OUR VISIONARY ECONOMY
WE are running on a visionary platform. Kenneth, with the help of the people of CA34, will work in Congress to push for a 21st Century Economy where we lift those out of poverty, grow the middle class, make the wealthy billionaire class pay their fair share, protect our environment, and keep in mind the quality of life for workers and their families when it comes to economic policy.
A 21st Century Economy where each and every one of us has a job that pays a living wage and where you can work 30 hours a week and not live in poverty while being able to spend more quality time with yourself and your family. A 21st Century Economy where there are tens of millions of well-paying jobs that: preserve our environment, invest in the expansion of public transportation, and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. A 21st Century Economy where idea creation and community building are financially rewarded and encouraged, and where the top 1% pay their fair share and corporations cannot avoid paying their taxes by incorporating or stashing their money overseas. And most importantly, a 21st Century Economy that focuses on the preservation of our environment through the transition from our reliance on fossil fuels and natural gas to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030. As the wealthiest nation on Earth, if other countries can implement the change that we need, so can we.
WE have seen the middle class disappear over the last 40 years while 40 million Americans live in poverty including 15 million children with almost half of those living in poverty are African American or Latinx. We have seen 90% of all new income go to the top 1% while it never trickles down to the middle to lower classes. The top 1/10th of 1% continues own as much as wealth as the bottom 90%. It’s time for a bold new vision, the question is, are we going to fight for it as the wealthiest nation on Earth?
JOB GUARANTEE PROGRAM
WE believe that our Government should have a Job Guarantee Program to achieve the goals of increasing GDP and full employment. The national unemployment rate is around 5%, while the unemployment rate for California’s 34th Congressional District is around 8%. Our Government should offer anyone who is out of work and looking for a job a secure job on the minimum wage as a transitional measure to give them an adequate source of income and job readiness for employment in the private sector once a position becomes available. These jobs should also include normal work benefits such as paid time off, sick leave, superannuation, and holiday pay. This provides a pool of work-ready employees that enable the economy to function at its full potential. Job Guaranteed Jobs should not compete with the private sector but instead fill in positions that are lacking such as rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, reinvesting in clean renewable energy, or care-giving for the elderly or those that are disabled. In addition, a Job Guarantee program should not only be viewed from an economic perspective but from a social perspective. Unemployment causes increases in poverty, crime, social isolation, depression, despair, relationship and family breakdown, social and political instability, and the possibility of become unemployable.
GUARANTEED BASIC INCOME
WE will work to ensure that a guaranteed basic income of $12,000 be provided to all citizens, 18 years and older who make less than $150,000 a year, with a phase out starting at a yearly compensation of $137,000. As wealth and income inequality continues to rise, jobs become harder to find, transitions away to clean renewable energy, work and life balance becoming harder and harder, and as technology and automation begins to advance, replacing human labor, it only makes sense to provide universal guaranteed income to cover any living costs a person may need. Respectable figures like Martin Luther King Jr. also advocated for basic income as a solution to combating poverty and a disappearing middle class. A Guaranteed Income can be used to provide assistance to our disappearing middle class as well as lift those out of poverty. It also gives more autonomy and control to the individual. President Obama even discussed that the debate of a guaranteed income be needed in the near future as artificial intelligence (AI) and robots continue to advance and replace human labor. Universal basic income is actually being tested out in Finland and Scotland at the moment.
GREEN NEW DEAL
WE will work to move towards 100% clean renewable energy by 2030. It is time to end our reliance on fossil fuels and natural gas and protect mother earth. Climate change is a real threat to the entire world and the scientific community has agreed that it is human-caused. The Green New Deal would create 20 million new well-paying jobs and it will also protect the environment and the health of the people around the world. In addition, the Green New Deal would repair and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure building better roads, bridges, public transit systems, and water ways that are environmental friendly. We will work to provide tax credits and research grants to Green businesses investing in energy sources like wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal. We will work to provide scholarships to students who do research and innovate on renewable energy and conservation to use in the workforce. We will also work to give them business grants for them to start their own research facilities in their communities to help better their environment. When we invest in science, we advance as a civilization and create more jobs. We will give incentives for companies that are willing to implement technologies and innovations produced from research centers.
HELPING LOCAL SMALL BUSINESSES
WE will help provide small business incentives such as subsidies and tax credits to small local businesses making less than $500,000 a year in revenue and less than 10 full-time employees. Small businesses make up 99.9% of all firms with 50% of all new businesses closing within the first year. We will also work with the scientific community, especially those who specialize in clean energy or any type of environmental conservation, and medical research such as cancer research, to work with local communities to educate and empower the community to learn more on how they can make their communities better. Many small business owners need help especially the mom and pop businesses that are part of the community whether it be a family owned restaurant, convenience store, or grocery store.
