Let’s enact a New Deal 2.0 to make the US economy work for all of us.
Economic inequality has become one of the greatest struggles of our time. The income and wealth disparity in America today is morally, economically, and politically indefensible. To achieve economic justice for all, we must devise a New Deal 2.0 to plan for the future, rebuild America, revive the middle class, and make sure that workers earn their fair share.
In Congress, I will work for an economic agenda that redirects investment to the American people, our nation’s greatest strength. By shrinking the wealth and income gaps and making the economy work better for all, these investments will bring shared prosperity and economic justice.
Investing in a New Deal 2.0: A Vision for the Economy of the Future
We need leaders in Congress with a vision for the economy of the future. A New Deal 2.0 can rebuild America and broaden economic opportunity. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society both fostered widespread prosperity and reduced economic inequality for working families. Businesses and the economy thrived with investments in infrastructure and education. As a result, the American people had good jobs and enjoyed a decent standard of living.
We’ve done it in the past. We can do it again. We can adopt policies that enable people working a regular full-time job to own a home, pay for college, and prepare for retirement. Good jobs have been disappearing for decades, but there is no reason that we have to accept low, paying service jobs as the norm.
We should be preparing for the jobs of the future in health care, education, green industries, and high-speed transport. We can be leaders in Nevada in conversion to a clean energy economy by attracting investments in state-of-the-art public transportation and clean energy. This will create good, green jobs.
Instead of raiding the treasury to fund never-ending wars and propping up private contractors, it is time to reallocate our tax revenues. Unlike the current administration, we shouldn’t be cutting funding for the arts, education, medical and climate research, and the EPA. We should not be wasting our resources on a failed war on drugs or a useless wall. We should not be handing our public infrastructure over to the private sector. Instead, we should be putting our resources to work for the common good, investing in our people, protecting our environment and our communities.
Exposing the Trickle-Down Lie and Persistent Inequality
For the last forty years, the GOP has been pushing its bankrupt ideology on the American people. The jig is up. Trickle-down economics is an obvious farce. While worker productivity is at an all-time high, incomes lag behind the rising costs of the necessities of life: housing, education, and healthcare. There is something fundamentally wrong when top CEOs earn more than 300 times the average worker, while the middle class is disappearing, good jobs are scarce, and wages stagnant and unlivable.
We have tried their trickle-down experiment. Economic inequality persists, and today, the top 10% of the US population holds roughly ¾ of the wealth. The One Percenters control 42% of all wealth, while the bottom half of the population owns only 1% of it; and now 16,000 mega wealthy Americans, the 0.1%, are worth $9 trillion. This is unjust.
The expectation that each generation will do better than the last is becoming a vanishing dream. For many working families, the ability to afford a home and send the kids to college is no longer a realistic goal in this economy. The super-wealthy amass their savings in offshore tax havens, while low-wage workers must spend every penny they make and many Americans fight just to keep from slipping out of the middle class. We must reverse this trend by giving the American people a raise.
Since the mid-70’s, wages have not kept pace with productivity gains. While productivity has gained over 130%, hourly compensation has only increased by a mere 19%. We can all agree that American workers deserve jobs that provide a fair and decent living. I am a fervent supporter of a $15 minimum wage.
Protecting the Middle Class from the GOP Assault
This Republican Congress, led by President Trump, opted for a massive welfare program for corporations, robbing the American people blind of $1.5 trillion dollars. Their plan was designed to fool the middle class with small paycheck increases using a temporary individual tax cut while gifting corporations with a permanent one. Of course, you don’t need a degree in economics to know the GOP’s next step is to slash social programs and earned benefits like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to make up for the huge deficit they created. First, they starve the federal government of revenue, then they cry “deficit.” The billionaires and millionaires did not need a tax giveaway. To the contrary, we must demand that they pay their fair share.
They have no qualms about sacrificing our hard-earned social protections to satisfy their billionaire donors. Many Americans have been paying into Social Security since their first job in their teens. Over half of Americans have no other retirement savings. Robbing our elderly citizens of their financial security is immoral. It’s time to expand Social Security, so retired Americans don’t live in poverty and can retire with dignity and respect.
