Economic Justice

For too long, our government has worked well for the rich and the well-connected, and not so well for everyday people.

Special interests and corporate lobbyists have gotten their cake while people in this district and around the country watch their economic security slip away. Wages remain stagnant. Costs of healthcare, child care, and housing continue to rise. Economic inequality is at its highest point since before the Great Depression. 

These trends have deep and far-reaching consequences. And they occur by design, the result of years of government policy that’s targeted to enrich the few at the expense of the many. It’s time for change. In a society this grotesquely unequal, it becomes more difficult for a true and vital democracy to thrive, with a smaller and smaller group of Americans dictating the terms of the debate. It’s time to build a new economy for a new era – one that assures all people the basic protections and security we deserve. It’s time to put power in the hands of the people, where it belongs.

As mayor, that’s been a guiding principle for me and my team at City Hall. During my tenure, Holyoke saw millions of dollars in public and private investment, and we worked to make sure it benefited all of our communities. We launched SPARK (now EforAll Holyoke), an entrepreneurship training program that catalyzes new businesses run by local residents, leading with women of color being 60% of program graduates. I’ve also worked hand-in-hand with local residents to increase and improve our housing stock, making sure people in every neighborhood have the opportunity to build wealth. What I see in Holyoke is what I know to be true of our country: We can achieve an economy that respects all people and leaves nobody behind. 

Make the Wealthy Pay Their Share: Society works best when everyone pays their fair share, and everyone contributes to the common good. I will fight to repeal the Trump tax cuts that instituted deep discounts for corporations in addition to cutting corporate rates to the lowest we’ve seen, end special tax breaks on capital gains and dividends, and implement an annual wealth tax on the ultra-rich. 

Raise the Federal Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour: People who work full-time shouldn’t be living in poverty, and it is a national disgrace that so many are. Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour would begin to lift families out of poverty, restore the middle class, and boost the economy. In Congress, I’ll fight to make that happen. 

Expanding the Social Safety Net: With a fair and equitable tax code in place, we will have the revenue we need to shape a generous and robust safety net, including programs that lift our fellow citizens out of poverty and ensure our neighbors’ basic peace-of-mind. 

Universal Basic Income : or U.B.I., is a fixed income that every adult, no matter who you are or where you’re from, would receive from the government. As we’ve seen from COVID-19, having a system that provides a fiscal foundation to people keeps a society more able to cope with unseen circumstances. We also know, we can afford it if we have political leaders pushing for change. And as our workforce becomes more and more automated, the need for UBI will only grow.

Creating Good Jobs: Right now, we can put people to work rebuilding and modernizing our national infrastructure. What’s needed is political courage, and a commitment to achieving full employment. 

Addressing Historic Inequities: I support Rep. Jim Clyburn’s 10-20-30 formula to fight persistent poverty, which would require all federal agencies to allocate at least 10% of its program funds to communities where 20% of the population has lived below the poverty line for over three decades. This would help lift up chronically underserved and overlooked people, including Native American, Appalachian, African American and Latinx communities. 

Increase Housing Access: I will support significant investments in the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund to build and rehabilitate affordable and accessible housing. In a generous America, everyone should have access to a home. 

The Reverend William J. Barber II of The Poor People’s Campaign says, “Our problem isn’t that we don’t have enough money. It’s that we don’t have the moral capacity to face what ails our society.” I am in this fight to collaborate with my colleagues in Congress to push for that evasive promise of a just America, where every person has what they need, and a space to grow peacefully into who they want to be.