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Missouri Progressive Action Group

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MOPAG

Missouri Progressive Action Group
Progressive Talking Points (PTPs)

Introduction to MOPAG’s Progressive Talking Points

As members of the Missouri Progressive Action Group (MOPAG), we created these Progressive Talking Points (PTPs) for the purpose of publicizing and advancing a progressive political agenda. We encourage you to use the talking points frequently and passionately: for campaigning, on social media sites, at your workplace and when socializing with others.
(Contact person: Tom Flanagan tommyflan1@gmail.com)


Table of Content

Section 1: Issue Titles

Section 2: Issues With Progressive Talking Points (PTPs)

Section 3: Issues, PTPs with Support Information


Section 1: Issue Titles

Table of Content ^

(Click on each title for PTPs)

Medicare for All
Money in Politics
Immigration
Living wages
Worker’s Rights
Earned Worker Benefits
Global Warming
LGBTQ Rights
Drug Abuse
Responsible Gun Ownership
Public Education
Taxes
Women's Rights
Rebuild Missouri
Racial Injustice
Affordable Housing
Affordable Prescription Drug Prices
Improving the Rural Economy
Voter Rights


Section 2: Issues with Progressive Talking Points (PTPs)

Table of Content ^

Medicare for All
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. A Medicare for All system allows free choice of doctors and facilities.
  2. Medical decisions should be made by patients and their doctors, not corporate accountants.
  3. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness requires access to good health care.
  4. Denying healthcare is immoral.
  5. It's just you and your doctor with Medicare for All.
  6. In Canada, hundreds cannot get a quick MRI; in the USA, millions cannot.
  7. Living without health care is an infringement on your right to life.
Issue Titles ^

Money in Politics
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. Corporate bribery is not free speech.
  2. Corporate bribery undermines the democratic process.
  3. Corporate bribery takes your American freedoms away.
  4. A society governed by corporate dollars is not free.
  5. Keep greedy corporate hands off our government.
  6. A public servant’s first responsibility is to improve people’s lives.
  7. The revolving door in politics puts your needs second to corporate profits.
Issue Titles ^

Immigration
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. Unrestricted immigration stimulates the American economy.
  2. Fair immigration laws will be good for the American economy.
  3. Democratic societies build bridges, not walls.
  4. Immigration laws must be just and moral.
  5. Immigrants are the foundation of American society.
  6. It's unchristian to deport DACA children.
Issue Titles ^

Living Wages
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. If employers paid a living wage, they could lower the taxes used to support the working poor.
  2. Higher minimum wage...More spending...Stronger economy.
  3. Who should pay employee benefits, you or Walmart?
  4. Missouri minimum wage is below a poverty wage.
  5. Jefferson City favors business welfare over your welfare.
  6. A living wage is the only moral wage.
Issue Titles ^

Worker’s Rights
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. Right-to-work suppresses wages.
  2. Right-to-work is legalized worker oppression.
  3. Unions are a check on corporate greed.
  4. Right-to-work states are not Worker-Friendly States.
  5. Worker Friendly states are about securing worker's rights and freedoms.
  6. Right-to-work is government-sanctioned discrimination.
  7. RTW is not about worker's rights or freedoms; it is about management keeping workers down to make more profits.
Issue Titles ^

Earned Worker Benefits
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. Social Security is a retirement plan funded by employed workers, not an "entitlement program".
  2. Medicare is funded by working Americans.
  3. Worker-earned benefits are stripped, while corporate welfare expands.
  4. Medicare is robbed to expand corporate tax deductions.
  5. Corporate welfare is funded by looting worker pensions.
  6. Missouri is giving Greedy Corporations worker-funded pension dollars.
  7. Missouri legislators are underfunding the state-employee pension program.
Issue Titles ^

Global Warming
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. Two hundred countries agree catastrophic global warming is a problem. Only US Republicans, funded by polluting corporations, disagree.
  2. If 97 of 100 doctors diagnosed you with cancer, would you take action? 97% of climate scientists warn human behavior is a direct cause of global warming.
  3. If we do not address global warming, none of the other issues will matter.
  4. Global warming is not about climate change; it's about the survival of the human species.
  5. 97% of climate scientists warn human misuse of resources is a direct cause of global warming.
Issue Titles ^

LGBTQ Rights
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. Marital rights and sexual preference are not the responsibility of politicians.
  2. ALL citizens, regardless of gender or sexual preference, deserve equal rights.
  3. Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation undermines our most basic values.
  4. If God declares a child be born gay, it's not up to me to judge them.
  5. It’s a birthright to be born gay.
Issue Titles ^

Drug Abuse
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. A smaller government means less money for drug abuse prevention and rehab.
  2. Drug treatment is cheaper than incarceration.
  3. Best alternatives to drugs - education, jobs, resources.
  4. The war on drugs costs $51 billion annually. Talk about government waste!
  5. What would you rather pay for: education or incarceration?
Issue Titles ^

Responsible Gun Ownership
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. Require gun owners to purchase liability insurance.
  2. Gun rights come with gun responsibilities.
  3. I believe in responsible gun ownership.
  4. The AR-15 is an assault weapon, not a defense rifle.
  5. Irresponsible gun laws kill our children.
  6. Our children deserve responsible gun laws.
  7. Responsible citizens support responsible gun laws.
Issue Titles ^

Public Education
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. Missouri can be only as successful as its public schools.
  2. A publicly educated citizenry pays for itself.
  3. Well-funded public schools produce job-ready employees.
  4. Educating our children is the ultimate use of Missouri tax dollars.
  5. Charter schools place the moral responsibility of education in the hands of profit-seeking corporations.
  6. ALL children deserve access to well-resourced public schools.
  7. Well-funded public schools keep our Missouri communities strong.
  8. Public schools keep small communities alive.
  9. Investing in public schools pays all of us back.
Issue Titles ^

Taxes
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. Stop tax giveaways to global corporations.
  2. Undertaxing the rich means overtaxing the rest of us.
  3. Fifty years of Republican tax cuts for the wealthy. Has it trickled down to you?
  4. The rich are waging a tax war on the American poor and middle-class.
  5. Taxes generate the revenue that finance our future.
  6. Tax revenues are a patriotic investment in our future.
Issue Titles ^

Women's Rights
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. It is immoral to deny females the same rights as males.
  2. Freedom requires unconstrained personal choice regarding one’s body.
  3. American women deserve equal pay for equal work.
  4. American productivity will be weakened until women are treated as equal partners.
  5. Gender should not be an obstacle to receiving excellent healthcare.
  6. Affordable healthcare for women saves lives and tax dollars.
  7. Violence against women and girls is a national epidemic we CAN cure.
Issue Titles ^

Rebuild Missouri
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. Quality roads and bridges support our Missouri economy.
  2. Rebuilding Missouri creates good paying jobs.
  3. Want good paying jobs? Rebuild Missouri!
  4. Rebuild Missouri to support a competitive economy for decent paying jobs.
  5. Rebuilding our state and investing in our citizens/people is how we make Missouri great again.
Issue Titles ^

Racial Injustice
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. Racism impedes human potential and social progress.
  2. Public schools in America should provide a quality education for all regardless of skin color.
  3. Categorizing people by race creates unproductive social consequences.
  4. Elimination of racism is good for a strong America.
  5. Elimination of racism will help grow our economy.
  6. A patriotic America is a melting pot of all colors.
  7. Opportunity for all Americans rests on being color blind.
Issue Titles ^

