As your President, we can accomplish our agenda, together, before the hour is too late:
First, ensure American working families succeed:
Empower workers’ with paid family and medical leave benefits, and also Child Care, that has a modest fee for families who are between 75 and 150% of state median income, but not below 75%. Address the critical need for Early Childhood Education by funding it for all 4 year olds. And tackle the mounting crisis in the lack of affordable housing, establishing a tax-free savings account for lower- middle income families to set aside a down payment for a first home – much as we do for education savings accounts today for our children.
Moreover, in our ever-changing world, we must restructure our education – our real homeland defense — with a national commitment to “Training for a Life-time” of our workforce. We do it in the military because technology changes so rapidly. But in America, we spend close to nothing on labor training – less than all other developed countries. This transformation must be a joint private-public venture that invests in the training infrastructure both workers and employers jointly need to succeed. A national apprenticeship program will be one key to the restructuring so that needed skills are acquired — and continuously reacquired. Such a pathway will be facilitated with government-backed loans and tax breaks.
Second, revive America’s global economic leadership:
America can only lead Meanwhile, the Federal Government should not be making a profit on student college loans — $127 billion this decade — because the loan rate is wrongly based on the 10-year Treasury bond. Basing it on the rate where government makes no profit from students, significantly lowers the cost of college. Moreover, nearly 40% of students transfer colleges, but nearly half of their courses are not accepted between accredited colleges, thereby raising costs. We must establish a national, credit transfer system.the global economy if we have the best infrastructure. Roads, airports, rail, seaports, internet connectivity, water systems need $1 trillion in investments over 10 years; otherwise, it will be 1 ½ times that in congestion costs if we do nothing. There will be an infrastructure bank for loans for public-private ventures; a Build American Bonds program; an expansion of the New Markets Tax Credit for underserved communities; and vital wireless infrastructure.
We must engage the world, smartly, on immigration reform, similar to what I supported in past bi-partisan efforts by Senators McCain and Kennedy. Yes, we must protect our borders, no question, but we must also protect our economy. The large Baby Boom generation is rapidly retiring and without immigration America will suffer a population death spiral like Japan. Some immigration programs will expand under this reform – uncapping green cards for spouses and unmarried children, employment-based visas for skilled and unskilled workers, and exempting caps on foreigners with STEM graduate degrees. Some shrink, but with a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and justified increases on border security – all together, adding 6 million jobs.
Third, fix our health care system. It must provide affordable and comprehensive coverage, including for pre-existing conditions.
Fixing the system means restoring the Affordable Care Act, while advancing it with a public option within its basket of choices — as I voted for in Congress before it was removed. Let its success in cost and quality serve as the incentive for the eventual transition of choice to single payer. But health security also begins in one’s home … and for 255 million Americans, a private health insurance company supports them each in some way, today. When our daughter’s brain cancer came back last year, we were fortunate to have Alex’s same “medical heroes” who had saved her once, save her again – including a doctor who came out of retirement to do the intricate brain surgery. How one treats people in the transition to take care of them matters, particularly with an enormous healthcare change such as to single payer.
– Allow Medicare to bargain for the best drug prices directly with the pharmaceutical industry.
– Permit re-importation of less expensive drugs from Canada, while stopping name pharmaceuticals from “paying-for-the-the-delay” of cheaper generic drugs.
– Remedy our doctor shortage, particularly primary care physicians as we change to integrated care.
– And fix our broken mental health system beginning with enforcing the Mental Health Parity Act.
Fourth, support the key to our economic success – small businesses.
A majority of Americans work in companies with fewer than 50 employees and these are the companies that fuel the bulk of our job growth. However, today, there are only half as many start-ups as there were in 1977. Small businesses need start-up funding through tax incentives for investors; an Export-Import Bank focused on the exports of small businesses, not Big Boeing. We need to smartly slope down regulation for small business whose regulatory costs are 40% higher than that of large corporations; and have the Small Business Administration target growing women and minority entrepreneurs through local community banks and credit unions.
My proposals are paid for. We will not add to our nation’s deficit and debt. Our fiscal situation is already precarious.
We will implement common-sense Tax Reform for the $2 trillion required, reducing by half the current Administration’s 40% corporate tax cut; returning the Administration’s estate tax cut for America’s 400 wealthiest families back to what it was in 2009; taxing Wall Street hedge fund managers as ordinary income earners just like our soldiers overseas, and everyone else; and requiring those who make more than $250,000 to pay their fair share to keep Social Security solvent for our seniors.
For our middle and low-income families, change the Administration’s tax law so it doesn’t raise their taxes in seven years as planned, and also increase their standard tax deduction.
Finally, I will restore U.S. leadership.
We must return to a values-based liberal world order by revitalizing diplomatic engagement that convenes the world for two primary objectives: Putting a brake on Climate Change and putting an End to an Illiberal World Order’s injustices:
First, climate change. We need environmental security that begins to put the brakes on climate change because the next few years may be the most important in human history. We must not just rejoin, but actually lead the Paris Agreement to collectively increase and enforce national commitments. We ourselves must:
Eliminate our dependency on carbon fuels by the efficient incentives of the marketplace. The increase in prices by a fee placed on fossil fuel producers that periodically increases, will be refunded to every citizen.
