Ron Leach on Issues

Build an Economy that works for ALL of US again

Honor our Commitments to our Veterans

Real and Sustainable National Security

Protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare

Advocate for our family farmers and our rural Kentucky communities

Defend and strengthen American Workers, the middle class and working poor

 

Build an Economy that works for ALL of US

Grow our economy by raising the minimum wage, reforming our tax code, and continuing to invest in areas such as education and infrastructure, which have a positive return on investment

Grow our economy from the middle – Demand Side, as opposed to the failed “supply side” model which has transferred our nation’s wealth to very few at the top while abandoning the vast majority over the past 35 years.   Reforming and addressing the structural imbalances in our economy which culminated in the 2008 economic melt down and will inevitably lead to the same as an ever greater number of Kentuckians and Americans are living on the margins and unable to drive our economy forward.

Curtailing the casino style Finance and Securities industries and ensuring they serve our interest, are positively contributing to an economy that works for all of us and will not again leave the American with the bill for their gambling activities

Specific Actions:

(1) Reinstate a 21st Century Glass-Steagle Act to keep legitimate banking and depositors money separate from speculative and more risky practices. 

(2) Establish a Financial Transactions Tax on rapid trading that would help discourage speculative short term trading that drives boom and bust bubbles divorced from sound market fundamentals as the basis for investing; while generating $150B to $350B annually for investments to build an economy and America that works for all of us. 

(3) End too big to fail (and too big to jail) by breaking up the mega banks that have only grown and gained further market share since being bailed out by US.

(4) Cap Consumer Credit interest rates to a set maximum above prime.  Reinstate anti-predatory norms that ensured our financial and banking system served the public good.

(5) Raise the minimum wage and tag future automatic increases to the minimum wage to inflation – to real inflation as experienced by those living pay-check to pay-check. Peg automatic adjustments in the minimum wage as well as Social Security need to a new index reflecting the monthly purchases of folks living from pay check to pay check and purchasing only essentials for life. 

(6) Reinstate a REAL TOP MARGINAL Tax rate for the highest “earners” that curtails immoral “compensation” packages that now have CEOs and others in our society receiving daily more than the annual salaries of their median employee – this is immoral, unsustainable and is destroying our economy and our society.

(7)  Student Loans at Federal Prime Rate and capped at no greater than 6 percent, and expand loan forgiveness for graduates willing to work in underserved and underdeveloped area.

(8) Invest in Infrastructure and Education – America is falling behind as our competitor make the kinds of investments that we as a Nation once made for our own future – the kinds of investments that produced a rising and broadening middle class while making the United States the economic power that other nations envied. Rebuild a rising nation that offers opportunity and rewards hard work and ingenuity. 

(9) Medicare for all, or equivalent, to ensure health care security and therefore mobility and entrepreneurial risk taking and more small businesses to grow our economy. 

(10) STOP Tax Payer Subsidies to Big Box Corporate Stores. Mandate a Living Wage from ALL Corporate Big Box Stores.  No longer should the Tax Payer be expected to subsidies these highly profitable private corporations through the cost of our federal Safety Net  - Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, ect…  to keep Corporate Big Box stores’ employees from falling into abject poverty, medical related bankruptcies, and hunger.

Honor our Commitments to our Veterans

We must honor our obligations to those who have served and to the families of our fallen brothers and sisters in arms.  Before we commit forces to conflicts of choice, we must ensure we are sincere in our commitment to those serving throughout any military operation and beyond.  A good first step in demonstrating our commitment will be to deal rapidly and compassionately with the backlog of VA benefits applications – many secondary to service form past wars – Vietnam, Korea. We must fund and staff the Veterans administration and our Military Medical facilities and Community Based Warrior Transition Units appropriately to deal with the needs of the nearly two million men and women who have served in OIF, OEF and elsewhere over the past 15 years; an estimated 1 in 7 veterans with PTSD and TBIs and greater than FIFTY Thousand total Wounded.  Real respect for our military veterans does not tolerate increased joblessness for our OIF and OEF veterans and will call out those who blocked the Veterans Job act for purely partisan political purposes.

