Government should be limited though energetic when it intervenes. It should primarily intervene to enhance upward mobility, in addition to its other constitutional duties, which include protecting individual rights and property.
The free market has improved the lot of people globally more effectively than any other force, but in its purest and unmitigated form, it is imperfect – it incentivizes destructive, short-sighted and self-defeating behaviors. Think of the interaction between society (as expressed in government) and the economy as a wagon train – the economy is symbolized by the horses, and the wagon train is everyone and everything else. If either element gets unhinged from considering the other, the result is disastrous – either the horses run amok and destroy the cart, or the cart becomes too heavy and kills the horses.
The goal, then, is to carefully balance the interests of society and the economy. In certain cases, we may find that the free market really does make the best, most efficient decisions. When it doesn’t, sometimes balancing might be best achieved through regulation; other times, through incentives that promote beneficial behaviors or penalties that discourage unwise decisions, but still allow for individuals to make up their own minds. Even Adam Smith, perennially recognized as one of the most forceful advocate for free markets, recognized the benefits of government intervention in order to ensure the vast benefits of economic development were shared universally, rather than being concentrated into the pockets of the political or economic elites.
Promoting upward mobility ensures the American dream of family, stability and prosperity is open to everyone.
I think we’re all getting tired of bickering and dysfunction. Civility and compromise are necessary for a functioning republic- and I’d like Georgia’s 6th district to lead the charge in restoring our ability to govern ourselves. I’d like to sit down, as a group, with GOP, Democratic and Independent voters alike to hear their stories and concerns, and for them, in turn, to hear ours. And this is only the beginning. At worst, we’d get to know our neighbors a little better – at best, we’d come to better understand the challenges our neighbors face – and think of what we could do together from there! The general idea is that those in government speak less, while their voters speak more, and often, with each other – a glimpse of the future that’s possible when decency and humanity prevail.
The powers that be are lying when they say that your only choices in government are between establishment politicians and extremists. There are better alternatives, and I believe my approach is one of them.
I call for a centrist revival, and one that has deep roots in American history. It was responsible for some of the greatest national accomplishments to date, including the interstate highway system and putting an American on the moon. It is an expression of the degree to which we can change the world together when we demand our representatives interact with civility and a willingness to compromise when it benefits the country. And it is an acknowledgement we are at our best when we recognize that, even when we disagree, both our own voices and the perspectives of our neighbors count and should be part of our larger national conversation.
The problems with purely partisan laws are:
- They are unfair, in that they do not recognize the existence of other perspectives
- They are unstable in that they are very much susceptible to being overturned the minute the political winds change
Compromise and civility as the cornerstone of our political discourse ensures that the legislation we pass stands up to legal scrutiny and that the accomplishments we’ve made as a society are sustainable for more than an election or two.
Considering how centrally my work involved babies, it should come as no surprise that I’ve developed a sense of the delicacy of human life. I am also a cynic on the politics of this issue: in my experience, interest groups sometimes treat women’s bodies as political tools to political ends when it advantages them to do so. This suggests to me that we are not treating women with the respect they deserve, and we must change that. Women must have the choice of both bodily autonomy and bringing life into the world, and we should stand ready to support them either way. Accordingly, it is my personal belief that abortion should be safe, legal and rare, and more than that, wholly unnecessary.
I recognize this is a divisive issue with sincere beliefs and legitimate points being made by both sides. But in the crossfire, we tend to forget about babies and mothers the minute babies are born. It’s not enough to simply be pro-life or pro-choice. Let’s be honest: single mothers have the deck stacked against them in meaningful and enduring ways. We need to socially evolve on this issue and make it so women can choose to carry babies to term without upending their lives. A child should never be seen as a burden – either by their parents or society
In the same vein, every child should be a wanted child. Both women and men should have the option of paid parental leave (perhaps through early distribution of earned social security benefits) and access to reproductive healthcare, family planning and related services. Abortion should never need to be used as birth control, so we need to provide universal, comprehensive sex education and proactively distribute contraceptives. It may sound counterintuitive, but this is actually fiscally and socially responsible policy. Having babies is expensive, and babies whose parents are prepared or supported inevitably will have better family outcomes.
Approaching this topic pragmatically, I believe it’s possible to bring abortion down to levels approaching 0% in a way that doesn’t restrict women’s bodily autonomy: by strengthening our adoption, family and child care policies to better support mothers.
I support the revival of the Equal Rights Amendment, which enshrines equality under the law for women into the Constitution. First proposed in 1972, it has been ratified by 35 of the required 38 states. Although Congress established a deadline for ratification by 1982, there is nothing to suggest that it could not also unilaterally revive the amendment by setting a new deadline. I would introduce and fight for such a measure, and push for ratification in 3 new states to bring the amendment fully into force.
Immigration is one of the issues most ripe for bipartisan compromise. It’s a shame grandstanding and bickering in Washington has crippled our ability to meaningfully legislate on the matter. My proposal for comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform follows.
