So, as I hope we all know, I am so not a Democrat. I want to go over some of the planks on their platform draft, and ask some pointed questions – because some of this is common sense, and some of it is a sign they need to hire someone who understands cost of living and basic economics. This is copied from the DNC Convention site as it appeared on June 29, at about 9:30 CDT. Not responsible for any changes on their part. While I may not hit every one, nothing from their post has been edited in the least (just blockquoted).
Let’s start at the top…
Ambitious and Progressive Jobs Plan: This year’s platform contains the most ambitious jobs plan on record, including historic investments in infrastructure, a strong commitment to small business, a robust technology and innovation agenda, and promises to increase American manufacturing and stop companies from shipping jobs overseas. This platform also includes a robust stand-alone plank on youth jobs, and Democrats’ view that our economic revitalization efforts should have a focus on communities that are being left out and left behind.
Yes, we all want jobs – but there needs to be incentive to create them. And that is not on the government as a whole (yes, infrastructure and bureaucracy are government-created jobs, but beyond that, the government needs to get out of the way). On the demconvention.com site, there is no expansion on this, just the above statement. I would suggest that in order to stop companies from shipping jobs overseas, you might make it easier to not – lower taxes and real-world based regulations is a start. OSHA, while they do some good work, has a history of insanity (bakeries too hot, assembly lines where no lifting is allowed) that needs to be curtailed. Some basic science in the EPA would be good too – requiring arsenic levels in lakes and streams that is below the naturally occurring background is a good example. While I am generally opposed to the stranglehold of unions (my position is, if you show up, and do everything right, and still have a real risk of death – you get a union. Think coal miners, police, firefighters. The further from that you get, the less you have any need of a union. Office workers have no real need.) Make work work again – and jobs will follow. [Return to Top]
Increasing the Minimum Wage: Acknowledging that the current minimum wage is a starvation wage, the platform draft already included language declaring that Americans should earn at least $15 an hour, that the minimum wage should be raised and indexed, and that all workers have the right to form and join a union. It also includes a call to end sub-minimum wage for tipped workers and people with disabilities.
Aaaand we fall off the rails. What is the fetish for $15? Seriously. While that is nice in an inner city, like Chicago or New York, it is insane to expect someplace like Sweet Water, AL (pop. 249) to pay that much. They have a post office, gas station, and maybe a half dozen more businesses. Median income is about 50,000, but for non-family households (consist of people who live alone or who share their residence with unrelated individuals) the majority make $25,000 or less, with less than 10% hitting the town median. The largest employer is the high school. Yes, this is somewhat cherry-picked (but randomly so, I was looking at another town, and it was far larger than I thought, so I found on that was the size I wanted – and is doing pretty well, actually).
So, at full time, $15 per hour is $31,200 – this is more than a lot of people make, and overvalues unskilled jobs, while speeding their elimination. And if you don’t have a job, you make 100% less than you might at a lower minimum. Yes, people should be able to work and survive – but perhaps encouraging people to improve themselves, gain better skills, and realize that any degree with the word ‘studies’ in the title is worth less than used TP. Perhaps we stop letting the children dictate to those who have accomplished something, and teach them. And more than anything, stop demonizing labor to promote college – both have their place, both are needed, and neither is for everyone.
Raise the minimum wage if you must – it drives prices higher every time, by the way – but stop pretending that you are helping. All a national $15 minimum will do is raise unemployment (actual unemployment, which includes those who have given up), and eliminate any entry-level jobs for teens (see plank 1). [Return to Top]
Support for Public Education: The draft platform demands strong public schools in every zip code. The Committee approved language that reaffirmed Democrats’ commitment to supporting teachers, schools and communities and providing them with the resources they need to raise achievement for all students.
Good parents? Seriously. Private tuition in Chicago is less than the CPS spends per student, and the success rate is far higher. Get political scum like Karen Lewis out of schools, and let the school decide what is needed. People barely hanging on probably don’t need iPads, they need instruction from a human. Human interaction. Try some of that before continuing with the ongoing failure of ‘throw money at it’. [Return to Top]
Abolishing the Death Penalty: Recognizing the death penalty as a cruel and unusual form of punishment, the Drafting Committee unanimously adopted an amendment to abolish the death penalty. This is the first time in the Democratic Party’s history it has done so.
I think there should be a better system for this, but I can see their point, and while there need to be improvements, some people need to die for their crimes. Period. To think otherwise is folly. [Return to Top]
Multi-Millionaire Surtax: Committee members Ellison and Tanden worked together on an amendment calling for a multi-millionaire surtax that was unanimously adopted by the Committee. The Committee also approved language already in the draft that provided additional ways to ensure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share, including shutting down the “private tax system” for the most fortunate, immediately closing egregious loopholes, restoring fair taxation on multi-million dollar estates, and ensuring millionaires can no longer pay a lower rate than their secretaries.
