1. What do you think are the most important steps government can take to promote job creation?
To create jobs the US Government could spend $300 billion on infrastructure projects to construct and repair roads, bridges, and ports and at least $100 billion for renewable energy projects and retrofitting buildings. $300 billion could be granted to school districts, colleges, and universities, and another $100 billion could fund local medical clinics and training hospitals. The manufacturing sector could use $100 billion by reimbursing companies that repatriate jobs previously sent offshore and by aiding new manufacturing industries. Revenues from the carbon tax could be used to subsidize a massive effort to develop renewable energies such as solar, windmills, retrofitting buildings, geothermal, and others, providing millions of constructive jobs. The Government could supplement the strained safety net with $200 billion for medical care and food stamps. We should reduce the current 40-hour work week to 35 hours and raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour, increasing it annually the same as Social Security.
2. How would you reform federal taxes?
Federal income tax rates on individuals can be made much more progressive with the maximum rate of 80% on personal income over $1,000,000. Capital gains could be taxed as part of personal income. Low sales taxes on various financial transactions can be imposed to deter speculation. The tax on estate assets over $1,000,000 should be progressive from 35% to 65%. To help pay off the national debt we need a temporary annual tax of 1% on assets above $1 million, 2% on assets over $10 million, 3% on assets over $100 million, and 4% on assets over $1 billion. Removing the income cap from the Social Security tax will make it progressive and sustainable. Corporate income tax can also be made progressive with a maximum 55% rate on income over $20 million. Taxes can also be collected on the sale of harmful items that cause health-care expenses such as drugs, alcohol, and tobacco or that cause environmental pollution. To prevent global warming a carbon tax of $25 per ton emitted is needed to help the nation make the transition to renewable energy.
3. Do you believe corporations should be more heavily regulated, even if it means higher compliance costs?
Corporations need to be intelligently regulated in order to promote the general welfare and prevent harm to people. Those whose primary motive is making money need to be prevented from taking unfair advantage of others. Regulations can be simplified to reduce bureaucratic waste while still holding corporations and people accountable for their actions. A democratic government is responsible for protecting the people and bringing abusers to justice.
4. How do you propose we reduce the national debt, and how much should the national debt be considered in economic recovery plans?The national debt can be reduced by making taxes progressive on the wealthy who have been collecting most of the economic gains from advancing technology in the last thirty years. The progressive tax on assets will only be imposed until the national debt is eliminated. The military budget can be reduced by 25% per year for the next six years while negotiations proceed for complete nuclear disarmament and the ending of wars and reduction of military forces throughout the world. The national debt is another way capitalists make money without working, and its elimination by taxing those capitalists will make the nation much more economically just and financially healthy.
5. What role should the federal government play in the healthcare industry? Is healthcare a right?
The most efficient and just health care is for the national government to insure that every person has adequate health care and that health-care workers receive reasonable salaries without being motivated to do unneeded procedures. Every person has a human right to health care without going bankrupt by a profit-driven health-care system. The federal government can fund medical research and keep profit-making out of pharmacology. Drugs can be legalized and regulated with taxes to pay for needed treatment programs rather than incarceration. Optical, hearing, and dental care should be included as part of needed medical care. Cosmetic operations would not be covered. Preventive programs related to exercise could be subsidized with partial coverage.
6. What do you think is driving the rapid growth of health care costs, and how would you slow it down? Would you support putting some kind of cap on what the government spends on Medicare?
The United States has the most expensive health-care system in the world with a large number of people who do not get care because it is the only advanced nation in the world that allows profit-making in the health-care industry. A democratic government can regulate health care for the good of all by maintaining reasonable salaries for health-care workers, eliminating private profits in the health insurance and prescription drug industries, and by eliminating the excessive paperwork and confusion caused by private insurance and other profit-making entities. Many nations spend about half of what the United States spends on health care and yet have people who are as healthy or healthier. A single-payer health-care system should replace Medicare, Medicaid, and the private insurance companies.
7. Should the government require that all citizens have health-care insurance? If so, what is your thought about a premium support model similar to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program?
With the efficient, single-payer health-care system all citizens would have good health care provided by the federal government and its network of doctors, nurses, and other health-care providers. The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program would no longer be needed.
8. Why aren’t our K-12 schools preparing graduates to compete in the global economy, and what would you do as president to lift their performance?
Traditionally education in America has been primarily the responsibility of state and local governments, and I believe that property taxes are a good way to pay for public education in local communities. However, income inequality can be remedied by having the federal government provide grants to communities that need assistance to make their education as excellent as that of the most affluent people. Many jobs can be created in education by funding more teachers in classrooms as well as teacher aides and tutors. Training programs can also provide skilled workers for current needs of the economy.