Protecting the Border: I believe illegal immigration is, in fact, a significant problem, but not in the way the Administration suggests. For example, it’s a popular but incorrect misconception that the only people who come here illegally are crossing the vast land borders in the southwest. Quite often, people lawfully apply for and receive visas and then overstay them. They are already in the country when their visas expire. Accordingly, building a wall is destructive and ineffective policy, and therefore an abject waste of taxpayer money. We should instead provide technology, tools and manpower to the men and women tasked with protecting our borders.
DACA: Children should never be punished for the sins of their parents. Accordingly, passage of a bill to provide a path to citizenship for DACA enrollees is a moral imperative, provided that they are otherwise law-abiding. In almost every case, this is the only home they’ve ever known – they are as American as any one of us, and to send them back to their ostensible country of origin would be a great failing, and one that history would judge us harshly for.
Addressing Illegal Immigration: We must also accept the fact that illegal immigrants are here with us right now, and often, have become part of the fabric of the communities in which they live. In order to avoid establishing a precedent, we should offer a one-time amnesty to these individuals provided they are otherwise law-abiding and pay all back taxes and penalties, since it would be economically and socially disruptive to remove them. This is not fair to legal immigrants, who sometimes wait up to a decade to start their lives here, but it is sadly reality. An expedited path to citizenship should be offered to those willing to serve in the military, or serve their country in other ways, such as the Peace Corps.
Importantly, there is a moral argument here as well: illegal immigration creates conditions that allow employers to exploit both illegal immigrants and citizens/residents alike. Specifically:
- It depresses wages and facilitates tax evasion
- It allows unscrupulous employers to easily abuse labor laws, because illegal immigrants are rightly fearful to report poor working conditions to authorities
In order to curb these harmful outcomes, E-verify should be universally implemented among US employers.
English: Those who are allowed to immigrate or granted amnesty should actively assimilate. Fluency in English (or proof of ongoing education in English as a second language) should be required for citizenship or residency as it is necessary to thrive here.
Overall Summary: Our immigration policies should be rational and fair. Immigrants should follow the law, but perhaps it should also be easier and quicker to come here legally. America should continue to be a beacon of hope for the huddled, teeming masses yearning to breathe free – but equally, there is nothing wrong with prioritizing the best and the brightest, or striving to ensure that those we do allow to live here are open to our system of government and way of life. Wealth for its own sake, or lack thereof, should not be a factor, nor should any other personal characteristic besides ability or willingness to contribute to the greater American dream.
By way of background, H1B visas are special work visas issued to companies which are supposedly experiencing shortages of appropriately specialized or skilled American workers. They are most often utilized by tech companies, though even the Trump Organization has imported unskilled labor using this system.
I do not believe there is a shortage of tech or related talent in the US. Moreover, I believe some companies are violating the spirit (if not the letter) of the law by exploiting the visa process to suppress American wages. And indeed, why would they pay an American tech worker $120,000 a year when they could get away with importing labor for $40,000? For that reason, I believe in drastically limiting or eliminating H1B visas. At minimum, employers using these work visas should be made to prove that there is genuinely a shortage of the labor they seek. If they cannot do that, they should not be able to use the program. If, in fact, there is in fact a shortage of specialized or appropriately educated workers, we need to address that via free public education, with the knowledge these higher wages will ultimately pay the costs society bears for their education.
My thoughts on this are very simple:
- For logistical simplicity, voter registration should be automatic on filing an income tax return
- Votes should be conducted via mail for two reasons:
- To minimize the ability of foreign governments to conduct cyber warfare against our electoral institutions
- To facilitate the participation of every American in their election process; it should be as simple as checking boxes and dropping an envelope into the mail, with no postage required
- Electronic voting machines should be completely eliminated due to the fact that their results are vulnerable to tampering and almost always unverifiable
- All Congressional districting should be done by independent commissions in a manner resembling the system Arizona has established (explained here)
I call for a decisive end to corporate personhood (the idea that corporations have constitutional rights equivalent to those of natural people) and the end of money’s disruptive role in our politics. To that end, I promise to fight for:
- Publicly funded elections
- Hard caps on contributions from individuals, groups and corporations alike, and hard caps on campaign expenditures
- Curbing the reach and influence of super PACs
Further, I support an amendment to the Constitution which would embed these principles into the bedrock of our society. As proposed by Move to Amend, such a Constitutional amendment might read:
Section 1. [Artificial Entities Such as Corporations Do Not Have Constitutional Rights]
The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only. Artificial entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law. The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.
Section 2. [Money is Not Free Speech]
Federal, State, and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.
Federal, State, and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed. The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.
