A True National Safety Net

by Glenn Parton

net

We need a New New Deal in America, bigger and better than the one enacted by FDR in the 30s (and even bigger than his visionary proposal for a Second Bill of Rights in the 40s). The basic components of it are Medicare-for-All, Living Wages, Affordable Housing, Federal jobs guarantee, free colleges and Universities, and BIG (Basic Income Guarantee of $1,000 per month per adult until income exceeds $ 100,000 per year). These elements, woven together, could and should provide a strong national safety net (NSN) for every American citizen and legal immigrant, effectively ending poverty in America, and preparing the ground for a qualitatively better society.

In the last election a number of working class people, including some union members, wanted to “shake things up.” They weren’t impressed by the establishment changes that Hillary Clinton represented because they were left behind by the economic prosperity of the last several decades, and they fell for Trump’s lies to make big improvements in their daily lives. These folks, together with the vulnerable, the unemployed, the insecure, and the forgotten everywhere could be persuaded, or are already on board, to vote for the specific, concrete programs and policies articulated in the National Safety Net [NSN]. The Democrats don’t get enough support from these people, not because the Party asks for too much change, but because the Party asks for too few major changes on their behalf. The simple truth is that the vast majority of people in this country desire and need financial help and cooperation from their government and the nation as a whole, so the Dems should offer it–not false promises a la Trump– but the real thing, spelled out and ready to go in the form of NSN. We fall short not when we aim too high but when we aim too low.

A better electoral strategy is not to appeal to Independents and moderate Republicans in order to tip the scale in favor of Democrats because that requires moving Center or Right, with a corresponding loss of substance (of policies and programs) in order to gain a relatively few votes, perhaps winning a battle here and there but losing the overall war on poverty and an improved quality of life for everyone. Rather, the Democrats should go Left because that’s where the biggest pool of likely voters for genuine progress or substantive issues are to be found, especially among the roughly 100 million people who don’t usually vote (but who are eligible to vote) because many of them have given up on politics that they believe doesn’t serve their vital self-interests (and they are largely correct about this). If the Democrats don’t offer a juicy sustenance to the common people (the red meat of a decent secure livelihood such as NSN) then the GOP will squeak out victories again and again. The sad truth is that the movement toward the Center from within the Democratic Party is being driven by a small group of elite-donors who are seriously retarding the evolution of the Party, and this managerial class needs to be removed from leadership. The victory by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represents the new direction that is needed.

We need a New New Deal in America, bigger and better than the one enacted by FDR in the 30s (and even bigger than his visionary proposal for a Second Bill of Rights in the 40s). The basic components of it are Medicare-for-All, Living Wages, Affordable Housing, Federal jobs guarantee, free colleges and Universities, and BIG (Basic Income Guarantee of $1,000 per month per adult until income exceeds $ 100,000 per year). These elements, woven together, could and should provide a strong national safety net (NSN) for every American citizen and legal immigrant, effectively ending poverty in America, and preparing the ground for a qualitatively better society.

Glenn Parton was the last student of Herbert Marcuse, and since then has been struggling to turn radical philosophy into socio/political reality. He lives in Arizona.
The full text of Glenn’s essay can be accessed at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1x4kYI3VocVPBvJpoa7V2qzN1lS8lvpS-tfcBCflPiHs/edit?usp=sharing

 

Advertisements

Demand a Real NAFTA

Demand a Real NAFTA Replacement that Puts People & the Planet Ahead of Corporate Profits

Dear Duane :

Replace NAFTATrade officials are racing to complete their renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) within the coming weeks — and, not suprisingly, corporate lobby groups are pushing hard to ensure that NAFTA provisions that make it easier to outsource jobs, drive down wages and pollute the environment are maintained.

TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition demanding that any NAFTA replacement protects jobs at home, protects human rights abroad and raise wages and protects the environment continent-wide.

For decades, NAFTA’s intentionally weak and ineffective labor and environmental standards have enabled big corproations to outsource jobs to Mexico, where they can pay workers less than $2 an hour and dump toxins with impunity, and then ship products back for sale in the United States.

Roughly a million U.S. livelihoods have already been destroyed, with more jobs outsourced every week.  And the impact in Mexico has been even worse.  Not only have millions of livelihoods been destoryed there, but manufacting wages in Mexico are now 9% lower than they were before NAFTA was enacted.

NAFTA also grants corporations vast new privileges that make it easier to outsource jobs while empowering them to attack the environmental and health laws on which we all rely.

PLEASE ACT NOW: Tell Congress that NAFTA’s replacement must end the race-to-the-bottom job outsourcing.

