THE FUTURE IS NOW...
The future is powered by the sun. Health care is delivered efficiently by practitioners who care. Schools are adequately funded and locally controlled. Due process is afforded everyone. Living wages are paid for meaningful work. Art & music return to our schools. And Greg Walden is defeated!
Without compromise, human rights should be the core of our values. Michael has worked in the fields and prayed in his church with members of the Latino community his whole life. With no strings attached, Congress should immediately renew DACA and work to build a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented workers in the country.
How we deal with immigration will be one of the defining battles of our time, and it’s for the collective soul of our country. For too long demagogues have pitted working class folks against each other on this issue, when they should be fighting with each other for the same common causes. These causes include living wages, bargaining rights, healthcare, and worker safety and protections. They way to bridge this divide between workers is to start recognizing a common humanity.
A real, sensible approach will address the causes of illegal immigration rather than the side effects. Mexico is an unstable third world country that shares a border with the United States, the richest country in the world. Our failed drug policies have helped foster Mexico’s cartels, and our failed gun policies have supplied these cartels with weapons. We need to own up to our failings and begin to take responsibility. And it’s time to become true economic partners with the Mexican people in helping both economies thrive for the working people, not just corporate interests. This begins with responsible trade policy that protects workers, the environment, and increases the standard of living on both sides of the border.
CHECK-ENGINE LIGHT CAUCUS
Corporate taxes are being slashed and the consumer protections we fought so hard for after the Great Recession are being gutted. Meanwhile, corporate profits are at an all time high while wages for the working and middle class are stagnant. Like many folks in Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District, Michael knows what it’s like to be one check-engine light away from bankruptcy.
In Congress, Michael Byrne will fight for the following…
$15/ Hour Minimum Wage: The minimum wage has been falling behind inflation and productivity growth for decades. The overwhelming evidence shows increases in the minimum wage raise the standard of living, with a minimal of not non-existent affect on employment and prices. It’s time for a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour indexed to inflation. Qualifying small businesses should receive subsidies to adjust for shocks to their bottom line for a certain amount of time. Also, adjustments in the safety net should be considered so that families don’t lose things such as healthcare because of the increase in income.
Affordable Housing: Of course, the long-term solution to the affordable housing crisis is to raise incomes of the millions of Americans that have been left behind at the expense of corporate profits. Many times, issues relating to affordable housing are best approached by local jurisdictions and the states. However, given the size and scope of the problem in this country, the federal government should take a more active role. The latest tax cuts to the rich Walden helped pass lowered the value of federal subsidies to affordable housing, promising to amplify the current crisis. Michael Byrne wants to drastically increase these subsidies. Corporate America is making their profits off the backs of hard working families…It’s time they pay their fair share.
Predatory Lending: This should be banned. Just when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was beginning to crack down on this issue and hold payday lenders accountable, Trump installed his stooge, Mick Mulvaney, who took $63,000 from these people. Now Mulvaney wants to stop a rule protecting folks from these predatory lenders. The payday loan industry is full of sleazy actors capitalizing on a need in society. Low income families have been left out of the main stream banking industry for many reasons, but these folks still need financial products such as debit cards, electronic payment systems, and small loans. An avenue worth exploring is a public banking option, facilitated through the already existent infrastructure of the United States Post Office, to responsibly fill this void. In the 20th century, this public option successfully existed for over 50 years in the United States, and it exists in many other countries.
Tax Reform: Tax reform is usually discussed in the context of corporate special interests. This is because most politicians are bought and paid for by these corporate interests. But what about the working families that can’t afford accountants, lawyers, and large political donations to game the system? It’s time to change our approach to make sure everyone pays their fair share, regardless of how rich they are. It turns out many states, such as Oregon, hire private debt collectors with long histories of unsavory and even illegal activity for over-due tax collections. Once the fines and collection fees triple, if not more, the tax related debt, many people that want to make things right are left on the verge of bankruptcy. An act of Congress should ban the practice of using these debt collectors. The role of government should be to help people, not completely destroy the lives of families already in precarious positions.
