Solving our affordable housing crisis requires us to address the inequality of access to such fundamentals as equal protection under the law, a living wage, healthcare, education, and public transportation. Congress must increase funding for the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund and require that housing built with government subsidies remain affordable. Most immediately, it is crucial that Americans be able to stay in their current homes by fully funding all federal mortgage and rental assistance programs. This also represents the best defense against gentrification, which is a constant assault on our communities of color.
Our right to vote is meaningless if our choices are controlled by special interests, a scenario virtually guaranteed by the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. We must work toward full public financing of our elections. Supporting candidates running corporate and PAC free campaigns is also crucial, as their success will encourage others seeking office to do the same.
America now represents 25% of the world’s prison population. To end our institutionalized incentive to incarcerate we must abolish for profit prisons, end money bail, and significantly reduce mandatory sentencing for non-violent offenses. Addressing racial bias among law enforcement is a crucial frontline issue in the fight for criminal justice. Rehabilitation programs that truly prepare those re-entering society to succeed must be adequately funded.
No American should go into insurmountable debt because they choose to get a college education. It is imperative that all public colleges and universities be tuition-free. We must also stop using Federal student loan programs as profit centers. Further, Americans should be allowed to refinance their student debt to lower rates just like any other loan. Getting the education needed to compete in a rapidly changing world is vital for our success as individuals and as a country.
Breathable air and clean water are basic human rights. Science has proven that emissions from burning fossil fuels are the main cause of climate change. We must embrace such alternative sources as solar and wind. Tax incentives for green businesses are a win-win, since they combat climate change and create jobs. Further, the trend toward the privatization and outsourcing of our utilities must be reversed. No part of insuring a clean and safe environment should be in the hands of private enterprise. Nurturing our planet for future generations also demands that we stay engaged in all international efforts to combat climate change, including the Paris Climate Accord.
Few issues show as wide a gap between our elected officials and the American people as gun control. Over 90% of the American public favor strict nation-wide background checks, yet Congress can't even pass a law requiring them for people on our government's terrorist watch list. Another common sense piece of legislation is a ban on all semi-automatic weapons. In some states, these military-grade weapons are actually easier to buy than hand guns. The power of the NRA should not be greater than the power of the American people.
Healthcare is a right to be expanded, not a product to be peddled. We no longer have the luxury of allowing those in office to put the interests of the insurance and pharmaceutical companies fueling their careers over the health of their constituents. This is morally unacceptable. We must have single payer Medicare for all. Period.
Because of our failure to provide the needed resources, the number of Americans who are homeless due to mental illness, drug addiction, and alcoholism, continues to grow. And now we can add medical bills, rent increases and foreclosures as reasons why our neighbors are being forced out of their homes and into the streets or into their cars. Other nations have found solutions to homelessness, such as Finland with their housing first program. We can and must end this human and moral nightmare.
No issue cuts to the core of who we are as a nation more than immigration. A clear pathway to citizenship that keeps families together is essential. Threatening to deport over 800,000 Dreamers who made themselves vulnerable on the promise of such a clear pathway is reprehensible. Further, the militarization of law enforcement must be stopped. Treating those seeking a better life like criminals is not the answer. It is part of the problem.
We need to make corporations pay their fair share of taxes, institute a tax on Wall Street speculators and have a more progressive tax on millionaires. These are just a few of the ways to start fixing a system rigged by the wealthy for the wealthy. The money is there to address all of the issues facing us. What’s missing is the political courage to use it for the common good.
All Americans deserve equal rights, dignity, and access. We cannot allow discrimination against the LGBTQIA community in any aspect of American life, including equal treatment in employment, medical care, education, housing and the military.
The inalienable right of every American to pursue happiness is impossible without a job that pays a living wage. We must have a federal minimum wage of $15 with an annual cost-of-living adjustment. And by addressing needed repairs to our infrastructure and embracing a green and sustainable future, we can create the type of jobs needed to move all of us forward.
Using war as a first option only benefits those for whom it is a profit center. In a world where the threat of nuclear grows daily, pursing peace through unilateral cooperation and humanitarian relief efforts is the only to prevent our own annihilation. In the Middle East a two-state solution guaranteeing the right of both Israel and the Palestinians to peacefully coexist remains the best avenue for a lasting peace. Moving the American embassy to Jerusalem is a gratuitously inflammatory act that only makes this more difficult.
No right is more essential to our democracy than that of every American to vote. And no right has been more under attack. Communities of color are systematically subjected to ballot access restrictions. First and foremost we must have a national system for automatic voter registration. We must also remove the unfair burden on millions Americans to vote by either making our elections a national holiday or moving them to an existing national holiday.