Already, multinational corporations have grabbed $392 million in taxpayer money using NAFTA’s infamous Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) tribunals.

ISDS empowers corporations to sue governments before a panel of three corporate lawyers. These lawyers can order taxpayers to pay the corporations unlimited sums of money, including for the loss of their expected future profits.

The multinational corporations only need to convince the lawyers that a law protecting public health, a food safety regulation or a pro-environment court ruling violates their special NAFTA rights. The corporate lawyers’ decisions are not subject to appeal.

We cannot let this continue.

That’s why Citizens Trade Campaign’s powerful coalition of labor, environmental, family farm, faith and consumer organizations — along with many others — are joining our voices together with this demand:

Any NAFTA replacement deal must eliminate ISDS and end the job outsourcing and add strong labor and environmental standards with swift and certain enforcement to raise wages and protect the environment throughout North America.

Please add your name to the petition now.

Together, we can make a difference.

Many thanks,

Arthur Stamoulis, Executive Director
CITIZENS TRADE CAMPAIGN

Online: citizenstrade.org
Twitter: @citizenstrade

Donate Online Now to Support Our Work

Union Members and Janus

Better Answers on Trade for the U.S. Economy

by STAN SORSCHER


(May 28, 2018) — In 2016, President Trump prevailed over 17 establishment opponents. He is a disrupter. In particular, he disrupted establishment trade policies that have failed millions of Americans.

Wall StreetToo many workers and communities have been left behind. Too much mistrust has grown regarding the way we’ve managed globalization. Wages have fallen far behind the growth trends of previous generations.

The neoliberal free-market free-trade trickle-down orthodoxy, which we have followed for decades, is exhausted — socially, politically, and economically.

We don’t really understand Trump’s tariffs, or bluster, or impulsive negotiating tactics, but we do understand that we need a change in direction.

We need new, effective public policies to deal with real problems that affect most people in America — inequality, climate change, health care, opioid addiction, student debt, and decaying infrastructure. We desperately need a manufacturing strategy that creates good new jobs, and stronger employment relationships that would raise family income.

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, “Unregulated free market orthodoxy cannot solve these problems — free market orthodoxy IS the problem.” Our big policy challenges are all market failures.

David Brooks told us that Donald Trump is the wrong answer to the right questions. Trump’s disruption gives us the opportunity, right now, to find better answers the right questions. We should start by rehabilitating the role of public policy, restoring trust in public institutions and re-legitimizing the role of government in solving our problems.

China understands this. So do Japan, South Korea, Germany, and the Nordic countries. Also, they all recognize their legitimate national interests. They have various forms of mixed economies, including well-designed industrial policies to improve their living standards. We understood this when we industrialized our economy, and we understood it again in the decades after World War II.

China has a national strategy to become the leader in 10 industries of the future. South Korea built a formidable manufacturing economy and raised living standards dramatically. China, Japan, and Europe have modern high-speed rail. China is investing in billions for infrastructure to move goods to their key markets around the world. China targeted solar energy as a key industry of the future, and invested $126 billion there last year.

On the other hand, our economic and trade policies steadily moved our industrial base offshore and we tell ourselves “these jobs won’t come back.” We accept “D+” ratings on our neglected infrastructure, and can’t pass an infrastructure bill. Our approach is ill-suited to the 21st century global economy.

China invests billions in R&D, knowing their investment will be commercialized in their domestic economy. Our billions in publicly funded R&D will be commercialized offshore, producing good jobs in Malaysia, Vietnam, India, China, Mexico, and Ireland.

Foreign students are subsidized to study at U.S. universities. Our own students pay prohibitive tuition costs, taking on debt and risk. Many graduates don’t find a job in their field of study.

We have done better on each of these measures in the past.calif-clean-air-good-jobs-climate

Inequality and climate change — the defining problems of our time — are the biggest market failures in human history. Solutions will require new public policies. NAFTA and subsequent trade policies take exactly the wrong approach. They are designed to merge our economy into the global economy, blur national borders, and push aside public interests.

Economic and trade policies should balance investor interests with public interests. That’s what we expect any political system to do. That will be necessary, important, and fundamentally different from the trickle-down economic policies and free-trade NAFTA approach.

President Trump fumbles with this realization. He recognizes the urgency of “doing something.” His tariffs are certainly something, but Trump’s instinct is to tear down social cohesion, hit back at his rivals, fan conflict, and diminish our leadership in the world.