A LIVING WAGE: $15 FEDERAL INDEXED MINIMUM WAGE
WE will fight for $15/hr federal indexed minimum wage, which is currently $7.25/hr. Just like the "Raise the Wage Act" (which has not passed), the minimum wage will be indexed against the annual percentage increase in the median hourly wage of all employees as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
If the minimum wage had continued to move with average productivity after 1968, it would have reached $21.72 per hour in 2012! For the past 40 years, wages for the middle class have increased a merely 6%, while wages for the top 1% have increased 140%, total productivity has increased over 140%, and the costs of living have increased over 200%.
If the minimum wage goes up, everyone’s wage goes up, and the economic floor is raised. It’s just not about those working at McDonald’s, there are many who have gotten a bachelor's degree but still can’t find a job or get paid a living wage. These people are our family members, friends, and our neighbors. The argument is that almost all new income has shifted to the top 1%, never to be trickled down to the middle and lower classes. Many of these Top CEOs who pay their employees slave wages like Walmart and McDonald’s make more than 300 times the average worker. In addition, if you raise the minimum wage, it takes away from the 1%, and gives people more purchasing power and grows the economy.
For small businesses, especially those in the community, we believe the Government should provide assistance in the form of tax breaks and subsidies and less regulations to help them cover the costs the increased Federal Minimum Wage.
RIGHT TO UNIONIZE AND PROTECT WORKERS' RIGHTS
WE will fight to give workers the right to unionize by introducing legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act which would give employees more power and freedom to form a union if they had a majority vote to unionize. We would also work to increase penalties on employers who try to intimidate workers who try to unionize by sending in union busters. We would also work to provide overtime for those making a salary of $47,000 or less.
WE will fight for union rights, including guaranteeing safe working conditions, ensuring that all workers’ rights are being protected, guaranteeing the ability to negotiate for better wages, allowing workers to have a voice in the workplace, and having their pensions protected. WE will also fight for unions for fast food workers and temp workers. If you have a strong union, you can get all your basic human needs covered such as a living wage, reasonable work hours, and access to healthcare.
WE will also fight for workers to have 16 weeks paid family and medical leave. This is a reality in many European countries who allow their employees the time needed to focus on their personal and family lives knowing that if they take care of their workers, workers will take care of the companies they work in with a much more pleasant and productive attitude.
30-HOUR WORK WEEKS
WE are going to push for the opportunity to have 30-hour work weeks (6 hours a day). What we’ve seen in America is that employees are working 40+ hours just to make ends meet, missing quality family time and doing more personal related activities. Especially in Los Angeles, the amount of time it takes to get to work (even just a few miles) can take 30 minutes to even more than an hour in traffic going to and from work. We are seeing workers spend a majority of their days doing work related activities from 7am to 7pm including getting ready for work, travelling to work, working, and travelling home from work, only to get home in the evening leaving very little time for family and personal life.
We are seeing a few U.S. Companies and even countries like Sweden exploring the 6-hour work week showing that many employees are becoming more productive and efficient at handling their workload in a shorter amount of time while focusing on their well-being outside of work. Most importantly, employees get to spend more time with their family members and enjoy more of their personal life.
Democracy isn't just about voting every other year. When Exxon hides its own scientists' warnings about climate change for over forty years while funding groups that spread misinformation to protect its profits instead, we can see that even the survival of our species may depend on establishing democracy at work.
WE will support more community worker cooperatives where business enterprises are owned and controlled by the people (community) who work in it. According to the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA), in the United States, there are over 40,000 worker co-operatives that have created more than 2 million jobs, $74 billion in annual wages with revenue of nearly $650 billion. In addition, every $1 that is spent at a local food co-op has generated $1.60 in the local economy.
Co-ops value the principles of voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, members’ economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training, and information, cooperation among cooperatives, and concern for community. Worker cooperatives thrive in many industries from agriculture to electricity to credit unions to insurance to grocery stores, and even to healthcare all over the world.
Worker co-ops have had the ability to provide workers with higher wages and be able to provide to their community's access to healthy food, insurance, and even better ethically conscious banking options like credit unions. As a Government, we should encourage businesses that value their employees as an integral part of the work that they do. Therefore, we should work to provide tax credit, subsidies, and grants to help worker co-operatives have access to the resources they need, especially in their communities where we have seen monopolies like large chains of fast food restaurants and retail hypermarkets like Walmart that have taken the place of many local small businesses.
