The United States is in a state of health, economic, and social crisis unlike any seen since the years between the onset of the Great Depression and the end of World War 2. Democrats and Republicans are jointly responsible for our failure to prepare emergency systems, and neither have any plan for how to end the crisis and emerge onto a road back to stability, let alone freedom and prosperity. Contrary to the myth that our problems are caused by their refusal to cooperate, they have collaborated perfectly to bring us to ruin, and prevent us from getting back up again. Now more than ever, we need to reject the politics of obscene profit to people and institutions of great wealth, all of which are doing better than ever, and try something different. We’ve done it successfully during hard times in the past, and we need to do it again. There must be no politics as usual until we are restored to safety and prosperity, with sustainability and resilience prioritized over profit.
In New York’s 19th District, there is a candidate, someone with whom you are familiar from emergency preparedness and response, activism, and elections, who has previously offered plans that could have eased the impact of the emergency, and is now offering concrete proposals to emerge from it — the only such proposals of any candidate in the race for the 19th’s House seat. Steve Greenfield is a veteran volunteer firefighter, a two-term School Board member, an experienced, successful advocate of legislation through many years of service in the Ulster County Volunteer Firefighters Association, the New York State School Boards Association, and as Chair of the New Paltz Central School District Legislative Action Committee, as well as an Eagle Scout, and an independent contractor going back to his first job as a morning bicycle delivery boy for the Daily News when he was 15. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Columbia — a knowledge base much more urgently needed in Congress today than that of a corporate lawyer, as both major parties have once again nominated in NY-19. He is married and the father of three teenagers, and lives in a small ranch house in New Paltz.
Greenfield’s motto is simple: Cut the crap and solve the problem. The prescription is simple and effective.
THE TEN POINT PLAN:
- Full public health insurance. There is no excuse for continuing the high-risk, now devastating practice of attaching health insurance to unemployment. It’s bad enough having job uncertainty without families losing health care and their life savings during economic downturns. We should all be fed up with the coordination between private insurance companies and Democrats and Republicans that kills 68,000 Americans per year, and produces health outcomes at the bottom of the industrialized world at two to three times the cost per capita. A country with A $20 trillion dollar GDP that’s spending $4 trillion per year on health care should be ashamed of the results we’re producing. Cut the crap and solve the problem.
- Full direct public employment and local contracting in the creation of clean energy infrastructure, and remediating toxic waste, for as long as necessary. We can, and must, solve unemployment, pollution, climate change, and having our national security tied to finite resources in foreign countries, all at the same time. Cut the crap and solve the problem.
- End all our wars. 19 years is 19 years too many for wars that were not defensive, and intended only to secure fossil fuels we should no longer be burning. Follow the Constitution and restrict all wars to defensive ones declared by Congress, reduce military spending to levels appropriate for a defensive policy, and apply the research budget and technical expertise to medical and energy solutions. Cut the crap and solve the problem.
- Break up the monopolies. Markets cannot function when all principal sectors are monopolized. That’s basic capitalist economics. Entrepreneurs cannot start up — before COVID-19, we already had a 90% failure rate for new businesses. Small business and agriculture cannot survive as long as prices are being set on terms set by vast monopolies in the boardrooms of commodities exchanges in New York and Chicago, subsidized with our taxes and armed forces by the servants they’ve purchased in Washington. Cut the crap and solve the problem.
- A New Green Revolution. The reason 19th District family agriculture is near extinction is because industrial agriculture monopolies are destroying the Earth with petrochemical insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, causing dead zones, algae blooms, diseased livestock and finished products, and cancer — along with prices too low for small, environmentally friendly agriculture to compete. Stimulate permaculture farming and regional distribution. Allow immigrant labor to permanently reside where their work is needed. Abolish ICE. Cut the crap and solve the problem.
- Improve public education and expand it to include technical employment training, college, and graduate and professional schooling. Relieve existing student debt. We rank lowest in the industrialized world in social mobility, meaning where we’re born is where we stay, and barriers to education are the prime cause — as well as the prime cause of so many of our successful industries hiring from overseas. Cut the crap and solve the problem.
- Legalize marijuana, end the war on drugs, and provide safe housing and treatment to addicts. This is no trivial matter. Our existing approach costs us hundreds of billions of dollars a year in unnecessary policing, prosecution, and incarceration, which is an endless cycle of recidivism of crimes in support of addiction, unemployability, attractiveness of street gangs over schools for children, and the financing of domestic and worldwide criminal institutions, and their corrupting influence on law enforcement and government at home and abroad. Most drug laws had racist motives at their start, particularly marijuana, and are racistly enforced. We very sensibly ended alcohol prohibition after only 13 years, at the peak of the Great Depression. Not having acted for 80 years now, and surely no longer in a position to pay for its continuance, end marijuana prohibition immediately, and release all people incarcerated for it, and expunge their records so they can go back to full employability. Cut the crap and solve the problem.
- To whatever degree it remains after doing all this, which won’t be much, end poverty. Assign the resources needed to end it. It’s much less money, far more humane, and far less racist, than what we do now to confine and police it. Every area in which we run at the bottom of high-wealth nations would go straight to the top just by eliminating poverty. Cut the crap and solve the problem.
- Tax billionaires and giant corporations. Most of them pay little to nothing, many get rebates, and none of them pay a quarter as much as a percentage of their income as you pay on yours. How are you doing right now? How optimistic are you about your and your children’s future? Jeff Bezos and his ex-wife have made around $100 billion dollars since the shut-down began. You’re not regaining your income or your future until you get it back from them. This isn’t a left-right thing. We all know this in our bones. We can’t get blood from a stone, and we have to stop electing people who refuse to get it anywhere but from us. We’ve been drained. TAX THE RICH. Cut the crap and solve the problem.
- End all barriers to small parties and independent candidates entering elections. The most devastating monopolized industry in this country is government. It may appear to be a duopoly, which would be bad enough, but if you look at campaign finance records, you can see that we do not have left and right parties, but one rampaging Wall Street bull, with the Democrats and Republicans as the left and right cheeks of its butt. When minor party and independent candidates manage to get on the ballot, VOTE FOR US. We’re not on anyone’s payroll. We don’t get told how we’re voting by Nancy Pelosi, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell, and Chuck Schumer — who in turn are told by their donors and lobbyists. OUR ONLY PARTY BOSS IS YOU. Cut the crap and solve the problem.