My campaign focuses on new solutions, and my platform focuses on the needs of Marylanders and the American people as a whole. Not all problems need a brand new idea; some just need us to do what we've always known we should do, and have delayed for far too long. It is time for the Democratic party to align itself with its own values and begin working for our constituents again.
I believe in economic security for the middle-class, in fairness and equality, and in social and economic progress. I believe in a strong social safety net and in Social Security's retirement and disability benefits. I believe that Americans have great opportunities, yet there aren't enough high-paying jobs for everyone, and so the least-successful of us deserve our support.
I believe in more than that, though. I believe in fiscal responsibility, and in seeking solutions which don't require drastic increases in taxes and debt. I believe in solving problems through fundamental reform when needed, rather than simply putting more money into our existing strategies where they have failed. I believe in minimizing risks by adjusting our existing systems with new approaches, by slowly bringing in complete reforms, and by ensuring new reforms have predictable and acceptable failure modes even when we're wrong about what they'll do.
I believe our party is and always has been a party for the people, and the party of Social Democracy. I believe in a well-regulated market, and in regulating the market so as to drive it toward market-based solutions; and at the same time, in the government's responsibility to provide strong social services where the market leaves many Americans without fair access to the basic and dignified resources of life in a civilized society. We must harness market forces for the public good; and when the market fails to serve the whole public, we must allow the government to provide for those left out.
I have my attention on many issues facing the people of Maryland and our Nation as a whole. I face these from this ideal, from this platform, and I act to solve our Nation's problems the correct way, not the convenient way.
Core Philosophical Values
- Social Democracy
- Fiscal Responsibility
Economic Fairness and Security
- A Fair Share of Productivity
- A Stronger Welfare State
- Social Security Solvency
Fair Hours and Compensation
- A Growth-Based Minimum Wage
- A Federal Comp Time Policy
- A Shorter Work Week
Universal Access to Healthcare
- More-Affordable Employee Healthcare Benefits
- A Public Healthcare Option to Cover All Americans
- Healthcare Price Transparency
- Better Addiction Treatment
- Expansion of Generic Drug Availability
Prison and Criminal Justice Reform
- Rehabilitative Prison System
- Abolition of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing
- Abolition of Voter Disenfranchisement
- Full Legalization of Harmless Intoxicants
- Sanctuary Cities
Clean Air and Water
- Restoration and Protection of the Chesapeake Bay
- Expansion of Solar Power and Electric Cars
- Wooden High-Rise Building Research
- Protection from Discrimination
- Women's Reproductive Health and Rights
- Net Neutrality
- An End to Identity Theft
Core Philosophical Values
Every political party and every politician must know what it is for which we stand. We don't stand for policies or for talking points, but rather for an ideal about how to address the needs of the people we represent. Policies and platforms arise out of those ideals, addressing those needs in a way consistent with our core philosophical values. Our constituents deserve to know what those values are.
Social democracy is a political, social, and economic ideology which embraces an economy based in private wages, private property, and a well-regulated free market. Modern social democracy focuses on reducing inequality, discrimination, and poverty. Boh strong social safety nets and equal opportunity are core values of social democrats, and drive improvements to welfare and government regulations.
I strongly support well-regulated free markets, as well as the protection of workers and the establishment of welfare through strong government regulations and services working within and alongside these markets. Today's most-familiar example is public healthcare: I believe we must get affordable healthcare to every American, and to that end I support a public healthcare option—fully operated by the government and provided free of insurance premiums—as opposed to a government take-over of all healthcare into a single-payer system.
This Congress has created enormous deficits through reckless tax policy. They now plan to cut welfare and Social Security funding and increase middle-class taxes, which will destroy jobs, slow economic growth, and increase unemployment. Such irresponsible policy will hurt Maryland, especially around Baltimore.
I am committed to stronger welfare, a lower Federal deficit, and lower taxes. My proposed Universal Dividend will accomplish these goals simultaneously by sharing our nation's productivity gains with all Americans. This makes the poor less-poor and returns an ever-growing proportion of middle-income taxes, without further raising taxes to make that growth.
Economic Fairness and Security
Our party has forgotten the poor and middle-class as of late. We've created a national dialogue about whether the rich pay their fair share, yet no discussion goes into whether Americans receive a fair share of our productivity.
Federal taxes are, on the whole, progressive, yet millions of working Americans struggle to pay for their homes and afford food. Worse, many Americans face frequent unemployment or underemployment, denying them the benefits of a fair minimum wage. One must ask how we can consider the economy fair if some people don't even get enough.
