John Moserto represent Maryland's 7th Congressional District in the Democratic Party
Today’s Congressman have split between those who refuse to rock the boat and those who make a show of ill-conceived and irresponsible plans. We hear of problems and of blame, while people need solutions and action.
It’s time for new solutions for the poor and middle-class, for the overworked, for cities like Baltimore where unemployment and homelessness run rampant and schools under-perform. It’s time for a renewed focus in Congress on fiscal responsibility and well-developed policies using the input of experts instead of political showmanship.
It’s time again to give the people of Maryland and of the United States a new deal.
A Universal Dividend
Our nation has a broad array of important anti-poverty programs. Food stamps from the USDA SNAP and WIC programs, housing assistance from HUD, and Social Security’s retirement and disability benefit are just some of the most well-known.
Even with all of these efforts, many Americans go without homes, and millions of families struggle to keep food on the table. Unemployment and poverty gnaw at the core of our nation’s cities even when our national unemployment rate is low and our economy is booming. Our welfare programs demand more money and more taxes over time, while Social Security faces insolvency by 2017. We need a new approach to provide aid without ever-increasing taxes.
I developed the Universal Dividend to solve these problems once and for all. The Universal Dividend creates a foundation for the people of our nation: a small portion of the income is distributed equally in twice-monthly payments to each adult, acting as an aid package for the poor, a continuous tax refund for the middle-class, and an economic stimulus among the entire American working class. It’s even possible to immediately send middle-class and poor Americans home with thousands more per year while reducing the top tax bracket and the corporate income tax, making the Dividend deployable as a revenue-neutral tax cut.
Like both Medicare and Social Security’s retirement and disability benefits, the Dividend is self-funding. My plan derives the benefit from the national income, which follows a growth trend. That means the Dividend dips slightly in recession, and otherwise grows year after year.
Because of all of this, the Dividend accomplishes many things:
- Raises the poor from poverty directly
- Reduces the load on the welfare system by this mechanism of making the poor less-poor
- Creates jobs by its behavior as an economic stimulus, especially in poorer cities such as Baltimore, Flint, and Detroit
- Guarantees Social Security’s solvency by taking some of the responsibility of the retirement and disability benefit
- Lowers the payroll tax by reducing the cost of Social Security services without reducing the benefit-in-total
Because it grows with productivity, the Dividend outpaces cost-of-living adjustments: it grows faster than any welfare or Social Security benefit, without a tax increase. This continuously improves on these aspects, and even allows the benefit to increase while slightly lowering the tax rate each year. As such, I looked toward a 15% Dividend, with an eventual adjustment to 10% paid starting at age 16.
Everyone can be an astronaut, but not everyone has the opportunity—not the educational opportunity, and not the employment opportunity. We only need around five astronauts; we need over fifty million burger flippers and grocery baggers, and we don’t pay them well. When technology replaces those jobs, we’ll find some other common and easily-learned tasks that costs more to automate than to pay a human worker, and put our economy back on the backs of the low-paid worker. The Dividend ensures that these people are given at least a fair share in our economy.
A Global Drug Approval Plan
I have a plan to fund, via grant, a plan to bring generic drugs available in other countries, such as Bromantane, to the United States. FDA approval generally costs over $300 million for new drugs, and yet these drugs cannot be patented: nobody fronts the research because they will take a huge loss. That cost represents only $2 per American per year, and we can reduce that where the FDA feels international evidence suggests sufficient safety to move directly to clinical trials.
Bringing these drugs into the United States pharmaceutical industry will give doctors and psychiatrists new options for treating conditions such as depression and ADHD. Some of these drugs have excellent safety profiles and effecacy; others are dangerous, and yet used by many in the grey market without medical oversight. They’re also inexpensive, and would become generic immediately, providing new low-cost options to the American people.
Agricultural Reserve and Solar Energy Expansion Program
The United States requires preservation of agricultural land—the most-significant resource on the Continental US. Without programs to preserve this land, farmers and other landowners would sell this land to developers, who would pave over it and leave it unrecoverable for all practical purposes.
To better preserve our land, air, and water, I will explore the deployment of an Agricultural Reserve and Solar Energy Expansion Program. Under this program, landowners and states will receive only part of an available agricultural reserve subsidy for simply having the land; the remainder is disbursed only to cover costs when installing non-permanent solar generation capacity.
These new policies preserve our natural resources, reduce the pressure on our ecosystem as a whole, and grant us greater access to clean air and water—our most-critical natural resources.
Restorative Prison System
The Second Chance Act of 2007 provides grants to state and local governments throughout the United States which develop and enact reintegration programs for juvenile and adult correctional facilities. In other words: it pays states to tack an exit strategy onto the end of our existing prison system.
Americans need more than this. New prison systems in North Dakota, modeled after Norway’s, have produced a sharp drop in recidivism by approaching the entire process of incarceration from a new, more-humane direction. Prisoners lose their freedom, and are rehabilitated by being given skills, jobs, and even time to visit home. Many prisoners obtain real employment with real pay, leaving the facilities to go to work and then coming back to prison at the end of their shift. Restorative justice systems such as these involve prisoners with their communities and build working social relationships, rather than isolating and hardening criminals.
Congress must provide a stronger version of the Second Chance Act: it must push for rehabilitation rather than reintegration. Prisons need to be places where criminals are made into valuable members of the community, not hardened into career criminals. When we give them the freedom to leave the prison, to take up residence back at home, to no longer stay under our watch and live by our rules, they must walk out into a new life of freedom rather than a strange world of struggle.