The American Promise
Provide everyone with resources just for being here
Universal Basic Income is the single most important thing we can do to restore our society. It was critical before the pandemic, but it has become absolutely vital since Covid took a sledgehammer to our many fragile communities. In March of 2020, Congress had an opportunity to join nations around the world in providing income stability for their citizens during an unforeseen crisis. Instead, they chose to give Trillions to the major corporations and largely left the American people to fend for themselves.
I propose a very expensive plan to rectify this betrayal that killed the American Dream, The American Promise: $2000 a month for every American Citizen over the age of 18 and $500 a month for every American under the age of 18, $500 a month for every Registered Legal Resident, and $10 for every single person that passes through customs. This policy would be retroactive to March 2020 for citizens. This means that as of February 2021, every single adult would receive $24,000, while a single mother of two would receive $36,000. This would cost at least $6 trillion upfront, and then roughly $6 trillion per year afterward. That is a lot of money to be sure, but the best investment the government For the People can make is in We the People. This is not an argument about cost, we all know that Wall Street or the Pentagon could ask for just as much and they'd get it in a week without anyone in Congress asking how we'd pay for it. This is an argument about priorities, and the one thing we cannot afford is to abandon our people.
The Climate Crisis
Treat it like a war effort
We need to act fast and we need to do far more than most people will be comfortable with. We need to treat climate change like a war effort, to treat it like we treated defeating the Nazis. Absolutely everything needs to be on the table, from popular ideas like clean energy and recycling to unpopular ones like bioengineering and resource rationing (to prevent hyper-consumerism). This is not going to be fun, this is not going to be pleasant, this is going to be painful, but we have no choice if we are going to continue living in a world that can sustain our civilization. This is an existential threat and we have to act like it, the threat of a collapsing biosphere simply cannot be overstated.
We're flying blind
Artificial Intelligence is the most transformative technology since humans first tamed fire over a million years ago. Unlike fire however, where humanity had 1000 generations to learn how to handle it safely, with AI we only get this 1. We have to get this right the first time as we will soon be facing threats that we can’t even imagine today. The threats we already face include face-tracking cameras that follow our every move and synthetic media that challenges our very notion of what is real and what is fake. These are rapidly advancing areas of technology and our government cannot afford to operate like it’s still 1995 (the year Newt Gingrich got rid of the Congressional Office of Science and Technology because he said it was a waste of money).
At the very least, we need to create an AI safety commission composed of this nation's top AI experts that regularly reports to Congress and the President as to what AI is currently capable of, what it can be expected to be capable of in the near future, and with suggestions for solutions to the threats we will face. A House Artificial Intelligence Committee must also be established to address this slew of technologies as profound as nuclear weapons or the internet that are rapidly encroaching into our lives.
This should have happened decades ago
Despite a devastating pandemic, our government still refuses to embrace what most of the developed world figured out in the late 20th century: providing the public with universal healthcare is one of the most important programs a country can implement to increase the quality of life for their citizens. In America, healthcare costs can make starting and expanding a small business prohibitively expensive, while simultaneously burying families under mountains of debt for the crime of getting hurt or sick, or being born with a pre-existing condition. It’s critical that we take this burden off the backs of our citizens and our small businesses. I support a 10-year transition to single-payer through a public option that covers the following:
mental health care
end of life care
We must also recognize that healthcare reform is incomplete without lowering the cost of medicine through public manufacturing facilities and investing in innovative technologies like telehealth and telesurgery.
Protecting Free Speech
Committed to the First Amendment
Whether from the fascist right, the over-woke left, or corporations erasing out anyone who voices a controversial opinion so as to not scare advertisers, our freedom of speech and freedom of expression are under attack. The First Amendment is the single greatest thing about America, and we must defend it at all costs. Our federally funded universities are critical assets to our society and must remain open and vibrant. To this end, they must ensure that their students and faculty can exercise their First Amendment rights on campus.
