Far too often, and particularly in the campaign of 2016, the Democrats did not stand for anything specific and detailed that would bring enormous benefits to the everyday people in all 50 states. That is why before the elections of 2018, they had been losing so many elections and were at their lowest numbers since 1929. In the elections of 2018, some wiser candidates opted to campaign on issues like health care and criminal justice. While the Democrats performed much better in the 2018 elections, winning back the House and some gubernatorial races, they still did not do as well as they could have in US Senatorial races in red states—had they offered a clear vision of what Democrats could be doing for everyday people (not corporations and the richest 1%) to make their lives so much better.
It is time that the Democrats propose a list of substantive ideas to make all of our lives better—not just platitudes, slogans and name-calling of those of other political persuasions. Our proposal is set forth below. We call upon all Democrats running for national office (President, U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives) to embrace, endorse and adopt the platform shown. Take the pledge to support the Agenda!
Trade in the Republican tax cuts for Medicare for all. Help everyone, instead of just the top 1 percent and corporations.
Medicare-for-all (single-payer), phased in during 4 years. Tax code will have to be adjusted to pay for it, including total repeal of the December 2017 Republican tax cuts, which went mostly to rich people and corporations, although savings from eliminating administrative expenses (Medicare’s expense percentage is only 2% v. private industry’s 20 to 30%), eliminating Medicaid, and eliminating employers’ and individuals’ expenditures on health care will make enormous sums of money available to pay for this program.
Tax laws should help the common man most.
- Simplify the tax codes for everyone, including individuals and businesses.
- Repeal the 2017 Republican tax cuts and restore them to where they currently were during the Clinton second term (when we had record surpluses and were paying off the national debt), but eliminate most deductions for them, including entertaining clients and depreciation on real estate for investors. Make the corporate and highest rates 45%. This will not hurt productivity, because taxes are only levied on profits, much of which is currently not reinvested in production, but rather in buybacks and executive bonuses.
- Eliminate ($127,200) cap on Social Security income determined for payments. Prohibit Congress from borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund. Make it pay back the money it already borrowed.
- Treat capital gains the same as ordinary income for all money earned over $200,000 per year.
- Mandate that those companies that have savings accounts in foreign countries be required to re-patriate all that money to accounts in the USA or forfeit the right to have access to the courts of the USA (as a plaintiff or defendant).
- For individuals earning less than $200,000 per year allow (or continue to allow) deductions for mortgage interest, real estate taxes, personal exemptions, charities, medical bills over 5% of income and college expenses over $5000 per year.
- Keep allowing tax deductions for all types of IRA’s, SEP-IRAS, 401K’s and MSA’s and other qualified tax-deductible accounts.
- Keep the lifetime exemptions from capital gains on personal home sales and exchanges.
Allow the common man to use bankruptcies just like Trump and big corporations have used them for decades.
Amend the bankruptcy laws to what they were before 1975 concerning school loans to make school loans once again dischargeable in bankruptcy if the ex-student qualifies to file bankruptcy. Also, change the law to allow first mortgages to be re-written or discharged in bankruptcy courts just like any other type of debts.
Make all consumer laws favor the consumers, not the businesses who sell to them.
- Abolish and make illegal all clauses in consumer contracts (for software, cell phones, automobiles and all consumer products) that have waivers of statutory rights, waivers of right to jury trial, waivers of rights to be part of class actions, mandatory arbitration clauses, shortening of statutes of limitations, forum selection clauses, mandatory minimum sign-up times, automatic renewals and all other clauses that in any way limit the rights of consumers that they would normally have absent those clauses.
- Abolish (repeal) the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925. It is the reason that state and federal court consumer decisions have gone in favor of clauses described in A above against individuals and for corporations.
- Reform laws dealing with paycheck loans, time payments for criminal and traffic offenses, and interest allowable on debts, so that people don’t get victimized by their high costs and exorbitant interest rates. Eliminate all fees other than a straight one per cent per month and make that the highest percentage that any lender or bank can charge.
