Healthcare is a Human Right

 
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I believe that healthcare is a human right and that we need a system of Medicare for all. We need a system where everyone is covered, where we pick our own doctors and hospitals, which is run by the states, and is efficient. The Canadians have been using a plan like this for almost 50 years, healthcare is universal, they live three years longer than we do, and pay only 60% as much. Conservative Canadian businessmen will not give up their system because it is good for business, lowers their national debt, and is run by the provinces. The Republican alternatives are breathtakingly cruel--taking hundreds of billions from Medicaid to give more tax breaks to the very wealthy.

 
 

An Economic Vision for South Carolina

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It is time for the wealthy to pay their fair share in taxes to fund new investments in America.

The digital revolution has shrunk the oceans to lakes.  South Carolina is now closer to China in terms of trade, transportation, communication, investment, and environment, than South Carolina was to New York when the Constitution was signed.  We now confront transnational corporations that often pledge allegiance to the best investment opportunity.  We must incentivize them to invest more in America, and help build any economy that increases opportunities, dignifies workers, and protects the earth.  

Our economic recovery since the Great Recession has been steady but now faces some global and political headwinds.  Outsourcing, new technology, and a weak national investment in infrastructure, human capital, and sustainability, have contributed to our shrinking middle class.  The official unemployment rate looks good, at 4.3%, yet it counts people who work 20 hours a week as employed and fails to include people who have stopped looking for work.  The real unemployment rate is about double the official rate, and tens of millions are underemployed.  It fails to reflect the despair of those working minimum wage jobs, the 1 in 5 children who live in poverty, or the 60 million who lack decent health coverage.  

We spend less on infrastructure than most industrialized societies, which make us less competitive and less safe.   We see from Hurricane Harvey that the longer we wait the more dangerous and costly this becomes.    Investments in infrastructure yield about $2 for each $1 invested.  Recent floods last make clear the need to repair our roads, bridges, dams, water systems, and levees.   Investments in rebuilding public schools, public buildings, public housing, the electrical grid, and our railroads also need to be made—interest rates are low and millions of good jobs will be created.   

 Let’s talk about climate change for a moment.    Back in 2003 the Pentagon issued their Quadrennial Report which declared that climate change is a greater threat to national security than terrorism.  The increase in the severity of floods, fires, drought and famine will cause mass migrations and political instability.  Syria, Yemen, Southern Sudan--Climate change is forcing rapid growth in sustainable energy-up 88% last year in America—and can create millions of good paying jobs in solar, wind, conservation, and biomass.   The cost of solar panels has plummeted and is much cheaper than coal or natural gas.  Some conservative Republican cities in Texas are using 100% renewables because it is fiscally sound. More government investment in research and development for sustainable energy will allow us to produce more windmills and solar panels here, rather than buy them from China and Europe.  Can you imagine a research center at CCU for tidal power?

Almost every advanced industrial country is making major investments in high speed rail networks to transport people at speeds of 150-200 miles per hour.  Rail travel is safer than airplane, powered by electricity not fossil fuels, and creates millions of good jobs.   I can imagine a light rail system connecting the low country to the beach.  High speed rails has wide popular support—(but not yet from a majority of Republicans in Congress.)

Manufacturing  jobs now  make up a smaller share or our economy than at any time since WWII.  They pay 15% more than service jobs, and create on average another 4 or 5 support jobs in the economy.   We must end tax breaks for companies that relocate overseas, strengthen tax breaks for companies that invest in America, and require “buy American” provisions to federal contracts. A one-time tax incentive to attract the $2 trillion in tax havens to invest in American factories, R&D, as well as infrastructure, seems practical.  High tech jobs will require more technical education-- so federal support for education must increase-- from early childhood programs to making college affordable.  To stabilize families we must make the minimum wage a living wage—A practical compromise will create more opportunity for children, lower crime and increase aggregate demand.  Under President Reagan, compromise was seen as common sense, and gridlock was seen as grandstanding.  We have to move the ball down the field.

