Our economy is built on the exploitation of millions of people that produce the value that makes other people rich. This is entirely backwards, and must change if we are ever to see a truly healthy economy.
To begin, we need a Worker's Bill of Rights that offers freedom from the stresses of having to choose between taking care of your own health or that of your family and your job, as well as many other stresses that we take for granted. My Worker's Bill of Rights would include:
Guarantee of a job
Eliminates involuntary unemployment, chronic underemployment, puts upward pressure on wages, and empowers workers to confront unfair treatment in the workplace all without adding a single new regulation.
This would be accomplished by using federal funds to pay for locally administrated programs such as infrastructure projects including:
Repair of roads and bridges
Udpates/repairs to current municipal infrastructure such as water/sewage systems or electrical grids
Transitions to renewable power such as solar, wind, geothermal, etc.
Creation and maintenance of municipal internet grids
Right to a living wage
Jobs provided through the jobs guarantee would pay enough to cover the average cost of living within the county
Secure Scheduling Guarantee
At least 10 days/80 hrs guaranteed paid sick leave
At least 15 days/120 hrs guaranteed paid vacation
1 year paid parental leave
Applies to both parents, includes adoptions
Last year, a story came to light of a young man who needed insulin, which is often a life-saving medication for those with Diabetes. He was unable to afford his medication, and turned to crowdfunding site GoFundMe to raise money for it. He died before he was able to collect the donated funds. Stories like this simply should not happen in a nation as rich as ours. Money should not be a deciding factor in whether people live or die.
There are several advantages that single-payer healthcare systems have over for-profit systems such as ours:
The US spends more per person on healthcare than any other developed nation, and it’s not close. The next highest spending country is Switzerland, who pays the equivalent of about $2,000 less per person per year. For a family of four, that’s an average savings of $8,000 each year. If our system were to mirror the UK’s system in per capita cost, we would pay as much as we currently pay for just Medicare and Medicaid. These savings are largely the impact of a couple major differences in a single-payer system: The system is non-profit, and therefore has far less overhead(Medicare spends only about 2% of its budget on administrative costs where insurance companies regularly have overhead of up to the federal limit of 20%), and it has far greater leverage to negotiate prices.
Single-payer systems cover everyone, no exceptions. There are still millions who are without adequate healthcare simply because with no insurance coverage, the cost is out of reach. Single-payer, on the other hand, is paid for by everyone and provides benefits to everyone.Yes, this means that you could say healthier people will be paying for sicker people. Frankly, that’s how all insurance works, whether private or public.
Low or no out-of-pocket expenditure
Many people, even if they do have health insurance still can’t afford to get the treatment they need because they can’t afford the coinsurances or copays that insurance companies charge. Because costs can be lowered at the source through much tougher negotiating leverage, this means that there is often no or very low out-of-pocket costs for patients.
Coverage for more experimental treatments(right to try)
Insurance companies have basically one purpose: profit. This means that experimental treatments that are often expensive are typically denied by most insurances. In the few cases they even approve the use of these treatments, there are usually exorbitant costs passed on to the patient. A single-payer system could provide more opportunities for patients to try new and experimental treatments, especially in situations where other traditional methods have failed.
No restrictions in choosing a doctor
I’ve heard time and again that single-payer is government getting between you and your doctor. Under any system I would support, that’s simply not true. What I have seen many times is insurance companies placing their profit margins between patients and their doctors. Under single-payer, there would be no networks and you would be able to see any doctor you want, there would be no worries about whether a needed procedure would be covered, whether based on what the procedure is, who provided the treatment, or where it was done. This gives patients much more freedom to both find a doctor they are comfortable working with, and working with their doctor with much greater freedom to find personalized, effective solutions for their health.
This is our home. And it's the only one we have. Scientists are in agreement that we are destroying our home, and are in danger of making it uninhabitable to humans. I've also heard plenty of people say that this scientific consensus is some sort of hoax.
Either way, we're not taking proper care of our home. Environmental stewardship is one of the most important tasks we will take on within the next generation. There are several areas that we must be hard at work on:
We need to rethink how we power our world. We have much better options for generating electricity, such as wind, solar, geothermal, etc., and it's time we took advantage of them. We must commit to a 100% renewable energy grid.
The Trump Administration has been hard at work rolling back environmental protections, including rules prohibiting coal companies from dumping toxic coal ash into rivers that supply drinking water. It is imperative that we reinstate and strengthen regulations that protect our home and our people from reckless industry that would poison our air and water, and destroy our planet in the name of profit.
Plastics, as a petroleum-based product, are doing harm both to our planet itself as well as to the wildlife around us. These materials are non-biodegradable, and will continue to exist for millions of years. Plastics are poisoning wildlife, and many plastics are also poisoning the food people eat.
We have many alternatives to plastics, including compostable 'plastic' made from plants, as well as transitioning to non-plastic materials, such as silicon, glass, and others. Finding ways to transition away from petroleum-based plastics, especially in single-use items, should be a major priority.
A lot has been said about our elections, especially with regard to the 2016 Presidential election. I believe firmly in two major principles when it comes to elections. I believe in creating an electoral system that values many diverse, nuanced voices and opinions, and I believe in ensuring that control of our elections lies solely with the voters, not with interest groups, not with wealthy and corporate donors, and not with political parties.
The Two-Party System
Canada: 7, Germany: 7, New Zealand: 5, UK: 12, Australia: 13
This is just a sample of the number of parties that hold seats in various Congress-equivalent bodies in other parts of the world. The fact that we are still fighting over just two parties is doing enormous harm to our democracy. The two-party system in the United States seeks to cram diverse and nuanced opinions into one of two boxes and insists that that's the only way it can ever be. It constantly creates false dichotomies in our politics, it stifles the governmental work of cooperation and compromise, and it has frustrated and disenchanted tens of millions of voters to the point that they refuse to even participate because they've been made to feel as though their voice doesn't matter.
This is one of the major reasons I chose to run under a 'third party'. Along with millions of others, I'm tired of watching Congress swing back and forth like a pendulum while the majority tries to steamroll the minority, and the minority tries anything just to impede the majority's march toward their chosen policy. This is not governance. At best, it's playground bullying.
My vision for our Congress mirrors that of many other democracies around the world where there often is no party that holds the majority, and they instead work to form coalitions and work together to do the work of the people rather than the work of their party. This means that we must step outside of the false dichotomy of the Democratic and Republican parties and dare to dream of something better.
This also means we should be at work to change the way we vote. Our one-vote, first-past-the-post voting system only serves to reinforce the false dichotomy of the two-party system, and should be done away with in favor of almost any other voting system. There are several other voting models to choose from, all of which would free us from the grip of choosing between only two major parties, neither of whom represent the needs of working class people, and both of whom have sold out to corporate interests. Here are links to some examples of some other voting systems we could use, and how they work:
Ranked-Choice or Instant-Runoff Voting:
Single Transferrable Vote:
Range or Score Voting:
Money in politics
Money ruling our elections is nothing new at this point. We all know that money makes or breaks candidacies. And it’s getting worse. Citizens United v. FEC in 2010 ruled that corporations, in addition to ‘equal protection under the law’ as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, were also entitled to 1st Amendment protections on freedom of speech, despite not actually being people. McCutcheon v. FEC in 2014 struck down as unconstitutional limits on how much an individual could donate in aggregate to all federal candidates, parties, and political action committees during a two-year period. This means that any person with enough money can donate unlimited sums of money to influence the outcomes of our elections.
We must stop the flood of money into our electoral system. I am calling for public financing of elections and the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine(stating that media must give equal time to candidates).