Note: This is a draft of a policy paper for a PA Progressive House candidate. I want to capture the ideas of a fairer economy in language that resonates with American values of hard work, fair play, and compassion. The policy ideas are negotiable…
The economy should work for everyone who works.
We have lived through an upside-down economy where Wall Street prospers on Main Street’s misery. Just as millions of hard-working home owners found themselves upside-down in their homes- paying for a mortgage worth more than the house- all of us have been in an upside-down economy. We are paying for the idea of an economy, one that favors wealth over work, one favors a quick buck over an earned dollar, one that favors glitz over grit, when the real economy is loosing real value.
The real economy is where stuff is made, relationships matter, value is clear, and a handshake instead of a stock option starts a deal. The real economy needs the strengths and talents of all of us. It also needs the infrastructures to connect people and companies. It also needs rules of the road that we all agree to.
We can fix the economy. We can give it what it needs: better people, better infrastructures, and better rules of the road.
Better People Ideas:
1) Healthy People: decouple health insurance from employment
2) Prepared People: invest in worker re-training
3) Child care systems so that working parents can work
Better Infrastructure Ideas:
1) Invest in transportation networks
2) Invest in healthy ecosystems
3) Invest in people through daycare, schooling, community college, state 4 year
4) More access to the Internet for people, towns, and entrepreneurs
Better Rules of The Road Ideas:
1) Too Big to Fail is Too Big to Be- re-instate Glass-Steagal separation of retail from investment banking and also cross-ownership of financial institutions.
2) Reward Work and Wealth- change taxes so that wealth (retained interest, capital gains) does not get a huge tax break compared to work; encourage better alignment of compensation to long term wealth
3) End Foreclosure Abuse by Banks and Mortgage Holders
4) Allow workers to represent themselves
5) Tie minimum wage to economic indicators like inflation
6) Require all free trade agreements to integrate wage, safety, and environmental minimums so it is far trade and not a race to the bottom