Elected officials do not ‘create’ jobs. Ultimately, it is demand that increases employment. However, our Congressmen and women can foster a climate in which it is more likely that employers will hire more people. Passing Universal Health Insurance would be a giant step toward that goal. Employers, including the self-employed, would no longer carry the high cost of health insurance premiums. Instead of paying overtime, employers would hire more people. More people could afford to start their own business. Employees would make a higher wage because raises would no longer be eaten up by increases in health insurance. Next, we have to get serious about “Made in America”. Most of what we consume is made overseas. It is time to rebuild our manufacturing base by putting a tax on ‘goods’ coming into the United States. I strongly support unions and oppose ‘right to work’ legislation. Finally, we need to have a conversation about the future of employment in America. Due to automation alone, there are thousands of jobs that no longer need ‘people’ to do them. As our population grows, where will our children find employment? There will be way more people chasing too few jobs. Is it time to shorten the work week? What ideas do you have?
The demand for energy will only increase in the future. Conservation and new sources of energy are crucial. The faster we can develop solar and wind energy systems, the better. Most homes could have solar panels and generate 20-30% of their energy needs. I support tax credits to encourage their installation. Once prices come down, most people will be able to afford them. Solar panels and windmills should be made in America. I oppose the expansion of the XL pipeline that will move Canadian tar sands to the Gulf refineries. President Obama recently approved the final section of the pipeline from Oklahoma to the Gulf. This will complete the pipeline. The construction of a pipeline along a shorter route through Nebraska seems unnecessary and a waste of money. It is also an environmentally unsound plan. A spill anywhere is bad but in Nebraska would jeopardize the water supply.
Universal Healthcare continues to be my goal. ‘Obamacare’ is the first step but it is crucial that we develop a not for profit system. Health insurance would no longer be tied to your employer. Almost 40% of the cost of health insurance is eliminated with Universal coverage. No more filings with or denials from for profit insurance companies. No more bankruptcies from out of control medical bills. The overall cost of healthcare will drop because everyone will be covered. As a result, there will be fewer trips to the emergency room and major illnesses will be caught and treated sooner.
Social Security and Medicare
Social Security is one of the best programs ever passed. It should be preserved exactly as it is. The only thing I would change is the cap on taxable wages. I would tax individuals on their total adjusted gross income. Medicare should be saved as well. I oppose the use of any type of voucher system. Eventually it won’t be needed when we pass Universal Healthcare.
Climate change is real. A top priority has to be the protection of our environment. We can’t eat money. If we destroy our land, air and water, what will we have? For those reasons, I oppose the development of corporate farms(CAFOs). I support greater regulations on existing farms to protect our groundwater. More attention should be paid to mass transit. We can move away from fossil fuels if we depend less on our cars and trucks. High speed rail is our future. Build it and they will come should be our motto. High speed rail could connect all our major cities. The new system could be modeled after the interstate highways.
We should withdraw our troops from Afghanistan and Iraq as soon as possible. In the future, if the Congress and the President want us to go to war, they should pass a declaration of war which would include a tax to pay for it and a draft so that the burden is shared by everyone. Our National Guard soldiers should never again be deployed in foreign wars. I oppose military intervention in Iran.
The face of education has changed dramatically. Educators, not politicians, should make the decisions that will impact how and what our children learn. There should be a different way to finance our schools so that property taxes are not tied to school funding. The current system pits property owners against the schools when they should be working together to improve education. The costs of higher education are totally out of control. Tuition costs should reflect a student’s ability to pay. No one should graduate with thousands of dollars of debt.
Campaign Finance Reform
It is very important that the Citizens’ United Supreme Court decision be reversed. The next president will appoint 2 maybe 3 justices. We also need to push back against voter I.D. laws that disenfranchise many voters. Public Financing of elections should be our goal. Limit the amount of time that candidates can campaign. Give each candidate a set amount of air time on radio and T.V. with the stipulation they cannot buy more. Candidates would have to get out and meet the voters and present their case. Our voting day should be changed to the first weekend in November. We need to do more, not less, to encourage people to get out and vote.
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