in large states"
While not as common, still good to mention: so-called "faithless electors". This is where an elector goes against the majority vote, and selects the losing opponent as their delegation. While some states punish this, not all do.
All of this also creates a problem for third parties and independents: they are put at a much bigger disadvantage with the Electoral College, in part due to the two party system.
LGBTQIA+ people deserve just as much rights as anybody else. I will work to fight for LGBTQIA+ rights, and that's why I support:
- the Equality Act, which makes federal LGBTQIA+ discrimination illegal everywhere, including housing, healthcare, etc. This act will ensure protections from discrimination, as well as recognition of gender identities for transgender, non-binary, and affiliated people,
- supporting LGBTQIA+ students in schools with clubs like the Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA),
- supporting LGBTQIA+ appropriate counseling,
- banning conversion therapy, the practice of attempting to convert LGBTQIA+ people to cishet individuals,
- banning the gay/trans panic defense,
- and banning non-consensual surgery for those who are intersex.
Workers and laborers are the foundation of America, and help give us the services and tools we use day after day. They are what help keep our economy, our systems, our country, going.
Our workers deserve better, which is why I support:
- a $25/hour living wage (see: Minimum Wage),
- a federal jobs guarantee,
- a pathway for undocumented workers to gain citizenship,
- empowering government employees by legalizing their right to unionize,
- ban at-will employment, which allows employers to fire workers for any reason at any time,
- require companies making over $100 million a year to contribute 5% of their stocks to a worker controlled fund,
- and banning employees from being forced to attend anti-union meetings in their workplace.
I do not believe it is right that there are hundreds of thousands of homeless people forced to sleep outside, hungry, thirsty, needing resources, while there are still 20+ empty homes for every homeless person.
My support for homeless people and fighting for them to be able to prosper and live a safe, healthy life with a home is why I support:
- universal rent control, preventing landlords and developers from raising rents unreasonably,
- banning just-cause evictions, preventing threats by the whims of a landlord,
- a grace period of 14 days for payment of rent nationally, preventing a potential jump start into homelessness,
- and investments in public green housing.
Rent inflation is a national emergency, and any strategy to curb inflation must include a sharp focus on regulating rents. Housing costs are American households’ biggest monthly expense, and rents have become a major driver of core inflation. Rents have outpaced inflation, suggesting that landlords are price gouging in the midst of this crisis.
The President must act immediately to regulate rents, to curb inflation, and as a critical foundation for long term protections to correct the imbalance of power between tenants and their landlords.
President Biden must declare a state of emergency on housing and issue an executive order to:
- require federal agencies to identify avenues for protecting tenants in federally-assisted housing and in the private rental market against unreasonable rent hikes, wrongful and unjustified evictions, denial of a lease renewal, and retaliation for organizing,
- convene a cabinet-level interagency task force charged with identifying avenues for longer-term, cross-agency collaboration to regulate rents and secure other tenants’ rights, including adequate legal representation in eviction proceedings, enforceable affordability and quality housing standards, and freedom from discrimination,
- and to provide a formal avenue for federal agencies to consult with tenant stakeholders, including tenants themselves, as part of a White House Tenant Council, launching with a White House summit on rent inflation and tenant protections this fall.
The President must apply the whole-of-government approach to the pressing issue of rent inflation to direct agency-level actions including:
- the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to impose rent regulations on all borrowers of federally-backed mortgages;
- the Federal Trade Commission. Issue regulation defining excessive rent increases as an unfair practice in or affecting commerce, in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act); take enforcement action against such unfair practices, including both by filing lawsuits and initiating administrative proceedings against landlords that impose excessive rent increases;
- the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Issue guidance advising entitlement jurisdictions that, as part of their duty to affirmatively further fair housing, they must identify the disproportionate cost burden among protected classes, investigate rapidly rising rents as contributing to those disparities, and adopt rent controls as a remedial step;
- the Securities Exchange Commission. Impose disclosure requirements on publicly-traded companies that own and manage rental residential properties to obtain information about rent increases, and investigate whether companies that own or manage rental residential properties (whether publicly traded or not) are engaging in “manipulative and deceptive practices” in connection with rent backed securities;
- the Department of the Treasury. Issue new regulations for Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funds that have not yet been paid or obligated that direct state and local grantees to prohibit landlords from increasing rent beyond a set percentage as a condition of receiving ERAP dollars, and for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, issue guidance to define good cause, including specification that good cause is required for lease nonrenewal;
- and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Investigate corporate landlords using unfair tenant screening and debt collection practices to discriminate against tenants and/or to collect pandemic rental arrears.
