A columnist’s New Year’s wish list for America
Part I. My urgent care wish list
1) We need help feeding and sheltering the millions of Americans living in poverty. Census report on poverty in America (September 2015): Poverty rate was 14.8 percent, or 46.7 million people. Plus, we need more homeless shelters.
2) Gun control legislation: Ban the sale of military-style weapons. Strengthen background checks. Let’s stop the gun violence in America that costs almost 30,000 lives a year.
3) National single-payer health insurance (Medicare-for-all type with no deductibles), optional for all Americans. This needs to be a guaranteed right for every American to have this option.
4) Guaranteed cost of living adjustments every year for senior citizens and veterans.
Part II. Stronger economy
The key to creating a stronger economy for Main Street America, or the 99 percent, and reducing poverty will require the following actions:
1) New federal minimum wage of at least $15 an hour.
2) Equal pay for women should be guaranteed.
3) Break up the largest banks on Wall Street.
4) Tax all trades on Wall Street.
5) Next step: Break up the Federal Reserve system. Today, the priority of the Federal Reserve is to serve and preserve Wall Street and the wealthy 1 percent economy. We need to dismantle this system that has hoarded billions and trillions of dollars of potential investment capital from America for years.
Before we break up the Federal Reserve, we need to transfer a large sum of money from its checking account and deposit it into a newly created, secondary-level national banking system for Main Street Americans. This will create a new economy that will expand lending to “Made in America” companies, small businesses, expanding home loans, auto loans and personal loans to hard-working Americans in the middle class and the lower-income groups. This bottom-up approach will spark real economic growth and jobs in America.
I wish for this to be the new economy for Main Street America.
6) Eliminate corporate welfare. Every year, Congress gives away American taxpayer money (subsidies) to large corporations that don’t pay their taxes, pay cheap wages and ship jobs overseas.
7) New tax reform so Americans, either single or married couples, making $100,000 or less do not pay any federal taxes. The middle class, what’s left of it, and lower-income Americans can no longer afford to pay taxes.
8) Rebuilding of infrastructure in America (roads, bridges, water systems, sewer systems, etc.) should be paid for by those American corporations that have not paid their taxes or by money from the bloated budget of the Department of Defense.
Part III. Energy & environment
1) On Dec. 18, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the 2016 omnibus spending bill to finance the federal government. This bill contained a provision to lift the oil and gas export ban, which originated with the energy crisis days of the 1970s, specifically the 1973 Arab oil embargo. As a concerned citizen, I lobbied intensely against this provision. Could this be a scheme by Big Oil to raise gasoline prices in America? Could this also be an attempt to scuttle the accomplishments of the Paris climate change summit? This legislation needs to be reversed.
2) Carbon tax on fossil fuels, especially now with the lifting of the oil and gas export ban.
3) National ban on oil and gas fracking to improve the quality of life in America.
Part IV. leading to a more democratic America
1) Eliminate “Citizens United” and SuperPacs.
2) Eliminate closed primary elections in which only voters registered with a particular party may participate. All primaries should be open elections.
3) Eliminate the Electoral College. Our national elections should be direct elections.
Part V. Education
1) Tuition-free colleges and universities. All or a portion of these costs can be offset by state educational lotteries.
Part VI. Other important social issues
1) We need to stop racism and the hateful discrimination of all people living in America.
2) Congress needs to pass immigration reform immediately.
Part VII. 2016 Election
1) We need a new slate of presidential candidates; however, I would keep Sen. Bernie Sanders. He seems like the only candidate with common sense and who most represents Main Street America. We need to elect people who really care about Americans.
Part VIII. Final thoughts
What does this wish list tell us about our American society? The state of the union is not good and we need to fix it now. Let’s start with this wish list.
Happy New Year. Promote peace everywhere.
Randy Fricke of New Castle is an environmental advocate and political activist. He is the author of the book “If I Were President/Saving Main Street America.”
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