A Fair Share of Productivity
A great many provide for our convenience and for our growth while facing low wages and economic instability. We rely on shelf stockers, retail cashiers, and the services industry in our every-day lives, and these people make the least of any of us. Technology and trade provide our Nation great economic growth and powerful wealth. Even many nurses and others in the healthcare industry cannot afford their own health insurance. As with all economies capable of growth, we build ours on the backs of those who have little and who have loss.
I support—and designed—a Universal Dividend, dividing a small portion of our total income—our wealth as a whole—among each adult, allowing every American to share our continued growth. Such a Dividend grows without increasing its tax rate, lifting the poor from poverty and raising the standard-of-living of the middle-class.
A Stronger Welfare State
Our welfare system fails too many of us today. Nearly 30,000 Marylanders experience homelessness each year, 12,000 in Baltimore alone. Over 75% of all qualified Housing Assistance recipients are on a waiting list. SNAP doesn't reach everyone eligible, and doesn't always provide enough benefit; TANF has its own limitations.
My Universal Dividend provides a foundation for American household incomes and for welfare. The Dividend will directly raise the month-to-month income per individual, lifting many households out of poverty and moving others closer to the poverty guideline. That means less need of Housing Assistance and SNAP benefits per-recipient, and more families receiving benefits. Because the Dividend grows faster than cost-of-living, it will decrease the cost of aid year after year by ensuring fewer households suffer poverty.
Social Security Solvency
In 2002, Social Security projected solvency only until 2042; by 2017, that had fallen to 2034. We have a responsibility to ensure Social Security's retirement and disability pension programs continue to pay their promised, cost-of-living adjusted benefits.
I designed the Universal Dividend to fund from a dedicated income tax, making it grows faster than Social Security's benefits. By building these programs on top the Dividend, we will reduce the load on the Social Security Trusts over time, without cutting benefits or raising the retirement age. Benefits for the lowest-income recipients will increase, reducing old-age poverty; and the payroll tax—a regressive tax which places a great burden on the poor and middle-class while the rich carry only a fraction of the responsibility—will fall as the Dividend slowly absorbs more of Social Security's burden.
Fair Hours and Compensation
Our political dialogue focuses a lot on wages—both among the middle-class and the minimum wage—and little on other concerns of the workplace.
A Growth-Based Minimum Wage
Today's minimum wage policies focus on keeping up with cost-of-living increases, with no concern on raising the living conditions of the poor.
My Universal Dividend provides a basis of income and a measure from which to increase minimum wage. By raising the Federal minimum wage when the Dividend raises this bar—and not lowering it—we will establish a basis of wage growth, increasing the purchasing power of the least-paid worker.
A Federal Comp Time Policy
Today, salaried workers are exempt from overtime—not simply time-and-a-half, but basic wage compensation and even the right to their additional hours worked. The Employer Shared Responsibility Provision of the Affordable Care Act fails to cover most employers, leaving many without affordable coverage. Finally, Americans have been denied the most-obvious benefit of increased productivity: more leisure time, and the great health benefits that come with reduced stress and more time for sleep, play, and exercise.
Congress must amend the Free Labor Standards Act to define a minimum standard of compensatory time for salaried workers. Extra hours must either pay out at the basic hourly wage rate or provide additional time off for the employee at a later date. We must end the cost-saving incentive for overworking employees without pay.
A Shorter Work Week
The United States has had a 40-hour work week since 1940, despite John Keynes's famous prediction of a 15-hour work week. Keynes argued that technology makes us more-productive, and we'd take that productivity by simply working less; unfortunately, we never took that last step.
Congress must develop a path to a shorter work week. Shorter working days reduce sick leave and increase physical and emotional health. Americans need this time to enjoy our modern wealth and productivity, to rest and recover our health, and to spend time engaging with our government to press our representatives on important local and national issues.
Universal Access to Healthcare
Access to affordable healthcare is a critical need in our society. Health issues represent more than a simple cost, but a risk: at any moment, anyone can face insurmountable expense, regardless of their lifestyle or level of income. Healthcare insurance provides necessary stability to the American household.
More-Affordable Employee Healthcare Benefits
The ACA requires applicable large employers (ALEs) to provide essential health insurance covering full-time employees and their dependent children for 60% of standard medical expenses for less than 9.69% of the employee's household income. This leaves spouses, employees of non-ALEs and their families, and part-time workers without coverage. Low-income employees may still pay a large proportion of their income to healthcare costs.