Affordable Housing
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. When people have a stable place to live, they become better parents, workers, and citizens.
  2. Family values demand affordable housing for all.
  3. No American should be homeless.
  4. Homeless women and children are not free.
  5. Affordable housing, like education and job programs, is a human-capital investment.
  6. Life, Liberty and Happiness requires affordable, livable housing.
  7. Your wages should always guarantee a roof over your head.
  8. It is your right to have the protection of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when signing a loan.
Issue Titles ^

Affordable Prescription Drug Prices
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. All Missourians deserve affordable prescription drugs.
  2. Stop welfare for drug companies.
  3. Can't afford your medications? Ask your legislator why.
  4. When prescription drug markets get rigged, the American public gets fleeced.
  5. Remember when you didn't have to choose between medicine or food?
  6. The US prescription drug market: Of Big Pharma, by Big Pharma, and for Big Pharma.
  7. The drug market is not a free market.
Issue Titles ^

Improving the Rural Economy
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. Missouri small farms are vital for Missouri’s growth.
  2. You have a right to accessible, affordable high speed Internet.
  3. Rural Missouri residents and schools need faster broadband to effectively compete.
  4. Every rural school needs the Internet for our children’s freedom to grow and prosper.
  5. It is your right to travel safe roads and bridges to go to work and bring your goods to market.
  6. Give the family owned farm a chance, stop subsidies to greedy corporate farms.
  7. Access to affordable college education is your children’s right.
  8. Public schools keep small communities alive.
Issue Titles ^

Voter Rights
      (Linked PTPs have support information)

  1. Democracy collapses when ANY citizen is denied the right to vote.
  2. The right to vote is the engine of democracy.
  3. In a democratic society, refusing citizens the right to vote is a denial of their existence.
  4. Twenty-five voted illegally; millions were denied the right to vote.
  5. Voter obstruction strips away our freedom, right & civic duty to vote.
  6. Voter fraud? Show me the proof.
  7. Voter purging is UnAmerican.
  8. Voter ID laws are meant to strip away the freedom to vote for the poor, minorities, elderly, students & the military.
Issue Titles ^

Section 3: Issues, PTPs with Supporting Information

Table of Content ^

Medicare for All

  1. A Medicare for All system allows free choice of doctors and facilities.
  2. Medical decisions should be made by patients and their doctors, not corporate accountants.
  3. (Medicare for All)
    SOURCE: An American Sickness (2017), Elisabeth Rosenthal
    The United States spends almost 20% of its gross domestic product (more than $3T per year) on healthcare [Other developed countries spend approximately half (per person) of what is spent in the USA.]
    Based upon the World Health Organization’s assessment of health system performance, the United States ranks #37
    In 1993, U.S. insurers spent 95 cents of premium dollars on medical care (known as “medical loss ratio”); the average medical loss ratio is currently closer to 80
    Hospitals charge uninsured (a.k.a. self-pay) patients 2.5 times more than they charge insured patients
    Medical debt is the #1 cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.
    Medicare uses 98% of its funding for healthcare and 2% for administrative costs
    In the United States, 10-15% of healthcare revenue goes to billing and collection companies and contractors; many of these jobs don’t exist in European countries
    Deloitte & Touche is ranked #1 in all areas of healthcare consulting revenue; in 2014, D & T announced revenues of $34B
    From 1997 to 2012, the cost of U.S. hospital services increased 149%
    Since the 1940s, the 1990s is the only decade that U.S. health spending did not increase faster than the cost-of-living
    Since 1990, the U.S. pharmaceutical industry has grown twice as fast as the national economy
    The FDA collects $500M in annual fees from pharmaceutical corporations
    The AMA spends more than $20M lobbying Congress each year; collectively, the medical industry spends almost $500M annually for lobbying
    The U.S. healthcare industry spends $15B annually on advertising
  4. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness requires access to good health care.
  5. Denying healthcare is immoral.
  6. It's just you and your doctor with Medicare for All.
  7. In Canada, hundreds cannot get a quick MRI; in the USA, millions cannot.
  8. (Medicare for All)
    http://time.com/money/2995166/why-does-mri-cost-so-much/ Uninsured people and people outside their insurance network often pay full price. …”When it comes to pricey hospital procedures, MRIs come to mind. Sure enough, according to recently released Medicare pricing data analyzed by NerdWallet Health, the average cost of an MRI in the U.S. is $2,611.”
    https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/health/planning-paying-diagnostic-procedure/ About MRIs cost….”If you’re uninsured, or will have to pay the full price because you haven’t met your deductible, call the facility’s billing department ahead of time and explain your situation.”
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/kateashford/2014/10/31/how-much-mri-cost/#313bf0fa8485
    In the US…..”it’s harder than you might think to get a price on a medical procedure. I speak from experience, having tried to comparison shop for an MRI over the summer. I have a high-deductible plan—as do an increasing number of Americans under the Affordable Care Act—so the first few thousand in medical expenses are out of pocket. Hence, I have some skin in the game.”
  9. Living without health care is an infringement on your right to life.
    (Medicare for All)
  10. https://cup.columbia.edu/book/health-care-as-a-right-of-citizenship/9780231170130 The mainstream American public now views access to affordable health care to all citizens as a crucial function of just and effective governance https://academic.oup.com/annonc/article/26/10/2193/144592 Annals of Oncology Vol. 26, Issue 10 Oct 2015 Both the European Union and the United Nations recognize health care as a basic human right The United States, Mexico, South Korea, and Turkey are the only member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that do not recognize universal health care as a basic human right.
    Americans believe that citizens should be guaranteed health care. Eighty-three percent of Americans say having health insurance is absolutely essential or very important, and 70% say it is important that the nation has universal health care coverage (as in Medicare for Americans 65 years or older)
Issue Titles ^      Medicare for All ^

