I started this blog hoping to shed light on possible ways the Democratic Party could "frame" their most important issues. Market them basically. That hasn't happened, with or without my help. But you also can't frame...nothing. Where's the platform? Here are a few ideas I've been kicking around:
1. Long Term Plans: Lacking a strong definable vision has forced Democrats waffle, compromise and just give up on highly popular polling issues. It's true that voters are drawn to vocal advocates who are unafraid to fight for their cause. Right now I can't think of one.
2. Before Tax Reform, GOP needs to Pay off their Credit Card: This is a painful truth; Republicans must bear the consequences and raise taxes to pay off their massive unfunded spending during the Bush years. When Bush came in, the debt was just under $6 trillion. Our projected surpluses at the time were earmarked to pay that down. But the insane GOP policy of returning surpluses to taxpayers eliminated that. Raising taxes for 5 to 10 years might not be popular, but blame the party that got us here. We're talking debt reduction, and not debt elimination.
3. Admit it, we're a Service Economy Now: The debate over the minimum wage is ridiculous now that we're a global economy. It's time Democrats restructure working wages to reflect the new economy. Much of our manufacturing has shifted overseas, and turned us into a "service economy." But wages in the service industry were always too low. That now has to painfully change, along with the way we think about entry level jobs. The whole idea stumps Republicans.
4. The Focus on Free Markets ignores the Labor Markets: Like any marketplace, trends and demand changes over time, and that includes the price of labor. With all the strikes and debate about the minimum wage, the "labor market" is telling us change is needed. Even China is increasing wages and benefits under the pressure of the "labor market."
5. A Generational Shift away from the Military Industrial Complex: Military spending is outrageously wasteful. If people only knew. Lean and mean should the goal. Tech changes so fast multi-year contracts are outdated in just a few years. So cities and communities around the U.S. built around military manufacturing should be phased out over 20 or 30 years, basically a generation, to soften the blow and allow newer industries to move in. It's a goal to shoot for.
6. Low cost Single Payer Health Care: Let's save money and save lives with an idea that's so good, every other industrialized country is doing it. The argument "government is too big" or "government has no business getting between a patient and their doctor" has always been a purely ideological one, that is utterly untrue and irrelevant. Shopping for actual treatment is impossible because there are so many different kinds of doctors and treatments. Who shops for an anesthesiologist, and are they in your plan? Is the clinic covered? A few problems I paid dearly for myself.
7. Subsidize emerging Green Energies: If big oil got subsidies, and still does, then solar and wind deserve that same opportunity to grow, with a review process every 5 year or so. Is there anyone who truly doesn't see this shift coming?
8. Create Regional Business Hubs around the Country: High speed rail was just one element of tying Chicago to Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee. My brother and his older son both commute from Illinois to Kenosha everyday. What a huge missed opportunity to create a regional Industrial Goliath.