Trade policies can create jobs, yet our recent trade agreements have lost jobs and have not protected the environment.  The Trans Pacific Partnership was written in secret by corporate lawyers-- and President Trump was right to kill it.  Under NAFTA we have lost 61,000 factories—so NAFTA needs to be renegotiated to end the Investor-State Dispute Settlement.  I oppose a Border Adjustment Tax-- which could trigger a trade war, and would increase prices for our businesses and consumers.    

Our current healthcare hurts families and businesses.  Conservative businessmen in Canada strongly support their Medicare for all system because everyone is covered, it costs about 60% as much as ours and they live 3 years longer than we do.  Their businesses have higher profits, and families have more security and money to spend.  This increases aggregate demand—and the national debt finally shrinks.

Our banks are still too big to fail, but also too big to understand and regulate.  Senator Durbin (D-Ill)  has said that, “this is a government of the banks, by the banks, and for the banks”.  The big banks might need to be broken up.  The Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial from investment banking, must be restored.  Main Street must never again have to bail out Wall Street.  And publicly funded credit unions, run by the community, Like those proposed by Senator Bob Dole, will take more risks on small businesses and the public, and create thousands of jobs.  

Unemployment in our inner cities is higher than during the Great Depression.   Back then the Civilian Conservation Corps provided jobs to millions in developing our national and state parks, while providing educational opportunities.   A modern CCC can be established to create jobs, opportunity, lower crime, and to preserve God’s creation.   

How can we afford this with a large national debt?   The wealthiest 1% must pay their fair share in taxes.  Under President Eisenhower the taxes on the wealthiest 1% were 90%, and we built an infrastructure that was the envy of the world.  Now the taxes on the wealthiest 1% are about 38%, before loopholes.  We can also implement a modest financial transaction tax, used already by 40 countries.  I submit that the proposals to markedly cut corporate taxes and taxes on the wealthy.  Current corporate taxes are already competitive when we count all of the loopholes.   More than 2/3 of current corporate profits are used for stock buybacks and increased dividends.    In the past, large portions of the tax cuts for the wealthy were invested overseas, or in hedge funds that were invested overseas, or used for mergers and acquisitions.

These investments in America, to create jobs and security, are fought by the wealthiest 1%-- who put 98% of the money into our political campaigns.  Our elections have become auctions.  A constitutional amendment is needed to change our campaign finance laws.  Public pressure can create these changes, which will strengthen businesses, families, communities, and the American Dream.

 
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Investing in education for South Carolina's future.

 
 

Education is one of the most important issues facing the state of South Carolina, and the whole country. As an educator for more than four decades, I have taught people of all ages, and all walks of life: my own children, students in high school and college, and even men in our criminal justice system. I will fight to make education a priority for legislators, community leaders, teachers, and students. I will fight to make education a higher priority for Congress.

In the 1960s, the U.S. led the world in graduating students from college. Now we are 19th. College must be made affordable and student debt must be restructured at a much lower rate. This can be done by a small tax on stocks, bonds, and currency transactions. The wealthy must pay their fair share in taxes. Tax subsidies and government waste need to be cut.

Limits on Head Start funding mean that only half the children eligible for Head Start can attend. It is time to fully fund Head Start, affordable child care, school lunches, after school programs, SNAP, summer jobs for teens, and other programs. A dollar spent on early childhood education yields about $7 in return. It’s economic common sense.  I will work to create a Children’s Bill of Rights—to guarantee food, healthcare, decent housing, good schools, and safe streets for all children.

Quality education needs to be affordable and accessible to all of South Carolina’s children. If you don't make that investment, you don't belong in government!

 
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Protecting the environment is crucial to the future of South Carolina.

Foremost among our goals is the prevention of offshore drilling and seismic testing right along our coastline. The push to drill for oil off of the South Carolina coast risks our atmosphere, our beautiful beaches, and tens of thousands of jobs.

Environmental issues affect so many aspects of our lives, from the economic, health, and environmental impacts of fossil fuels, to international security issues created by scarce resources across the globe. Protecting our environment and making strategic choices for the future of our planet’s resources is common sense for the common good.