Money in Politics

  1. Corporate bribery is not free speech.
    (Money in Politics)
    Tax lobbying provides 22,000 percent return to firms, KU researchers find…
    http://archive.news.ku.edu/2009/april/9/taxlobbying.shtml
    LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS:
    Reducing the influence of big money in our politics makes our elections fairer. Voters have the right to know who is raising money for which political candidates, how much money they are raising and how that money is being spent. Our elections should be free from corruption and undue influence and should work so that everyday Americans can run for office, even if they aren't well connected to wealthy special interests.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/weekinreview/24kirkpatrick.html Private influence-seekers shower big contributions on politicians because they want to gain access and shape policy; they would not spend the money if they got nothing in return Supporters of the restrictions point to Britain to show that governments can police corruption without imperiling free speech. Britain started regulating political spending as far back as 1883 and has tightened the rules steadily ever since.
    http://archive.news.ku.edu/2009/april/9/taxlobbying.shtml
    Tax lobbying provides 22,000 percent return to firms, KU researchers find.
    https://www.opensecrets.org/elections/
    Politicians need votes, certainly, to win election and re-election, but they also need money. And while an individual's vote carries an expectation that the candidate will look out for constituents' interests if elected, a campaign contribution may carry an expectation that the money will get repaid in the form of favorable legislation, less stringent regulations, political appointments, government contracts or tax credits-to name a few forms of payback….
  2. Corporate bribery undermines the democratic process.
  3. Corporate bribery takes your American freedoms away.
  4. A society governed by corporate dollars is not free.
    (Money in Politics)
    SCHOLARS STRATEGY NETWORK:
    The effects of money are manifold, subtle, and hard to pin down, but a number of pathways of influence can be laid out. Most are based on judgments about the best available evidence, short of irrefutable proof. But on certain key points the quantitative evidence is fairly conclusive. Political scientist Gary Jacobson and other scholars have pinned down how monetary advantages affect chances of winning congressional elections Large amounts of money are virtually essential if a candidate is to have any serious chance of winning. Inability to raise big money leads to losing general elections, losing party nominations, or giving up even before getting started. Thus the need to raise money acts as a filter, tending to eliminate public officials who hold certain points of view – even points of view that are popular with most Americans.
    The need for money tends to filter out centrist candidates. Most congressional districts are gerrymandered to ensure a big advantage for one party or the other, so that election outcomes are actually decided in low-salience, low-turnout, one-party primary elections. Primaries are usually dominated by ideological party activists and money givers, who tend to hold extreme views and to reject all but the purest partisan candidates. This contributes to party polarization and legislative gridlock in Congress.
    The need for money filters out candidates on the economic left. Democratic as well as Republican candidates have to raise big money, most of which comes from economically successful entrepreneurs and professionals who tend to hold rather conservative views on taxes, social welfare spending, and economic regulation. As a result, few candidates whose views are not broadly acceptable to the affluent are nominated or elected.
    The quest for money tilts candidates' priorities and policy stands. Countless hours spent grubbing for money from affluent contributors changes candidates' priorities and sense of constituent needs. As they speak with potential donors, candidates hear repeatedly about resentment of progressive taxes and "wasteful" social spending. Special tax breaks for corporations and hedge fund managers start to sound reasonable.
    Affluent citizens get extra influence by turning out to vote, working in campaigns, and contacting officials. Campaign contributions are not the only way in which affluent people get involved in politics; these same people tend to be active in other ways too, underscoring their importance to candidates. Money can tip the outcome of close elections. Money spent on media, organizing, and turnout tends to increase vote totals, giving a significant advantage to candidates favored by money givers.
    Money buys access to officials. When big contributors contact officials they tend to get attention. Their economic resources enable them to get a hearing, to offer help with information and expertise – even to draft bills. Research shows that these processes boost the influence of the affluent on the policy topics and ideas officeholders consider, biasing the public agenda toward the concerns of the affluent.
    The quest for re-election money affects officials' priorities and policy stands. From the moment they win office, candidates look ahead to the money they must raise for reelection, and this is bound to steal time from official duties and slant their attention toward constituents who are substantial donors.
    In sum, the net effects of money in politics include distraction from the public business, exacerbation of polarization and gridlock, and distortion of policy making in wasteful, inefficient, and anti-democratic directions. These are not trivial costs to American democracy, and their impact raises the obvious question: what can be done? There is little immediate prospect for a Supreme Court decision or Constitutional amendment to reduce the impact of money on politics. But the effects of big private money could be greatly diluted through public funding – for example, by letting all citizens contribute with "democracy vouchers" (as legal expert Larry Lessig has proposed) or instituting some other system of matching small contributions. To make something like this happen – over the likely resistance of wealthy big contributors – would require a broad, bipartisan social movement. Citizens of various ideological persuasions would have to join together, much as Americans once did in broad reform movements during the Progressive Era of the early twentieth century. http://www.freedomworks.org/content/big-corporations-and-big-government-go-hand-hand
    “….as the federal government has progressively become larger over the decades, every significant introduction of government regulation, taxation, and spending has been to the benefit of some big business…”
    “Why do big corporations lobby for more regulation? As Matt Ridley notes, “they are addicted to corporate welfare, they love regulations that erect barriers to entry to their small competitors.” Government regulation championed by major corporations is far more likely to significantly hurt their smaller rivals. Politically connected big corporations are fully aware that these harmful regulations will help to wipe out their competition. And that’s the plan.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreedomWorks
    Info about Freedom Works organization above……”FreedomWorks is
    a conservative and libertarian advocacy group based in Washington D.C., United States. It is widely associated with the Tea Party movement
  5. Keep greedy corporate hands off our government.
  6. A public servant’s first responsibility is to improve people’s lives.
  7. The revolving door in politics puts your needs second to corporate profits.
Issue Titles ^      Money in Politics ^

Immigration

  1. Unrestricted immigration stimulates the American economy.
    (Immigration)
    http://budgetmodel.wharton.upenn.edu/issues/2016/1/27/the-effects-of-immigration-on-the-united-states-economy
    The available evidence suggests that immigration leads to more innovation, a better educated workforce, greater occupational specialization, better matching of skills with jobs, and higher overall economic productivity.
    Immigration also has a net positive effect on combined federal, state, and local budgets. But not all taxpayers benefit equally. In regions with large populations of less educated, low-income immigrants, native-born residents bear significant net costs due to immigrants’ use of public services, especially education.
    http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1157&context=ylpr
    “This (Yale Law & Policy Review) Article discusses the economic effects of several key immigration laws and concludes that, fortuitously, the immigrants admitted have contributed to the nation's economic development. The positive contributions include higher rates of national economic growth, a rise in per capita income, and strengthened urban core economies.”
    “Increased immigration is one way to meet the short- and long-term needs of American industry and institutions and to reduce inflationary pressures that result from labor shortages.”
  2. Fair immigration laws will be good for the American economy.
    (Immigration)
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/03/us/politics/legal-immigration-jobs-economy.html The prevailing view among economists is that immigration increases economic growth, improving the lives of the immigrants and the lives of the people who are already here.
    https://www.cnbc.com/id/100449802
    “UCLA professor Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, the author of The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, is one of them. Hinojosa-Ojeda says that 11 million immigrants would be the equivalent to more than $1.5 trillion, or roughly 1 percent, added to the gross domestic product (GDP) in a period of 10 years The U.S.GDP, defined as the output of goods and services produced by labor and property, is approximately $15 trillion, according to the World Bank.”
    "That means a lot of good things for the economy. It means there is more money circulating in the economy. It means the economy is able to support a lot more jobs, so everybody wins," Hinojosa-Ojeda said. "One of the reasons we grow and we have GDP growth is because we have new workers. The economy can't grow if we don't add these workers." “In his research, Hinojosa-Ojeda studied three scenarios: the economic impact of a comprehensive immigration reform that would create a path to legalization, a temporary work program with no option to permanent legal status, and the deportation of undocumented immigrants.”
    “He concluded that legalizing immigrants would be more beneficial to the economy by generating additional taxes, increasing consumption and allowing immigrants to climb the occupational ladder, among other things.” https://www.cato.org/blog/economic-fiscal-impact-repealing-daca
    In reference just to repealing DACA….Libertarian Cato Institute……..”However, a repeal or roll-back of DACA would harm the economy and cost the U.S. government a significant amount of lost tax revenue. We estimate that the fiscal cost of immediately deporting the approximately 750,000 people currently in the DACA program would be over $60 billion to the federal government along with a $280 billion reduction in economic growth over the next decade.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cato_Institute
    The Cato Institute above is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974.
    http://www.americasquarterly.org/node/2419
    “The immigrant population also pumps up job growth by spurring the creation of new businesses to serve them as consumers. One figure shows how critical this growth is to America’s future economic security: over the next 75 years, documented immigrants are expected to provide a net benefit of approximately $611 billion in current value to the U.S. Social Security system.”
  3. Democratic societies build bridges, not walls.
  4. Immigration laws must be just and moral.
  5. Immigrants are the foundation of American society.
    (Immigration)
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3856769/
    Immigrants, and especially the children and grandchildren of immigrants, have played a disproportionate role in the development of the American performing arts. They have also made fundamental contributions in many other realms of artistic, cultural, culinary, athletic, and scientific endeavor.
    http://www.americasquarterly.org/node/2419
    “Countless families across the U.S. trace their heritage to immigrants—many of whom arrived under the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. But wherever they come from, immigrants make the trek to the United States for the same reason: to make a better life for themselves and their children. These “new Americans” became the building blocks of our nation’s communities. Succeeding generations have helped make our nation prosperous and keep our great cities thriving. It was generations of immigrants that built our nation, and by working constructively to fix our broken immigration system, we can lay the economic foundation that America needs to win the future.”
    http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/05/news/companies/immigrant-employers/index.html
    “By one estimate, about 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. Together they have annual revenue of $4.8 trillion and employ 18.9 million people around the world, according to a study last year by New American Economy, a public interest group advocating for immigration reform.” “The study found that immigrants have founded not only many large companies, but millions of small businesses as well. In 2015, immigrants were almost twice as likely to start a business as the native-born population, according to the study, which analyzed Census and other public data.”
    “It said 2.9 million immigrants are self-employed, and their businesses generated $65.5 billion in income in 2014. And their role as entrepreneurs is crucial to the health of the nation's economy. Labor Department data shows that most job creation occurs in small businesses.”
  6. It's unchristian to deport DACA children.
Issue Titles ^      Immigration ^