- Limit bank overdraft fees to $10 per day per account, or 1% of amount of overdraft, whichever is more, with no extended overdraft fees before 20 days.
- Mandate that companies like FICO® reveal the detailed, precise manner in which they calculate your credit scores.
Make all employment laws favor the employees, not the bosses, CEO’s and shareholders.
- Abolish and make illegal all clauses in employment contracts that have waivers of statutory rights, waivers of right to jury trial, waivers of rights to be part of class actions, mandatory arbitration clauses, shortening of statutes of limitations, forum selection clauses and all other clauses that in any way limit the rights of consumers and employees that they would normally have.
- Abolish (repeal) the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925. It is the reason that state and federal court employment decisions have gone in favor of clauses described in A above against individuals and for corporations.
- Raise the minimum wage up to $15 per hour and increase it by $1 per hour, per year, until it reaches $25 per hour (like in many European countries, such as Denmark).
Take away the subsidies and tax benefits from rich corporations and use that money to fund infrastructure projects.
Fix the roads, bridges, water treatment facilities, trains, subways, airports, power plants, electrical grids, and everything else that needs to be fixed and rehabbed.
- Connect all water systems within each state and from state to state with underground pipelines with plenty of shutoff valves, so that when there is a shortage of water in one location due to drought or anything else and too much water somewhere else due to too much rain or flooding, water could be imported or exported to different states or parts within states to correct the imbalances.
- Build high-speed bullet trains (300 mph or more) between all major cities, and from the northern to southern and eastern to western parts of our country.
- Allow and legalize full development and deployment of automated (self-driving) cars to drive all of us wherever needed, to eliminate 35,000 people per year being killed in car accidents, along with hundreds of thousands who are injured every year.
- Allow municipalities to develop their own Wi-Fi and cable TV systems (which are usually much cheaper) without worrying about being sued under non-compete laws that are part of certain trade agreements such as NAFTA.
- Bring excellent broadband access, Wi-Fi availability and cell phone usability to all rural areas not presently or adequately served.
Make the criminal justice system fair for all.
- Revise sentencing laws to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences. Re-sentence all prisoners currently serving sentences under mandatory minimum sentences. Reduce sentence ranges for most crimes, particularly drug possession charges.
- Legalize marijuana federally so that the federal law does not conflict with or pre-empt state laws that have legalized it and so that marijuana business owners can use banks like any other businesses can.
- Rid the criminal law books of thousands of silly, unnecessary laws that impede freedom and do not serve meaningful societal purposes.
- Totally eliminate criminal forfeiture laws which have been badly misused by prosecutors and police departments everywhere, except after criminal convictions for participating in organized criminal enterprises like drug trafficking, human trafficking, theft and fraud schemes and other similar categories. Do not allow local govern-mental agencies to receive the proceeds of criminal forfeiture laws.
- Change the laws so that municipalities do not receive any portions of the fine moneys that are collected for traffic and other criminal offenses occurring within their jurisdictions. Prevent privatization of fine collections, which have employed exorbitant fees and loan shark interest rates in some jurisdictions.
- Eliminate privately-owned prisons, because they have an inherent conflict of interest in having as many prisoners sent to them as possible and in keeping them in prisons for as long as possible.
Every citizen should have the right to vote easily and conveniently without any impediments.
- Declare that all citizens over 18 who have a driver’s license, a gun permit, a hunter’s license, a school ID card or any government-issued ID card are automatically registered to vote in their home town.
- Eliminate all previous impediments to voting by state or federal laws that are inconsistent with the above principle.
- Prohibit gerrymandering and allow districts to be drawn up by computers to be as politically neutral as possible.
- Make voting precincts be open every day for two weeks before and including Election Day.
- Allow all voters to mail in ballots in lieu of appearing in person.
- Convert voting machines to be electronic readers of paper ballots checked off, so that there are (un-hackable) paper trails of all ballots cast, in case there needs to be a backup count.
- Make voting precincts plentiful and available everywhere, with adequate parking and transportation to and from them.