Our first conversation should be about restoring social cohesion, and recognizing that we all do better when we all do better. Our purpose is to raise living standards and improve well-being in our communities. In a mixed economy approach, we would create policy-driven strategies to address inequality, climate change, health care, education, investment in infrastructure, restoring our industrial base, and making key social investments we have let wither for 30 years.

When President Trump says it, it sounds ominous, but every country does expect public policies to express their legitimate national interests. What we don’t hear from President Trump is that the purpose of an economy is to raise living standards. That is true of our domestic economy, and equally important for the global economy. We can recognize legitimate national interests, raising living standards everywhere, without being nationalists or xenophobic.

President Trump has disrupted economic orthodoxy. We no longer expect the invisible hand of free markets to solve serious social, environmental, and economic problems. But, Donald Trump is transactional; he lacks a coherent vision. His answers look suspiciously beneficial for global corporations, the financial industry, and very wealthy donors.

We have campaign seasons in 2018 and 2020 to consider different answers to Trump’s questions. Where should we be investing in people, infrastructure, innovation, industries, communities, and clean energy? In each case, we should ask, “Who gets the gains from productivity, innovation, investments, and globalization?”

President Trump has put those questions into play. We haven’t had this good an opportunity for years.


Stan Sorscher is a labor representative for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE 2001. 

Short URL: http://www.thestand.org/?p=66964

Posted by on May 24 2018. Filed under OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed

 

Poor People’s Campaign- Week 2

ppc_n-1The California Poor People’s Campaign is uniting people and organizations across the state to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy and ecological devastation.  This second week of the campaign focused on Systemic Racism, Voting Rights, Immigration, Islamaphobia and the destruction of Indigenous communities.

The May 21 non violent direct action  in Sacramento followed the May 14 launch of the nationwide poor people’s campaign.  In the first national action, on May 14s hundreds participated in non violent direct action in Washington  and were arrested, including Poor People’s Campaign co chairs William J. Barber II, and Liz Theoharis. They were taken into custody along with over a hundred people from various states.  Non violent events were held in over 35 state capitols the same day.

EMail_wrapper

At the conclusion of the 40 days, on June 23, poor people and clergy and advocates from coast to coast will join together for a mass mobilization at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Speakers at the Sacramento event included representatives from CAIR . indigenous communities, Wes White of the Salinas Homeless Union, Melina Abdullah, Black Lives Matter, and religious leaders from numerous communities including the PICO Network, Pablo Reyes-Morales, SEIU Local 2015 and cofounder of NorCal Resisist.

After a rally packed with powerful voices from AIM, to BLM, to CIYJA, with leaders from the Islamic, Jewish and Christian faiths, we set off to deliver our demands to the Capitol. We filled the halls, singing, chanting, and blocking off Gov. Brown’s office while delivering him a letter with our grievances. 5 hours after we entered the Capitol, police arrested 18 Moral Witnesses who had committed to stay until our demands were addressed.

Poor People’s Campaign.  Endorsed by DSA.  Participated in by DSA.

See video at http://www.antiracismdsa.blogspot.com

 

 

Poor People’s Campaign – Sacramento

Support the Poor People’s Campaign

union-workers-8-27-2017
‘Our People Are Being Hurt and We Won’t be Silent Anymore’
California Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival To Kick Off Six Weeks of Non-Violent Direct Action Monday in Sacramento. Endorsed by DSA.
Protests Planned in over 30 State Capitals, Washington, D.C.
Movement Demands Sweeping Overhaul of Nation’s Voting Rights Laws, Policies to Address Poverty, Ecological Devastation, War Economy
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA —The California Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival will kick off a six-week season of nonviolent direct action Monday in Sacramento.  The Campaign is demanding a massive overhaul of the nation’s voting rights laws, new programs to lift up the 140 million Americans living in poverty, immediate attention to ecological devastation and measures to curb militarism and the war economy.
The Monday rally in California is one of over 30 actions across the country by poor and disenfranchised people, clergy and advocates who will engage in 40 days of nonviolent direct action and voter mobilization, among other activities. As a movement, we aim at transforming the nation’s political, economic and moral structures by building on the work of the original Poor People’s Campaign 50 years ago.

 

To emphasize the urgent necessity for action, hundreds of participants are joining ‘Freedom Trains’, in solidarity with their 1968 counter parts. These caravans will be launching from  Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. To Commemorate the daily hardships that Women  endure, these caravans will embark on Mother’s Day, May 13th, to join forces in Sacramento to focus on the first week’s theme: Somebody’s Hurting Our People: Women, Youth, Disabled, Children in Poverty and Right to Education.

Continue reading