Fundamentally, I’m a democrat. I believe that we’re judged not by how the most successful people are doing, but how well we take care of those who cannot. This means I believe in government (which is supposed to be all of us- collectively, not just the politicians) serving as a safety net.
However, instead of just being there when you fall, I believe that proactive actions by government can help keep people from failing. A great education system produces better, more capable citizens. Universal health care stops people from having to declare bankruptcy when they get sick. Simpler tax processes and code means less people to fine for screwing up (and boy can I tell you stories as a small business man).
I believe the most important thing I can do once elected is to keep open lines of communication to the people I represent. I plan on making sure my voice is your voice. I’ll use my blog, twitter and plenty of public meetings to stay connected from DC. Here are what I think are the most important issues that I will work on for you.
Note, I am not going to mislead you by talking about the “hot button” issues– because most of what is done in Congress has little effect on them. Guns, God and Choice will all ultimately be decided in the Supreme Court or on a ballot, not in Congress.
The TOP issue is to stop holding auctions instead of elections. It shouldn’t cost millions to run for Congress or take a year. Half of every term we’ve elected these jerks, they are campaigning instead of working. I promise to not engage in campaigning for more than 6 weeks before an election and 2 weeks before a primary.
I believe we need to do the following to change the electoral process.
- Pay for the campaigning with tax dollars, with no private money being used.
- Send every registered voter a complete election guide, with equal space for every candidate to say what ever they want- and to link to their website for any additional info.
- Allow you to vote via mail (yes, it can be done) so that you can have time to analyze the ballot, the candidates and the issues in the privacy of your home, and not allow things like bad weather change the outcome.
- Eliminate primaries, using a process called Instant Runoff Voting, which allows you to rank your preferred candidates so that you can vote your mind instead of either based on who you think can win, or against the guy you don’t like.
How to make the United States a world-class power- and not a debtor nation anymore:
- Close the Wall Street Casino. You wouldn’t invest in a company for 12 seconds based on your view of the performance of the company, all shares in a company must be held at least a year.
- End stock option pay: I don’t have a problem with the founders of a company making large sums of money. They took the risk. However, I do have a problem with the CEO as some sort of idol. Any stock awards must be at cash value at the time of issue, and voted on by the share holders. The boards of directors have too much power and are all members of a private club. If options are offered, the value at time of cashing in will be the cost to the company- no more tax breaks for gambling.
- If a company is publicly traded- there will be a ratio of cash salary enforced. The top people can’t make more than 35 times the bottom US payroll. And to prevent the sending of all but the smart jobs overseas, the company must have over 51% of their workforce here, if not, the CEO pay will be 20 times the bottom pay of the majority of their workforce. We need to reward people as job creators- not reward people who have the money to create jobs and may or may not.
- If a company lays off more than 3% of their workers, the CEO pay cannot exceed $500,000 per year. All stock awards must be turned back into the company. This only applies to publicly traded stock owned companies.
- If the government has to bail out a company, or the company declares bankruptcy, the CEO will be held responsible, and compensation will be limited to no more than 10 times the average US payroll until the company is back on it’s feet.
- Commodities trading will be limited to companies that actually take delivery on the commodity. Investing and gambling are two different things- our financial markets will not be casinos.
- Banks will no longer be able to sell off mortgages and engage as “investment banks.” We saw too big to fail create less competition and bigger banks- instead of the other way around. The Glass-Steagall act needs to be reinstated.
- The foreclosure mess needs to stop. Right now, it’s a downward spiral because the banks aren’t being rational. Homes only maintain value with people in them. The moment the people move out- thieves and entropy move in. Banks should be forced to maintain the property in the same condition, or to restore the property to the condition they are in when they throw people out. I have a video to show you what happens when we let “nobody” own a home.
Health, education and welfare
- A healthy citizen is a more productive citizen. I believe we need to have a system of proactive, universal health care. We should pay doctors for keeping us healthy instead of paying insurance companies to restrict our care and take 35% as a useless middleman.
- Post secondary education (either college or a vocational training program) is no longer an optional choice when it comes to being prepared to work in the modern economy. We need to have a universal pre-K through 4 additional years of schooling. Starting most of our workforce out at least $25K in debt is a crime.
- Welfare is a safety net, not a way of life. We need to have everyone working, doing something. Welfare and unemployment checks only come to those who work- doings something for the country. Either clean up parks and roadways, or report for retraining, or separate recyclables.
- Universal service. Our military is the best in the world. It’s all volunteer and very expensive. In exchange for the extra education, every 18 year old will serve for a year either in the military or in the Civilian Conservation Corps or some other national service. If we’re all as patriotic as we think we are, giving one year to our country is nothing in comparison to what it gives us back.
