Today, the cost of childcare amounts to nearly twice the income provided by our minimum wage. During the pandemic, we learned to appreciate the amount of actual labor that goes into supporting this society. Our workforce needs and deserves the financial, mental, and emotional security that comes from knowing their children’s needs and future are provided for, while they perform the labor of keeping our nation strong.
In today’s economy, many wealthy people are isolated in their lives and work from the environments where injury and chronic illness are likely to happen. Meanwhile, even in the middle class, people are spending their health to make money, or to save money. While it’s neither right or just to do so, our society depends on that investment, and yet we give these people extremely limited healthcare when we give them any healthcare at all. Ensuring that those Americans who are supporting our society get the healthcare they need should be one of our very highest priorities.
UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME
In a nation as wealthy as ours, no person should live in poverty. More than this, the rising costs of poverty, including preventable illness and injury, an unstable workforce, and a lack of opportunity for those members of society who would otherwise be providing leadership and creating jobs, are a far greater burden on our system then the simple and universal allocation of a basic living income. Every good business leader knows that if you pay your people more, they’ll do more for you.
Our insistence on making education a privilege, and not a right, is a holdover from the feudalistic politics of the empire against which our forefathers rebelled, and claimed their independence. Our job as the leaders of a free nation is to cultivate the potential in all our children, regardless of their economic upbringing. Let us provide public school systems of universal excellence, and let us ensure that every student has an equal opportunity to pursue a college education by assuming the costs of attending public university.
NO BIG MONEY IN POLITICS
If corporations are allowed to injure or abuse their workers, pollute the communities in which they thrive, and lobby for policies that define the lives of our citizens, even as the voices of everyday Americans are drowned out or belittled by our leaders, then it is an indisputable fact that corporations have more rights in the eyes of the law than people do. Our government works for the people. Step one in restoring the government as a tool of the people is to get the big money out of politics, and to pass legislation that overturns the ruling of the United States Supreme Court on Citizens United.
If the same public servants who justify murdering unarmed black people by reciting tactics and rules of engagement cannot bring themselves to step in harm’s way to save a school full of children, then the system that hires, trains, and employs those public servants is tragically and profoundly flawed. How we define the role of law enforcement in our society is, itself, a matter demanding intense scrutiny and a plan for change. This indian is putting the cowboys on notice.
FAIR GUN CONTROL
While it’s good and well to discuss the meaning of the Second Amendment, and while I certainly agree that a well regulated militia must, by definition, be regulated, I don’t believe that the debate over the Second Amendment is a debate in good faith. Our nation is in an arms race with itself, and the people selling the guns are the people who benefit. If we stop believing the lies those people tell us, this becomes a very easy problem to fix.
Our nation’s industry has been instrumental in taking our world beyond the threshold of climate change, and extinctions, rising sea levels, inhospitable temperatures and wilting crops are only the beginning of what we can and should expect for our carelessness. What we can do, and must do, is lead the effort to curtail our immissions and waste through new technologies and the firm restriction of harmful products and processes. In particular, it is vitally important that we regulate industry and mass production with the same fervor that we regulate our own personal stewardship.
Our immigration and customs enforcement system has become a publicity stunt and a show of force to appease racist voters, at the expense of the lives and dignity of the very people to whom this nation has promised a better life. Our worst fears have already been realized, when it comes to using government funding and personnel in this manner. No more kids in cages.
No person should have to sleep where it isn’t safe to sleep, or to live their lives without shelter and privacy. While the economic benefits of providing housing are just as profound and clear as with any other social service, we keep talking about homelessness as a law enforcement problem in order to dehumanize poor people. “Putting people in their place” is a phrase that references the ways in which we strip people of their dignity for the sake of our own peace of mind, but imagine if it simply meant “making sure they have a place to be.”