FAIR TRADE DEALS
WE will work to oppose any free trade agreements, including any sort of fast track that doesn’t give time or scrutiny on trade deals that do not give a fair deal to both counter parts to the United States and the country it is trading with. Our fair trade policies have failed the American worker shipping job overseas and competing against foreign workers who are working pennies on the dollar. We will also work to renegotiate disastrous trade deals like NAFTA and will continue the fight to make sure the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) does not pass which would give foreign entities the power to sue a government for missed profit due to regulations imposed by a country. In addition, we will fight to make sure no trade deal is made in private where no one, not even from Congress, has a say on the type of trade deals to be agreed upon.
JOB PROGRAMS FOR THE YOUTH
WE will work to create job programs for the youth, especially in underserved communities, and reward them for excellence in school and serving their communities. The idea is that youth unemployment is currently at around 12% where youth of color lead the youth unemployment figure. If we can financially reward the youth with working responsibilities that can actually help build and improve their communities whether it be picking up trash to taking care of the elderly to creating and finding solutions, then we should be taking that opportunity to empower them with jobs.
REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH
WE will work to decrease our military spending where currently 54% of our discretionary budget goes towards. The F-35 fighter jet program, for example, is costing taxpayers over a trillion dollars. Instead we should put these funds into social programs such as Medicare for All, guaranteed income, tuition free public college and university, housing, and financial assistance to small businesses to boost our local and national economy. We will also work to audit inefficient and wasteful spending in government programs as well. For example, the US Army made trillions of dollars of accounting mistakes and often did not have the receipts or invoices needed to support figures in its budget.
MAKING WALL STREET PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE
WE will work to incorporate a Financial Transaction Tax to ensure that no low-middle income wage earners pay more as a percentage of their income to taxes than higher income wage earners do.
0.5% on Stocks
0.1% on Bonds
0.005% on Derivatives
0.001% on all other Financial Securities
For example, in the LAST SEVEN business days of December, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) had $213,954,582,805 worth of Stock Trades. If there were a financial transaction tax of 0.5% on those stocks, that would equate to $1,069,772,914 worth of revenue generated to go towards education.
That could cover 66,092 undergraduate students going to Cal State University of Los Angeles (CSULA), and only 27,000 are enrolled per year! That could also cover 47,791 undergraduate students going to UCLA for a year.
AND that's only SEVEN DAYS worth of trading from ONE stock exchange.
These Wall Street firms, hedge funds, investment firms, etc. are MORE than capable of picking up this small progressive tax, it just depends on who's going to push for it?
Wall Street & the big banks received $16 trillion in federal assistance from the Fed with close to zero percent interest to bailout the greed and recklessness of Wall Street that contributed to the Great Recession where 8.8 million people lost their jobs, 6 million homes were lost, and millions of hardworking Americans saw their retirement savings disappear ($3.4 trillion). The big banks have recovered, but the American people HAVEN'T.
REINSTATING MODERN-DAY GLASS STEAGALL
WE will work to reinstate Glass-Steagall which will separate commercial banking activity with investment banking activity. We will also work with Congress to break up the big banks because the banks have too much power that if they were to go underwater again by engaging in risky or fraudulent betting, millions of people will suffer just as we saw in the 2008 financial crisis where subprime mortgages were being lent out to borrowers who were being preyed upon as they weren't aware of the risks and fine print of the subprime mortgages they were taking on. 6 U.S. financial institutions currently own assets worth 57% of the entire U.S. GDP, that's a lot of power and leeway for them to make decisions on the people's behalf. In addition, we would also work to amend/create legislation to jail bankers who commit fraud and take advantage of the American people just to boost their bottom-line.
INCREASING TAXABLE INCOME CAP FOR SOCIAL SECURITY
WE will protect the right of seniors to retire with Social Security. WE oppose cutting benefits or raising the retirement age. WE will work to lift the cap on taxable income that goes towards social security for our elders. Currently, someone who makes $118,500 a year pays the same amount into social security as a billionaire. We will remove the cap so that the wealthy pay the same share of their income. This will also expand the life and solvency of the Social Security fund for more than 60 years.
TAXING CAPITAL GAINS AT ORDINARY INCOME
WE will work to tax capital gains at the same rate as ordinary income. Many billionaire investors pay less as a % of their taxes on capital gains than people do on their ordinary income due to the fact that the capital gains tax is lower than ordinary income tax. This will apply only to those individuals making more than $250,000 a year in taxable income.
TAXING THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS
Like Bernie Sanders, WE will work to increase higher income tax rates on the richest 2% of households in America. Individuals making less than $200,000 or married couples making less than $250,000 will not have their income taxes increase. We will push for these progressive tax increases on the top three income tax brackets (33%, 35%, 39.6%).
