A NEW PERSPECTIVE FOR OUR FUTURE
Michael is running to represent Florida's 27th Congressional District, the heart of South Florida. He is FIGHTING TO:
- Create pathways to success from Universal Pre-K to tuition free public higher education.
- Build a 21st Century Economy fueled by Living Wage Jobs and resilient communities.
- Provide healthcare for all: ZERO Co-pays, ZERO Deductible, vision coverage included.
- Strengthen and expand Social Security Security Benefits.
- Invest in major infrastructure development and improvements to our mass transit systems.
- End mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline.
We, the American people, have everything we need to reverse our economic decline and achieve prosperity for all our citizens; we have 320 million amazing people, vast natural resources, the best universities in the world, and an economy abundant with capital and innovation.
The only thing standing in our way is the corrupt and complacent political establishment. We know that America can do what is necessary to bring about true liberty and justice for all: reinvest in American industry, repair our crumbling infrastructure, rekindle our struggling schools, build an all-renewable energy system, eliminate burdensome regulations, rebuild our broken healthcare system, reform our unjust criminal justice system and restore the promise of democracy.
REBUILD OUR ECONOMY
America has fallen into a long-term, economic decline. Wages have been stagnant since the 1970s. Over the past 4 decades, America has lost millions of high-wage jobs and failed to replace them, leaving many American workers with a low-paying service job or no job at all.
To reverse this economic decline once and for all, we need to kick-start new high-wage industries, modernize old industries, build a 100% renewable energy economy, repair our crumbling infrastructure and rebuild local communities. We need to:
REBUILD AMERICAN INDUSTRY
During and after World War II, America experienced unprecedented economic growth. From 1940 - 1945, the American economy more or less doubled in size every year. At the end of the war, the U.S. had many new massive and modern industries producing everything from steel, aluminum, automobiles and ships, to plastics, machine tools, electronics and pharmaceuticals. The economy we built during the war provided middle class, high-wage jobs to half of America for three generations. We can, and must, do the same thing again today. Our plan calls for kick-starting new high-wage, high-value industries and modernizing existing industries — which will create millions of new jobs, lift wages and grow the economy all at the same time.
BUILD THE INEVITABLE, CHEAP, RENEWABLE ENERGY ECONOMY IN 10 YEARS
Our current energy system is costly, inefficient, and unsustainable. Unlike oil, coal and natural gas, the sun and wind can provide us with a virtually infinite supply of energy — millions of times more energy than we could ever possibly use. Building an all-renewable energy system will require a massive investment at first — just like the American highway system did back in the 1950s — but once it’s built, maintaining our new energy system will be far cheaper than the expensive energy system we have today.
INVEST THE $4.6 TRILLION NEEDED TO REPAIR OUR COUNTRY’S CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE
We need to fund the national and state agencies that oversee our major roads, bridges, dams and more for the projects they have been begging to start for decades. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that $4.6 trillion is needed to get America’s infrastructure back up to par. Much of this is straightforward “shovel ready” work that can be started right away. The rest requires planning across the private and public sector. In an age when bridges regularly collapse and levee's break, our infrastructure plan will save lives and keep the American economy going!
PRESERVE OUR ENVIRONMENT
We need to protect the Environment Protection Agency and access to their "Endangerment Findings" and adequately fund and implement recommendations. We need to cut U.S. Carbon pollution by 40 percent in the next 20 years and transition towards a nuclear free clean energy system for our electricity, transportation and heating options - South Florida should be leading the charge. We must address the climate change crisis that faces us all and proactively implement mitigation and adaptation initiatives to confront the challenges coming our way due to the sea level rising, global warming, climate change gentrification, and potential threats to our national security.
PROVIDE A TUITION-FREE EDUCATION TO QUALIFIED STUDENTS AT ALL PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES, COLLEGES, AND TRADE SCHOOLS
If you meet the academic requirements, you go for free. This is not a new concept — before the 1980s, many public American universities provided a tuition-free education to all qualified students. Today, most industrialized countries do the exact same thing. If we want to rebuild our economy and encourage innovation in America, we need a highly-educated and highly-skilled workforce. Saddling students with debt is not only destructive to students’ futures, it also slows and depresses our economy.
RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE TO $15/HOUR — AND TIE IT TO INFLATION
Adjusted for inflation, today’s $7.25/hour minimum wage is actually $4 lower than the minimum wage of 50 years ago. No one can survive in America today on $7.25/hour, especially if they are trying to raise a family. We need to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour, tie it to inflation, and encourage states and local governments to increase the minimum wage further in places with higher costs of living. This will help millions of workers make it to the middle class, which is good for workers and good for local businesses — because the larger the American middle class, the more customers there are to buy products and services.
MAKE SPECIAL INVESTMENTS IN COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE BEEN DEVASTATED OVER PAST DECADES
Due to regional, racial and sectoral divides, millions of Americans have been left behind. Some communities never made it into the middle class while others joined momentarily before being thrown back out. If we are to be one nation, we need to make special investments in all the communities that have made extraordinary sacrifices for America, but have been left behind with nothing. This includes regions and communities such as Rural America, Coal-Mining America, Rust Belt America, Black America, Latino America, Native Americans’ America and many others.
We need to provide grants to counties, towns, cities and rural areas to fund and finish long-overdue local projects such as building community centers, removing crumbling buildings, renovating downtown's, just to name a few. Our grants will help local communities rebuild with dignity and self-determination instead of displacement and gentrification.
FIX THE HEALTHCARE MESS
Everyone knows health care in America is broken. It was broken before Obamacare, and it is still broken. Millions of people still have to pay for insurance they can’t afford to use because deductibles are so high. Millions are still left without coverage and costs are skyrocketing for everyone.
There has always been a simple solution to our health care mess: cover everyone with Medicare.
Private insurance companies have been allowed by generations of corrupt politicians to become monopolies with the power to extort many hundreds of billions of dollars from the American people each year. The health insurance industry spent $150 billion dollars last year in lobbying expenses alone, to protect their monopolies — money that could have been spent on providing care and saving lives. Our Medicare for All plan will provide all Americans with Medicare, increase the number of doctors and care facilities and stop Big Pharma from gouging American consumers.
PROVIDE ALL AMERICANS WITH HEALTHCARE THROUGH MEDICARE
This will include high-quality general, dental, vision, and mental health coverage. Medicare is more efficient than any private insurance provider and is accepted by 95% of doctors. Under our plan, private insurance companies will be allowed to compete with each other in a truly free market to offer supplemental insurance plans.
INCREASE THE NUMBER OF DOCTORS, CLINICS AND HOSPITALS
We have a shortage of doctors and health care facilities in America today. In rural areas, it can be almost impossible to see even a general practitioner let alone a specialist. The American Medical Association currently restricts the number of doctors who are admitted to medical school and the number of foreign trained doctors who can be certified to practice in America. They do this to ensure higher salaries for doctors. We believe doctors are incredibly valuable members of our communities and economy and should be paid well — and they should not have to create shortages to raise their wages!
STOP THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY FROM GOUGING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
The pharmaceutical industry, or “Big Pharma,” gouges the American people because the government forbids Medicare from negotiating drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Under our plan, this regulation will be eliminated and Medicare will be allowed to negotiate the best possible prices for the American people.
INVEST IN INNOVATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAMS TO DEVELOP NEW LIFE-SAVING DRUGS
Not only does Big Pharma gouge the American people, but it also spends the vast majority of its profits on advertising and lobbying — not on developing new, life-saving drugs as it should. In fact, Big Pharma is scaling back drug development so much that most new drugs and other treatments are developed at small pharma companies, startups and university research programs. We will launch several competitive drug development programs that will invest in innovative research efforts already underway. These investments and programs will operate out of established organizations such as the National Institutes of Health. Not only will this directly produce more life-saving drugs, but it will also incentivize Big Pharma to stop spending so much on advertising, and start investing more in what they should — developing new and better drugs that will save lives.
KEEP ABORTION LEGAL AND SAFE FOR ALL WOMEN — WHILE LOWERING INSTANCES OF ABORTIONS
This is about people over politics... We need to fight to support keeping abortion legal and safe for all women, while advocating for programs to reduce the total number of unwanted pregnancies through better access to education, family planning, birth control, economic alternatives and more. I recognize that economic issues often play a large role in a woman's decision to seek abortion in the first place, so we need to address those underlying economic issues. Fundamentally, this is an issue of giving women and families the freedom to listen to their consciences and make their own health decisions, while providing them with the best possible alternatives to seeking abortion.
END MASS INCARCERATION
America imprisons more of its own people than any other nation in the world. Even as the crime rate is on a steady decline, incarceration rates continue to climb. Incarceration rates are skewed in favor of targeting minorities with longer sentences and higher arrest rates.
