As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

IL-05: A Real Live Liberal For Congress

Thomas Geoghegan announced his campaign on Daily Kos today. You're going to like his platform.

We’re deep in an economic crisis unlike any other we’ve known. It may last years. We need new and creative ways to protect working Americans, especially our older working people who have no real pensions to live on.

For years we’ve heard the doomsayers: "We can’t afford Social Security." "We can’t afford ‘single-payer’ national health." One thing we all learned from the $700 billion bail out: We’ve got the money to do all of this and more.

At the moment, the Federal Reserve is literally printing money, to give not billions but trillions to banks and financial firms. To the people of this District, the banks and others have gotten their money. Now it’s your turn. Here’s the bailout I will go to Congress to get:

First, I want to expand Social Security, our public pension system, to replace - not overnight but in stages - the private pension system which has collapsed. Social Security now pays about 38 to 39 percent of your working income. In other developed countries, it averages 65 percent. That’s where our fiscal stimulus should be: a commitment to reach this goal, a public pension that ordinary working people can live on.

Second, we have to move to single payer health care program, at least in phases: we might begin with extending Medicare to children, but the government should ultimately be the single payer for all. That’s not because single payer is the only ethical and efficient way to protect us all. No, it’s also because it is crucial to making us competitive globally. Through single payer and expanded Social Security, the goal is to pick up the "non-wage" labor costs that employers now have to pay. That’s already how other countries out-compete us: they have the government and not the private employer pick up these non-wage health and pension costs.

Unless we have government pick up the costs of pensions and health care, our companies can’t compete, and we’ll go on piling up huge trade deficits. We’ll have debacles like GM, which has collapsed in part because of the health and pension costs that the federal government should have been paying all along.

For years, the conservatives have said: "We can’t do this. The money isn’t there." Well, the money is there. It was there for the Iraq war, a colossal waste of money - and for the bailout, the first half of which has been a colossal waste as well. And if we now have the government pick up non-wage labor costs with the use of general revenues, we will in fact make it cheaper and easier for our companies to hire. This is in fact the best and most realistic approach for a long term recovery.

This is a serious leader, committed to improving the lives of working people through policy. It's the epitome of what you would want in a public servant. Plus, he'd drive conservatives crazy.

Tom's website is here. You can donate through ActBlue here. I'll be doing so today. Join me, won't you?

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