Revenue Sharing v. Minimum Wage
So how do we battle the growing chasm between the super rich and everybody else?
Raising the minimum wage to an arbitrary $15 (or whatever number) seems to be the most popular quick fix, but it is not a permanent solution.
Even Universal Basic Income is not good enough. (Sorry, Andrew)
A solution to income inequality has to be rooted in proportionality, championed by collective bargaining rights and the principle of revenue sharing. Such a system exists today for the benefits of management and the working class, but only in a few places ⏤ namely, professional sports.
A perfect example of socially responsible capitalism and meritocracy, the NBA rewards players with contracts that they independently negotiate based on their skills and performance. The better the player; the more money they can make. Collectively, however, they are protected by contractual guidelines that institute a minimum salary based on the overall revenue generated by the league.
In the NBA, the players are guaranteed 49% of the revenue of the league. From within that, each player competes for their portion. The better players usually get paid more; as it should be. Meanwhile as overall revenue climbs, both the labor and management proportionally enjoy the spoils of more money coming into the enterprise. If the league suffers, everybody suffers proportionally. There is no scenario where business is booming and the owners can pilfer more of the profits. Nor is there a scenario where owners keep their money, while the effects of a decreasing bottom line gets taken out against the workers, like we see all the time in every other industry.
That is a fair, just, and equitable economic system. It needs to be further studied, discussed, tweaked, and hopefully implemented to address the inequities in our economy between the working and capital class.
Clean Air, Clean Water, Clean Energy
A staunch environmentalist, I will support any measure that moves America towards a greener economy. Representing the 48th District of California, we are blessed to live in one of the most beautiful areas on the planet. We need to make sure we keep it that way by keeping our air and oceans clean and our wildlife protected.
The damage caused by fossil fuels and climate change cannot be understated. It is not some dormant problem wherein we can just kick the can down the road. It is causing death and destruction now and needs to be curtailed before the damage becomes irreversable.
I want America involved in a global cooperative effort to completely neutralize our carbon emissions within the next two decades. While I understand that some of world's biggest polluters are not doing their part, it should nevertheless not deter us from doing the right thing. The future of America lies in clean efficient energy. The jobs of the future lie in clean energy. And considering that half of Newport and Laguna Beach drive Teslas, I think we subconsciously know it. Now let's not be afraid to express it in the ballot box.
You know what needs more cleaning up than our atmosphere? The way we pass legislation. Pork, poison pills, "bundling," and other nonsense, it’s no wonder it takes forever to get anything done.
For example, one of the primary reasons that COVID relief took forever is that Congresspeople ⏤ from both sides ⏤ kept putting nonsense into the bills that had nothing to do with getting stimulus checks or necessary funding out to the people. Mitch McConnell, for example, tried to tie a resolution policing social media companies into the relief bill.
This old Simpsons joke is actually more accurate than you'd think.
I will call out any attempt at putting poison pills into popular legislature. Congress needs to become more transparent, efficient, and expeditious in doing their work for the American people.
Medicare For All
Medicare For All would save lives, save livelihoods, and would actually save trillions of dollars over the next generation than our current archaic private insurance system.
Practically speaking it would mean no more dealing with insurance companies, no more denied treatments, no more copays, no more surprise bills, no more premiums, and no more deductibles. Most importantly, no more panicking over your next doctor’s visit. No more going into bankruptcy over an unexpected ailment or procedure. No more rationing prescriptions. No more cost-benefit analysis over whether or not to seek treatment.
Medicare for All is the only rational, moral, economical, and humane system going forward. Every chance I get, I will fight until we have it implemented in the USA.
Combating Gun Violence
It took a deadly pandemic to finally break America's streak of six straight years of 10 or more deadly school shootings. Now that society is re-opening, this is part of the old "normal" that we're having to deal with again.
We need to implement common sense background checks, outlaw military-grade weapons, emphasize counseling, get a better understanding of mental health issues, and take a holistic approach towards curbing the problem of gun violence that has plagued America since the turn of the Century.
Eliminating Student and Medical Debt
The staggering amount of student debt in the United States is a crisis and a hinderance to overall economic growth. I am in favor of wiping out a certain degree of student debt, especially if it is derived of mostly interest accrued. At the very least, it should become eligible to be dispelled through bankruptcy like nearly everything else.
I don't like throwing out arbitrary figures ⏤ whether we should forgive $10K, $50K, or the whole magilla is still a topic for ongoing conversation. What I am comfortable saying is that I would want to participate in legislation and vote in favor of freeing students from disproportionate debt, interest payments, and giving them back their financial freedom.
