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Ethics & Religion
Column #1,939
October 18, 2018
An Agenda for the Democrats
By Mike McManus

With the possibility of winning control of both the House and Senate, what is the agenda of Democrats? I have heard no clear call for action. Though I rarely write about politics, I feel it is important to suggest political goals for Democrats seeking election:

  1. Raise minimum wage: The federal minimum is only $7.25, and has not been raised for a decade, since July, 2009. That figure is so low that a worker would only earn $290 weekly, or $15,080 a year. This is not a livable wage. Various states have set more reasonable minimums: $10.50 in Maryland, $11 in Arizona, $12 in California.  Democrats: Why not seek a $9 minimum?
  2. Reduce carbon emissions: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has called for drastic reductions of coal, oil and gas consumption in order to keep the planet from warming by excessive levels. California has taken the challenge seriously and set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. It has already hit its 2020 target! It is using energy from the sun to replace carbon emissions to produce electricity. California's new goal is to use sun power to produce 100% of its electricity by 2050. Every state should follow California's lead.
  3. Increase auto mileage: Obama set a rule for autos to average 30 miles per gallon by 2020 and 36 mpg by 2025. Trump has proposed eliminating those goals, a foolish step that Democrats should flatly oppose. Let's set a 50 mpg goal by 2040.
  4. Prohibit subsidies to cohabiting women having children. Unmarried women who give birth get about $25,000 of subsidies per year - welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, etc. Those subsidies should not go to cohabiting women who have the benefit of their partner's income. They should be targeted exclusively to single women raising children alone. America's unwed birth rate is now 40% - 20 times the 2% rate of Japan. Democrats should set a goal to cut unwed birth rates in half by 2020 which could be achieved by eliminating subsidies to cohabiting women having babes.
  5. Cut the federal deficit. In Obama's last year, the deficit was $587 billion. In Trump's first year, it grew to $666 billion. It jumped to $750 billion in 2018. That was before Trump's big tax cut fully took effect. In FY 2019, the deficit is expected to be $965 billion and $1.02 trillion in FY 2020. Democrats should call for a balanced budget with an eventual zero deficit.
  6. Hike the inheritance tax. One way to reduce the deficit is to increase the federal inheritance tax. The big tax cut passed by Trump & Congress allows a single individual to leave $11.2 million to an heir without any taxes, and $22.4 million to a couple. Reinstate the traditional inheritance tax, increasing federal income by $200 billion a year.
  7. Restore the corporate tax rate. Trump's tax cut reduced corporate taxes by $3.7 trillion. Democrats should ask that the traditional tax rate be restored, to reduce the deficit.
  8. Eliminate tax bracket simplification. Trump's tax cut simplifies tax brackets from seven tax brackets to three, costing the Treasury $1.5 trillion. Another way to cut the federal deficit is to increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans to at least the level before the Trump tax cut.
  9. Reverse voter suppression. In Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp has placed 53,000 voter registrations on "hold," because they do not precisely match information on file. An AP investigation found that 70% of them are black. It just so happens that Kemp is running for governor against Stacy Abrams, who is African-American. Due to his conflict of interest, Kemp should either drop his opposition to the registrations, and/or drop his race for governor. There are similar problems in other states. The National Democratic Committee should sue Kemp and others like him in other states who are suppressing votes of political opponents.

To summarize, Democrats need to articulate a political agenda to be elected in the fall. They should fight for a higher minimum wage, reduced carbon emissions by harnessing the power of the sun to produce electricity and by raising the mileage of autos. Democrats should also call for reducing the federal deficit by halting subsidies to cohabiting women who give birth, raising the inheritance tax and the tax on corporations.

Democrats need a credible agenda if they want to win. I have suggested what it might be.


Copyright (c) 2018 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to Hit Search for any topic.

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