This trend has left devastation in its wake, as more and more Americans find themselves unemployable and disenfranchised after serving their time. Children and partners lose their parents and loved ones to the system, perpetuating negative social and economic outcomes. I will work to attack this crisis through four important lenses:
END THE SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE
Many children go to schools with aggressive zero-tolerance disciplinary practices, which are directly tied to Congressional funding requirements. These policies often result in suspension or expulsion for students with disciplinary issues — pushing them out of school and into the criminal justice system. Not only does this leave children without the resources they need to succeed, but it also creates antagonism between children and authority figures, contributing to the likelihood of their incarceration.
EXPAND AND DEFEND DUE PROCESS PROTECTIONS
It's time to call for expanding protection and definition of the rights of prisoners, probationers, parolees and students. For prisoners, we will work to further define prisoners’ right to counsel at the Federal level and provide state funding for competent counsel to the indigent, and ensure a timely process for the evaluation of cases so that people do not spend longer than 6 months without being convicted. We will also push for legal changes to further expand and protect the right of all Americans to vote, repeal the exception to the 13th Amendment and provide prisoners the same labor rights we will expand for unions. Part of this due process expansion will come with further services for prisoners with needs. Additionally, a major priority will be to increase prison facility standards, thereby curbing the inhumane treatment of prisoners. The rights of probationers and parolees must be guarded as well. For example, while the Supreme Court requires minimal due process rights for arresting and formal revocation of parole and probation, their right to an attorney is non-existent, except under certain circumstances. Additionally, in the granting of parole, full due process guarantees are not required. We must change this through legislation in order to guarantee people have a fair shot at their second chance.
END POLICE MILITARIZATION AND IMPROVE OVERSIGHT
We will work to ensure that the government stops stocking local police departments military-grade weapons. Instead, we need to fund police departments to implement proven community policing practices under civilian governing boards. Our military functions under direct civilian control — so should law enforcement.
RETURN JUDICIAL DISCRETION TO JUDGES
Judicial discretion has eroded due to the politicization of law enforcement. Loss of discretion means that judges are compelled to deliver sentences that are often harsher than the crime committed. If discretion is given back to the courts, judges may have greater latitude in delivering a sentence that gives an individual in the system a chance to get his or her life back on track, rather than waste away in prison for years. We need to return this discretion by first removing mandatory minimums both prospectively and retroactively. The Sentencing Commission has done all it can in adjusting sentencing guidelines and showing that retroactive relief does not impact public safety. Now Congress must act to obtain meaningful reform by eliminating mandatory sentencing requirements. We need to move away from mandatory minimum sentences that focus on penalizing non-violent offenders. We need to also decriminalize non-violent federal offenses while promoting greater guidance and review of criminal regulations promulgated by federal agencies, in order to guard against federal overreach.
FIGHT FOR FAMILIES
American families are struggling. 40% of Americans face the impossible task of raising their families on less than $20,000 per year. Millions of young people’s lives are ruined by broken schools and a broken K-12 education system. Here’s our plan to help families live better lives:
SUPPORT PARENTS, CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
We need to expand the earned income tax credit by $1 trillion for families raising children. In addition, we need to make 6 months of family leave available to all parents — both women and men. We will also build and fund a new network of childcare centers.
FIX AMERICA’S BROKEN SCHOOLS
America contains thousands of the best schools in the world — and thousands of the worst schools in the world. Millions of young people’s lives are being ruined in those broken schools. Fixing schools is not rocket science and does not require a cultural revolution — it’s a management task. A range of evidence-based best practices covering teaching methods, teacher training and school discipline have been demonstrated to work over and over again.
EXPAND AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Paying more than 50% of your disposable income to cover housing cost is absurd - if you're actually able to find an affordable place to live in the first place. Research studies have shown that more than 7 Million American Households are not able to find a place that they can afford. I will aggressively support all efforts to make major investments into our National Affordable Housing Trust Fund (HTF). Our Congress needs to act and allocate billions of dollars each year to rehabilitate, develop, and preserve millions of rental units, in order to increase our housing stock within the next five years. Federal Housing Production Programs need to be funded in new innovative ways; developers in the business of building affordable housing need to permanently keep those subsidized housing units affordable for decades to come; and we must push forward implementation of Community Land Trust concepts and so much more.