Uh huh. As of 2014, of the 553 members of Congress, 286 are millionaires. 51%. Of those, 54% are Republican. Somehow I don’t see this ever passing, and just being a sop to the Sanders crowd. [Return to Top]
Immigration: In addition to re-affirming our commitment to fighting for comprehensive immigration reform, the current draft platform goes significantly further than 2012 to include keeping families together, ending family detention, closing private detention centers, and guaranteeing legal counsel for all unaccompanied minors in immigration proceedings. The Platform Committee also unanimously included language proposed by members of the Sanders and Clinton teams to re-frame the conversation on immigration saying, “Immigration is not a problem to be solved, it is a defining aspect of the American character and history to be supported and defended against those who would exclude or eliminate legal immigration avenues and denigrate immigrants”
No one seriously objects to legal immigrants, only illegal. And since the current system can’t track people, yes, let us throw more people who broke the law into the wind. Good plan. By the way, illegal immigration is, indeed, a problem to be solved. This is a massively dishonest attempt to reframe the debate over criminals into one over law abiding persons. I would say they should be ashamed of themselves, but they keep proving they have no shame, only lies and hate. [Return to Top]
Universal Healthcare: The Platform Committee also adopted language strongly re-affirming the Democratic Party’s long held stance that health care is a right. The passage of the Affordable Care Act was a critical and hard-fought step to achieving this goal. The platform protects and builds on this progress by including access to public coverage through Medicare or a public option. The Platform Committee also agreed to take forceful action to curb prescription drug costs, including letting Medicare negotiate prices, and to expand community health centers, which offer comprehensive primary care and mental health services to underserved populations.
Remember when we were batshit crazy for suggesting that the ACA was a gateway to socialized medicine? Yeah. [Return to Top]
Climate Change and Clean Energy: Moving beyond the “all of the above” energy approach in the 2012 platform, the 2016 platform draft re-frames the urgency of climate change as a central challenge of our time, already impacting American communities and calling for generating 50 percent clean electricity within the next ten years. The Committee unanimously adopted a joint proposal from Sanders and Clinton representatives to commit to making America run entirely on clean energy by mid-century, and supporting the ambitious goals put forward by President Obama and the Paris climate agreement. Another joint proposal calling on the Department of Justice to investigate alleged corporate fraud on the part of fossil fuel companies who have reportedly misled shareholders and the public on the scientific reality of climate change was also adopted by unanimous consent.
How? As I recall, something like 100% of the companies who have received federal money to do this have failed. And prosecuting companies for questioning science that is itself questionable? That should be prosecuted itself. And yes, the phrase ‘the science is settled’ should never be used by anyone who understands science. In fact, by using it, you demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding the scientific method itself. Climate change is a religion as much as it is anything, and while there is some change happening, the fact that the data has to be hidden, lied about, and ‘corrected’ to make the model fit is, itself, de facto proof that the science is far from settled. Bill Nye is an engineer and comedian, and Neil Tyson is an administrator and buffon. Neither is worthy of worship or adulation. [Return to Top]
Reproductive Rights: The platform goes further than previous Democratic platforms on women’s reproductive rights. It champions Planned Parenthood health centers and commits to push back on all Republican efforts to defund it. The platform also vows to oppose, and seek to overturn, all federal and state laws that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment. It also strongly supports the repeal of harmful restrictions that obstruct women’s access to healthcare around the world, including the Global Gag Rule and the Helms Amendment, which bars US assistance to other countries that provide safe, legal, abortion.
I support Planned Parenthood’s commitment to women’s health. It is so deep and strong that they provide free mammograms, in an effort to fight one of the leading women’s health concerns of our times. Oh, wait. They don’t. Not that they aren’t free, but they don’t offer mammograms at all. Anywhere. They can tell you where to go for one, but that’s it. I guess that commitment to women’s health is not so important.
Look, abortion is the law, that ship has sailed. The Republicans need to move the fuck on. Trolling like this doesn’t help, however. [Return to Top]
Criminal Justice Reform: The current draft calls for ending the era of mass incarceration, shutting down private prisons, ending racial profiling, reforming the grand jury process, investing in re-entry programs, banning the box to help give people a second chance and prioritizing treatment over incarceration for individuals suffering addiction. The Committee also voted unanimously to recognize the role activists and recent movements have played in putting these issues front and center in the national conversation, as they should be.
Or, you know, stop breaking the law and stuff. I do support refocusing addiction from crime to disease – not the crimes committed while on the drug, but jail for use is stupid. [Return to Top]
Marijuana: Committee members McKibben and Browner worked on an amendment supporting states that choose to decriminalize marijuana. The amendment also recognized that marijuana laws have had an unacceptable disparate impact, with arrest rates for marijuana possession among African Americans far outstripping arrest rates among whites, despite similar usage rates. The Committee passed the amendment unanimously.
Meh, I support legalization and taxation. Of all of it. If you want to use hard drugs, go to a clinic, do it, and have medical staff on hand in case you die. See Portugal. This is a good plan, and it removes the incentive to get the dodgy crap from the street. So legalize, tax, and supply. If you are going to use, the law won’t stop you. And if you aren’t, legalizing it won’t make you start. Seriously. [Return to Top]
So there it is. This is what the Democratic Party thinks is important. I wonder if someone was brave enough to have suggested ‘Deal With Reality’ in these sessions.