The most important problem facing the country at this time is unemployment. It is imperative that we have a new stimulus program to put people back to work. This program can be funded from the defense department appropriation.
In 2008 the voters elected a majority of Democrats in the House and Senate in the hope that the war in Iraq would be ended. But both parties continue to support this war despite polls showing most Americans oppose it.
The Democratic party is a major disappointment; they not only continue to fund the war in Iraq, but they have ramped up the war in Afghanistan an expenditure of $180 billion a year, money that should be used to fund a WPA-style jobs program to get the economy going again.
* I am in favor of establishing a WPA style jobs program to provide
jobs to all who want to work.
* I am in favor of vastly increased spending on infrastructure,
railroads, mass transit, fixing existing roads and bridges and
developing alternative energy sources.
* I am in favor of immediate pullout from both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Funding should be appropriated only to fully fund the safe and
orderly withdrawal of our troops from Iraq and to provide the care
they need when they get home.
*In 1992, third party presidential candidate, Ross Perot, said that if the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) were enacted we would hear a "giant sucking sound" as jobs left the United States. He lost the election to Democrat, Bill Clinton who supported NAFTA.
In the 2008 presidential race the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama said, "One million jobs have been lost because of NAFTA, including nearly 50,000 jobs here in Ohio. ....Well, I don't think NAFTA has been good for America -- and I never have." Despite this he said he would not try to repeal NAFTA. (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2008/story?id=4336481)
* I am in favor of immediately repealing NAFTA.
*TAX THE RICH*
Trickle down economics was discredited under the Reagan administration. Giving rich people more money does not create jobs. From 1992 to 2000, when rich people paid more taxes, the private sector added 15.8 million jobs and family income rose by 15.3 percent. By contrast, in five and a half years prior to the economic collapse in 2008, when rich people paid less taxes, the private sector has added just 3.5 million jobs and family income fell by 1.6 percent, and we are losing jobs at the rate of almost 100,000 a month. (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/f06ar.html; http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/08/19/11078/)
* I am in favor of immediate restoration of a graduated income tax --
tax the rich, eliminate taxes for the poor.
* I am in favor of tax breaks for rehabilitation of existing houses
with greater emphasis on retrofitting those house with energy
saving devices like insulation and solar.
My block club recently did a survey and found that about a third of all the houses on my street in Detroit were vacant. Many of those houses are now being vandalized and burned. The remaining occupied houses are losing market value. This results in a shrinking equity for homeowners. Every day more people are finding that they owe more money on the mortgage than the house is worth. Many stop paying and just walk away from their homes leaving them to the banks and the vandals. Thus a vicious circle is created where people leave, housing values go down and more people leave.
At a minimum, we have to find a way to keep people in their homes, keep neighborhoods intact and provide housing for an increasing number of displaced people. Recently passed housing legislation appears to remedy this by allowing for renegotiated mortgages. But it is all voluntary. Some people suggest a foreclosure moratorium as was done during the Depression. But there is probably no single solution. Ultimately, people need living wage jobs and an improved economy.
* I am in favor of amending the bankruptcy law to allow mortgage
contracts to be renegotiated in already established bankruptcy courts.
* I am in favor of allowing people facing foreclosure to negotiate a
rental agreement with the mortgage holder to pay a fair rental
value and stay in their houses.