January 21, 2017 at 10:17 pm #1676
No sustained grassroots effort can ever take hold without a vision to coalesce around. Tea Partiers were amazingly persistent and their success is evident, but their movement quickly gave way to corruption and a near complete co-opt because they were against a lot of things, but not for anything. If today’s historical march is going to pave the way for taking our government back and getting this country moving again, then the people need a coherent set of ideas and proposals to stand behind.
Needless to say, such a platform should encompass ideas from all sides so as to leave no one feeling marginalized and to give the impression of an open hand for anyone willing to take it. It wasn’t so long ago that the Democratic and Republican parties had their own sub-sections of liberals, conservatives, moderates, etc. Even if the parties themselves are broken, that sense of camaraderie among different peoples needs to be recaptured and channeled into a coherent movement. We have more in common with each other than not.
With all that said, I should stress that my personal goal isn’t for everyone to just throw out their own personal wish list into one big mix. This should be a cooperative effort, subject to give-and-take where necessary and, more than anything, respectable compromise that puts the interests of all ahead of the partisan interests of the few.
To start off easy, I believe we should enact a federal minimum wage increase in line with what Oregon has done, tailoring increases with respect to specific regions. A national standard should be enacted (probably somewhere in the area of $10.50-$12.00) with cities, metro areas and the like being set modestly above as they’re obviously more expensive. Sparsely populated, urban areas should be set modestly below the standard so as not to put undue pressure on businesses that wouldn’t be able to handle it. And of course we should index it to inflation, both to take the issue out of politicians’ hands and to give our people the security of a reasonable beginning wage, regardless of how much time passes.
January 21, 2017 at 11:04 pm #1677
I agree that the federal minimum wage should be tied to inflation. But should there also be some sort of cost-of-living adjustment as well?
January 21, 2017 at 11:45 pm #1678
I said in my original post that we should have the minimum wage indexed to inflation and have gradual increases tied with respect to specific areas; cities and metro areas having a higher increase while sparsely populated areas should have less. That’s what Oregon has done and I believe it’s a sound proposal.
I don’t know if cost-of-living adjustments means anything other than that, but if so, then let me just say that I’m hesitant to tie too much to the minimum wage. I don’t want people to be too dependent on it and, IMHO, I think what I mentioned above is about as generous a policy as we could reasonably enact.
January 22, 2017 at 10:03 am #1679
Here is UMKC’s economics department’s long-standing proposal to every American political party:
“Our party stands for full employment at all times. We will make the federal government the guaranteed employer of last resort for every American able and wanting to work. We recognize that the United States has a sovereign currency and can always afford to ensure full employment. We recognize that austerity typically constitutes economic malpractice and is never a valid excuse for rejecting full employment. The myth that we help our grandchildren by consigning their grandparents and parents to unemployment is obscene. The opposite is true.”
And: “The working class wants jobs and job security – not simply income. Working class people overwhelmingly want to work. Working class males who are unable to find secure, full time work often become depressed and unmarriageable. If you want to encourage marriage and improve the quality of marriages, full employment and job security are vital policies. There are collateral advantages to providing full employment. Full employment can reduce greatly the “zero sum” fears about employment that can tear a society apart. Each of these outcomes is overwhelmingly supported by Americans.”
Because the Federal Government prints money, it is never financially constrained. It can buy anything that is offered for sale for dollars. Right now lots of people are offering labor for sale with no takers. That unused labor is an economic resource that is going to waste.
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Creigh Gordon.
January 22, 2017 at 11:20 am #1681
That’s not a proposal though, that’s just a blanket statement that’s the equivalent of the Republican talking point: “jobs, jobs, jobs.” It lacks vision.
To be clear, I don’t believe that’s where we should aspire and it’s certainly not where the knowledge economy is leading us. Mediocre jobs should and will continue to exist on some level of course, but the future to which we should aspire is one in which everyone has the opportunity to acquire a career, doing something that they love and that pays well all at the same time. We are not doing that right now. That’s why a UBI is going to be so critical to this revolution.
January 22, 2017 at 1:02 pm #1687
UMKC’s statement is a proposal for a platform plank, not a proposed piece of legislation. The question is, could it be implemented as legislation, and I believe the answer is yes, based on historical programs like CCC and WPA, as well as more recent programs in other countries. The difference between UMKC and the Republican’s talking point is that the Republican legislatures have never done anything concrete, just talked about “jobs, jobs, jobs” that would magically appear if only the government would get out of the way.
Here’s a longer piece discussing both Job Guarantee and Basic Income, with a short discussion at the end of a synthesis (which I believe would be necessary).
Also, mediocre jobs will continue to exist on some level, as you point out. There is no law of economics that says they have to pay starvation wages.
January 22, 2017 at 11:55 am #1683
Two things to add, the platform needs to be aggressively pro-science, with the angle that R&D is a major economic driver. You need BOTH the public and the private sectors involved. The second one, which overlaps with the first, is that now is the time to promote a transitional energy policy- start by shifting the electricity generation towards non-fossil fuel sources. That’s the low hanging fruit. Alternative Energy sources for transportation is a tougher nut to crack, but that can come later if you’re committing to the R&D.
January 22, 2017 at 1:01 pm #1686
The people’s platform is going to have to start by recognizing a simple fact: the economy exists to serve people, not the other way around. If free markets and capitalism are not working for people (they’re not, for far too many) then they have to be replaced with something that does work for people.
A recent Government report stated that the bottom 50% of the nation’s people hold barely 1% of the nation’s wealth. It is clear to me that an economic system, and even the political system that gives rise to it, that yields those kinds of results will not be supported by that 50% indefinitely. And there goes your democracy. If democracy is going to survive, it has to figure out how to rescue capitalism from itself.
January 22, 2017 at 9:30 pm #1695
One of my major localized foci over the next four years is working on voting procedure.
Specifically, I aim to call for automatic runoff elections using ranked-choice voting, shortest-line-computerized districting, and open primaries.
Explanation of ranked-voting runoff ballots:
Explanation of shortest-line districting:
And lastly, my open primaries comes from my own frustration. I have never felt I belonged to either party, but I always had a strong opinion about voting for or against somebody from either party in a primary. Sometimes I want to join a primary just to vote for someone I find exception; sometimes I want to join to vote against someone I find reprehensible.
I can switch party registration each two years or so, but it seems to me more efficient and fundamental to just allow people to vote in either primary, or any third party primary, as long as they vote in only one.
Other longer term things I’m looking into is electoral college reform — I’m not very sure I’m against having it.
For one thing, the electoral college (and the House of Representatives) is smaller than it was originally intended to proportionally grow:
So there’s that.
Secondly, different states have different rules over how these votes are delivered. The Constitution says nothing about winner take all, and some states already split their Electoral College votes in a variety of ways (like guaranteeing two for the popular vote winner, and then the remaining proportionally).
I am open to ideas on how to best reform the Electoral College so that 60million rural people don’t get fucked when 60million+1 urbanites vote in a different way, but 65million urbanites don’t get fucked when 60million+60k rural people vote in a different way.
Or maybe we should just get rid of it, I don’t know.
January 24, 2017 at 10:38 am #1709
Overrule Citizens United with a Constitutional amendment clarifying that money is not speech and corporations are not people. If money is speech then speech is no longer free. We The People, not We The Corporations.
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