Invest a portion of the carbon fees into research and development, such as ensuring a cost-efficient way to scale up available technology to remove as much CO2 from the air as humans are putting there.
Ratify the Kigali Accord to stop the emissions of hydro fluorocarbon refrigerants that are 1000 times worse than CO2. If today’s most efficient air conditioners become the international standard, it will be equivalent to reforesting 2/3’s of the Amazon. This is particularly important as only 8% of people in the tropics have air conditioning – but soon, most will.
Stop tax subsidies to fossil fuel corporations that create few jobs, and provide them to the growing green energy sector that will create millions of jobs. This was one of the reasons I called for a moratorium on natural gas fracking in Pennsylvania while running for the U.S. Senate.
There is more we will do, from increasing fuel efficiency standards to incentives for repair — not constant replacement — of our consumer devices, such as smart phones.
And second, put an end to an illiberal world order’s injustices by ensuring accountability for a rules-based global order. To do so, we must:
Regain respected U.S. leadership of international alliances and organizations – from collective security and trade; economic development and human rights, to those of technical standards and monetary stability. Focus particularly on Latin America, Africa and Asia’s developing economies to help bind them to our values and rules of fair trade, not China’s totalitarianism. We must join the Asian Trans-Pacific Partnership but with fair, transparent intellectual property enforcement that serves our people, not corporations.
Re-join the Iranian Nuclear Accord that had disarmed the nuclear threat of Iran. Breaking America’s word on the deal when Iran kept theirs is unforgiveable. Strikes on Iran to destroy a deeply buried nuclear infrastructure would take weeks to months as Iran can instantaneously rain hundreds of missiles on Israel and our regional bases, close the Straits of Hormuz and 20% of the word’s oil supply. After the strikes, Iran can rebuild it all again within four years. Iraq is our lesson to remember: militaries can stop a problem, but militaries don’t fix a problem – it was the diplomatic nuclear accord that rid Iran of its nuclear weapon making capability.
We also must:
Work with the collective effort of our allies to deter the injustices of autocratic values, whether in trade, illegal territorial claims, human rights, territorial aggression or digital tracking of people, to which China’s Uighur citizens are subjected – and soon the world under a China-owned 5G network.
This involves restructuring the corporate commons in order to secure the commons of cyberspace for our personal privacy rights, and for our commercial and national security. This includes where hi-tech supply parts are to be manufactured; appropriate export control, licensing and collaboration for new dual-use technologies such as artificial intelligence; government impetus for key technology development and manufacturing such as for the 5G network to regain American security dominion; and enforcement of the rule that personal data belongs to a person, not to a corporation or government. Real cyber security will also add 2 million jobs by stopping China’s intellectual property theft of $300 billion each year.
And finally — immediately — transform our military from a more expensive platform-centric force structure to a more effective capabilities-based force posture centered upon cyber and sensors, among other emergent capabilities. This is a belated transformation where our military is to be measured by its capability, not its numbers. We can no longer command the commons of the seas and air, without command of the commons of cyberspace.
There is much more, from serving our veterans to reducing recidivism; from standing with our valued seniors to equal rights for all, no matter race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation or any other discrimination.
And while my announcement may be later than others for the honor of seeking the Presidency, the decision to delay was so I would be there with our daughter after her brain cancer had returned – as she courageously refaced that dreadful disease. Throughout this past year, Alex again showed she is stronger than me, heroically beating the single digit odds once more, drawing on the fortitude of her Mom. For Susan has taught me much, including in her work in international environmental issues, from Kazakhstan to Mozambique; Russian relations, even into Soviet Union archives as U.S. teams still search for clues to our missing POW/MIAs, and on suicide prevention for the Veterans Administration and the Defense Department.
Alex’s recurrent diagnosis necessarily prevented an update of my book — “Walking in Your Shoes to Restore the American Dream” – this past year. But with my website, it lays out a vision to lead the nation, that is plotted with courses of action based on fact, to serve the needs and wants of all Americans. It is one for which I can be held accountable for results — the essence of leadership.
The Navy, Congress, and teaching two courses, including one on Ethical Leadership at six universities, served to shape this vision. As did service at non-profits for refugees; the reduction of nuclear weapons; and training within poor neighborhoods. Finally, I had the enjoyment of convening the youth of the world from nearly 160 nations at Constitution Hall in Washington DC for the inaugural robotics Olympics highlighting the need for global STEM education, as teams from the Congo to Iran, a Syrian refugee team and an all-girls Afghan Muslim team showed we have more in common in the world than we do differences.
Most important, Americans know that we ourselves have more in common than we do differences. I know; I served with all of you in the global canvas of our Navy, and served all of you as a Congressman. And now, as President, I will need all of you to help answer the call for America’s leadership to restore a just world order so it serves us by raising our collective good, here at home – done by my gaining your trust that I will always remain accountable to you, alone.