The ultimate goal, which I imagined in my first blog post last October and which will take multiple elections to accomplish, is a Congress controlled by members who refuse large individual campaign contributions (over $200 per contributor, or even less) which, as the Center for Responsive Politics concluded here, here and here in the 2009-2010 election cycle, are predominately made by “business executives and professionals”—that is, the 1%.
The book discusses 12 issues presented as questions for Congressional candidates followed by a short explanation and hyperlinks for further information. Here’s the first issue in its entirety.
Candidate Question #1
Which is more important in 2012—creating jobs or cutting the deficit?
The right answer for the 99% is creating jobs. Here’s why.
According to mainstream economists, problem #1 today is lack of jobs. During 2000 when the economy was booming, 81.5 percent of working-age Americans between 25 and 54 years of age were working. In 2011 only 75.1 percent were working. Although the percent improved in early 2012, our economy still employs 6 fewer people per hundred than it should.
The US government has a lot of public debt, but what’s keeping the economy in a deep slump is all the private debt that many homeowners took on during the recent housing price bubble. (Two-thirds of 99% households own their homes.) When housing prices collapsed along with the value of retirement savings invested in the stock market, homeowners began worrying about their finances and started saving more and consuming less. Since our economy depends on consumer spending, businesses responded by cutting back on production and construction and laying off workers. Then consumers worried about jobs and spent even less, causing more layoffs.
The fastest way to create jobs in a deep slump is by government spending. Cutting the government’s budget deficit does just the opposite—it eliminates jobs.
The best way to cut the budget deficit is to restore full employment and full production, thereby increasing the government’s tax receipts from workers and businesses and reducing unemployment compensation and slump-related safety-net spending. If more adjustments are needed to balance the budget, that’s the time to make them—during the economic boom created by full employment and production, not during the slump.
Links for further information
US Bureau of Labor Statistics data on working age employment to population ratio
According to Keynes, the boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity
4 million lost their jobs in 1937-1938 when the New Deal cut spending to reduce deficit
Historically, US voter participation has been terrible, declining from 80 percent of adult citizens in 19th century Presidential election years to hardly more than 50 percent today. If we can interest some significant margin of the 99 Percenters—and I’m thinking especially of those in the 18 to 29 year old age group—in the issues that divide those who believe in Social Security, health care for all, unemployment insurance, food stamps and school lunches from those who believe in cutting taxes to the level where they support a strong military and little else, then perhaps more of the 99 Percenters will become regular voters.
If that happens, the day will come when we’ll able to replace a corrupt Congress beholden to the 1% who buy favoritism from its members with a new Congress beholden to the 99% who don’t. And then we’ll have the power to end needless subsidies of Corporate America and the 1% who control it, restore free-market capitalism with appropriate regulation to keep it transparent and competitive, balance the budget with a fair tax system, insure economic freedom for all, take care of the only planet we have to live on and recover the democracy that our Founding Fathers entrusted to us. VOTE 99 can change the world.
The book, when I get it converted to the proper format, will be published as a 99 cent Kindle book and possibly later in other formats. Aaron Nickles is developing a model web site as an integral part of VOTE 99 for local organizers to provide voters with information on the candidates running in their election district and present local requirements for registering to vote and for voting. When the site is ready, it will include a copy of the book that can be read online for free.Any suggestions for implementing VOTE 99, including how to locate local organizers and qualify them for licensing (which will be without charge) will be appreciated. You can reach me by e-mail here.