Living Wages

  1. If employers paid a living wage, they could lower the taxes used to support the working poor.
    (Living Wages)
    http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/fast-food-poverty-wages-the-public-cost-of-low-wage-jobs-in-the-fast-food-industry/
    The combination of low wages and benefits, often coupled with part-time employment, means that many of the families of fast-food workers must rely on taxpayer-funded safety net programs to make ends meet.
    http://www.epi.org/publication/safety-net-savings-from-raising-minimum-wage/
    In fact, managers at some of the largest and most profitable corporations in the United States today actively encourage their employees to seek public assistance to supplement meager paychecks (Eidelson 2013). Instead, too many low-wage employers are leaving both taxpayers and, more importantly, low-wage workers themselves to pick up the slack.
    Summary of key findings are:
    -   About half of all workers in the bottom 20 percent of wage earners (roughly anyone earning less than $10.10) receive public assistance in the form of Medicaid and the six primary means-tested income-support programs, either directly or through a family member.
    -   Workers in the bottom 20 percent of wage earners receive over $45 billion in government assistance each year from the six primary means-tested income-support programs.2
    -   Roughly half of all public assistance dollars from means-tested income-support programs that go to working individuals go to workers with wages below $10.10.
    -   If the minimum wage were raised to $10.10, more than 1.7 million American workers would no longer rely on public assistance programs.
    -   Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would reduce government expenditures on current income-support programs by $7.6 billion per year—and possibly more, given the conservative nature of this estimate.
    -   Safety net programs would save 24 cents for every additional dollar in wages paid to workers affected by a minimum-wage increase to $10.10.
    https://www.epi.org/publication/wages-and-transfers/
    Raising wages for low-wage workers (defined as those in the bottom three wage deciles, who earn up to $12.16 per hour) would unambiguously reduce net spending on public assistance, particularly among workers likely to be affected by a federal minimum-wage increase.
  2. Higher minimum wage...More spending...Stronger economy.
    (Living Wages)
    http://www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org/brief/evidence-higher-minimum-wages-improve-economic-wellbeing
    Our graph includes the regression line to show the overall positive relationship between minimum wages levels and the financial wellbeing of people in various nations. Simply stated, as the minimum wage increases, the economic wellbeing of the national population rises. Statistically speaking this relationship is a strong one, significant at the .001 level.
    “Here’s the bottom line: Regardless of the size of a country's economy, its current economic situation, or the time frame chosen, people lead better lives as the minimum wage increases.”
    “Although correlation does not prove causation, the evidence we have assembled strongly suggests that higher minimum wages do indeed work to the financial betterment of society as a whole. Even if some low-wage jobs disappear as minimum wages rise, the end result is greater economic security and prosperity overall for people who live and work in countries with the higher minimums.”
    http://www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org/brief/evidence-higher-minimum-wages-improve-economic-wellbeing
    From Canada…” Labour compensation and household spending make up almost 60 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product. Higher wages mean more spending, and more demand for goods and services. If wage and income growth stays low, economic growth will remain sluggish and businesses won’t create new jobs. Minimum wage increases might lead to slower job growth and some job losses, but they’ll be counter-balanced by the new jobs resulting from increased demand. Recent studies have found few job losses from minimum wage increases.”
    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-impact-minimum-wage-20170110-story.html
    “The new Berkeley report is based on an economic model that predicts how much businesses will raise prices or replace humans with machines, and the likelihood that poor workers will spend all of their new paychecks. Using that model, researchers found that giving low-wage workers a pay bump will prompt them to spend more. And while retailers and restaurants may raise prices to cover their higher labor costs, that will be offset by the increased spending. “
    Who should pay employee benefits, you or Walmart?
    (Living Wages)
    https://www.thenation.com/article/walmart-wages-are-the-main-reason-people-depend-on-food-stamps/
    Those minimum wage workers who can’t make enough and need to go on food assistance? Well, Walmart isn’t paying for those food stamps (now called SNAP), you are. The annual bill that states and the federal government foot for working families making poverty-level wages is $153 billion. A single Walmart Supercenter costs taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.75 million per year in public assistance money.
    https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/06/report-walmart-forces-employees-dole-taxpayers/
    Walmart’s wages and benefits are so low that many of its employees are forced to turn to the government for aid, costing taxpayers between $900,000 and $1.75 million per store, according to a report released last week by congressional Democrats.
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/04/15/report-walmart-workers-cost-taxpayers-6-2-billion-in-public-assistance/#2b3d9ccb720b
    Walmart's low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing, according to a report published to coincide with Tax Day, April 15.
    https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/opinion/2017/04/08/walmart-tax-every-american-taxpayer-pays/100188002/
    Simply put, every American taxpayer is paying a tax they never heard of: The Walmart Tax. What is the Walmart Tax?
    The world’s largest retailer, infamous for its poor working conditions and unfair treatment of employees, pays its workers so little that thousands of Walmart employees are forced to rely on public assistance programs like food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing. Programs funded by American taxpayers.
    http://www.jwj.org/walmarts-food-stamp-scam-explained-in-one-easy-chart
    Pay your employees so little that they are forced to rely on food stamps to survive. Exploit loopholes to avoid paying billions in taxes that fund food stamps. Reap billions in profits when food stamps are spent in your stores.
  3. Missouri minimum wage is below a poverty wage.
    (Living Wages)
    https://poverty.ucdavis.edu/faq/what-are-annual-earnings-full-time-minimum-wage-worker
    In 2016 in a household of two adults, a single full-time worker at minimum wage will earn only 94 percent of their poverty threshold of $16,070. A single parent with one child will earn 91 percent of their poverty threshold.
    https://www.minimum-wage.org/missouri
    Missouri minimum wage is $7.85 per hour….$16,328 per year.
    Missouri's current minimum wage is $7.85 per hour. Any employees of a retail or service business with gross annual sales or business done of less than $500,000 are allowed to be paid less then the Missouri minimum wage. 
    https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines
    Below numbers relate to above Missouri minimum wage
    Federal poverty line for family of 2 is $16,460
    Federal poverty line for family of 3 is $20,780
    Federal poverty line for family of 4 is $25,100
  4. Jefferson City favors business welfare over your welfare.
    (Living Wages)
    https://thinkbynumbers.org/government-spending/corporate-welfare/corporate-vs-social-welfare/
    About $59 billion is spent on traditional social welfare programs. $92 billion is spent on corporate subsidies. So, the government spent nearly 50% more on corporate welfare than it did on food stamps and housing assistance in 2006.
    http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/missouri-workers-and-businesses-would-get-million-tax-cut-under/article_d6fbb4da-072f-5c40-a971-ce8a1995011f.html
    Gov. Eric Greitens announced on Monday a plan to cut individual and corporate tax rates by an estimated $800 million.
    https://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/tanf_spending_mo.pdf
    In 2015, Missouri spent about $420 million in federal and state funds u
    http://www.joplinglobe.com/news/local_news/corporate-income-tax-refunds-contribute-to-missouri-budget-crisis/article_da90640d-5c97-5a7a-837f-386eed38d1f9.html
    Next year's (2018) proposed Missouri budget, unveiled Thursday by Gov. Eric Greitens, came two weeks after he dropped a bomb: $700 million would need to be cut from state spending over 18 months.
    Colleges and universities, in-home health care and agriculture all took a hit Thursday.
    State budget leaders in Jefferson City point to another contributing factor — an unexpected jump in corporate tax refunds last year and a decline in corporate income tax revenue coming into the state this year because of legislation passed two years ago.
    https://thinkbynumbers.org/government-spending/corporate-welfare/corporate-vs-social-welfare/
    Government (US in 2006) Spends More on Corporate Welfare Subsidies than Social Welfare Programs
    About $59 billion is spent on traditional social welfare programs. $92 billion is spent on corporate subsidies. So, the government spent nearly 50% more on corporate welfare than it did on food stamps and housing assistance in 2006.
    https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/corporate-welfare-state-how-federal-government-subsidizes-us-businesses
    From a conservative think tank….”The federal government spent $92 billion in direct and indirect subsidies to businesses and private- sector corporate entities — expenditures commonly referred to as “corporate welfare” — in fiscal year 2006. “
    https://showmeinstitute.org/blog/corporate-welfare/missouri-one-top-states-corporate-welfare
    (2014) According to a report from the Mercatus Center (H/T AEI), Missouri has given $5.2 billion in subsidies to private businesses. This gives Missouri the dubious distinction of being the ninth most generous state in terms of corporate welfare.
  5. A living wage is the only moral wage.
Issue Titles ^      Living Wages ^