Credit Agency Reform: Making a few late car payments when you’re in the middle of tough times can ruin your credit and prevent you from getting a loan, renting a house or apartment, or even getting a job. But someone like Donald Trump can bankrupt multiple businesses and still make a personal profit, and then take out more loans to set the stage for the next bankruptcy. It’s time to push the scale in the other direction. Credit checks on employment applications should be banned. Credit checks on renters ought to be replaced by a public insurance option to alleviate the risk of a tenant not paying rent. Credit agencies should provide unlimited free reports and scores, and this should never affect a credit score. Credit agencies with reporting errors should be fined, with compensation going to the victim of this error that is commensurate with the economic impact of the error at a minimum. This economy is rigged against working families. It’s time to change that.
Student Debt Relief/ College for All: Greg Walden just backed a tax cut for his rich and corporate benefactors that will put us $1.6 trillion in the hole. Here’s an idea: let’s take that tax cut back and relieve the $1.48 trillion in student loan debt. This actually will stimulate economic growth and raise tax revenues. For the long-run, Michael supports Bernie Sanders’ College for All Act. This act calls for eliminating tuition and fees at public colleges and universities paid for by Wall Street speculation taxes. Michael deviates from the Sanders proposal in that he believes the Wall Street taxes should cover the whole cost rather than 67 percent. It’s not feasible to foot a third of the costs on the states…they would be likely to severely cut other services.
Greg Walden took $1.6 million from the telecom industry, more than any other member of the House. As the powerful head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Walden’s job is oversight of the FEC, yet he signed a letter asking them to repeal Net Neutrality. The next day they did.
Michael Byrne believes the role of Congress is to provide the proper check against Trump’s FEC to ensure the internet is open and accessible, and the likes of Verizon, Comcast, and Charter can’t jack up your cable and phone bills. High speed internet access is essential for rural Oregonians.
Over the past several decades the trend has been a consolidation of wealth to the top one percent. Another trend has been the decline of unions. Michael Byrne doesn’t think this is an accident. With the decline in manufacturing jobs came a decline in union jobs and hence a decline in real wages. The unemployment rate is close to four percent, yet many people still feel left behind in this economy. This is because the growth in jobs is primarily in the service sector, hospitality industry, and healthcare. These are a lot of non-union jobs, and the wages show it. Trained caregivers looking after our elderly and most vulnerable shouldn’t be making close to minimum wage. And restaurant servers shouldn’t have to worry about Trump’s labor department attempting to confiscate their tips and putting it in corporate employer hands. All these workers deserve to be shown the respect and value they have earned. They deserve bargaining rights, benefits, and workplace safety. The unionization of America’s workforce should be a national mandate. At the congressional level, Michael would push for the discussion and implementation for what action needs to be taken to achieve these ends. Too many states with politicians caving to their corporate benefactors are passing so called “right to work” legislation. Just like healthcare, congress needs to come up with a framework to incentivize states to do the right thing when it comes to unions. This is money well worth spent, and the future of our working families could depend on this.
NO MORE WAR
This election is about nothing, if not the future.
The retreat into a nationalistic, militarized footing is not going to make us strong.
As precious resources are diverted from health care, education and infrastructure to support the military, we creep closer to the unthinkable. Nuclear War.
The Military Industrial Complex is not some sort of conspiracy theory. It is a fact.
The best defense our nation can muster is investment in Health Care, Education & Infrastructure. No Foreign Army will ever occupy our soil. That threat is in the past and no longer part of the calculus.
We must look to the future. Our National Identity has changed from Northern European and White, to one that accurately reflects the entire world.
We are the world. I am proud of my Irish American roots and I welcome all to the future that honors all of our backgrounds.
The trillions of dollars spent on the military will be better utilized in rebuilding our own country.
If our roads and bridges are crumbling, if 1 in 5 Americans experience mental health issues, if 1 in 10 have no health insurance and if our schools struggle to prepare our children; what are we defending?
Trillions of dollars spent and too many lives lost.
War is not the answer!
American Soldiers Lost