Real respect and support for our military, real respect and support for our military families, real respect and support for our small towns which often rely on those same service members as their first responders, fire and polices forces; real respect and support requires that the mightiest and most professional military the world has ever known be used appropriately, with forethought, restraint and with clear concise achievable objectives and a plan, and never be sacrificed for political advantage. The limits of power and appropriate employment of our military must be understood and respected. Real respect for our military demands that we take care of our Soldiers and their families.

Real and Sustainable National Security

Let's talk about REAL and Sustainable NATIONAL SECURITY

I am a retired Army Officer, former Army Physician Assistant, former Special Operations Soldier, and multi deployed combat veteran with three and a half years in Afghanistan and Iraq.

For far too many years - and now decades - Kentucky, America, our economy, and our long-term National Security have taken a back seat to strict ideology and short sighted self-interest and political expediencies while rejecting pragmatic solution and balanced thoughtful long-term strategic planning and investments.  Our federal leadership has often placed politics, party, and personal gain over people and our long-term national interests.  AND For far too long, many in Washington have treated our men and women in uniform as their personal easy button.  For any problem, they hit the easy button with no thought of the repercussions.  Well, real respect and support for our military, real respect and support for our military families, real respect and support for our rural communities which often rely on those same service members in the National Guard and Reserves - as their first responders, fire and polices forces; real respect and support requires that the mightiest and most professional military the world has ever known be used appropriately, with forethought, restraint and with clear concise achievable objectives and a plan, and never be used for political advantage. The limits of power and appropriate employment of our military must be understood and respected.

Real Sustained National Security requires us to honor our obligations to those who have served and to the families of our fallen brothers and sisters in arms.  Before we commit forces to conflicts of choice, we must ensure we are sincere in our commitment to those serving throughout any military operation and beyond.  A good first step in demonstrating our commitment will be to deal rapidly and compassionately with the backlog of greater than a MILLION VA benefits applications – many secondary to service form past wars – Vietnam, Korea. We must fund and staff the Veterans administration and our Military Medical facilities and Community Based Warrior Transition Units appropriately to deal with the needs of the nearly two million men and women who have served in OIF, OEF and elsewhere over the past 10 plus years; an estimated 1 in 7 veterans from these wars with PTSD and TBIs and greater than FIFTY Thousand total Wounded.  Real respect for our military veterans and their families does not tolerate increased joblessness for our OIF and OEF veterans and will call out those who blocked the Veterans Job act for purely partisan political purposes. Real respect for our military demands that we take care of our Soldiers and their families.

I am a proud veteran.  My wife, Kelly, currently serves as an active duty LTC at Fort Knox, KY.  My daughter is an Army Reserve Combat Medic. My family and I respect, and value our Military and all those serving to secure our nation.  But we need to be honest: ever increasing National Security expenditures and open ended foreign adventures without clear focus and long term planning – and while refusing to pay for these expenditures in a sustainable manner - does not maximize the return on investment of our limited resources, often places my brothers and sisters in arms at inappropriate and unwarranted risk, and is diminishing our long-term security while gutting our nations core and sustaining strengths.

Beyond faithfully honoring our commitments to our service members and their families, real and sustained National Security relies on full integration of all aspects of our national investment decisions here and abroad. Real and Sustained National Security choices must include diplomacy, STEM education, energy diversity and sustainability, the reality of climate issues and challenges, environmental sustainability, infrastructure investments, basic R&D, access to Affordable Health Care for all. Real and Sustained National Security requires balanced solutions for our Federal Debt rather than lurching from crises to crises as the can gets kicked down the road, investments in US competiveness and an economy that works for ALL of US. All areas squeezed as our investments in America’s future greatness have diminished or have been displaced.

Real and Sustainable National Security requires that we begin GOVERNING again for our future – for ALL of US while rebuilding our core strengths as a Nation, and while meeting our obligations to those who have answered our nation’s call to service – past, present and in the future.

 “The human and material resources that make a great society are produced at home, not abroad. An ambitious foreign policy built on a deteriorating domestic base is possible only for a limited time; like the light cast by an extinct star, it is predestined to come to an end.