Congress has responded to climate change with denial and cowardice. Our civilization is a force of nature! Many in Congress would rather protect the oil and gas industry than God's creation and future generations. I strongly support new investments in sustainable energy, which will create millions of good jobs. We need a moratorium on fracking until the issues of methane release at the wellhead, as well as the impact of drilling on water quality, can be adequately studied.

Air and water pollution are an environmental taxation without representation on future generations.

 
 
 

Strong Families

 

As a Democrat, I believe in strong families for South Carolina.

Investing in dignity for children strengthens families. Investing in opportunity for students strengthens families. Guaranteed healthcare and decent wages strengthens families. Paid family leave and sick leave strengthens families. Investing in veterans and seniors strengthens families. A deeper commitment to a common sense criminal justice strengthens families.

I will fight to protect women's rights both locally and on a national level. Women deserve equal pay for equal work and non-discriminatory employment environments. I believe that a woman deserves full autonomy over the choices concerning her health and family planning. The United States trails much of the developed world with regard to paid leave after the birth of a child. I believe that new parents should have paid time off to bond with their newborns, and will fight to improve such practices. Our domestic violence and sexual abuse statistics are staggering. I will work to enact any legislation that seeks to diminish this societal crisis. As a proud father of two daughters, I truly believe the future is female. 

I will advocate for legislation that protects and preserves dignity and equality with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. The LGBTQ community deserves full recognition and support regarding personal expression, marriage, family planning, medical care, and legal protection. I believe that our country derives its strength from our diversity.

 
 

Security

 

Peace through strength and common sense.

Our policy of implementing regime change has generally created less security and has contributed to the rise of ISIS. We must honor our commitments to our allies, and seek to strengthen international law. ISIS must be destroyed - yet we must understand that this is essentially a battle for the soul of Islam and we must broaden our work with our Muslim and Arab allies. A more balanced policy toward Israel and the Palestinians will diminish terrorist recruitment.

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The Pentagon

The ongoing challenges of Pentagon fraud and abuse have been systematic since President Eisenhower warned us in his Farewell Address. We need to finally, and thoroughly, audit Pentagon spending. Savings could be reallocated to veteran's benefits, strengthening NATO, anti-terrorist programs, and reducing the national debt.

 
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Protection for Social Security

Social Security must be increased to provide dignity to seniors.

Currently, Social Security is the sole source of income for about half of South Carolina retirees.  About 37% of each Social Security check goes toward out-of pocket health care costs.  Twenty percent of our citizens can not afford to fill their prescriptions. Currently, no Social Security payroll taxes are paid on incomes above $118,000--so the upper middle class and the wealthy pay a lower share of their income on this tax than the rest of us.  Eliminating this cap on payroll taxes will be more fair, it will stabilize the Social Security Trust fund, and Social Security payments would increase.

I oppose any chained consumer price index, and would favor the so-called elderly index. Increased benefits for a surviving spouse and for children of the disabled can be implemented through a Financial Transaction Tax, and slightly higher taxes on the wealthiest 1%.

 
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Criminal Justice

I believe the open wounds of our past demand a new commitment to criminal justice. 

 
 

Early in my teaching career I taught at a medium security men’s prison in California, and sometimes I would ask the inmates, “When did you lose hope and lose your dreams?”  They would say at the age of 11, 12, or 13.  They made some bad choices—but they did not pick their parents, they did not pick their schools, they did not pick their community, they did not pick their country.  Society has made some bad choices, too. Either we have liberty and justice for all, or we don’t.  Either we do unto the least of these, or we don’t.  We are reaping what we have sown.

 

The open wounds of our past demand a new commitment to criminal justice.  We need:

  • More police training,
  • Changes in mandatory minimum sentencing and criminal justice,
  • Prison reform,
  • New ways to police the police
  • Drug treatment on demand,
  • Expanded drug courts,
  • A comprehensive study on the best treatment for drug addiction