The United States lags behind most developed nations because of the plutocratic influence by corporations and the failure of corrupt government to make sure everyone has access to decent health care. The US is the only major country that still allows profit-making from health care and insurance businesses. As a result Americans spend about twice as much as European nations on health care and medical drugs, and not everyone is covered by insurance.
I would work to establish national health care insured by the federal government and paid for by progressive corporate and personal income taxes just as social security provides for retirement income. Everyone would be free to choose their doctors, hospitals, clinics, and health care providers who are registered to work for the government’s health care system. Health care professionals would be hired by the government at reasonable rates that would satisfy them. Those not wanting the free service would have the right to pay for care by private professionals. I believe that this national health care should cover vision, hearing, dental, counseling, and preventive activities related to diet and exercise. I am in favor of taxes on products that have a negative effect on health and the environment such as recreational drugs, alcohol, meat, etc. These green taxes on luxuries would provide the health care needed for the consequences of these activities and would help educate people about their effects. Every person would have a health card with their complete medical records.
Public education in the United States traditionally has been organized mostly on local or state levels. These would continue but could be supplemented by federal subsidies to schools that lack the funding of wealthier districts so that every person would have access to equal opportunities in education. Cities, counties, and states have the right to tax landowners, both residential and business, in order to pay for schools in their area, but people in poor areas could be benefited by federal assistance. The federal government could also provide the tuition for public universities and also interest-free loans for other expenses that could be paid back by giving credit on the debt from a percentage of a person’s income tax payments. I believe that education is the best investment for the future that government can make.
Also the federal government could provide search engines and other internet services that would be free of commercial advertisements that abuse and corrupt the results and experience of consumers. Without commercial motivation to provide profits these services would be designed to educate people by the free access of diverse people without prejudice in favor of or against any individuals or groups.
Government is responsible for making and administering fair laws to protect everyone from harm. Today the United States has more people in prison than any other country. The United States has 4.4% of the world population but 22% of the world’s prison inmates. Most of these are in state prisons and local jails, but the federal government has many nonviolent offenders serving long sentences who could be released. The President is also a moral leader, and I recommend major reforms in criminal justice that would provide restorative justice which compensates victims and emphasizes rehabilitation and education rather than punishment.
Only in the United States, which has more guns than any other country, do mass murders occur so often. People are crying out for reform of gun laws in order to prevent these atrocities. Automatic and semi-automatic military weapons should be banned along with guns that can shoot many bullets without reloading. Such weapons are not needed for hunting or for personal protection. Japan has shown that gun deaths can be almost eliminated by laws regulating the possession of guns. I do not recommend laws as strict as those in Japan, but registration and sensible regulations on gun ownership could be implemented to reduce terrorist slaughters. Materials that can be used as explosives also need to be regulated and monitored to reduce terrorist crimes.
Immigration is another major issue that needs to be addressed by the federal government. The history of the United States has been a process of immigration from the earliest Asians who first came to this continent long ago to the Europeans who began coming in the 16th century. Americans have suffered many conflicts between ethnic groups, and yet these groups came together and formed “a more perfect union” based on equal rights. After much injustice because of slavery, male domination, and various prejudices against natives and arriving immigrants from diverse cultures and religious beliefs, the American people have managed to free the slaves, give women votes and equal rights under a constitution that allows freedom of religion, speech, writing, and assembly without the state imposing any religion. President Trump has reverted to past prejudice to abuse the rights of immigrants such as Muslims and Latin Americans by appealing to racial and religious bigotry. I believe that America is big enough to be charitable and welcome refugees from nations with oppressive governments and excessive violence. Study has shown that immigrants commit fewer crimes and often do work that others do not want. I believe that conscientious Americans would agree that we can be compassionate and provide reparations to Latin Americans because of the Mexican-American War which took half of Mexico into the United States and to provide opportunities by affirmative action for the descendants of Africans who still lag behind economically because their ancestors had the wealth from their labor stolen from them.
Security and Nonviolent International Relations
For the past fifty years my life has been dedicated to developing spiritual awareness and working nonviolently to end war and bring about world peace. Nuclear war is the greatest danger humanity has ever faced, and that threat must be removed before it destroys our civilization. My top priority is to bring about the disarmament of all nuclear weapons in the world. I will do everything I can to bring about the disarmament that the nuclear-armed nations promised in the Nonproliferation Treaty in 1970. The United States has not stopped increasing its military power since World War II, and this continual arms race with various wars has nearly bankrupted our nation which now owes nearly $22 trillion and is paying $1.4 billion in interest every day on that debt. I will use diplomacy to negotiate disarmament and to resolve the wars in the Mideast. American troops can be brought home and receive pensions, educational benefits, and transition into various peaceful activities that will help people rather than kill and destroy. As the US and other nations disarm their war-making weapons, Americans and the others doing this will benefit by having more wealth going to constructive activities. The military budget can be greatly reduced so that the national debt can stop increasing. This and more progressive taxation can produce surpluses so that the debt can be paid off. The United Nations can be used to provide peacekeepers and resolve conflicts without war. The United States needs to stop committing war crimes and violating international laws. The US should join the International Criminal Court (ICC) so that conflicts can be resolved by an intelligent process. Instead of hundreds of military bases in foreign countries, Americans volunteering for the Peace Corps could be sent to help people in other nations.
Democratic elections are contests to decide who is to govern, and they should have rules to make sure they are fair and responsive to the will of all the voters without undue influence by plutocrats using money to bribe politicians with contributions and influence legislation with paid lobbyists. The government can make sure that debates open to all candidates are held with fair rules and made available to all Americans by the media which has licenses for broadcasting for the public good. Commercial broadcasting is polluted by advertisements used to raise enormous amounts of revenue, enabling gigantic corporations to dominate the media. Taxing commercials would be a way of alleviating the economic inequality in the media so that the government would have money to invest in public broadcasting with diverse views. Broadcasting and cable should be available to all. I believe that people benefit more by watching programs that are not interrupted by manipulative advertisements.
The industrial age has benefited humanity in many ways by using science and technology, but now the consequences of burning fossil fuels for energy and using livestock for food in ever increasing numbers are producing so much carbon in the atmosphere that the climate has been warming up and will continue to do so unless humans learn to use more clean energy and eat fewer animals. The resulting disasters from hurricanes, storms, floods, droughts, and fires are getting worse each year and will continue to do so for decades unless humanity changes our behavior. If we do not adapt, in the future a hotter climate will reduce fresh water and make providing food and living difficult for a large human population. Many conscientious people in the world are working to reform our ways; but somehow the corrupt political system in the United States elected a president who is oblivious to this long-term emergency.
Experts recommend a major tax on all emissions of carbon such as $20 per metric ton with increases every year to discourage the use of fossil fuels and provide funds to develop clean energy and retrofit buildings to make them more efficient. Great advances are being made in improved technology of solar and wind power, but the longer we delay the worse problems will get.
We also need to improve the spiritual environment by learning to love one another. Without favoring any one organized religion I intend to apply the ethics of humanity’s greatest teachers such as Buddha, Confucius, Lao-zi, Jesus, Penn, Rousseau, Kant, Emerson, Gandhi, Dorothy Day, and Martin Luther King. I especially appeal to Christians to practice what Jesus taught and to support policies that help the poor and promote charity and peace.