Worker’s Rights

  1. Right-to-work suppresses wages.
    (Worker's Rights)
    http://www.mojwj.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Right-to-Work-Fact-Booklet.pdf
    This entire booklet covers many issues of why RTW is bad for labor.
    Page 25…..“In RTW states, on average 26.7% of the jobs are low wage jobs. In Worker Friendly states, 19.1% of the jobs are low wage jobs.”
    https://www.epi.org/publication/right-to-work-states-have-lower-wages/
    Wages in RTW states are 3.1 percent lower than those in non-RTW states, after controlling for a full complement of individual demographic and socioeconomic factors as well as state macroeconomic indicators. This translates into RTW being associated with $1,558 lower annual wages for a typical full-time, full-year worker.
    Average hourly wages, the primary variable of interest, are 15.8 percent higher in non-RTW states ($23.93 in non-RTW states versus $20.66 in RTW states).5 Median wages are 16.6 percent higher in non-RTW states ($18.40 vs. $15.79).
  2. Right-to-work is legalized worker oppression.
  3. Unions are a check on corporate greed.
    (Worker's Rights)
    http://fortune.com/2015/06/22/ceo-vs-worker-pay/ 
    In between 1978 and 2014, inflation-adjusted CEO pay increased by almost 1,000%, according to a report released on Sunday by the Economic Policy Institute. Meanwhile, typical workers in the U.S. saw a pay raise of just 11% during that same period.
    With these increases in mind, it should come as no surprise that the ratio between average American CEO pay and worker pay is now 303-to-1. This ratio is lower than its peak in 2000, when it was 376-to-1, but it’s in excess of the 1965 ratio of 20-to 1.
    http://www.nytimes.com/1989/08/03/opinion/l-labor-unions-not-custom-curbed-corporate-greed-802189.html
    Labor Unions, Not Custom, Curbed Corporate Greed
    http://www.nytimes.com/1989/08/03/opinion/l-labor-unions-not-custom-curbed-corporate-greed-802189.html
    In 1960, nearly 40 percent of the American private-sector work force was organized. Today, less than 14 percent of private-industry employees are union members, about the same as in the 1930's, and the lowest percentage by far among the industrialized countries. The benefits of an expanding economy were shared more equitably when union ranks were larger.
    http://usas.org/union-check-corporate-greed-currier/
    Unions are a force for progress that we need to stand behind. They are the only institutions that truly work to protect the rights of working class people and can keep corporate power in check. 
    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-bernie-sanders/corporate-greed-must-end_b_7653442.html
    Corporate America has mounted vigorous anti-union campaigns, making it harder for workers to collectively bargain for decent wages and benefits. That is why we must make certain that workers are given a fair chance to join a union.
    Instead of putting resources into innovative ways to build their businesses or hire new employees, corporations are pumping 98 percent of their record-breaking profits into buying back their own stock and increasing dividends to benefit their executives and wealthy shareholders at the expense of their workers.
    https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/unionists-march-nationwide-for-workers-rights-and-against-corporate-greed/
    “Why is the corporate right wing trying to destroy us? Because they want more power, and they know preventing working people from joining together aids their power,” Shuler said.
  4. Right-to-work states are not Worker-Friendly States.
    (Worker's Rights)
    http://www.mojwj.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Right-to-Work-Fact-Booklet.pdf
    This entire booklet covers many issues of why RTW states are not worker friendly.
    http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/14160-whats-wrong-with-the-right-to-work
    “Due to their lower wages, "right to work" states steal manufacturing and distribution jobs away from union-friendly states. Worse, their "right to work" laws drive down wages for everyone, not just employees in these highly-mobile industries.”
    “It's a race to the bottom as any business that can move across state lines moves to the states with the lowest wages and easiest regulations.”
    http://www.kansascity.com/news/business/workplace/article128781884.html
    “…….laborers at union job sites may opt out of paying membership dues yet still enjoy the wages, benefits and protections for which the unions bargain. “Free riders” — that’s what right-to-work opponents call employees who refuse to join union ranks in places such as Kansas.”
    “The Wall Street Journal agrees that job growth tends to be stronger in right-to-work states, but wages typically are lower.”
    “Missourians in fact rejected a right-to-work proposal in 1978. Since then, however, the percentage of union workers across the state has fallen in half.”
  5. Worker Friendly states are about securing worker's rights and freedoms.
  6. Right-to-work is government-sanctioned discrimination.
  7. RTW is not about worker's rights or freedoms; it is about management keeping workers down to make more profits.
    (Worker's Rights)
    https://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/economy/reports/2017/05/18/167539/right-work-harm-americans/
    “But make no mistake: Right-to-work laws are about increasing the power of corporations while restricting the power of workers to join together in unions, rather than worker freedom or job creation.”
    “Indeed, research shows that when governments support workers’ right to freely organize and advocate for themselves, the playing field between workers and corporations evens.5 Workers share in the profits they help create by bargaining for better wages and benefits. Workers and companies collaborate more, investing in training and other mutually beneficial improvements. And workers are better represented in the government and can advocate for policies that benefit everyday Americans.”
    “By reducing workers’ voice, right-to-work laws drive down the wages and reduce the economic well-being of all workers—union and nonunion alike. At the same time, right-to-work laws make it easier for more of the economy’s gains to flow straight to the country’s wealthiest people. A national right-to-work law would keep even more power in the hands of companies that, despite record corporate profits in recent years, have not shared their gains with workers.”
    http://www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org/brief/how-decline-american-unions-has-boosted-corporate-profits-and-reduced-worker-compensation
    “In recent times, U.S. corporate profits have been going up at the expense of workers’ wages and fringe benefits. From 1979 through 2007, labor’s share of national income in the U.S. private sector decreased by six percentage points. What does that mean? Back in 1979, American workers claimed about 64% of national income, and if labor’s share had stayed at this level, the 120 million American workers employed in the private sector in 2007 would have received as a group an additional $600 billion in compensation.
    “Where did that huge amount of money go instead of into workers’ wallets? It went to corporate profits, mostly benefiting very wealthy individuals.
    “Since the late 1970s, technological changes and the decline of labor unions have, in combination with each other and with other factors, helped to reduce the share of the national economic pie claimed by U.S. workers –…..Union decline has not only increased wage disparities among workers; it has also allowed U.S. capitalists to grab a growing slice of economic gains at the expense of all of their employees. Employers were able to do this, not because of the inexorable impact of abstract market forces or impersonal technologies, but because they have been able to deploy new technologies in ways that spurred the decline of unions and reduced the collective capacity of workers to sustain or boost their wages and benefits.”
Issue Titles ^      Worker’s Rights ^

