Like it or not, technological innovation has made the people of the Earth into a global community. As such, trade between countries must be fair and accessible to promote opportunity and equality. The key word here is ‘trade’, which implies that both parties will receive fair and essentially equal value of goods from the other, whether the trade is wheat or steel or clothing or machines or paper or rice. What goes on right now between countries is not technically ‘trade’, it is ‘commerce’ -- one person paying for goods from the other person and vice versa. One person may buy more things from the other, which then creates a positive on one side and a deficit to the other. This is going to happen until a true global ‘trade’ goes into effect. If Bangladesh needs steel and the US needs rice, then we would trade for fair value of each, not buying one and selling another. So please be accurate in your description: Trade, or Commerce. In the global economic environment that we currently live in, ensuring that all nations have the ability to interact with each other in order to get what each needs is necessary to the continued well-being and stability of all national populations.
A balanced budget requires an input (taxes) equal to the output (expenditures). This is going to require changes in many areas of the government if it is ever going to work. It will necessitate a massive overhaul of the US tax code to simplify and make it equitable for everyone; it will require changes to personal and business taxation; it will require us to move to a government-run health insurance program which will cut down on administrative costs by hundreds of billions of dollars per year along with a huge reduction in actual provider costs; it will require alterations to the social security program; it will mean possible changes to international commerce arrangements, and probably other areas that I cannot see at this time. In short, it will be complex almost beyond the reasoning of a single individual, and it will take significant effort and time in order to make it work. The Federal budget is extraordinarily complex. When you’ve got 325,000,000 people, an annual budget of over $4 trillion dollars, and spend more than you bring in, that means that a lot of changes are necessary. I feel that a balanced budget is a reasonable goal, but it will take the combined effort of every single legislator and every government agency in order for it to work on a long-term continual basis.
Equal Pay For Equal Work:
This should not be an issue at all. What part of 'equal' is not making sense? When two people perform 'the same job', that means that it doesn’t matter who is performing the work, the job still requires the same effort and end-results regardless of whether Bob does the work or Jane does the work. The same work means the same pay -- that seems pretty simple to understand. Again, as with any other form of inequality of men vs. women, you know there’s a problem because you don’t hear men complain that they’re being paid less than women, it’s only the other way around.
Affordable housing is an absolute necessity for any person, the same as food, water, and clothing. Without a a place to call your own, it becomes almost impossible to make a decent life for yourself. What constitutes a decent home is different in every country, some are larger and some are smaller: 500 sq. ft. in Hong Kong to almost 2500 sq. ft. in Australia (the US is #2 now at about 2400 sq. ft.). Is 2400 sq. ft. necessary for the average family? Probably not. But there are also cultural aspects to consider: Americans buy stuff and fill their homes with that stuff, necessitating a larger area to display their stuff. This is not true in all countries. Also, the US has a lot of land to spread out into, and can thus reasonably accommodate larger homes that take up more space. Affordable housing doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be of a reasonable size, have all the basic components of a house, and be of sound construction. Shelter has always been a mainstay of civilization, and it should be another of the basic provisions of a modern society. Government subsidies oftentimes help those who are of low-income in order that they may have shelter and a place to call home, where they and their family can live and play and keep all of their stuff. It allows them to come together, to rest, to study, to grow, to be a contributing part of society. Affordable housing is a must for the citizens of this District, this State, and this Nation.
Even with unemployment at a very low rate, there are still people who want to work. We must investigate plans/programs that will help these people in finding a job that will support their needs. Sometimes a given job will not be an endeavor that an individual wants to perform for a protracted period of time. That is understandable. However, having the opportunity to be able to work for a decent wage so that you can support yourself and have some left over for savings is very important for the individual and for society as a whole. Job-finding programs/agencies and funding for providing jobs that fill necessary labor requirements can make a big difference in the lives of people, and always have a positive effect on the communities in which the work is being done.
Our infrastructure must be maintained and upgraded in order to sustain the ability provide both necessary and desired services for every resident of this State. Crumbling and decaying infrastructure leads slowly and inexorably to the decline and eventual demise of a civilization. Poor fiscal policies and non-implementation of the necessary upkeep to roads, bridges, highways, airports, railways, seaports, phone/cable/electricity/water utilities will accelerate the downturn of our State and our Country, rotting from the inside-out until they collapse and catastrophically fail. This can obviously be avoided by providing the proper funding from correct and fair taxation policies in order to maintain, repair, replace, and construct new buildings, facilities, and structures along with the services necessary to run them. Funding should always be supported.
