Coalition for Grassroots Progress : A new kind of change. From the grassroots.
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An Economic Agenda for Main Street

Create New Green Jobs

  • Jobs and sustainability must go hand in hand. As co-chair of the Commission on a Green New Deal for the North Bay, I organized public hearings and heard testimony that repeatedly debunked the false choice between jobs and the environment. By bringing together labor, entrepreneurs and environmental leaders, I saw the potential of good green jobs to provide high-quality employment while safeguarding the environment.
  • I support major federal investment to create jobs that expand green technologies such as rooftop solar, well-sited wind and tidal energy production.
  • By expanding conservation efforts, we can create jobs programs that directly fund retrofitting and weatherization for homes, schools and other buildings.
  • We need large-scale government investment in public transportation – to create vast numbers of new jobs, reduce greenhouse gases and ease traffic gridlock.

Invest in Our Workers and Communities

  • We must reinvest in America’s workers and families, to rebuild our economy and our social fabric. I support robust public investment in economic programs that create living-wage jobs. The government should invest directly in the nation’s infrastructure, and in social services that help stabilize our communities.
  • I support policies that strengthen small businesses and protect them from the predatory practices of big box stores and other corporate chains which stifle competition and erode the local tax base. Small businesses are key engines for job creation and a core part of local economies.
  • I will defend federal housing programs that help cities and counties invest in new affordable housing, create opportunities for first-time homebuyers, and reduce homelessness at the local level.
  • I strongly support H.R. 870 – the “Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act” – introduced by Congressman John Conyers, which provides for a federal policy of full employment. With a one-quarter of 1 percent transaction tax on Wall Street, the bill would generate roughly $150 billion per year in revenues, creating millions of new jobs.

Stand Up for Workers — Not Wall Street

  • I will never hesitate to stand up to corporate lobbyists and Wall Street in defense of working Americans, the unemployed and under-employed.
  • In the early 1990s, I publicly opposed NAFTA before it was enacted. Widespread evidence shows that NAFTA and other international "free trade" deals have hurt American workers, undermining job security and wages, and should be renegotiated to protect the U.S. economy and the environment.
  • I publicly opposed the Wall Street banks bailout before it was enacted in October 2008. Rather than subsidizing big investors and rewarding corporate executives for destroying jobs, the federal government should be creating jobs and protecting homeowners from predatory foreclosures.
  • I support passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. This measure is vital to restoring workers’ fundamental rights, and will help improve wages and healthcare for all American workers. I support a national living wage and a worker’s right to collective bargaining. All workers should be treated with dignity and respect.

Protect Social Security and Medicare

  • I will fight to protect – and strengthen – Social Security for current and future beneficiaries. I support Sen. Bernie Sanders' bill to protect Social Security from the budget ax in the so-called congressional Super Committee.
  • We must defend Social Security’s cost-of-living allowance.
  • Contrary to myth, Social Security is solvent – and we must stand firm against cuts and privatization schemes that would “fix” what isn’t broken.
  • I will unequivocally oppose all efforts to raise the eligibility age for Medicare.
  • I will push for reform of Medicare Part D to reduce the costs of drugs while reining in runaway profits of huge pharmaceutical companies.

Quality Health Care for All

  • I support single payer health care, also known as enhanced Medicare for all.
  • The fact that the U.S. spends more on health care than most industrialized nations is a reflection of the unhealthy power of the insurance, hospital and pharmaceutical industries. Our current system does not serve Americans equitably; it must be reformed and improved.
  • I will fight to protect and bolster Medicare and Medicaid, known as Medi-Cal in California.
  • I support expanded federal funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers.
  • I will fight to ensure that every community has access to quality health care services.

Removing Big Money Power From Our Politics

  • For decades -- as an activist, author and nationally syndicated columnist -- I have detailed how big money in politics promotes everything from war and environmental degradation to economic injustice and unfair trade treaties to media conglomeration and corporatization of healthcare. In my largely volunteer-driven campaign for Congress, I have implemented a grassroots approach to fundraising: raising hundreds of thousands of dollars from several thousand (mostly small) donors, while refusing to accept a penny of corporate PAC money.
  • As a member of Congress, one of my top priorities will be to back legislation and a constitutional amendment aimed at removing money from politics. Among my plans: I will promote a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood, and to affirm that campaign funding is not speech and can be strictly regulated, thereby overturning the Citizens United decision.
  • I will immediately cosponsor the “Fair Elections Now Act” -- which would establish public financing of elections and enable federal candidates to avoid large donations, big money bundlers and donations from lobbyists.
  • I will cosponsor legislation banning elected officials from working as lobbyists after they leave office.
  • Polls show that public financing and lobbying bans are popular with the U.S. public -- whether Democrat, Republican, some other party or independent. I pledge to go to Washington to fight to fulfill the public’s desire to take money and corruption out of politics.