While Mitt Romney can confidently proclaim that he's "not concerned about the very poor," socialists know that social safety nets protect us all. Americans have had a long, positive experience with social programs implemented at the national level. Social Security is an example of a social safety program that has prevented deep suffering by elderly people and retired workers. It is a great idea in the sense that it creates a pool of money that everyone contributes to and that everyone can draw from -- and it is one of the most monumental achievements of the U.S.
Medicare is another example of a social safety net program that is helping our elderly population receive the healthcare they need to age well and live with dignity. Similarly, medicaid serves over 67 million low-income families and children and has over 200 service delivery sites across the nation.
The U.S. Postal Service is yet another example of a social safety net program that provides benefits to society; but it is now in danger of being privatized for profit. We believe this is a critical wrong turn. The post office should remain public and undergo a massive modernization, complete with new technology and input from the people on ways to make its services more attractive, modern and appealing.
This will be our approach to social safety net programs in general: We will modernize and strengthen existing social safety programs and create new programs that expand services.
The Alexander-Mendoza social safety net model supports:
A system based upon basic human rights and basic economic rights that eliminate suffering
The provision of comprehensive high-quality healthcare, using Single-payer healthcare as a stepping stone into a fully socialized medical system
Increased and expanded unemployment insurance at 100% of the worker's wage or the minimum wage, whichever is higher. Fully funded Federal job re-training programs.
Moving to a policy of full-time employment and the provision of livable guaranteed annual income
The right to affordable high-quality housing, the expansion of Section 8 housing and the creation of a Federally funded Community Land Trust program that will help homeowners remove their homes from the marketplace.
Easy access to high quality food that is organically grown or locally sourced.
The right to civil rights and civil liberties, including the right to political choice and expression,
The U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not offer a national healthcare plan. We believe that everyone has the right to comprehensive high-quality healthcare and propose a socialized medical system to guarantee this right.
Public housing is also in a shambles. Public housing residents are routinely subjected to problems such as substandard heating and plumbing. Many public housing projects have been deliberately designed on a grid that disconnects residents from surrounding communities and basic services like banks and grocery stores. We believe that the creation of a modern public housing program in combination with Community Land Trusts that remove houses from the real estate market and returns them to the status they deserve -- namely as a place where human beings live, not a commodity.
Our vision of public housing is modeled after what Friedrich Engels called "mansions for all the workers." We will create new, fresh and smart public housing developments that are designed by the best architects and are accessible to all working class people.
Unlike Romney and Obama, our Social Safety Net begins from the bottom up, providing direct relief to those in deep poverty and ensuring that our entire society lives up to the principles of economic human rights that lie at the core of democratic socialism.