- Our system of collecting taxes is a monstrosity. It’s time to create a single employers portal, where all income is reported for all employees, and it automatically funnels the money to the jurisdictions. Currently I have to either pay a service or engage in way too many tax portals and forms. This takes time, causes mistakes and is a nightmare to manage.
- Sales taxes need to be leveled out, collected nationally, and distributed per capita to each state. No more sales tax avoidance by buying online out of state. No more complicated process of collecting and distributing them. The same collections for small businesses as large ones- a level playing field for all. Sales taxes shouldn’t be collected on basic necessities like healthy food or diapers. They shouldn’t be collected via a value added tax along the way to the end user. Sales taxes shouldn’t be applied to capital goods for the production of other things.
- Progressive income taxes should be charged in a simple fashion, without hard rate structured rate breaks, loopholes, etc. Rates will be calculated in relationship to the national average income and the median income with a ratio and a maximum tax rate of 35% of all earnings at the top- on everything over the median.
- Wars will be paid for with bonds and a war tax, that raises the maximum tax rate to 70% on the wealthy. There will be no more wars paid for by the lives of the poor.
- Tax breaks will no longer be able to be used by communities for “job creation” or “economic development” or, political cronyism as they are now. All tax breaks must only be created at the national level in support of broad based policy. For example, tax breaks for living within walking distance of work, installing energy saving products. If a tax break doesn’t apply nationally, it doesn’t exist.
- Broadband: Our nation is sorely behind in both broadband coverage as well as speed. South Korea and Estonia both have speeds 20x or more what we consider “Fast internet.” For online learning, business, democracy to work- we need a better technological infrastructure. I believe this should be paid for by a flat rate sales tax on Internet purchases and distributed to the States per capita. It should only be used for supplying technology to students and increasing broadband speed.
- Water is a key resource and we’ve been unwise in allowing unfettered growth in areas where the water supply can’t meet demand. We need to become much more water secure and work to make sure we have the cleanest water available.
- Energy independence isn’t solved by “drill baby drill”- it’s just an excuse to continue guzzling fuel. If we electrified our rail lines that carry freight, we’d no longer be dependent on foreign oil at all. http://esrati.com/an-energy-independence-no-brainer-electrified-rail/6610/
- Local food isn’t just for the crunchy granola types- it’s good for all of us. Fresh food that can be traced to where it comes from is much safer. It’s also less energy intensive. Ohio, which is an agriculturally rich state, has allowed pristine farmland to be developed into sprawling suburbs that we can’t afford to support. We need smarter thinking about development.
- See point 5 under taxes to reiterate the point about “corporate welfare” being disguised as “economic development.”
Recently the stats came out that 90% of the murders in Dayton are of African Americans. We have infinitely more people in prison for petty crime than for the Wall Street destabilization of the global economy. It’s time to reevaluate what crimes warrant imprisonment. No one wiped out 20% of the value of your home by selling dope that you couldn’t actively go out and kick their butts- however, the wizards of Wall Street did it from their boardrooms. It’s time for accountability.
Drugs are bad. The War on Drugs is worse. If there is one program that’s been more unequally applied by our government it’s this one. It’s time to decriminalize marijuana and tax it. It’s time to make sure the addicts get treatment as soon as possible, instead of just warehousing them in prisons. It costs infinitely more to incarcerate a man that it does to better feed and educate a child. Only if we start taking a logical approach to this problem will we solve it.
Incarceration isn’t supposed to be a permanent scarlet letter. It’s supposed to include rehabilitation, or so we’re lied to. We’re creating a permanent underclass of citizens with records that prevent them from being productive contributors to society. It’s time to take a hard look at why as the “land of the free” we’ve put more people behind bars than any dictatorship. It’s costing us all and it has to stop.
Issues specific to Ohio 10
There are very few issues that I should have effect on locally. We’ve all heard the posturing by previous congressmen that “they work for Wright Patterson Air Force Base” That’s not their job- they work for you.
The people on WPAFB- guess what, they work for you too.
It’s my job to make sure that your dollars are spent as smartly as possible, not as pork for our district. Because pork here, means pork everywhere. You can’t have it both ways.
I do believe that it’s time to streamline government. I believe it’s time for national support for restructuring local governments. Just simplifying tax collection is one part- the same gateway can be used for collecting fees and municipal billing. No more water or trash billing systems to be maintained locally- we could have one central system. We need to help cut down the numbers of local jurisdictions and bolster resource sharing. It’s time to use federal money to create larger more efficient local government. 88 counties is more than enough political subdivisions in a State- continuing to use divisions that were practical when the Northwest Ordinance was enacted is irresponsible.
Comment on this position on esrati.com here: http://esrati.com/?p=7878