The Federal Reserve operates in secrecy and manipulates monetary policy with impunity, often to the detriment of the average American. There are credible (though not legally settled) arguments that Congress unconstitutionally delegated its authority over monetary policy to the Federal Reserve. At minimum, we have the right to accountability and deserve to know what they’re up to. I support the passage of the Federal Reserve Transparency Act as described here.
The government should strive to expand the Pell Grant program to completely cover undergraduate tuition at any public college in the country for students pursuing high-demand degree programs, such as those in science, technology, engineering and math. Further, the government should lower interest rates for those who choose to fund their educations using Federal student loans.
I’ll keep this short and sweet. As a gay man, it should come as little surprise that I support marriage equality, access to adoption for same sex couples, and an end to legal and social discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. LGBTQ individuals, like every American, deserve to be treated with dignity, compassion and humanity.
I support the scientific consensus: humans are the primary drivers of global warming. I believe it is both humanity’s duty and obligation to future generations to be good stewards of nature and ensure we do not destroy our one and only home.
Economic growth is not inherently incompatible with sustainability, so long as we act (locally, nationally and globally) to mitigate our impact immediately. The longer we wait, the more resources will need to be diverted from mitigation and prevention to disaster recovery, resource extraction and political/military stabilization, and the more that happens, the more unrealistic prospects for growth and stability become. Bluntly, a warmer world will feed global conflict and exacerbate the already troubling trend towards authoritarianism.
Though I have a lot of thoughts on this, and many are captured in other sections, Project Drawdown has some excellent ideas.
I believe that trophies look better on the animals themselves than on the wall – 100% of the time. I support the aggressive enforcement of anti-poaching laws, prohibition on elephant ivory imports, and the development of eco-tourism to channel money into conservation resources.
This policy position is more than just an environmental issue. We counted among the list of endangered species an extension of our cultural heritage – the bald eagle. Though it is only one animal among many, it symbolizes the plight of others.
National parks should be fully funded, preserved and expanded. Our majestic public lands remain the birthright of Americans present and yet to come.
Finally, where the government allows exploitation of natural resources of public lands, considerable royalties should be collected and reinvested into park maintenance, park expansions, environmental remediation and local needs / infrastructure (especially if the exploitation of natural resources causes environmental damage or traffic on or around local infrastructure).
I support investing at least a trillion dollars into infrastructure over the next 10 years – a “Manhattan Project” for infrastructure, if you will. Locally, proposed levels of Federal investment in infrastructure would mean:
- Matching dollars for MARTA expansion
- Improving broadband statewide, and expansion of broadband access into rural areas
- Restoring roads, highways and bridges
- Stabilizing the power grid through the implementation of industrial-scale battery storage
- Hardening of the grid and broadband against terror and disaster events by burying cables underground
We should seek friendly relations, commerce and engagement with all nations, entangling alliances and war with none.
Our active duty military personnel are not the world’s policemen. The best way to support the troops is to bring them home and provide them better pay, benefits and a functioning VA. This should be accomplished in a measured drawdown to allow for local forces to step in, and shutter overseas military bases that do not directly support the security of the American homeland. To those who disagree, a simple question: how would you feel about a Cuban military base in Miami? Or a Chinese military base in California?
To that end, America should gradually return to a non-interventionist foreign policy. This includes pulling out of the Middle East and Afghanistan as soon as reasonably possible, and putting an end to the $700B a year in war funding – we can reinvest those resources into our people, pay down the debt, or both. The reason is simple: we can better promote our national security by starving Middle Eastern oil cartels of cash by ending our reliance on imported oil and natural gas, which would choke off funding for government-funded, terror-friendly religious sects such as Wahhabis.
A trust fund should be created to provide supplementary pay to local police. These pay raises would allow local police precincts to be more competitive and selective in their hiring and help officers afford to live in the areas they patrol, improving the quality of the force as a whole and facilitating better interactions between law enforcement and the public. Since speeding tickets and fines for nuisance crimes were never intended to be a revenue mechanism for local government, the trust fund I propose might be created by taxing local governments to the extent that they profit from enforcing them.
The police should not have access to military equipment, and should not train as if the public would ever be the enemy. On-foot patrols should be encouraged and implemented to the greatest extent possible to build relationships and encourage community interaction.
Police should universally wear cameras to promote civility between all parties. As much as it protects innocent people, it protects good cops. Federal funding or assistance is called for here.
Racism in law enforcement is real, just as it exists elsewhere; where it exists, it should be critically examined and ended.
The legalization of medical cannabis is a moral imperative. It is inhumane and cruel to require people with diagnosed conditions responsive to cannabinoid treatment to suffer in the name of a misguided and ineffective war on drugs (such conditions including PTSD, HIV, epilepsy, glaucoma, and others). Medical cannabis also has real potential to help reduce persistent pain (as an alternative to opioids) and is proven to mitigate some of the worst side effects of chemotherapy.
Approaching this issue humanely will save millions (both in terms of people and dollars) and improve quality of life in measurable, meaningful ways.