Earned Worker Benefits

  1. Social Security is a retirement plan funded by employed workers, not an "entitlement program".
  2. Medicare is funded by working Americans.
  3. Worker-earned benefits are stripped, while corporate welfare expands.
  4. Medicare is robbed to expand corporate tax deductions.
    (Earned Worker Benefits)
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/oct/06/charles-schumer/are-republicans-paying-tax-cuts-reductions-medicar/ But we don’t find it unreasonable for Schumer to call cumulative reductions to Medicare and Medicaid spending in the hundreds of billions of dollars "cuts." The reductions below the CBO baseline are indeed in the Senate budget document, which fits with Schumer's words that the GOP is "proposing" them. And an independent analysis by the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center backs up the notion that the GOP's cuts are tilted toward richer Americans.
  5. Corporate welfare is funded by looting worker pensions.
    (Earned Worker Benefits)
    http://billmoyers.com/story/millions-face-pension-cuts-thanks-to-wall-street-recklessness/

    “Like many other pension plans,” Jonnelle Marte explains, “the Central States Pension Fund suffered heavy investment losses during the financial crisis that cut into the pool of money available to pay out benefits.”
    So, the CEOs and top executives of companies that have an extensive record of involvement in questionable (to say the least) activity and that have to be bailed out by the taxpayers are at no risk of losing a dime of their lavish pension plans (and, on some occasions, they are rewarded for their efforts with massive bonuses); but, average workers, who had nothing to do with the crisis, are forced to absorb the costs.
  6. Missouri is giving Greedy Corporations worker-funded pension dollars.
    (Earned Worker Benefits)
    https://www.afscme.org/news/publications/newsletters/works/works-winter-2015/communities-suffer-for-corporate-welfare
    Public service workers are paying a heavy price for the actions of governors and other elected officials who cut their pensions and benefits with one hand while handing out tax favors to corporations that deplete state coffers with the other.
  7. Missouri legislators are underfunding the state-employee pension program.
    (Earned Worker Benefits)
    http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/20170913/missouri-employees-pension-plan-underfunded-by-5-billion
    Treasurer Eric Schmitt told the Legislature’s Committee on Public Retirement that the pension plan is underfunded by more than $5 billion. He cited an 80-percent funding mark as being healthy, although that would still leave the state below the amount needed to pay all the retirement benefits it potentially owes.

Issue Titles ^      Earned Worker Benefits ^

Global Warming

  1. Two hundred countries agree catastrophic global warming is a problem. Only US Republicans, funded by polluting corporations, disagree.
    (Global Warming)
    SOURCE: This Changes Everything (2014), Naomi Klein
    Between 2005 and 2006, the weather futures market increased from $9.7B to $45.2B
    Between 2008 and 2010, 261 patents were filed related to growing “climate-ready” crops (i.e. seeds able to withstand extreme weather conditions)
    Climate change deniers are overwhelmingly: conservative, white, male—with higher than average incomes
    American insurance companies have begun dispatching teams of private firefighters to high- end clients (in California & Colorado) when their property is threatened by wildfires, a “concierge” service pioneered by AIG
    Fossil fuel companies receive more than $775B annually in global subsidies
    From 2001 to 2010, the top five oil companies earned $900 billion in profits [ExxonMobil holds the record for highest corporate profits in the U.S. ($41B in 2011; $45B in 2012)]
    In 2013, the U.S. oil and gas industry spent almost $400,000 per DAY lobbying Congress and government officials. [During the 2012 election cycle, the fossil fuel industry contributed $73M in federal political donations.]
    The 2005 Energy Bill exempted the fracking industry from regulations imposed by the Safe Drinking Water Act (1974). [Gas & oil companies are NOT required to disclose the chemicals being injected underground.]
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Agreement
    Wikipedia- Paris Agreement.
    As of Nov 2017 195 countries have signed the agreement to respond to the global warming climate threat by limiting the increase in global temperature to 2 degrees centigrade (3.6F).
    https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/recips.php?ind=E01&recipdetail=A&sortorder=U&mem=Y&cycle=2018
    In 2016 and 2018, 19 of the top 20 Congressional recipients of fossil fuel donations were Republican.
    http://scorecard.lcv.org/members-of-congress
    According to the League of Women Voters, when it came to fighting climate change in 2016 only one Republican Senator scored above 50% (out of 100%) in their voting record. For Democrats it was just the opposite, with just one Democratic Senator scoring below 50 %. The Republican Democratic dichotomy on fighting global warming is just as strong in the House.
  2. If 97 of 100 doctors diagnosed you with cancer, would you take action? 97% of climate scientists warn human behavior is a direct cause of global warming.
  3. If we do not address global warming, none of the other issues will matter.
  4. Global warming is not about climate change; it's about the survival of the human species.
    (Global Warming)
    SOURCE: This Changes Everything (2014), Naomi Klein
    Fifty million U.S. citizens are “food insecure”
    Per a 2013 WSJ investigation: more than 15 million Americans reside within one mile of a natural gas well that has been drilled and fracked since 2000 [Proximity to fracking sites increases the likelihood of congenital heart and neurological defects, low birth weights, and unsafe Apgar scores in newborns.]
    During 2012, there were more than 6,000 spills and other “mishaps” at onshore oil and gas sites in the U.S.
    More than 70% of the chemicals mass-produced in the U.S. have never been tested for their impact upon fetuses or children
    http://news.mit.edu/2017/deadly-heat-waves-could-hit-south-asia-century-0802
    Without big reductions in carbon dioxide, large areas of SE Asia home to one-fifth of humanity could be devastated by heat waves within a few decades.
  5. 97% of climate scientists warn human misuse of resources is a direct cause of global warming.
    (Global Warming)
    Support data: 
SOURCE: This Changes Everything (2014), Naomi Klein
    In 2013, global carbon dioxide emissions were 61% higher than they were in 1990 (when climate treaty negotiations began)
    Approximately one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions are generated by heating, cooling, and lighting buildings
    Once carbon has been emitted into the atmosphere, it remains for hundreds of years— trapping heat
    The global food system now accounts for 19-29% of world greenhouse emissions
    The U.S. military is the largest single consumer of petroleum in the world
    Renewable energy creates more jobs (per unit of energy delivered) than fossil fuels
    Methane emissions caused by fracking natural gas are 30% greater than emissions caused by conventional gas extraction. [Methane gas is 34 times more effective at trapping heat—and carries a warming potential that is 86 times greater than carbon dioxide.]
    Coal, left undisturbed, helps sequester the carbon extracted by plants and absorbs groundwater toxins (including uranium, cadmium, and mercury)
    Sulfur dioxide emissions are the primary cause of acid rain
    Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques release more than twice as much greenhouse-gas as conventional extraction
    From 2008 to 2013 (in the U.S.), the number of rail cars transporting oil increased 4,000%
    In 2012, (in the U.S.) the fracking industry created 280 BILLION gallons of toxic wastewater
    Climate change is the result of cumulative emissions: the carbon dioxide humans emit remains in the atmosphere for one to two centuries
    Developed countries (representing less than 20% of the world population) have emitted almost 70% of the greenhouse pollution currently destabilizing the planet. [The United States (representing less than 5% of the world population) contributes approximately 14% of global carbon emissions.]
    https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/
    97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree that climate warming trends over the last century are extremely likely due to human activities.
Issue Titles ^      Global Warming ^