Senator J William Fulbright, 1966 The Arrogance of Power

Protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare

The people who rely on these programs have earned them. We as a nation promised to take care of our citizens once they reach a certain age; we as a nation should honor our promises, and we can do so by abolishing the upper income cap on paying in to Social Security, lowering the payroll tax on average Americans, and offering the option to buy in to Medicare at an earlier age.

Lifting the cap on wages subject to Social Security tax will make Social Security solvent indefinitely while simultaneously allowing a reduction of payroll taxes on the majority of Kentuckians and Americans which WILL stimulate the economy from the demand side from the majority of Americans living essentially paycheck to paycheck.

Allowing Kentuckians and Americans to buy into Medicare beginning at age 50 has many benefits.  Medicare can be the health insurance for these folks at rates 20 percent lower than private insurance options and provide positive earnings to Medicare to help shore up the system for those 65 and older. Medicare provides more health care per dollar than ANY competing private market plans.  Allowing 50 and over to buy into Medicare will ensure continuity of care and ensure healthier and therefore lower cost population in the traditional 65 and older Medicare pool over time.

Advocate for our family farmers and our rural communities

Our current Agriculture policy disproportionately benefits corporate mega farms at the expense of Family Farms and Agricultural diversity, resilience, and sustainability.  Federal Subsidies to Ethanol have distorted the free market; pushes up feed prices for our livestock producers, price at our grocery stores.  We need a Food and Agriculture policy that encourages young farmer entrepreneurs, encourages diversity and greater availability of healthy foods, returns viability to rural communities and local businesses.

Our federal subsidies for ethanol have caused significant market distortions that cost us at multiple points economically and environmentally:  Increased feed costs for our livestock producers, increase cost at our grocery stores, depletion of farmland and water sheds, increased price for farm land – squeezing out diversity and sustainability in our agriculture. And while 40 percent of our corn acres now end up in our fuel tanks, a 1.1 mpg average fuel economy improvement nation wide would save as much petroleum is now displaced by ethanol.

I will fight for high speed broad band internet available in the most remote communities in America and rural Kentucky, as a vital utility that must be eqaully available to all to level the playing field for our rural communities, small busnesses and schools.

Strengthen American Workers, the middle class and opportunities for our working poor

We need leaders, not looters

We need a Kentucky and America that Works, and Works for ALL of US

We need a Functional Government that represents US

(1) Redefine Free Trade: true free – equitable – trade places the human dignity of both American workers and that of workers in developing countries ahead of Global-National Corporate interests. We must set a new standard of Free trade on a level, humane and sustainable playing field. We can not continue asking US workers to compete with workers in nations that do not recognize worker's rights, employ child or prison labor, enforce no environmental or worker safety standards and are found to be dumping often hazardous products below production cost onto the world market and US ports. We cannot in clear conscience continue to consume goods and services from producers who subject their workers and planet to such abuses.  The current model of "free trade" is nothing more than a global race to the bottom.  

(2) Corporate Accountability: If the issue is the competitiveness of US business in the global market, then we must take an honest look at all aspects of competiveness to include corporate executive compensation. Huge CEO bonuses continue to be paid by corporations; even those that have received federal bail-out money in the billions. Yet the American worker is asked to bear an ever greater portion of their health insurance costs, real adjusted wages continue to drop, while the American Worker is forced to compete with slave wages in a third world sweat shop as his or her job is under constant threat of "outsourcing". 

(3) Reaffirm the principles of collective representation as a requisite protection of human rights: 

"It is one of the characteristics of a free and democratic nation that it have free and independent labor unions."- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

We must encourage a new revitalized labor movement that represents the interests of the vast majority of Americans and is instrumental in the extension of the basic human rights. The rights we enjoy as the noble legacy of organized labor here in the United States are under attack. We must move to bolster these gains here at home while simultaneously extending these basic human rights to the farthest out posts of the global economy.

Globally, this effort would begin with the insistence that all free trade partners recognize and respect a worker’s right to organized representation. This effort would begin at home with the revision of the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act. 

In a free-equitable trade environment, with ethical corporate governance that respects basic human dignity guaranteed by the right to organized representation, US ingenuity and the American work ethic will prevail and lift a global community.  We must redefine and set new standards for the global economy – and rebuild an economy that works FOR ALL of US again! 

 

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