Archives: Issues

Save our United States Postal Service and Unbanked or Underbanked Community

Lauren’s proposal for the PRE-PARED Act (Postal Restoration and Enhancement-Public banking and Refund Excess Downpayment Act).

We cannot allow another public institution to be further eroded through the privatization of the Postal Service. We must act to keep USPS operational, fully funded, and expand its role into providing financial services in the public interest through a postal banking system. Post offices can successfully be expanded to provide financial services. There are over 30,000 locations (by comparison, JPMorgan Chase has only 5,000 locations). Post offices are built like banks with heavy brick walls, steel screens, vaults, ATMs, and armored trucks. They are respected by the public and up to the task of serving the underbanked and unbanked.

Policy Recommendations Include:

  • Issuing $89 billion in Congressional stimulus appropriations to be immediately disbursed to USPS to address the pandemic-induced crisis and previous undermining of the institution
  • Repealing of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act
  • Amending the Postal Reorganization Act and placing the USPS back under Congressional purview
  • Re-introducing a nationwide Public Postal Banking System that will provide individuals with several financial services such as prepaid debit cards, mobile transactions, new check cashing services, savings accounts, and access to credit. All provided in the same locations as postal services

How Will We Pay for It?

Simple. We will pay for our bold progressive goals the same way we already pay for everything else, including disastrous wars. Congress will appropriate a spending budget and we will mobilize the necessary resources to produce what we need. 

For several decades, the scope of political possibilities and debate in our public discourse has been mediated by the ever looming question “But how are you going to pay for it?”. Rather coincidentally, it seems as though this question is only taken seriously when it concerns the public good such as with healthcare, education, infrastructure, the arts, and urgent climate policy. While establishment politicians are silent on the endless and seamless spending for war, tax cuts for the ultra rich, and corporate subsidies, it begs the question as to whether we the public have been misled about the operations of money in a modern economy and a Government’s capacity to use its fiscal and monetary authority. 

In fact, Millions in lobbyist money has been spent in bipartisan efforts to spread ideological misinformation and create panic on concepts such as the Federal deficit and debt.

The reality is that the United States is the ultimate legal authority over the issuing of U.S. Dollars and as such, all public spending means the generation of new money into the economy with taxes serving as its removal. What is left over is equal to what we call the Government deficit, or a non-government surplus. Contrary to a currency user like you as a working person, a household, a business, or a local or state government which needs to raise revenue or borrow in order to spend, a currency issuer like the United States Government must first spend its chosen unit of account (US Dollars) into an economy before there is anything to tax back out. The obvious conclusion to this understanding of the operational reality of Federal finance is that we need not “find” the money to pay for our social objectives dollar per dollar, something that those in the establishment have already understood when it comes to the priorities of powerful interests. 

This does not in any way suggest that the government should be spending without a limit. Our government’s responsibility is to consider the effects on the economy as a whole and avoid the destabilizing of prices. This means it must evaluate its spending not on a requirement to balance its budget but on constraints based on the availability of real resources including labor, technology, raw materials, and productive capacity for a particular agenda and the industry it involves in order to avoid shortages and inflation. 

Therefore, while we as a nation have people able and willing to produce things and while we have the capacity to invest in what we urgently need, there is absolutely no excuse not to act with the well being of communities and our environment at stake. Failing to act and allowing our government to abdicate from its responsibility to invest in the public good has fostered an economy addicted to private debt and credit in the grip of the private banking system which through financial speculation and its predatory behavior has been responsible for the generation of ongoing bubbles, market crashes, and recessions. 

What we really need is the political will to do what’s right and invest in our people over the powerful! 

Education as a Human Right/Student Debt Forgiveness

As someone who has lived and studied abroad, Lauren has experienced and appreciated the high quality tuition-free universities available in other countries.  Lauren supports Bernie Sanders’ plan to make college free and to forgive all student debt. She also believes that everyone who has paid their student debt should receive a credit for what they have paid so they can invest their money in their futures and families.  Lauren believes that education is a human right, and that nobody should be burdened financially for the rest of their life for wanting to learn.