LGBTQ Rights

  1. Marital rights and sexual preference are not the responsibility of politicians.
  2. ALL citizens, regardless of gender or sexual preference, deserve equal rights.
    (LGBTQ Rights) https://www.amnestyusa.org/issues/gender-sexuality-identity/
    We all have the right to be treated equally. Governments have a moral and legal obligation to protect people from discrimination or violence based on who they are.
     http://www.debate.org/opinions/gay-rights-should-gays-have-equal-rights-as-other-citizens
    “All human beings are meant to be treated as equals. This is regardless of class, gender, race, or sexual orientation. The real question is whether or not the government gives these rights or not. The answer is no, the government does not give rights, it is in place to protect rights that are naturally occurring for all human beings. If the rights of homosexuals are threatened, it is the government's duty to protect those rights.”
    https://diversity.harvard.edu/pages/statement-equal-opportunity-laws-and-policies
    “Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended, and Executive Order 11246, as amended, prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
    http://www.highgroundalliance.eu/the-issues/
    “All people, regardless of their sexual orientation,  or gender identity and sex characteristics, should be able to fully enjoy their human rights. LGBTI people are not asking for special rights, but want to live free of discrimination and achieve full equality and be able to enjoy human rights without discrimination.”
    “The principle of non-discrimination is firmly inscribed in international human rights law, the European Human Rights Convention and the EU treaties.  The treaty bodies, as well as the European Human Rights Court and the European Court of Justice have repeatedly affirmed that all human rights are universal and that sexual orientation and gender identity are grounds protected from discrimination under international law.”
  3. Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation undermines our most basic values.
    (LGBTQ Rights)
    http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/edumat/studyguides/sexualorientation.html
    Sexual orientation is a relatively recent notion in human rights law and practice and one of the controversial ones in politics. Prejudices, negative stereotypes and discrimination are deeply imbedded in our value system and patterns of behaviour. For many public officials and opinion-makers the expression of homophobic prejudice remains both legitimate and respectable - in a manner that would be unacceptable for any other minority.
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2013/01/11/discrimination-inequality-and-poverty-human-rights-perspective
    “Human rights law prohibits discrimination on the basis of a wide range of prohibited grounds. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or ‘other status.’”
    https://nwlc.org/resources/womens-community-sends-statement-of-values-letter-to-president-trump/
    “Our priorities reflect the importance of effective policies serving women across their lifespans and regardless of income, identity or background. These priorities put the needs of women of color, immigrant women, LGBTQ people, women with disabilities, and women with low incomes front and center – recognizing that too often their experiences have been at the
    margins. When the needs of women and girls – particularly those needs most important to communities of color and immigrant communities – are an afterthought, justice is denied and the ability to create effective change is undermined.” 
    “As we build the America of today and tomorrow, our economy, families and communities will be strengthened only if we incorporate principles of fairness, equality and inclusiveness that enable women of every race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, immigration status, family status, disability status, sexual orientation and gender expression to prosper.”
    http://www.apa.org/international/pi/2012/06/un-matters.aspx
    “…he (UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon) identified homophobic bullying as a form of violence endangering the human rights of LGBT persons and encouraged Member Nations to protect their citizens from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Mr. Ban articulated the profound psychological suffering that ensues from bullying, including depression and suicide.
    He also underscored the responsibility of local communities — including individual citizens, community leaders, teachers, religious and public figures — to share in the challenge of ending violence against LGBT persons and protecting their own neighbors from persecution.”
  4. If God declares a child be born gay, it's not up to me to judge them.
  5. It’s a birthright to be born gay.
Issue Titles ^      LGBTQ Rights ^