Overseas aid has generally pointed more towards funding weapons and the military industrial complex, rather than utility aid and diplomacy efforts.
Let’s take a look at the war between Russia and Ukraine, and the latest aid package, the biggest one by far, which is an example of some of the funding going to Ukraine. To start, this bill includes $11 billion alone for taking US weapons and equipment and sending them to Ukraine. That’s already 27.5% of the package. Consider that it also includes around $20 billion for Pentagon assistance, to and from, for different areas like deployment and continued weapon restocking, which jumps up the percentage to around 77.5% used just for military equipment restocking. That leaves about 22.5%, or only 9 billion dollars, for helping out people with food, healthcare, necessities, etc. And not all of that will even be going to humanitarian aid.
The repeated distribution of more military equipment and tools have just continued the war into more extremes. For one, as of March 2022, according to the Kremlin, 498 military officials died, with 1,100 more being wounded. However, knowing the limited scope of Russia’s reporting, we can assume this to be much higher. Later that month, according to Komsomolskaya Pravda, 9,861 Russian troops had been killed, with about 6,000 more being wounded, shortly until the article was deleted. In Ukraine, about 7,000 have been confirmed to be dead. This isn’t even accounting for indirect, missed, or under counted casualties.
Despite all this and the apparent attempts to “help the citizens” of Ukraine, Ukrainians are still struggling. According to a statement from the WHO, “supply chains have been severely disrupted. Many distributors are not operational, some stockpiles are inaccessible due to military operations, medicine supplies are running low and hospitals are struggling to provide care to the sick and wounded.” This had led to a domino effect, with the situation becoming “more precarious by the day.”
This is only one example, but this has been carried out throughout our history. It's time for the US to rethink its strategy on overseas aid. Despite the billions of dollars spent, lives have still been lost by the thousands, military equipment has been destroyed, and wars continue because of it.
Wars have killed millions of people, wasted trillions of dollars, and have turned countries into unnecessary turmoil. It's time to fight to end the wars. Elaborating on that, to:
- reduce military forces, providing a transition for soldiers and their support to industries that focus on peace, preventing economic impact by the drawdown,
- ending foreign aid and military support to Israel until the Israeli government ceases the current state of apartheid that exists in Palestinian areas and until the expansion of settlements into Palestinian areas is halted,
- ending military assistance to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen,
- increase pay for soldiers by eliminating waste, fraud, and corporate contract abuse,
- nuclear arms reduction and disarmament,
- and eliminating all federal private security contracts.
For too long, Congress has refused to pass comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation. All the while we have seen an increase in mass shootings and billions of dollars wasted on gun violence. We need solutions that keep our kids and our communities safe. Individuals with guns injure more than 100,000 people per year and kill more than 30,000 a year through homicides, suicides, and accidental deaths
Gun violence costs our economy at least $229 billion every year, including $8.6 billion in direct expenses such as emergency and medical care. The increase of gun sales in America has coincided with a decreasing investment in mental health services. Nearly two-thirds of Americans support a ban on the sale of assault weapons as well as high-capacity magazines or clips that can hold 10, 30, 50, or 100 bullets at a time. 22% of gun sales, over 2.5 million guns a year, are sold on the secondary market through unlicensed dealers and are not subject to background checks.
This is why I support:
- raising the minimum age allowed to buy assault weapons to 21,
- preventing convicted domestic and animal abusers from accessing guns,
- removing the federal ban on researching the impact of gun violence in our communities,
- increasing the funding and accessibility of mental health services and substance use treatment so that vulnerable individuals can get the help they need,
- addressing the bullying epidemic in our schools and enhancing mental health services for our youth,
- closing the gun show loophole and require background checks for every single firearm sale, no matter the circumstances,
- and fully funding grants to local communities to help improve local record keeping and reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.