We must amend the Affordable Care Act to cover more employees at a cost they can afford, and to fit their maximum out-of-pocket costs within their means. Large employers can scale their employee costs by income across a wide spread. A partial subsidy for part-time employees and small businesses will protect those entities while ensuring healthcare for their employees.
A Public Healthcare Option to Cover All Americans
We need a Federal public healthcare option to cover all Americans who cannot access affordable care. The public option should be a Federally-administrated health insurance program, providing ACA Bronze-level coverage with a tax-funded premium. Higer coverage must be available with an out-of-pocket premium, and baseline coverage should increase with lower incomes. Like other Americans, Congress will receive ACA Bronze unless they buy up.
The public healthcare option must represent the most-efficient insurance in the market. To accomplish this, we should use the lowest 2.5% of remittance rates between each provider and private insurer in a well-regulated private insurance market as our cost benchmark. This automatically places the Federal health insurance plan among those with the lowest cost per claim, for each individual claim.
Healthcare Price Transparency
Insurers generally negotiate down from the advertised healthcare prices at each provider, which are legally-required to be non-discriminatory. With the public option based on the lowest negotiated rates, we can publish a standard of actual care costs at first-tier providers in an area. This provides the public—and insurers—with a fair-market price for each service and a list of providers charging near that price to insurers, regardless of their advertised prices.
Greater price transparency will put pressure on negotiated rates, lowering the costs to all insurers and passed to consumers. This downward pressure will also further pressing healthcare prices toward costs, encouraging providers to seek competitive suppliers to lower their own prices—a counterweight against consumers effectively purchasing healthcare before seeing the price.
Better Addiction Treatment
Maryland needs stronger addiction management programs, including needle exchange programs (NEPs) and research into safe and effective anti-addiction drugs. Addiction management is about more than just getting people off drugs: NEPs prevent injury and the spread of disease among people as they struggle to come to terms with, battle, and ultimately escape their addictions. We cannot expect people to escape this debilitating condition without stumbling, and so we must help them every step along the way of treatment.
Expansion of Generic Drug Availability
Today, researching a new drug in a way that avoids putting Americans at risk costs over $300 million. This price tag precludes any chance of cost recouperation for FDA approval of generic drugs available in other countries.
We can't offer Americans access to the best medicines in the world if profitability prohibits making new, low-cost generic drugs available for prescription by medical professionals. To offer greater healthcare and lower costs, we must provide an FDA program to fast-track research on drugs used safely in other countries, and to provide grants covering the cost of research necessary for basic FDA approval.
Prison and Criminal Justice Reform
We must reform our criminal justice system and end mass incarceration. The United States has less than five percent of the world's population, yet nearly a quarter of the world's inmates. We must replace feel-good policies of tradition and vengeance with working policies to reduce recidivism and cut back the amount of crime in our society.
Rehabilitative Prison System
We must integrate rehabilitation throughout our criminal justice system. Norway's prison system (Huffpost), based around restorative justice, exhibit the lowest recidivism rates in the world. States such as North Dakota have produced dramatic reductions in their own recidivism by modeling some of their prisons on Norway's. Federal funding should be available to those state and local governments which deploy more-humane, rehabilitation-focused correctional strategies to lower recidivism rate.
Abolition of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing
Mandatory minimum sentencing represents an enormous overreach of legislative power. The courts judge the degree to which violations of the letter of the law run afoul of the spirit of the law, and to what degree they harm our communities.
We must eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing in our Federal laws and in our Federal courts. I will also press Maryland leadership to abolish all mandatory minimum sentencing within the State and to leave judicial matters to the courts.
Abolition of Voter Disenfranchisement
Congress must withdraw Federal DOJ grants from states which do not immediately restore all voting rights for convicted felons, eliminate felony voting rights disenfranchisement, and ensure inmates can easily exercise their right to vote. Votes are not guns: we do not make anyone safer by getting votes off the street and out of the hands of the American people.
Full Legalization of Harmless Intoxicants
Many drugs, such as Marijuana and Khat, exhibit little to no toxicity nor physical dependence except in extreme overusage. Our government strictly enforces a ban on such intoxicants, despite a recreational safety profile equal to or better than stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine and narcotics such as alcohol.
We must fully-legalize these substances for personal, recreational use so as to eliminate the associated criminal black markets, mass-incarceration, and individual harm brought by imprisonment.
