A New Democratic Agenda

A New Democratic Agenda
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Let’s be honest: the Democratic Party abandoned its voters several decades ago. For me, it started with Bill Clinton’s “Sister Souljah” moment in 1992, when he abandoned African-Americans in his Presidential campaign. He continued by adopting Republican-lite economic policies. Since then, we have bailed out the banks and financial interests, while watching tens of thousands lose their homes without government assistance.

The Party also abandoned its voters by focusing only on Presidential elections. Local, state and Congressional elections were neglected, resulting in massive losses over the years. The resulting conservative majorities and gerrymandering make it a long haul to recover some balance in party representation.

Now, we are seeing a struggle between the Clintonian centrists and the Sanders progressives for the soul of the Party. Those who presided over the erosion of the Democratic Party must be replaced by a new generation of energetic leaders. We need a new beginning.

Since the Fall election, many have asked, “What do the Democrats stand for?” The Clintonians answer, “Look at all our position papers,” but the kitchen sink approach failed before a simple campaign with a few endlessly repeated slogans. After all these years, we need to learn from the defeats. We must learn to focus on a few key issues, and hammer them repeatedly. We need charismatic speakers and meaningful slogans. And, we need a 50 state strategy.

Here are some suggestions for an agenda for 2018. Keep it simple, and keep it focused on the priorities of our base. People need to see the benefits of voting Democratic. Otherwise, another decade in the wilderness...

  • Jobs for Everyone
  • Medicare for Everyone
  • Voting Rights for Everyone
  • A Fair Tax System for Everyone

Jobs for Everyone

Unemployment is low, but too many people have been cast aside, particularly in the Rustbelt, Appalachia and minority communities. Globalization and technology continue to erode wages and jobs. Those who are hurt need our assistance.

1. Create the Rebuild America Corps, training and employing the jobless:

  • Repairing and rebuilding our housing, installing insulation and solar power as well;
  • Repairing our roads and bridges;
  • Serving as school teachers and aides; and
  • Providing support for the sick and elderly.

2. Create the Worker Care Program:

  • Workers displaced by overseas moves should receive full salaries for three years, paid by their companies;
  • These displaced workers should be eligible for training and relocation expenses for three years, again paid by their companies; and
  • Pensions must be fully funded and first-in-line protected in bankruptcies; pension liabilities must be assumed by any buyers; if full bankruptcy, the government will guarantee to make up any pension shortfalls.

Medicare for Everyone

Obamacare was a great first step, but nearly 30 million remain uninsured, costs and copays are escalating, there is too large a gap before insurance kicks in, and administrative costs are too high. Eliminating the insurance middlemen will save huge amounts of money. Everyone needs to be enrolled in Medicare. But we need to focus on Medicare cost controls, too.

  • Participating doctors must be salaried, like government GS levels;
  • Medicare must be able to negotiate prescription costs, and require generics if available;
  • Hospital charges also must be negotiated, and partially based upon performance, with periodic audits;
  • The supply of doctors and nurses needs to be increased: provide free medical education, in return for a minimum of ten years of salaried Medicare service;
  • Exorbitant drug and treatment costs, in particular, need to be justified by an audit of the real costs of research and development;
  • We cannot afford every possible treatment for every patient: we need to study reasonable treatment options, not extraordinary treatment options; and
  • Businesses will no longer have to provide health care for their employees, but should contribute a percentage of gross income to Medicare.

Voting Rights for Everyone

We need to stop making it harder for people to exercise their voting rights:

  • Automatic registration for every citizen for federal elections; use birth and naturalization records, or if missing, just show birth certificate or naturalization papers once for lifetime registration;
  • Non-partisan redistricting panels required in every state; strangely shaped districts prohibited;

The Electoral College has to be fixed. Migration and concentration of the population in cities have given Congressmen from small states undue power: for example, the number of citizens per Senator is much smaller in small states, distorting the basis for the Electoral College. We need to strive for equal representation for each voter:

  • Require scaling votes to roughly equal populations for each House and Senate representative; this implies that some Senators, in particular, would cast fractional votes, rather than whole votes.

A Fair Tax System for Everyone

The system is rigged with favors for big business. Some pay their full share, while others use deductions to avoid most of their share. Corporate tax revenue, compared with individual tax revenue, has fallen from over 40% in the middle of the 20th century, to under 20% today. 1 That is, the relative burden of corporate taxes has been cut in half! We don’t need more business tax cuts. We need a business tax increase, but a fair one. Here are some thoughts in this direction:

  • Tax big business: The alternative minimum tax for large businesses should be raised to 30%, with strict enforcement. This would cut through the thousands of tax preferences at one stroke, as well as restore the balance between business and individual tax revenue.
  • Support small business: No income tax for the first five years of a small business; after that, a 15% alternative minimum tax.
  • Tax stock trades, as many have suggested.
  • Treat capital gains, dividends and interest as ordinary income, for those with gross income over $250,000/year.
  • Remove the income cap on Social Security contributions.


I have outlined a four point agenda for the Democratic Party for 2018. Simple, clear, and focused on voter’s major concerns.

  • Jobs for Everyone
  • Medicare for Everyone
  • Voting Rights for Everyone
  • A Fair Tax System for Everyone

It’s worth a try, isn’t it?

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