Politics and Policy
Politics, in its simplest definition, is the governance of a group of people including the relations with other groups of people. Throughout history politics and governments are often viewed in a negative light due to the potential for abuse of power. However politics are a necessary component to maintaining order, structure and peace among diverse groups of people and becomes more important the larger the group of people. In theory, government represents the needs of the majority of people. In practice it can be far more complex.
A core belief, which aligns with my views on Social and Humanitarian work, is that one of the most important ways to create an equitable society is by enacting policies geared towards helping those members of the population with the least equity. Broad examples of this from recent history include the abolishment of slavery, women’s rights and civil rights. All of these policies began with social movements which became impossible for those in power to ignore.
In the United States the closest current political party which pursues that agenda is the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). My view differs somewhat from the DSA in that I do not denounce capitalism as an entirely evil concept. Regulated properly, capitalism can coexist with social values and equity and provide incentive for growth and innovation.
Bernie Sanders campaign for president (Bushwick Berners)
In 2015 I was inspired by Bernie Sanders’ message, views, integrity and consistency in actively fighting for them throughout his life. I joined the Bushwick Berners, a group of like-minded people in North Brooklyn working to aid his campaign. The Bushwick Berners were active in signature gathering, canvassing, phone banking, fundraising, awareness, voter registration and other activities. It was among the most inspiring groups of people I have ever worked alongside and many have continued to be involved in politics and political activism since. We partnered with the official campaign as well as the Working Families Party, Millenials for Bernie (now known as Millenials for Revolution), Latinos for Bernie, Black men for Bernie, Citizen Action NY and other groups to create effective strategies to promote his agenda and win the nomination. While unsuccessful in his presidential bid our work was collectively successful in many ways, most importantly shifting the narrative of politics in the U.S. and around the world. What were once considered fringe viewpoints have now become a central topic of discussion in the direction the future we believe the country must take.
A central theme is creating equity for all. The only way we can hold to a principle of opportunity is if throughout or society and culture via activism and policy we ensure that everyone is treated equally and given the same chances, the same services and the same wages no matter their gender identity, secual identity, racial, identity, national identity, age or any other identifiable characteristic.
While Intersectionality opens up the conversation about these issues it continues to run the risk of classification and of addressing the needs of some while hurting others. I thus prefer an umbrella term of Equalism which aims to address policy from an absolutely neutral perspective while allowing room for focused movements such as Black Lives Matter and the Million Women's March to addres specific needs which do not harm others. I however do not subscribe to the notion that working to solve the issues of lesser-priveleged peoples in any way harms the privelege of those who already have it.
My subsequent policies are based on this first principle, and will be revised as I find holes in equity in them.
The massive problems with income inequality in America are common knowledge by now, but what can we do to change this? While conservatives continue to support the failed trickle-down (aka Reaganomics) economic theory, I subscribe to an alternative economic theory I call bubble-up economics. Under this model by supporting the most needy both through a robust social services system and a living wage we rise them up to a level of dignity and provide opportunity for growth and advancement. Jobs which require greater skill and training will be forced to raise wages accordingly in order to attract talent. Combined with the social, military and tax policies outlined below we can solve the inequality gap and reinvigorate the dying middle class in a way which benefits all.
To this end I support an immediate increase to $15/hr nationally with cost-of-living adjustments for areas with a higher cost of living such as urban centers. This will follow with an aggressive series of increases to bring it to the 1933 New Deal level adjusted for inflation and cost of living, currently $21.16 or higher. Furthermore we must pass legistlation requiring minimum wage to maintain this calculation moving forward.
From improving our existing services such as Social Security, Medicaire, Medicaid, Veteran benefits and others to enacting new ones including Single-Payer Healthcare for all, Free public college for all, Paid family leave and others are the way forward. We must catch up with the rest of the well-developed world on these basic concepts if we are to compete in the future.
Social services are not entitlements. They are assurances of opportunity which support and enforce equity for all regardless of social or economic status. They have proven effective in every country which has them. When paired with my military and tax policies we can easily cover the expenses of these programs, even if it did raise taxes for some if their standard of living is ultimately improved even a tax increase results in a net gain.
While our government prefers to use the term defense, the reality is our military expenditures have virtually never been used for defense so it's a bit of doublespeak. Our budget for all military in 2019 is $886 billion, more than the next nine countries combined. While I undertstand the need to maintain a strong and advanced military there is no reason we need to spend more than 60% of our annual budget on military while so many suffer and struggle within our own borders.
By removing ourselves from fighting wars in other countries, reducing the size of our military to be more in line with other leading nations and reducing our dependency on wasteful military privatization efforts would keep our nation and the world safe while providing the resources we need to restart progress in this country.
In order to tackle any of these issues we must tax the wealthy and their corporations appropriately. Close the loopholes, end corporate welfare. This will help restore income inequality as well as cover the expanse of social services.