37% on income between $250,000 and $500,000.
40% on income between $500,000 and $2 million.
45% on income over $2 million and $10 million. (In 2013, only 113,000 households, just 0.08 percent of all taxpayers, had income between $2 million and $10 million.)
49% on income of $10 million and above. (In 2013, only 113,000 households, just 0.01 percent of taxpayers, had income exceeding $10 million.)
MAKING AMERICAN CORPORATIONS PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE
WE will work to make sure that U.S. corporations are paying their fair share of corporate taxes by working to ensure that money being stashed overseas by Wall Street and large corporations are not deferred or delayed in paying taxes due to it being stashed overseas. We will work to close this tax loophole and ensure that income is taxed as they are earner no matter where the money is.
Many large companies incorporate their businesses in the Cayman Islands or other tax haven countries to delay or defer their tax liability. In addition, many large corporations are also having their manufacturing plants in countries with very low to no corporate tax rates. These are the tax incentives that we will be trying to close so that no matter where they are located, they still get taxed their fair share.
The revenue generated can used for public services such as rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, preserving our environment, or towards social services that should be considered a right such education and healthcare.
ENDING CORPORATE SUBSIDIES
WE will work to decrease corporate subsidies given to corporations who are more than capable of taking care of themselves. Every year over a trillion dollars in corporate welfare for companies and their CEOs are being taken advantage of. From billions of dollars on tax breaks on CEO bonuses, to Wall Street and fossil fuel subsidies, to taxing capital gains lower than ordinary income, and to federal contracts for the biggest companies, it is clear the wealth and large companies are clearly capable of taking care of themselves.
Between the years of 2007 and 2012, the largest 200 corporations spent $5.8 billion on lobbying Congress. In return, those large corporations received a combined $4.4 trillion in federal contracts during those same years.
Maybe the government should give $4.4 trillion in contracts to communities who want to improve and rebuild their communities with millions of good paying jobs for improved infrastructure, education, youth programs, parks, community gardens, affordable housing, senior centers, homeless shelters, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, etc.
The working class and the poor don't have lobbyists or elected officials that represent their needs in Washington.
WE will work to end corporate subsidies for large multinational corporations and executives who are profitable and clearly capable of running their business without tax dollars.
Close tax loopholes for CEO/Executive compensation packages. Currently CEOs can write-off compensation packages, stock options, and performance-based bonuses.
End tax deductions for companies to writing off the purchase of luxury corporate jets and other luxurious vehicles.
Eliminate Big Oil subsidies in order to move our nation towards clean renewable energy and to protect our environment.
Eliminate pharmaceutical subsidies for big pharmaceutical companies who charge some of the highest drug prices in the world. Many of these pharmaceutical companies buy out the patents for drugs that were largely developed with taxpayer funds. Our government should be able to buy up the drug patents as soon as they are available to eliminate the monopoly of life-saving prescription drugs.
Tax capital gains the same as ordinary income. Currently, long-term capital gains are taxed at a minimum of 15%, while the highest income earners are taxed only at 20%. Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, said he paid an effective lower tax rate than his secretary because many of his investments come from long-term capital gains.
Work to eliminate wasteful spending on subsidies for Agri-business where farmers are taking advantage of programs by growing crops on land that is damaged or unproductive and making money off of insurance claims rather than on crops. WE will also eliminate subsidies for factory farms, which slaughter billions of animals every year while polluting our rivers and giving off greenhouse gases that make them one of the top causes of climate change.
WE will eliminate corporate welfare for Wall Street by working to break up the big banks. They are too big to fail and have access to the purse of the Fed to borrow large amounts of money at little to zero interest rates. In 2008, they also received $16 trillion in loans with close to zero percent interest to bailout the greed and recklessness of Wall Street that contributed to the Great Recession where 8.8 million people lost their jobs, 6 million homes were lost, and millions of hardworking Americans saw their retirement savings disappear ($3.4 trillion).
Work to end corporate welfare of the Export-Import Bank which mostly extends loans to powerful foreign multinational companies in exchange for buying products from large and well-connected U.S. companies. Most of that money goes to the Boeing and wealthy corporations who are capable of taking care of themselves. The Ex-Im Bank is of no benefit to the thousands of unsubsidized companies and millions of workers who are left to face this unfair competition.
In addition, we also want to make sure there is oversight over the use of federal funding used to provide these corporate subsidies to ensure that there is any growth or positive return on investment to better society.
WE will sponsor legislation to ensure that there is equal pay regardless of gender, race, or age. If people are working the same position with the same amount of skill and job experience, then they should be paid the same as their counterparts.