These should be the 11 “Talking Points” of the President when he speaks at the Cleveland City Club this afternoon. Of course, he won’t say any of this, but, hey, we can only dream…
1. Our democracy is near death I. Money is pouring in from the super wealthy and corporations in historic sums – to by Republican friends and to my own party. Most elected officials, including me, aren’t hearing the voices of people without money – except at photo ops when we drop into local eateries to buy a hamburg. I encourage Congress to pass the Move to Amend constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood and the doctrine that money equals speech.
2. Our democracy is near death II. Gerrymandered political districts in Ohio and across the nation drawn by winning political parties marginalizes and weakens all other political parties. Voter ID laws disenfranchising “minorities” (which soon will become the majority demographically), seniors and students harken back to the days 50 years in places like where I just visited – Selma, Alabama – and other communities in the South. We need legislation making it easier for all citizens to register to vote and to vote. Maybe the right to vote needs its own constitutional amendment.
3. The “middle class” in this nation is hurting…and declining. It actually should be called the “working class, ” members of whom earn less, have less wealth, are in more debt and face uncertain time in an economic “recovery” that’s more mirage than real. Too many of the jobs being created don’t pay a living wage and/or are part time.
4. The “workless class” is really hurting…and growing. The “labor participation rate” has dropped. Poverty levels are a disgrace. Federal spending, tax and monetary policies don’t help working class and workless class people enough. The minumum wage should be increased to become a “living” wage.
5. Income equality is scandalous, shameful and unsustainable. Time to end the Bush era tax cuts and dramatically increase, at the very least, inheritance taxes. How does receiving huge inheritances to from one generation to the next encourage innovation, creativity and work?
6. I challenge the nation to become more monetarily literate. We’ve been hoodwinked by economists for generations into believing we should leave the issue of creating and circulating money alone to bankers and financiers. That has only resulted in depressions, recessions, growing inequality, exploding debt, and a rapid economic and political concentration benefiting financial corporations – the most powerful subset of all corporations. Stop watching the monetary propaganda on commercial TV, which only confuses and distracts. I propose funding a national program of monetary literacy in all schools and throughout society developed by real monetary reformers, including those at the American Monetary Institute.
7. Exploding national debt has been used as the excuse to slash federal social and economic development programs. So how exactly has austerity been working in Greece, which has followed the austerity measures of the European Central Bank and IMF over the last few years? Public debt is fundamentally different than private debt in that the federal government can wipe it away by creating its own money (vs you and I who are not allowed to print money in our basements). I proposed that Congress pass the National Emergency Employment Defense (NEED) Act, introduced in the last 2 congresses by Representative John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich. The Act would move the private and misnamed Federal Reserve Bank under the Treasury Department, end the ability of banks to create money out of thin air as debt, prohibit banks from loaning money that they don’t have as reserves and introduce US money (just like what Republican President Lincoln did in creating “Greenbacks”) to hire millions of citizens repairing our nation’s physical and human infrastructure.
8. The “defense” budget is out of control. Check that, I mean the “military” budget is out of control – since most of the money spent on planes, tanks, bombs, bullets and soldiers doesn’t “defend” our shores. The Pentagon hasn’t been audited in years. Billions are spend on weapons we don’t need, don’t work and can’t afford. We spend more money that the rest of the world combined. Half of the budget needs to be cut – for starters. Workers will be retrained building goods and services that are economically useful and environmentally sustainable – like alternative energy technologies
9. It’s time to end the US military empire. We need to shut down hundreds of military bases and installations; stop launching wars and occupations and end the practice of install dictators and puppets; cease being the world’s policeman. We need to let people determine their own policies, politicians, and practices. We will reverse course especially in Ukraine – a nation that we stuck our nose into and toppled their leader, replaced with extremists and now are using as a surrogate to weaken Russia economically and militarily and seek to break the growing alliance between Russia and Europe, which threatens US superiority.
10. I no longer support Fast Track legislation in Congress, which would weaken their ability to oversee and amend so-called “trade” legislation like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deals. These deals would weaken US labor, environmental and consumer laws and empower transnational corporations to circumvent national laws via judicial “Tribunals” made up of unelected trade attorneys.
11. Go Cavs!