Ending American Imperialism

As someone who studied International Relations, Lauren learned about the countless times throughout United States history in which our military interventions have cost human life (both American and abroad), money , have destabilized multiple entire regions, supported dictators, and inadvertently armed our enemies. Lauren believes in 2019/2020, our foreign policy needs to be focused on peace, relationship-building, diplomacy, and leading by example. Unlike her opponent, Lauren will not vote for any kind of military intervention unless it is to defend ourselves or allies against active military attacks.  Lauren will also not vote to increase our military budget.

Expanding Union Rights

Lauren believes that corporate influence (big money in politics), lobbies, and partisan fighting in Washington have allowed employers to attack the organizing rights of their employees.  NOT allowing workers to unionize benefits the CEOs and its shareholders while average workers lose their rights and power.  Lauren believes that all workers in any workplace, profession, or sector should be allowed to and encouraged to organize for their rights, and nobody should be exempt from protection under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act, or other federal labor laws.

Examples of legislation Lauren supports includes Bernie Sanders’ Workplace Democracy Act, H.R. 2474, repealing Section 14(b) of Taft-Hartley, H.R. 582, ending two-stage elections in favor of card check elections, ending at-will employment and noncompete clauses, enacting fair scheduling requirements, codetermindation on corporate boards (40% representation in all publicly traded companies), and a maximum wage for CEOs (30x the lowest salary in the company including that of foreign workers).

Federal Jobs Guarantee

In 2018, huge corporations received record tax cuts.  We have not seen that money being used to hire new employees at record rates.  In fact, many companies are still laying off large numbers of employees and re-hiring outside of the country while senior executives gave themselves raises and record bonuses.  While the media points to record low unemployment rates, they fail to acknowledge the job insecurity, lack of quality and low pay that most Americans face, commonly known as underemployment.  If we want to secure dignity and a quality job as a human right and prepare for a future recession and/or market crash, then we must support a Federal Jobs Guarantee. A Federal Jobs Guarantee is federally funded but locally implemented and thus allows for communities to design green job projects that meet local and regional social and environmental needs.

Decriminalization of Sex Work

Lauren strongly supports the decriminalization, destigmatization, and decarceration of sex work, which would increase the safety of all involved.  She is also against FOSTA-SESTA (a new law intended to curb sex trafficking), as she feels it limits free speech and also limits workers’ ability to work safely and independently.

Net Neutrality/Internet Protection

A strong supporter of net neutrality, Lauren believes that open access to the internet should be a government-regulated utility rather than a corporate profit center.  She understands that economic success is closely tied to internet access, and monopolizing the internet is yet another barrier preventing disenfranchised individuals from achieving success.

Criminal Justice Reform

Lauren supports ending arrest quotas, ending cash bail, decriminalizing poverty, encouraging the development of positive relationships between police forces and the communities they serve, and ending for-profit prisons and mass incarceration which has historically impacted People of Color at a much higher rate.  Lauren also supports federal legislation requiring an outside special prosecutor for cases involving killings by police to eliminate conflicts of interest.

 

Voting Rights and Fair Elections Free of Big Money

In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down the Voting Acts Right requirement to have jurisdictions with significant histories of voter discrimination “pre clear” new voting practices or procedures, leaving voters vulnerable to discrimination at the polls. A bipartisan Voting Rights Advancement Act was introduced to the House and Senate and provides protections against discrimination to compensate for the 2013 edit to the Voting Rights Act.  This piece of legislation now sits with Congress, and Lauren supports this and any legislation that protects every single citizen’s right to vote. Lauren also supports initiatives to allow for easier voting such as protecting voting rights for all citizens over the age of 18 without exception, automatic voter registration at the age of 18, and unconditional absentee ballots mailed to all registered voters with paid postage for returning the ballots.  In order to help reduce the cost of campaigning, brief information about each candidate and their stances should be included in these mailings. Lauren also supports public matching funds for candidates who refuse to accept anything but small donations. This will decrease the amount of time and energy wasted on candidates wooing big money donations from Super PACs and donors outside of their constituency. Lauren supports a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United and fix the campaign finance issues which pre-date Citizens United.  She believes the only influences to politicians should be their constituents and their needs.  Finally, Lauren supports ranked-choice voting at the federal level, as this expands a voter’s choice and encourages competitive primaries and a healthy democracy.