The minimum wage should be looked at every two years at the least, with the consumer price index, inflation, strength of the dollar, and the cost of living index used to maintain a steady correlation. This should also apply to those workers who currently receive below-minimum-wage pay because their job is one where tips are given. That is not acceptable, as it is simply a way for an employer to get away with paying less and keeping the difference for themselves. I imagine that the businesses that get away with this do not save the difference and give it to their employees as a bonus. This is a loophole and needs to be closed. (Please see ‘Loopholes’ under the “Taxes” section for more thoughts.)
When necessary, small businesses require proportionally more assistance than large businesses/corporations due to the correspondingly greater difference in their ability to produce capital for growth. This is another instance of the wealthy being required to pay their fair share because they can afford to. Small businesses, in order to more fully and evenly populate the overall economic landscape, should be offered more financial incentives because unlike a large company, they simply do not have the fiscal resources to come up with large cash infusions for equipment, buildings, land, and other overhead expenses that they will be able to deal with more effectively as they grow their business. As the business increases its income, the incentives should slowly decrease in order to use those monies for other up-and-coming companies.
Economic regulation is necessary in order to level the playing field, and to attempt to prevent large-scale failures such as the mortgage/housing crisis, auto-makers bailouts, and bank bailouts. Regulation is necessary simply because the driving force behind all business is money, and whether it is Deutschmarks, drachmas, or dollars does not matter -- unregulated capitalism is its own worst enemy. It is far better for humans and the Earth if there are regulations in place to curb rampant, unchecked money-making enterprises because without them, the land is quickly pillaged of all its resources, the seas and the air are choked with pollution, and there is nothing left to make any money on. So, proper regulation -- policies and laws and practices that combine the best methods in which people and industry can co-exist in the same areas without permanently damaging the environment from whence the money actually is derived from -- actually helps maintain the ability of money-making enterprises to continue on, thus providing people with jobs, keeping the environment from being overrun, and giving everyone the opportunity to be better off than they would be without regulation. Therefore, I support proper regulation because well-thought-out regulations actually help to support and boost any conceivable activity, and they promote positive results with productive outcomes.
Jobs are created through an intersection of education, opportunity, economic development, proper taxation, equitable funds distribution, job necessity, and interconnectedness between various types of businesses and the people that supply the labor. There are enough jobs right now, without creating any additional positions or labor markets, to supply everyone who actually wants to work with one. However, not all of these jobs are going to be what those people may want to do: Vegetable/fruit picker, garbage/recyclable sorter, boiler scrubber, janitorial work, grocery store clerk/stocker, factory work, and on and on. There are choices to be made -- do I really want to work and earn a wage even if that job is something that is entirely disliked, or am I going to instead complain that ‘There are no jobs...’ while leaving off the rest of the remark -- ‘...that I want to do’. There are also jobs available for non-entry-level positions that require either some additional schooling or previous experience. Then there are the top-level jobs in all categories, be it blue-collar or white-collar, that require higher degrees and specialized training, usually with some actual experience. However, there is also the possibility that job creation could be combined with infrastructure spending by having the Federal Government creating worker programs for all of the restoration, rebuilding, and improvement to our national infrastructure -- everything from basic laborers to engineers. A lot of the country’s modern infrastructure was built by various government agencies created after the Great Depression in order to build everything from parks to roads and bridges to massive dams. There is no reason that similar programs could not be brought to fruition in order to re-invigorate almost every aspect of our economy. They could be tied to schooling and on-the-job training; it would also be a way for immigrants to be able to get their permanent Visa and eventually become legal citizens -- they could take ESL classes and citizenship classes (which should be streamlined a bit) while working and possibly learning a trade or being able to have on-site training for skilled labor.
Economic development is best accomplished by using the money generated from taxes to fund the programs that will best improve the ability of all citizens to contribute to the overall economic picture. Eco-development is tied to the availability of jobs and a workforce capable of performing those jobs. That is then connected to education which provides the knowledge necessary to arm the workforce with the ability to fill a given job. A workforce needs affordable housing; they also need top-quality healthcare available when it is required. In the big picture, economic development is circle that has its beginning at opportunity: The opportunity to live a decent life without the threat of crime or poverty or disease, a place to call home, a good education that can enable a person to succeed as far as their ability will take them, and the opportunity to provide those same things to their children and the society in which we all live.