In a speech for the late Congressman Cummings, our former President Barack Obama said:
I believe we are only as strong as our weakest person so I have spent my career supporting and finding solutions for those in distress and in need.
Our country has drifted further and further away from the notion that every human deserves to be treated with respect. We have been separated from our constitutional rights that give our citizens protections. No matter where you were born, what color your skin or religion, or how much money you have, your rights are enshrined in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. I choose to put people over profit and compassion and empathy over the prospect of power.
Things that affect all of our lives
Most Americans – regardless of being on the left or the right – have become disempowered and economically insecure. In our district, the number of people living below the poverty line is too high.
I remember the last time we had a strong middle class. Most households only needed one paycheck to raise a family, live a good life, own a home and car, and still save a little for retirement. I’ve watched as the middle class began to shrink and began to live paycheck to paycheck. Now in many households, an unexpected bill of 100 dollars or less can mean disaster.
I’ve also watched as the Constitutional rights and freedoms this country was built on have slowly been chipped away – freedoms we all hold dear.
You are NOT free if…
Your job doesn’t pay enough to put a roof over your head and food on the table
You can’t afford transportation
You don’t have access to medical care and medication
You don’t have control over your own body
You don’t have the freedom to peacefully protest
You are not given a safe and fair work environment
You cannot demand that something is done to preserve our environment
There is a lot of scaremongering and millions spent in propaganda about the word ‘socialism’. The goal of this is to get you to believe living in a Democratic Socialistic society is a bad thing.
Fun Fact: you already do. Socialism isn’t communism. Democratic Socialism is simply regulating corporations and giving benefits to our people. It is in it’s simplest form- A Government FOR the people.
Socialism was a scare word used in 1935 when FDR signed Social Security and Bank Deposit Insurance into law. When someone screams about socialism, what they are really saying is “down with progress”.
Moreover, the programs suggested under this system are overwhelmingly popular and will benefit the American people, regardless of party affiliation.
70% of Americans support Medicare for all
81% support protecting our environment
62% support free public college
86% support higher taxes on our wealthiest Americans and Corporations
90% support universal Pre-K childcare
I am fiscally conservative by believing our government should not be spending money we don’t have. Yet by reversing tax cuts for the very rich, as well as corporations and taking a hard look at where our government is spending our tax dollars, we can pay for these programs easily!
MEDICARE FOR ALL
In my own practice as a health care provider, I run across people all the time who don’t have insurance, are underinsured, or simply don’t qualify. It is unacceptable for any person regardless of their station in life or the family they were born into, not to have health care or the ability to purchase medication.
Having been blessed with the opportunity to travel, I have found myself in need of medical attention while out of the United States. When attending school in France, I was in need of emergency surgery. Not only was I seen right away but they scheduled the surgery for the next day. When I was released from the hospital I asked at the pay window what I owed and they smiled and said Oh you are American. You owe nothing.
While visiting my niece in Italy, I came down with a respiratory illness. It required a lung x-ray and blood tests as well as medication. The whole bill was $30.00.
By contrast, my situation in the U.S. is quite different. Income does not allow many the luxury of purchasing expensive insurance plans and sometimes the insurance we do have is sub-standard.
The systems in other countries work. Those who scream the loudest about how Medicare-For-All is a socialist program are not being genuine and are usually the ones who stand to lose the most if the system is changed.
Follow the money…
I have studied all of the proposals from all of our Presidential Candidates, and by far the Medicare-For-All proposals by Senator Sanders makes the most sense and represents the least cost to each household. In fact, in terms of out of pocket costs, each family who pays insurance premiums will save. I back that proposal because no human being should ever be in a situation where they are suffering because they lack health care.
I don’t care what party you belong to, we cannot have our citizens rationing life-saving drugs because they can’t afford medication. Our country is the only country in the developed world that is not allowed to negotiate pharmaceutical prices, yet most of the drugs developed in the US receive grants from our government for development and trials. Those grants come from taxpayer dollars.
My son has Asthma and when he was young and as a single parent, money was tight and I worried about having the money to purchase the medications needed to help him breathe. It’s a horrible feeling and a situation nobody should have to go through. Currently, there are laws passed by Congress stopping the US from negotiating drug prices or obtaining drugs from other countries who purchase them at lower cost. The lobbyists from big Pharmaceuticals sway members of Congress in both parties to vote for those laws and we as citizens are the losers. We should be spending money on doctors, nurses, mental health specialists, dentists, and other professionals who provide services to people and improve their lives, not waste hundreds of billions of dollars a year on profiteering, huge executive compensation packages, and outrageous administrative costs.
A GREEN NEW DEAL
We humans have a habit of blocking out what doesn’t immediately affect us personally. Unfortunately, the time for selective ignorance is over. The Polar Icecaps have all but melted as have the permafrost that is so essential for cooling our environment. The time to act is now. In just a few centuries, our human footprint has wiped out both plant and animal species.
