As outlined in my New Year's message, The Road Ahead, I have already framed the campaign along the lines of the four areas revealed to have been of most concern to voters in the last election. These concerns have not changed and our point of emphasis will be to give both voice and hope to voters disappointed in the results since 2004. These concerns are national security, less government, less taxes and real family values.
When examined closely, it is scary to see how failed, incompetent and deceiving the results have actually been. We've examined the first two in the forms of National Security and Less Government. Let's examine the third now.
I subscribe to the premise that any government action or inaction that leads to less money for my family is a tax on our livelihood. Therefore, what little actual tax "relief," as it was cynically named, real working families received through recent legislation has been more than taken away in rising energy bills, soaring medical costs and insurance premiums, increasing interest rates as a result of the rising national debt on the shoulders of our children, and additional out-of-pocket expenses due to cuts in important programs like student loans and tracking down dead-beat parents. Yet, the infatuation continues with this Congress for giving the most fortunate of Americans billion upon billions in targeted tax breaks, while the majority of us suffer. We need a fair approach to less taxes that actually improves the financial situation for working Americans, not just the top earning one percent of America's idle wealth.
Increase the Minimum Wage:
New Year's Day 2006 brought the ninth straight year in which the federal minimum wage has remained frozen at $5.15 an hour, marking the second-longest period of stagnation since the standard was established in 1938. 37 million Americans now living in poverty deserve a living wage. Working families are working harder with more productivity, but earning less real wages than they were at the start of this administration as a direct result of government's inaction. Yet CEO salaries continue to soar, with the big oil bedfellows of a Republican-led Congress breaking record profits across all industries.
Reduce the Oil Burden on Working Families:
There are those that profit when winter heating costs skyrocket by $438, or 79 percent since the winter of 2001-2002, and then there are those that suffer. There are those that profit when gas prices rise nearly 50 percent since the President's first inauguration, then there are those that must drive to work every day. We can't take any more government inaction, and must seriously invest in alternative, renewable, home-grown energy alternatives now.
Reverse Republican Planned Failure in Federal Programs:
If the Prescription Drug Plan wasn't intended to fail our seniors, then why did Congress write in legislation forbidding using the awesome buying power of the United States government from negotiating the price of drugs? Why is No Child Left Behind so complicated if not a planned burden on our schools as opposed to the assistance that was promised? Why cut law enforcement on uncollected child support and $12.7 billion from federal student loans as tuitions continue to rise if they don't want struggling families to fail? Why refuse to address rising medical costs and insurance premiums as more Americans fall through the cracks effectively taxing us all? It's obvious our 'borrow and spend' Congress has been listening to the 35,000 lobbyists in Washington, including half the former members of that body, while ignoring us altogether except to impose these burdensome "taxes" on working families. No more.
Protect Manufacturing Jobs:
The manufacturing sector, so vital to our district as the source of jobs with good pay and benefits, has lost almost 3 million jobs since the beginning of 2001 according to the Economic Policy Institute. This lack of job growth is particularly troubling given that we are so far into the often touted "economic recovery" and it was our own incumbent Representative that cast the decisive vote for CAFTA to which he was "flat-out, completely and horizontally opposed." How do you put a price on the "tax" of a job lost due to government actions like CAFTA? 37 million Americans, 20 percent more than in 2000, now live in poverty. That's not how we compete with developing nations, by undoing our own progress with all the burden going on working families. While all the recent checks from our incumbent Representative against our ballooning deficit have not gone unnoticed this campaign season, this district needs good paying, stable jobs and a commitment to fair trade as much as it needs tree-lined sidewalks.
I know I can make a difference.
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives
North Carolina, 8th District
Someone Working ... For a Change