With unemployment in Orange County now under 3%, we don't need more jobs, we need BETTER jobs, and we need a living wage for everyone who works full time.
The last time we had a Republican president in office, and all the breaks were going to Wall Street instead of Main Street, the economy did a nosedive. Homer & I were both laid off in the great recession of 2008. We had no option but to start our own business. For those first couple years, we struggled back to our feet, struggling to hang onto our home, choosing to make house payments instead of paying for unaffordable health care or fixing the heat in our home. But after 8 years under a forward-thinking, Democratic president, and after 8 years of hard work building our business, Oatman Architects down on Balboa Peninsula is thriving. We are doing well, but now the current Republican administration seems intent on dismantling all the progress we’ve made. Now, many of us working and middle class families fear plunging once more into another deep economic recession that will hit us all harder than the last. We fear that, after the wealthy finish taking their profits from this latest Wall Street explosion, we, the working and middle class, will be in worse shape than we were in 2008.
We need a bold new progressive economy that is focused on creating jobs for working and middle class families, that allows everyone, regardless of the socio-economic status of their birth or the color of their skin, a chance at the American dream.
Here is what we can do to stabilize our economy, reduce outrageous income inequality, and put hard-working Americans back to work:
- EASE TAXES & REGULATIONS ON SMALL BUSINESSES: Alleviate taxes & regulations on small businesses & entrepreneurs; give small business owners access to low-interest financing; boost small-business lending by easing burdens for local community banks and credit unions; allow young entrepreneurs to defer student-loan payments with no interest; simplify tax code so small businesses can track & file taxes simply and easily; allow for start-up tax deductions at federal level, then offer state & local governments incentives to cut red tape and streamline unnecessary licensing to make it less costly to start a small business; stop large corporations from using expensive litigation to deny small businesses payment for services; stop unethical attorneys from filing frivolous litigation against small business owners.
- INCREASE TAXES & REGULATIONS ON MEGA-CORPORATIONS: Increase taxes on billionaires & mega-corporations; demand they stop shifting their profits & jobs overseas to avoid paying US income taxes; enact a progressive income tax and a progressive estate tax; levy taxes on Wall Street speculation; break up huge financial institutions so they’re no longer too big to fail.
- EDUCATION: everyone who wants a good paying job should be able to find a good paying job, and the way to get there is with an education that trains you for that job; make tuition free at public community colleges throughout America; create youth jobs training programs and apprenticeship programs, as well as training programs for displaced adults whose jobs were lost to new economy.
- HEALTH CARE: health care is a human right. With “employer-based healthcare”, often small businesses either can’t afford to pay for their employees to be covered, or on the other side, the employee with the great idea for a new business of her own is restrained from leaving work because she doesn’t want to lose her health coverage. We are moving away from the old model of someone working for a single company who takes care of them for their entire life and that care includes medical benefits.
- REBUILD AMERICA: create good paying jobs rebuilding our electric and transportation infrastructure - highways, bridges, dams, waste-water plants, wind, solar and geo-thermal energy farms, high-speed rail systems to connect big cities across America. Rebuilding and modernizing our infrastructure for sustainable energy and jobs of the future is good for the climate, good for the environment, and good for America.
- PROTECT THE WORKING CLASS: this is about justice and basic human decency; if you work hard and you work full-time you shouldn’t live in poverty. Secure a living wage and tie it to inflation, at the very least increase the minimum wage to $15/hour; reverse unfair trade policies with NAFTA CAFTA and TPP; institute fair trade, not free trade; protect pay equity for women; expand social security; make it easier for workers to join unions; push “Employee Free Choice Act” guaranteeing employees the right to organize for better wages and working conditions; fight “Right to Work” movement which only benefits corporation and not the employee. Support strong unions & collective bargaining!