Social media companies and major corporations have gained far too much control over our public discourse and we are just starting to recognize the dangers that this poses. We must hold these companies accountable and prohibit their use of psychologically manipulative business practices, and we must also offer a 21st-century digital public square as an alternative.
By putting resources directly into every individual’s hands, regardless of who they are or where they live, we are putting resources into every community in the country.
End the Forever Wars
Bring them home, now
We have to end the Forever Wars. We’ve been sending Trillions of dollars worth of our wealth overseas in the form of bombs and military bases for decades now; we spend more on our military than the next top 10 countries... combined. Consider how much better our country would be right now if we had invested that money back at home in infrastructures like bridges, schools, and high-speed rail. We’ve been spending far too much money on tanks, aircraft carriers, and fighter jets, and not nearly enough on what will keep us safe from the threats we actually face. We need to bring those trillions of dollars and our sons and daughters back home. We need to focus on getting our own country back in order before we collapse. I propose a defense budget cut of $300 Billion a year, with all of that money going towards domestic infrastructure projects. I also propose that the State Department receive a budget of at least 25% that of the Defense Department.
Demilitarize the Police
For too long, this country has been plagued by abhorrent examples of police brutality. These acts are not only an injustice to their direct victims, but are detrimental to the safety of our communities as a whole. Too many people now see the police as a source of danger rather than as a source of public safety and too many are worried that their very call for help in a crisis will be what gets them or someone they know killed. We need to implement nationally standardized police training that heavily focuses on conflict de-escalation (including a minimum of 1 year focusing on restraint in using deadly force) and a national investigative body that handles claims of police misconduct. Additionally, we must end qualified immunity and programs that fund police militarization (such as program 1033 of the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act). We also need to abolish private and for-profit prisons, end cash bail, and bring in automation and other tech modernization tools into the judicial system so that the courts can handle more cases while allowing humans to focus on ensuring justice for all.
2nd Amendment Reform
New weapons require new rules
While I fully support American’s right to bear arms, we have to acknowledge the unacceptable reality of the world we live in. Ours is a world our founders could have never imagined when they wrote the Bill of Rights. We need to reform the 2nd amendment for a world where mass shootings happen on a near-weekly basis and anyone with a 3D printer can make their own firearms at home and attach them to unmanned drones. Traditionally manufactured firearms need a tiered gun licensing system analogous to our tiered driver’s licensing system. There isn't a clear way to control 3D printed firearms, but it is a reality we have to live with and there needs to be a serious discussion on how to handle it. I would bring this issue into much greater focus during my tenure in DC. We also need to consider if, where, and how to apply the 2nd amendment to the tools of cybersecurity and cyberwarfare so as to determine to what extent these newly invented digital arms are protected.
Update Education to meet 21st century demands
Investing in our children is the single most important thing we can do to ensure our long term peace and prosperity, but simply throwing more money at the problem isn’t the whole solution. We need to completely rethink our public education system from the ground up. We need to eliminate the Prussian Model, which was designed in the 19th century to create literate factory workers. In its place, we must shift to models such as STEAM Teams like Odyssey of the Mind that foster a culture of innovation, exploration, and entrepreneurship. We need to massively reduce standardized testing, and start teaching more life skills such as financial literacy, conflict management, time management, healthy use of technology, and mental well-being techniques like awareness meditation and positive psychology. Regarding higher education, we must implement tuition-free community colleges and 10-year, 10% income-share agreements with 4-year state colleges to prevent students from being crushed by loans.
We have to change things from top to bottom, fast
The government isn’t broken, it’s fixed. From top to bottom, there have to be major changes to how our politics and our government operate. We need BIG Bold ideas that would radically change how our government functions at a fundamental level. How Big? Creating a 3rd chamber of Congress, a People’s Legislative Jury Big, or moving the Nation’s Capital to a random major city every 4 years Big. Now I’m pretty sure that neither of those ideas are the right solution to the fundamental rot at the heart of our system, they both have enormous downsides in implementation, but they are good examples for the right scale of the right solution.
