Politicians are beginning to talk about our poverty problems in the United States, but do not fully grasp what that entails. They do not want to highlight their role in making it so, nor distinguish where their other policy provisions are antagonistic to helping. They feel more comfortable talking about our middle class, which has mostly been pushed downward, yet the same story could be said for their lack of understanding.
The lone voice who is hammering these issues home, which is a reason for his popularity, is Senator Bernie Sanders. Whether you agree with Bernie on his solutions or not, he is talking about the issues that effect us, rather than sensationalizing issues that are less important or feeding an extreme base of fervent voters. So, he deserves kudos for driving home what Americans are experiencing.
Here are few observations from this independent voter, who votes for both Democrats and Republicans. I do tend to vote for collaborators and politicians that can help get things done rather than party, yet I must confess the new GOP has fewer of those folks than they used due to more strident elected officials due to gerrymandering and money. This is a key reason the GOP is in such disarray at this point.
- You cannot be for helping the middle and poverty classes and not invest in our country. Our infrastructure is in need of upkeep and repair and with interest rates so low, we are letting the ideal time pass. Plus we have deteriorated assets that could be repurposed in various communities.These investments are proven job creators and that was supposed to be mission one in this Congress.
- You cannot be for helping the middle and poverty classes and not support the Affordable Care Act which, while imperfect and needing improvements, is working pretty well. This is especially true in our sharing economy, where independent contractors can buy coverage. I saw that Congress is suing the president over something else on the ACA. Mr. Speaker, do the country a favor and give it a rest.
- You cannot be for helping the middle and poverty classes and not favor following many states’ leads and increasing the minimum wage to a living wage of $10 per hour, at the very least. Some cities are doing more, but this bipartisan favored play would help people.
- You cannot be for helping people without enabling the community college system to help teach and retrain folks. Tennessee has a good idea in paying for two years of community college and the President is paying attention. This has merit for the rest of the country.
- You cannot be for helping people and ignore climate change and our growing water problem, which is not just short-term. Every major science organization in the US supports climate change as a concern and our influence on it. The fastest growing jobs in energy are in solar energy which has more jobs than coal. Wind and solar are not water intensive energy sources, such as burning fossil fuels or nuclear power, so we must be mindful of water for all.
- You cannot be for helping people and then restrict their rights to vote when we should be making it easier for them. The only rampant election fraud is paid for by the significant funders who invest in candidates wanting a return on such investment. We must amend our constitution to clearly state money does not equal free speech and change our election laws to make things fair, less costly and accessible to all not just voters you like.
I have other thoughts, but these will do for now. These issues translate party affiliation and affect us all. We need to ask our candidates about these issues and if they do not respond well, do not vote for them. Follow Bernie’s lead as he is on the right track. You may not like his answers, but he is speaking about the right questions.