SUPPORT OUR MILITARY
It's time to fully support the men and women who have stood and currently stand on guard to protect us... We need to fully fund and expand the VA, so every Veteran receives the care that he or she has earned and deserves. I will advocate for expanding mental health services for Veterans, increase support for our military families and a more hands-on-approach towards providing employment, affordable housing and career development opportunities for our service members and their spouses.
DEFEND AND STRENGTHEN SOCIAL SECURITY - "THE PEOPLES PENSION"
With almost half of our workers between the ages of 55 to 64 not having access to a viable retirement savings – protecting social security is more important than ever. I will fight to make sure every benefit owed to every eligible American is paid out to them. I will advocate for Social Security expansion and increases to monthly payout amounts, and increases for cost of living adjustments. I will also proactively seek to improve the Disability Benefits Eligibility process, in order to decrease wait times, so our fellow Americans can receive the assistance and support that they need.
CLEAN UP WASHINGTON D.C.
ELIMINATE REGULATIONS THAT TILT THE PLAYING FIELD IN FAVOR OF BIG BUSINESSES OVER SMALL BUSINESSES
We need to establish a department in the small business administration that identifies burdensome regulations that are strangling the potential of America’s small businesses. This department will make recommendations to Congress for which regulations to repeal. One example of a program that currently favors big businesses over small businesses is America’s system of employer-based health insurance. Big businesses can afford massive HR departments to administer and manage a vast, complex stew of health insurance plans for their employees — but small businesses cannot. With our Medicare For All plan, we will eliminate the employer-based health insurance system, freeing up small businesses to grow their business, raise wages, innovate, and compete with big businesses on a fairer playing field.
CUT TAXES FOR MIDDLE AND LOWER INCOME AMERICANS AND SIMPLIFY THE TAX CODE
Middle and working class people pay a higher tax rate than wealthy people when you add up all the sales, property, local and other taxes and fees that Americans pay. Our plan will lower taxes and provide tax rebates and refunds to working and middle class people. While we’re at it, we will eliminate the need to file federal taxes, which is an unnecessary nuisance for millions of Americans — especially since, for regular W2 employees, the government already knows how much you owe. We will work with state tax agencies to eliminate filing for state and local taxes. Our plan will bring U.S. corporate taxes into line with global norms, then offer amnesty for U.S. wealth and profits stashed in tax havens. We will slash tax loopholes and giveaways throughout the tax code: they overwhelmingly benefit big business over small business.
GET MONEY OUT OF POLITICS ONCE AND FOR ALL
We need to reform our electoral system to create a more perfect democracy: This will include removing money from politics, getting rid of the electoral college, investigating alternative voting systems such as ranked choice voting, and making election day a national holiday. In addition, we must improve the actual mechanics of voting to make it easier to vote and to defend against electoral fraud.
REFORM OUR IMMIGRATION SYSTEM
Today, the United States, for almost the only time in our history, has net-negative immigration — because decent paying jobs are drying up. Our plan to reverse America’s economic decline and rebuild our country is going to demand huge numbers of new workers. Our economy will once again be begging for new immigrants. We believe that immigration makes America stronger — it always has. Here is our plan to reform our nation’s broken immigration system:
CREATE A SWIFT AND SECURE ROADMAP TO CITIZENSHIP
For America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. One of our great strengths as a society and economy is our healthy population growth, thanks to immigration. The idea that America would be better off deporting 11 million contributors to our society and economy is ludicrous. Immigrants pay taxes and perform millions of important jobs. We need them.
IMPLEMENT AN EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION SYSTEM
Like E-Verify that prevents employers from hiring undocumented workers in the first place. This would be far better than the current regime of “I-9 raids” that make immigrants vulnerable to abuse by employers and rarely result in serious penalties for employers.
SECURE THE BORDERS
We want immigrants to come to America — but we do not want them coming here in unsafe and illegal ways. Today, too many potential immigrants risk their lives by illicitly crossing desert borders and paying human smugglers. To fix this problem, we must establish a safer way for potential immigrants to come to America — and we also must secure the border. Of course, Trump’s border wall will be completely ineffective (not to mention outrageously expensive). Truly effective border control is about high-tech night vision cameras, paying staff to monitor them, and non-stop enforcement that will let potential immigrants know that the only way to work in the U.S. is to enter through legal, safe channels.
It's time for A New Perspective. It is time for a Brand New Congress."