Even at smaller scales, there is much that can be done to fix the system, such as Ranked Choice or Approval Voting, public financing of elections through Democracy Dollars (Everyone gets $100/yr to donate to political campaigns), relocating federal agencies outside of Washington, repealing the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929 (to make the House more representative of the country), and creating an Estonian-style E-Government portal for Citizens. And on scales even smaller than that, we need to eliminate the Hastert Rule and force the Speaker of the House to allow votes and discussions for amendments.
Stop expecting so little from your government, but also remember that YOU are a critical part of the government.
I am quite certain that I cannot fix this mess by myself, that is going to take all of us.
End the Gerontocracy
Our incumbent was first elected to Congress in 1990. After 18 years in office, she reached retirement age. For some reason, she decided to continue for another 14. While there is admittedly wisdom that accumulates with age and experience, it's not possible to be in the halls of power for over 30 years in Washington DC and still know the reality of life for your poor, working, or even middle-class constituents in New Haven and Middletown. Congress was never intended to be a lifetime appointment, but for too many in office, that’s what they’ve come to see it as. I propose 12-year term limits for the House, the Senate, and the Supreme Court. If we are going to adapt to the challenges of the 21st century, we need to have people who grew up in the 21st century providing our government with critically important generational turnover.
Support for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
We need to innovate faster
The pace of innovation in this country has become a matter of national security, and we need to rethink how we incentivize innovation and entrepreneurship. We need to abandon our current patent system. China does not respect our system of intellectual property, and will exploit our innovations while our own people are prohibited from doing so. This gives China a tangible and unacceptable technological advantage over us. While there is certainly an army of lawyers that would do everything they could to prevent this, I propose that we replace all Intellectual Property rights with a 3 year period of exclusivity, followed by a yearly renewal fee for that exclusivity that doubles annually. These proceeds would go to fund small business grants. More immediately however, we need to reform our anti-trust laws so we can break up the current monopolies in ways that make sense for modern business models and business realities.
A Future for Organized Labor
We must ease the transition into the 4th Industrial Revolution
We are rapidly entering a post-labor world. It's a matter of when and not if your job will be automated by mechanisms that are better, faster, and cheaper than any human laborer could compete with. We have to reconsider the way we think about work at a fundamental level. The American Promise is a first giant leap in that direction.The best possible future, however, is only possible if labor unions are at the table and are integral to the 4th industrial revolution. While I am supportive of Labor Unions, I am admittedly somewhat ignorant of their needs in this transition. Stay tuned as I will work with them to develop a comprehensive policy to ensure that Organized Labor gets a sizable slice of profits from the automation pie.
Addiction is an illness, not a crime
The War on Drugs is a failure. It has not only failed spectacularly in its goal of deterring drug use through harsh punishments, but it has also torn families apart and incarcerated people who need help instead of punishment. Recently, states like Oregon have taken steps down the right path and have decriminalized the possession and personal use of all drugs. However, this doesn’t go nearly far enough. As someone who has struggled with alcohol addiction myself, I know that we need to completely re-invent this nation’s relationship to addiction and substance dependence. We typically treat addiction as a personal failure. In reality, it is a social failure, and we must dedicate more of society’s resources towards bringing our loved one's back from their various addictions. I would push for the establishment of Safe-Use Clinics. These facilities would allow addicts to obtain and consume the substance they are addicted to while being surrounded by medical professionals and social workers. These professionals can gradually and safely reduce a person’s dependence on a particular substance.
Take advantage of this new opportunity
The dawn of a new Space Age is upon us, and for a brief window of time, America will have a far greater launch capacity than any other nation in the world. We must take this opportunity to maximize America's advantage in space and set the stage for our future prosperity in the 21st century. We should invest heavily in Orbital and Lunar construction, Zero-G manufacturing, asteroid mining, and orbital debris cleanup among others. As with previous investments in space technology that gave us everything from invisible braces and memory foam beds to GPS navigation and LASIK, we should expect enormous, yet presently unimaginable returns and a slew of technologies our children and grandchildren will take for granted, yet we would consider nearly magic.