We must reclaim American compassion and restore our humanity with immigration policies focused on inclusion, on bringing the people already here into our great nation and acknowledging their part in our communities. Congress must pass a new DREAM Act, and design a path to amnesty, identification, documentation, taxation, and finally citizenship for those unauthorized resident immigrants already with us.
We must allow local governments to retain jurisdiction of the undocumented immigrants they arrest, or else they will continue to release dangerous individuals into our communities to avoid giving them over to potentially-inhumane deportation. Congress must pass a law allowing state and local governments to keep custody of the undocumented immigrants they arrest so long as they detain and prosecute them in the same manner as they do for citizens—with all usual discretion on when to not prosecute—and house them in humane prisons focused on rehabilitation.
This policy both grants local governments the right to take on the burden of handling crimes committed by undocumented immigrants and brings criminal justice reform to Marylanders and others living in these communities which have chosen to stand together regardless of immigration status.
Clean Air and Water
As a former bicyclist and current motorcyclist, I greatly appreciate clean air. Clean air and water policies have enormous impacts on our health and our economy, not just on an environmental ideal. We must protect these resources throughout the state of Maryland.
Restoration and Protection of the Chesapeake Bay
The Bay provides both a natural and economic resource, representing billions of dollars of GDP in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Deleware. It provides the basis for our seafood industry, tourism, recreational fishing, scientific study, and shipping and trade through ports and harbors along its coasts.
We need a multi-state and Federal strategy to protect the Chesapeake Bay. Such efforts already exist, although this administration and Congress are less-interested in protecting our natural resources than their predecessors. Congress must ensure efforts to restore and preserve the Chesapeake Bay continue unhindered by the current administration.
Expansion of Solar Power and Electric Cars
Solar power generation avoids the toxic emissions of coal and oil, while electric cars can move that exhaust far from our cities and off to greenified spaces where trees and plants provide a buffer and some measure of detoxification. Combining the two eliminates emissions from vehicles altogether.
Congress must work to facilitate the growth of these technologies, such as by modest subsidization of solar panels above parking lots. Parking lots are often large, exposed areas which exclude trees and nearby buildings, and so create large areas open to direct sun exposure. Solar installation creates a convenient roof, while also providing high-voltage DC to power high-speed electric car charge ports, and to convert to grid power for conventional electric car charge ports and grid distribution.
Wooden High-Rise Building Research
New wood growth sequesters an enormous amount of carbon dioxide, and many plants absorb and break down toxic formaldehydes, toluenes, and xylenes. A ten-story wooden high-rise containing one hundred and fifty 1,000sqft apartments sequesters as much CO2 as released by burning coal to power itself for 3-5 years. Chemical manufacturers can also produce polyurethane for engineered wood binders and high-R-value spray foam insulation from plant waste sources, and high-impact polycarbonate from starch and castor oil.
USDA research into low-environmental-footprint production of building materials, wooden high-rise buildings, fire resistance in such construction, and deep-well disposal of building waste—such as into end-of-life oil wells—will accelerate the development of low-cost, environmentally-friendly construction techniques for shopping malls, university buildings, and apartment complexes. Advanced fire resistance is particularly important, and can make an enormous difference in the safety between two materials in construction.
WIP There is a lot going on with this topic.
Protection from Discrimination
Women's Reproductive Health and Rights
WIP insurance should cover birth control, including IUDs, without prior authorization. Proper healthcare in prisons must include women's healthcare. We must ensure continued Federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
[Note: Positions are not enough; I am currently meeting with individuals to whom this is a more-personal issue so as to understand their own perspectives.]
My background in Information Security and Project Management gives me a direct understanding of many issues ranging from net neutrality to the risk of attack on our infrastructure. We must approach these issues without crippling our ability to use technology to our fullest benefit.
My policies and positions on technology are some of the most-verbose and most-complex I've expanded on. Some of these issues are highly-nuanced, and carry the risk of unintended consequences; and transparency is imperative in my attempt to control those consequences.
We must guarantee an open Internet with a policy of Net Neutrality, or else high barriers to entry will lock small businesses out of competitive markets.
I support legislation prohibiting ISPs from blocking, throttling, or otherwise degrading any service, and of providing paid fast-lanes. I continue to consider some more-complex topics, as ISPs have innovated in ways which are free and neutral to all content providers and undeniably good for the end user.
An End to Identity Theft