The Green New Deal lays out a broad vision for how the country might tackle climate change over the next decade while creating high-paying jobs and protecting vulnerable communities. To get this done, the United States will have to elect a radically progressive President and a working majority in Congress. At a time when trust in government is at an all-time low, having very visible projects that improve people’s lives can re-build trust. We need national and global solidarity to make this happen. We will also have to revise how we practice agriculture, end the destruction of several natural systems and the plundering of natural resources.
The interests who stand to lose the most have spent billions producing propaganda to sway humanity to their way of thinking, but the truth is, a shift to a renewable and sustainable economy could actually enhance living standards for all. Getting this done can create millions of jobs while eliminating unreliable profit-driven systems that put profit above people.
MONEY IN POLITICS
That brings me to money in politics. Nothing we need to do as a nation is possible unless we limit the political power of the moneyed interests. We watched as the 2016 election was the most expensive in history and the average American was the loser. Our democracy is broken and we must fix it. We cannot fix it doing the same things we have done before or vote for the same politicians we have in the past.
What is the solution?
Congress needs to enact a law requiring full disclosure of who is donating through what corporations-and if they can’t get it passed, the Federal Election Commission has the power to do it.
The Government should provide matching funds for small-donor contributions – say $3 in public dollars for every $1 dollar from a small donor.
We must reverse the Supreme Court’s 5-4 First Amendment decisions holding that money is speech and corporations have the political rights of people – therefore no laws can be enacted limiting the amount of money wealthy individuals or big corporations can spend on elections.
I pledge to only take small-dollar donations. I will NEVER be beholden to any special interest group.
I believe public education starts with pre-K and am committed to making sure that we offer free pre-K classes.
I am also determined to make sure that high school students who don’t want to go to college have excellent trade school options so they are prepared for jobs of tomorrow. I will focus on making sure that whatever path you choose, you don’t graduate with crimpling debt.
Right now we live in an ever-changing world. In order to keep up with those changes, our education system must also change. The truth is many jobs we have in this country will be automated soon. Some estimates predict as many as 50%.
A strong public education system that is adequately funded can provide the digital and technical training and skills our residents need to produce a competitive, world-class workforce. A workforce that will continue to attract and retain businesses and promote entrepreneurship in our cities in PA.
We must pay our teachers a fair wage and be able to provide the supplies they need to do their jobs effectively. These hard-working people are our first line of defense for our future workforce. As the world changes, so must the curriculum. Most importantly, we must stop teaching to the tests. Each child learns differently and our teachers must be well trained and able to be sensitive to the needs of many types of students.
Our children come in all shapes and sizes. Each has a gift to share with the world and each learns differently. School Choice gives our children the opportunity to hone their gifts. We must remember that if Federal dollars are being given to any school, they become a public school and must reach certain benchmarks. The State and Federal Government should come together to make the best schools possible from pre-K through high school and into college or trade school.
Taxes are wise investments in the future. Our taxes have paid for roads, bridges, our military, libraries, the internet, and most drug trials for life-saving medication. People who avoid paying their taxes and corporations who hide their money offshore are not paying their dues to the country. You might say it is patriotic to pay your taxes. Every businessman has used the existing taxpayer infrastructure to make his money. The wealthy have gotten rich using existing infrastructure paid for by taxes like the judicial system, the banking system, the federal reserve, Commerce and Treasury, roads and the internet. You might say the wealthy have gotten rich on using systems that our tax dollars have paid for and that it is unpatriotic not to pay their fair share of taxes to maintain these systems.
It is unfair to expect the middle and working-class to bear the burden of paying all of the taxes. They not only pay their Federal and State taxes but are also paying sales tax, personal property tax, local township, and school taxes. While at the same time the wealthy have been given tax loopholes and tax cuts. The private depends on the public.
We continue to hear that our economy is strong but the facts don’t support this. One of the most misleading economic measures is jobs number. It measures the people who want a job who can’t find one. However, there are more complicated than that. It does not take into consideration the citizens who are working two and three jobs to make ends meet due to low wages. It also does not show the number of citizens who have given up looking for work. This number doesn’t specify what it means to have a job. Does it have to be a full-time job to count? What about irregular work? Here in PA, the most recent job numbers show that Pennsylvania has an unemployment rate of 6.7%! That is unacceptable.
More importantly, worker pay is still going nowhere. How is it that the official national unemployment rate can get this low without igniting wage growth. Adjusted for inflation, most workers haven’t had a raise in decades, and wages are still lower as a share of profits than they were before the 2008 financial crisis.
Rather than celebrate our low unemployment rate, we should be concerned that the jobs being created are shafting workers. Don’t believe those touting these numbers — we may not have a jobs crisis, but we most certainly have a good jobs crisis.
Furthermore, inflation is EVERYWHERE. You can judge this by looking at how expensive it is to buy food or goods. It can be judged by the cost of housing and homelessness. As of 2018, according to HUD, the homeless rate in the US has reached 553,000. That beares repeating…553,000 people in this country are homeless right now.