Medical Debt, however, should be wiped off the board completely.
I understand that this may be perceived as unfair. For the many that have worked tirelessly to pay off their medical bills just to see others have theirs forgiven, I empathize with the sting that such a gesture would entail. All I can beg of you is to let it go; just because one person suffers from an injustice doesn't mean we should subject others to the same injustice for the sake of consistency.
Medical care should be included in the benefits of citizenship. Nobody should suffer economic grief because they needed an operation or medication. Therefore all medical debt should be immediately forgiven as we look towards a future of Universal Healthcare.
Bailing Out People, Not Corporations
What is my most despised use of taxpayer funds?
Bailing out public corporations for their business incompetence: airlines, banks, Fortune 500 companies, all of whom have the collateral for private loans and the ability to issue stock to afford themselves liquidity that no ordinary citizen or small business can obtain.
We bailed out Wall Street in 2008. We bailed out airlines in 2001 and again in 2020. The Federal government has become a backstop and disincentive for corporations deemed "too big to fail" to ever prepare against any kind of adversity.
I will not support spending taxpayer money towards bailing out publicly traded corporations. Bail out money should go directly to workers and small businesses who don't have the same advantages as their larger brethren.
The Working Class
Even nowadays, I spend some evenings fraternizing with restaurant workers and delivery drivers when I go on shifts for DoorDash.
My main takeaway from the years spent among these incredible people is that all of them work extremely hard. Yet given the inequities of our economic system, they are constantly falling behind as basic expenses outpace the wages afforded to the working class.
Most politicians look at abstract metrics such as unemployment rate and overall job creation to validate their viewpoint that the economy keeps getting stronger. What they fail to appreciate is that too many jobs, across most industries, fail to pay a decent livable wage. The average worker today gets paid six times less relative to their productivity than a worker in the 1970s. Most of the revenue generated by the working class now gets siphened by management and executives.
The USA currently ranks 15th in overall standard of living. We are behind Canada, Sweden, Australia, Germany, and Japan among others, mostly due to the incredible spread in income inequality that has some of our citizens living like kings and others (who work just as hard) barely able to make ends meet. Economists have argued that if this disparity is not addressed, it will one day bankrupt the entire system.
Of course, most politicians are filthy rich so they have no impetus in making any improvements to the economic system. I pledge to be a voice for the working class and to elevate THEIR standard of living in appreciation for all that they do for our country.
Fair Access to Legal Remedy
I support bills like the FAIR Act (The Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act) that do away with mandatory arbitration contract provisions, designed primarily to hinder workers and consumers from having their day in court.
Our justice system was created to work for everybody. Whenever necessary, everybody should have the right to bring a matter to court.
Repeal the Gas Tax!
However, now that I got your attention, I am against the gas tax. I could relate to everybody's frustration in staring down $3.81 at the pump in January, wondering what we might have to pay during the peak travel season in July.
Enough is enough. I understand that the proceeds from the gas tax are needed for key infrastructure and transportation projects — including a much needed transition into green energy. However, in the meantime, who bears the brunt for this particular tax?
Definitely not wealthy Silicon Valley employees, most of whom get to work from their home offices these days. The gas tax mostly affects the blue-collar working class who still need to commute to a job that cannot be done remotely. I don't mind taxing the rich a little extra but it makes no sense taxing the hard working people that can least afford it.
Credit Card and Banking Reform
Here’s the deal: during the government's fiscal response to COVID-19, when the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates to 0%, how many of you got excited thinking, “oh wow. does this mean I can borrow some money at no interest during hard times for necessities, both business and personal? Can I get a low interest loan instead having to resort to credit card companies' ridiculous 30% annual percentage rate?”
If yes, then you probably soon realized that those 0% rates were never meant for you. They were for commercial banks to borrow money that they then lent out to people and small businesses at the same exorbitant rates as always. Suddenly banks and lenders became flush with cash and started sending mailers to my house offering pre-approved loan packages that were never as good as initially advertised. It was both an epic tease and a total ripoff.
Therefore just like Medicare for All would eliminate the middleman of the insurance industry, we can cut out major corporations like JP Morgan from being the middleman between people and basic financial services.
I will also would want to expand the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act, to include a hard cap on credit card interest rates.
Eliminating Congressional Conflicts of Interest
I support the Ban Conflicting Trading Act, which would prohibit members of Congress and their senior congressional staff from buying or selling individual stocks and other investments. It would also keep them from serving on corporate boards while in office.
We must ensure that our politicians are acting solely on our behalf, passing legislation that helps the American people, not their personal friends, families, or stock portfolios.