9. Why do you think college costs keep rising? Are students getting their money’s worth, and what would you do to slow down cost growth?
College costs have been rising for the past forty years because of increasing greed and inefficiency in our society. Education is the most important sector of society for the future, and a wise government will make sure that everyone has the best education they can get. The federal government could provide no-interest loans to enable any person ready for college to attend. The loans would not be due until the person was earning enough money to owe income tax, and then payment would be spread over a period of years. Democratic governments should make sure that public colleges and universities pay reasonable salaries and are managed efficiently. As in the past, enlightened states and local governments could provide tuition-free colleges and universities to attract the best students. Taxes invested in good education will improve the future.
10. What would you do to improve work-force development and job training opportunities for US workers?
Reducing the work week from 40 hours to 35 will provide more jobs and give workers more free time. Advancing technology is reducing the amount of work humans have to do to accomplish even more. Thus the work needs to be spread around, and the work hours will continue to diminish. Progressive taxes enable those who have had the opportunity to be very successful in a society with mass communication to pay back that society by helping others. High schools and colleges can provide more technical education for those who want to pursue those areas of work, and the federal government can subsidize these programs in low-income areas to equalize educational opportunities.
11. Is US energy independence a feasible goal and, if so, how would you achieve it? How would you reduce our reliance on foreign oil?
We need a massive restructuring of the energy economy to reduce pollution and prevent global warming. Petroleum, coal, and natural gas are limited and are becoming more scarce, driving up the costs and dangers of obtaining them. We need to invest large amounts as quickly as possible in developing renewable energies such as solar, wind, water, geothermal, and in efficient agricultural energies. Developing these technologies quickly will enable the United States to be weaned off foreign oil which not only causes pollution but also wastes energy being transported. By becoming independent in energy and manufacturing the United States will no longer have to maintain an imperialistic military system that is wasteful and unethical.
12. What steps will you take to make this nation's growing energy demand more sustainable?
In addition to a massive government program of developing renewable energies, the retrofitting of public and private buildings to make them more energy efficient will improve the American economy for businesses and private homes. Solar panels can provide electricity and heat water. Wind turbines also provide electricity. Excessive use of fresh water used in industry or to feed cattle should be taxed to make sure water is used efficiently and wisely. Green taxes can be applied to deter and pay for the use of excessive packaging and materials that are not recycled.
13. How important is reducing carbon emissions, and how would you go about it? In addition to renewable fuels, do you believe natural gas and nuclear energy should play a larger role in America’s energy mix?
Reducing carbon emissions is a major emergency of our time, or else millions of people will suffer and die from the effects of the climate heating up and changing. A mandatory carbon tax on all carbon emissions will deter counterproductive behavior and provide revenues for subsiding the development of renewable energies. During the transition the use of natural gas is less polluting than coal and petroleum, but the use of fracking to get natural gas seems to have serious negative consequences that must be prevented. Nuclear power plants have no reasonable plan for the storage of the radioactive waste and are too dangerous in a world of earthquakes, severe weather conditions, and terrorist sabotage. No new nuclear power plants should be built because they are an unwise investment no insurance company would cover. All functioning nuclear power plants should be phased out as soon as possible.
14. What circumstances justify U.S. military intervention? Do you think America should continue to play a leading role in world affairs, or lay down some of those responsibilities?
Use of a nation’s military forces to intervene in another nation is a violation of international law. The United States should withdraw all its forces from other countries and work for universal disarmament. As one of the first countries to develop a republican form of constitutional government, the United States should work for the development of a world constitution that would protect the rights of all nations and people with a democratic government that would have the authority granted by the people in all nations to make sure that no nation commits crimes against another. Nonviolent and judicial processes should be used to resolve all international disputes and conflicts. America can play a leading role in this democratic development for world peace provided we learn to transcend the arrogance of thinking we are better than other people. America must renounce the hypocrisy of maintaining thousands of nuclear weapons while forbidding other nations to possess any. The United States can lead the way to a peaceful world by dismantling our nuclear weapons while negotiating complete nuclear disarmament in every nation. Following that we should proceed to reduce all military forces in the world as a democratic world government provides nonviolent justice.
15. Is America’s enormous trade deficit with China a problem? How would you boost US exports and encourage China and other countries to buy more from us?
The United States should develop its own manufacturing so that importing from distant countries is not needed. As America frees itself by paying off its national debt, some of that money will go to China and will help them develop their economy. To prevent global warming from continuing the United States and other nations need to be more efficient by using local products rather than exporting material goods long distances. We should export our ideas and innovations that can be communicated easily without wasting energy.
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