For decades, the GOP has been chipping away at the social programs that created the American middle class. If we let them, they would unravel the social safety net, dismantle the federal government, and privatize everything from education to health care to retirement savings. We cannot stand for this! We need representatives who will defend and protect our hard-fought rights. I vow to staunchly oppose the gutting of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, programs so vital to the well-being of so many Americans.
Defending Labor Unions and Collective Bargaining
Breaking union power has been crucial to the Republican strategy and has been devastating to the treatment of workers and their incomes. U.S. labor union representation has declined to just under 11%, allowing corporations to underpay their employees, eliminate retirement funding, reduce insurance coverage, and forcing workers to be more productive without compensation. Democrats need to do more to shore up unions to protect American workers.
Today, the GOP and their corporate donors are behind an effort to further undermine unions by passing deceptively labeled “right-to-work” legislation across the country. As the AFL-CIO states, ”the real purpose of right to work laws is to tilt the balance toward big corporations and further rig the system at the expense of working families. These laws make it harder for working people to form unions and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.” If the GOP gets its way, it will be even harder for the working classes to organize and defend their interests. I believe in strong unions and their power to bargain on behalf of workers. We need these unions to hold corporations accountable to their workers, not just their shareholders.
Workers' rights and benefits should be expanded not diminished. As they do in other developed countries, I will advocate for expanding paid maternity, sick, and family leave, as well as childcare.
Investing in our Neglected Infrastructure
While the GOP is granting favors to its donors, the US infrastructure is in disrepair. Our leaders have lacked the courage to address this impending infrastructure crisis. We, as voters, have not demanded it, but it is something that we all agree requires fixing. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the US infrastructure a D+ grade on the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card and estimated spending needs at $4.5 trillion by 2025 for improvements to roads, bridges, dams, airports, schools, etc. One in every nine bridges in structurally unsound. Drinking water infrastructure is deficient and almost obsolete. One-third of our roads are in poor or worse condition. This is unacceptable in the United States of America. How have we been so short-sighted?
The evidence is clear that a massive infrastructure program is long overdue. Unsurprisingly, the latest GOP proposal on infrastructure effectively cuts spending and even plans to sell off some federal assets to the private sector. This is just one more example of the GOP working against the public interest and in favor or their corporate benefactors who stand to profit from these privatization measures.
What America needs is a long-term view of public investment in its people and its physical resources. Let’s rebuild our crumbling infrastructure with skilled workers, using and improving new and sustainable power sources. Investing in a 21st-century infrastructure will create good-paying jobs for American workers while also improving our roads, bridges, airports, power grids, and water systems. This is not a wild idea. It’s plain common sense.
An Economy for All reduces inequality by:
giving the people a long-overdue raise in the form of a $15 minimum wage;
providing American workers with a fair and decent living;
supporting strong unions that can effectively negotiate on behalf of workers with their collective bargaining power;
demanding that billionaires and corporations pay their fair share in taxes and cannot use loopholes to hoard wealth in offshore tax havens.
shielding the people from the recklessness of Wall Street;
putting an end to corporate welfare which privatizes gains and socializes risk;
protecting Social Security and Medicare, because elderly retirees have earned these benefits and deserve to retire with dignity and access to good health care;
raising the cap on income subject to contributions to sustain the Social Security fund into the future;
ensuring that productivity gains go to the workers and not to idle profiteers or over-valued CEOs.
A New Deal 2.0 provides opportunity by:
rebuilding America, instead of funding endless wars and wasteful defense spending;
investing heavily in our people and our crumbling infrastructure;
allocating more resources to strengthen and expand public education including universal pre-K and develop vocational training for 21st-century jobs;
making higher education affordable to all income groups and fixing our nation’s for-profit student loan system;
putting millions of Americans to work at skilled jobs earning good wages;
reviving the middle class and helping prosperity to flow outward rather than upward;
offering expanded workers' rights such as paid maternity, sick, and family leave and childcare;
supporting the jobs of the future in preparation for climate change;
making Nevada a national leader in high-speed transportation and clean energy, like solar, geothermal, and wind.