Paula Is the Candidate for Working People!

Paula Bradshaw Issues 10-Point Pro-Labor Agenda on Labor Day:
“Congress Needs to Address Unemployment, Poverty and Rampant Inequality”

Paula Bradshaw, Green Party candidate for Congress, has marked Labor Day by issuing a 10-point pro-labor agenda that she would prioritize if elected to Congress, to address widespread poverty and the needs of working people struggling to make ends meet in the midst of historically high wealth inequality in America. Her agenda includes support for the federal employment and environmental restoration initiative known as the Green New Deal, a $15 federal minimum wage, paid parental leave and vacations for American workers, a socialized health-care system, and support for Jill Stein’s proposal for tuition-free higher education and to cancel existing student debt.

While many union leaders continue to support Democratic Party candidates in knee-jerk fashion, the result has been a record of broken promises, deregulation, union-busting, lower wages and pensions – and millions of jobs shipped overseas. Paula calls on rank-and-file workers to vote for their real interests this election, by voting for the Green Party and its candidates.

Below is the full text of Paula’s Labor Day Message:

In a democratic republic, one of the basic functions of government should be to ensure real economic security and opportunity for its people. By this standard, Congress has been failing miserably. While the official unemployment rate has gone down a bit the last two or three years, most Americans who have jobs – sometimes two or three – are working harder than ever, and are more productive than ever, but have little to show for it. Our economy is rigged to benefit the wealthy owners of the major corporations and banks, leading to a level of social inequality that is immoral, unjust and toxic to the republic.

Consider where we stand today:

● In the richest nation on earth, we have rampant poverty, with 46.7 million people living in poverty today. This is up from 37.3 million in 2007. The vast majority are working poor. About 20 million Americans live in extreme poverty, meaning they are struggling on less than $10,000 a year for a family of four. About one in seven households are food insecure, meaning they lack the ability to regularly obtain enough nutritionally adequate food. It is estimated that well over half a million Americans are completely homeless – meaning unable to even get space in an emergency shelter – on any given night.

● Inequality is worse now than at any time in American history since the 1920s. Today the top one-tenth of 1 percent of our nation owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent combined. Our wealthiest 400 people now have more wealth combined than the bottom 61 percent of the U.S. About 95 percent of the economic gains since 2009 went to the top 1 percent net worth.

● The concentration of wealth aggregated at the very top has reached obscene levels. To illustrate: The median net worth of households in the U.S., as of 2013, was $81,400. If we visualize this as a stack of 1-inch blocks, with each block representing $10,000 of wealth, the average family in America would have a stack of blocks about 8.1 inches high. By comparison, the stack of blocks of the median person in the Forbes 400, with a net worth of $5 billion, would be almost 8 MILES high. These 400 people today have undue influence over Congress – which is why we, the people, need to elect representatives who are not for sale.

●In terms of purchasing power, the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968, and is only worth about three-fourths as much today. Had the minimum wage been adjusted for inflation and increases in worker productivity since 1968, it would be about $21 per hour today.
Real solutions for unemployment, poverty and obscene inequality are already well known. What is needed is to put people in Congress who are ready and willing to fight for them. Here are some of my top priorities if elected:

1. Like our presidential candidate, Jill Stein, I support a Green New Deal, modeled on the original New Deal, to put millions of Americans to work at living wages, on projects that will upgrade America’s crumbling infrastructure and save our eco-system from the growing catastrophe of global climate change and other threats of environmental contamination. Solving that problem will require a lot of work – insulating and retrofitting homes and buildings, building a modernized, energy-efficient transportation infrastructure, putting solar arrays on every rooftop, building and installing wind generators, planting trees, restoring watersheds, redesigning entire urban landscapes – and much more.
2. I support the movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and keep it adjusted for inflation and productivity after that.

3. I oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other so-called “free trade”deals that would allow multinational corporations to subvert national sovereignty, overthrow domestic laws, and undermine vital protections for labor, the environment and consumers.

4. I support other measures to improve the lot of working people in America. I agree with Abe Lincoln, that as long as there is anyone unable to find work, then the hours of labor are too long.

5. I support the United States joining the rest of the world by requiring employers with 15 or more employees to provide paid maternity or parental leave for a period of at least six months. I support guaranteed paid vacations for employees after the first full year of employment.

6. I support the restoration of defined-benefit pensions (instead of defined contribution) and restoring an adequate funding stream to Social Security, so that it can provide retirement benefits worthy of its name and original promise.

7. I call for the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act and support measures that will make it easier for workers to organize without interference from their employers and to bargain with the employers effectively.

8. I support the demand for a guaranteed minimum income for all Americans, by instituting a “negative income tax” or similar proposals to ensure that all Americans have a basic foundation that ensures their lives and health.

9. I support a fully socialized health-care system in the United States.

10. I support Jill Stein’s proposal for tuition-free higher education and to cancel existing student debt, which would provide a tremendous boost to our economy.

To those who say, “how are you going to pay for it,” I invite you to read the description of the Green New Deal on my website. A fair and progressive system of taxation, a major reduction in military spending and corporate welfare, and monetary reform can allow us to implement all of these proposals. What I am proposing here are not flights of fancy. These are attainable goals – many people in other countries already have these benefits, and Americans can, too – if people vote for the party that actually supports labor, the Green Party, the only non-corporate supported party on the ballot.

WPA