SECURED LIVING WAGES
I support a livable minimum wage for all workers. The evidence is in showing that higher wages for workers does not depress local economies, but actually invigorates them. The more money workers have to spend, the more economic activity takes place, which is the *real* driver of economic health. We need wages that help to lift us up out of poverty, not ones that keep us there. This means supporting small businesses that support their employees, and not using public resources to subsidize those that leave their employees inadequately compensated. Some of our largest employers rely on the state to provide food stamps and medical coverage for their employees, and nearly 1/3 of all full time workers work additional jobs in order to stay financially afloat. This is an unsustainable and unacceptable system of employment that Ohio should not be supporting. It is also why I support the rights of workers to organize as a means of helping to redress these kinds of imbalances.
REVERSING ECONOMIC INEQUALITY
We are currently experiencing the largest wealth gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ in American history, and with greater disparities of wealth than in any other major developed nation in the world. And that gap is only increasing. There are today only *three* Americans who own more wealth than the bottom 50% of the population (that’s over 160 million people, or 63 million American households). History has repeatedly and unwaveringly demonstrated that conditions such as these are not sustainable, and that a collapse of the society will occur if such increasing inequality is not addressed and reversed. To this end, most of my policies are fundamentally aimed at reducing this gap, and making the lives of all Ohioans better. We’ve had enough of seeing families working themselves into the ground for inadequate wages, unable to afford college, day care or health insurance. Student debt now stands at more than $1.5 trillion dollars, with many of our children owning degrees that provide no meaningful chance of paying the bankruptcy-immune debt back. We are afraid of becoming ill, because you *can* still be and all-too-often are financially bankrupted by illness, even while having insurance. Despair has infiltrated our lives, a darkness manifesting itself as opioid overdoses, suicides, mass shootings, and a host of addictions. We are literally dying (and killing ourselves and each other) by the tens of thousands because of it. Our current leadership gets a failing ‘F’ for where we now find ourselves. It’s time for a change. It’s time for people to be elected into public office who are committed to serving the entire citizenry, and not just a small group of private special interests who have paid them to be there.
COVID UPDATE: The dire economic effects caused by the covid pandemic have served to further exacerbate the growing economic inequalities that were already becoming a critical strain on so many in our society. We have a handful of billionaires reaping massive new levels of wealth and profit while countless small and independent businesses, the backbone of our economic and even social health, are being driven under at alarming rates (some reports putting that loss at over 43% of all such businesses no longer operating, with a corresponding 40% reduction in employment). Millions are losing their jobs, their health insurance, and even their ability to properly feed themselves (food insecurity is dramatically on the rise). And there is the problem of millions more facing the specter of eviction and potential homelessness, as the ability to pay rent and mortgages dries up in the face of joblessness and un- or under-employment. This is obviously a massive problem for our state and our nation, on levels we haven’t seen since the Great Depression. Though solutions are beyond the scope of any one state, one thing we can and should do is ensure that any and all investments directed towards addressing it and relieving these difficult conditions are fundamentally bottom up, not top down. We do not need to implement yet more discredited trickle down economics that simply gives money to the people at the top who don’t need it. Rather, our economic relief investments need to be directed to the people who need it the most in order to live. It’s been repeatedly demonstrated that when people who need money to live receive it, they spend it, thus driving forward the commerce upon with a healthy economy and society operates.