Drug Abuse

  1. A smaller government means less money for drug abuse prevention and rehab.
  2. Drug treatment is cheaper than incarceration.
    (Drug Abuse)
    https://doc.mo.gov/Documents/mrp/SATPrograms.pdf
    PARTNERSHIP FOR DRUG-FREE KIDS:
    Sending substance-abusing state prisoners to community-based treatment programs instead of prisons could reduce crime and save billions of dollars, a new study concludes. The savings would result from immediate reductions in the cost of incarceration, and by subsequent reductions in the number of crimes committed by successfully treated offenders, which leads to fewer re-arrests and re-incarcerations, according to the researchers.
    Almost half of all state prisoners abuse drugs or are drug-dependent, but only 10 percent received medically based drug treatment while they are incarcerated, according To Newswise. Inmates who are untreated or not adequately treated are more likely to start using drugs when they are released from prison, and commit crimes at a higher rate than those who do not abuse drugs, the article notes.
    The researchers built a simulation model of 1.14 million state prisoners, representing the 2004 U.S. state prison population. The model estimated the benefits of substance abuse treatment over individuals’ lifetimes, and calculated the crime and criminal justice costs related to policing, trial and sentencing, and incarceration.
    The model tracked individuals’ substance abuse, criminal activity, employment and health care use until death or until they reached age 60, whichever came first. They estimated the costs of sending 10 percent or 40 percent of drug-abusing inmates to community-based substance abuse treatment instead of prison.
    In the journal Crime & Delinquency, the researchers found that if just 10 percent of eligible offenders were treated in community-based programs instead of going to prison, the criminal justice system would save $4.8 billion, compared with current practices. If 40 percent of eligible offenders received treatment, the savings would total $12.9 billion.
    https://rehab-international.org/blog/drug-rehab-instead-of-prison-could-save-billions-says-report
    “Published in the journal Crime & Delinquency, the new research has found that sending offenders with a history of drug and alcohol abuse to an addiction treatment program rather than institutionalizing them in jail or prison is not only the humanitarian choice but it will cut crime rates and save billions of dollars. Billions. In a time when the federal government has a debt in the trillions, it seems unethical to ignore the benefits and cost savings of helping people get the medical care they need rather than incarceration that will only worsen everyone’s problems.”
    http://www.bhsbaltimore.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Incarceration-vs-Drug-Treatment-Costs.pdf
    “State and national studies have estimated that it costs between $26,390 and $38,383 annually to incarcerate a drug offender in Maryland. Costs for treatment vary by level of care and length of treatment, but even the most expensive treatment is less costly than incarceration. A 2008 study estimated treatment costs ranged from an average of $2,326 for non-methadone outpatient services—and $7,409 per episode for methadone treatment—to $21,404 for therapeutic community treatment.2”
    https://luxury.rehabs.com/alcohol-rehab/rehab-instead-of-jail/
    “According to the Justice Research and Statistics Association, the effects of drug rehabilitation versus jail time had positive outcomes in the following areas:
    57 percent of people receiving drug rehab were re-arrested within a 12-month period compared to a 75-percent rate for those who didn’t receive drug rehab
    42 percent of people receiving drug rehab were convicted of a crime compared to 65 percent of those who didn’t receive drug rehab
    30 percent of people who underwent drug rehabilitation received a new jail sentence within a 12-month period compared to 51 percent of those who didn’t undergo drug rehab”
    http://www.justicepolicy.org/uploads/justicepolicy/documents/04-01_rep_mdtreatmentorincarceration_ac-dp.pdf
    From the Justice Policy Institute….“Treatment can be less expensive than a term of imprisonment. Treatment can be cost effective.”
  3. Best alternatives to drugs - education, jobs, resources.
  4. The war on drugs costs $51 billion annually. Talk about government waste!
    (Drug Abuse)
    https://doc.mo.gov/Documents/mrp/SATPrograms.pdf
    PARTNERSHIP FOR DRUG-FREE KIDS:
    Sending substance-abusing state prisoners to community-based treatment programs instead of prisons could reduce crime and save billions of dollars, a new study concludes. The savings would result from immediate reductions in the cost of incarceration, and by subsequent reductions in the number of crimes committed by successfully treated offenders, which leads to fewer re-arrests and re-incarcerations, according to the researchers.
    Almost half of all state prisoners abuse drugs or are drug-dependent, but only 10 percent received medically based drug treatment while they are incarcerated, according To Newswise. Inmates who are untreated or not adequately treated are more likely to start using drugs when they are released from prison, and commit crimes at a higher rate than those who do not abuse drugs, the article notes.
    The researchers built a simulation model of 1.14 million state prisoners, representing the 2004 U.S. state prison population. The model estimated the benefits of substance abuse treatment over individuals’ lifetimes, and calculated the crime and criminal justice costs related to policing, trial and sentencing, and incarceration.
    The model tracked individuals’ substance abuse, criminal activity, employment and health care use until death or until they reached age 60, whichever came first. They estimated the costs of sending 10 percent or 40 percent of drug-abusing inmates to community-based substance abuse treatment instead of prison.
    In the journal Crime & Delinquency, the researchers found that if just 10 percent of eligible offenders were treated in community-based programs instead of going to prison, the criminal justice system would save $4.8 billion, compared with current practices. If 40 percent of eligible offenders received treatment, the savings would total $12.9 billion.
    http://www.drugpolicy.org/issues/drug-war-statistics
    Amount spent annually in the U.S. on the war on drugs: $50+ billion. Number of arrests in 2016 in the U.S. for drug law violations: 1,572,579”
    https://www.cnn.com/2012/12/06/opinion/branson-end-war-on-drugs/index.html
    “It is time we broke the taboo and opened up the debate about the war on drugs. We need alternatives that focus on education, health, taxation and regulation.”
    “If you ignore a serious problem, refuse to debate it and hope it will go away all by itself, you are very naive. The war on drugs has failed. It's time to confront the issue head on.”
  5. What would you rather pay for: education or incarceration?
    (Drug Abuse)
    https://doc.mo.gov/Documents/mrp/SATPrograms.pdf
    PARTNERSHIP FOR DRUG-FREE KIDS:
    Sending substance-abusing state prisoners to community-based treatment programs instead of prisons could reduce crime and save billions of dollars, a new study concludes. The savings would result from immediate reductions in the cost of incarceration, and by subsequent reductions in the number of crimes committed by successfully treated offenders, which leads to fewer re-arrests and re-incarcerations, according to the researchers.
    Almost half of all state prisoners abuse drugs or are drug-dependent, but only 10 percent received medically based drug treatment while they are incarcerated, according To Newswise. Inmates who are untreated or not adequately treated are more likely to start using drugs when they are released from prison, and commit crimes at a higher rate than those who do not abuse drugs, the article notes.
    The researchers built a simulation model of 1.14 million state prisoners, representing the 2004 U.S. state prison population. The model estimated the benefits of substance abuse treatment over individuals’ lifetimes, and calculated the crime and criminal justice costs related to policing, trial and sentencing, and incarceration.
    The model tracked individuals’ substance abuse, criminal activity, employment and health care use until death or until they reached age 60, whichever came first. They estimated the costs of sending 10 percent or 40 percent of drug-abusing inmates to community-based substance abuse treatment instead of prison.
    In the journal Crime & Delinquency, the researchers found that if just 10 percent of eligible offenders were treated in community-based programs instead of going to prison, the criminal justice system would save $4.8 billion, compared with current practices. If 40 percent of eligible offenders received treatment, the savings would total $12.9 billion.
    https://www.cnn.com/2012/12/06/opinion/branson-end-war-on-drugs/index.html
    “A Pew study says it costs the U.S. an average of $30,000 a year to incarcerate an inmate, but the nation spends only an average $11,665 per public school student. The future of our nations and our children should be our priority. We should be helping people addicted to drugs break their habits rather than putting users in prison.”
    https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/report-increases-spending-corrections-far-outpace-education
    “Over the past three decades, between 1979–80 and 2012–13, state and local expenditures for P–12 education doubled from $258 to $534 billion, while total state and local expenditures for corrections quadrupled from $17 to $71 billion.”
    “All states had lower expenditure growth rates for P-12 education than for corrections, and in the majority of the states, the rate of increase for corrections spending was more than 100 percentage points higher than the growth rate for education spending.”
    “Even when adjusted for population changes, growth in corrections expenditures outpaced P-12 expenditures in all but two states (New Hampshire and Massachusetts).”
    “Over the roughly two decades, between 1989–1990 and 2012–2013, state and local appropriations for public colleges and universities remained flat, while funding for corrections increased by nearly 90 percent.”
    “On average, state and local higher education funding per full-time equivalent student fell by 28 percent, while per capita spending on corrections increased by 44 percent.”
Issue Titles ^      Drug Abuse ^

Responsible Gun Ownership

  1. Require gun owners to purchase liability insurance.
    (Responsible Gun Ownership)
    https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2013/01/31/170700177/should-gun-owners-have-to-buy-liability-insurance
    Some economists think states should require gun owners to carry liability insurance like they do for car owners. 
    https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2013/01/31/170700177/should-gun-owners-have-to-buy-liability-insurance
    “The real problem with gun ownership is that they involve "externalities," which is economist-speak for the fact that your gun may be used to hurt others. When people fail to consider the broader social costs of choices like buying a gun, they're more likely to do them, and society suffers.”
    “The economic answer is simple: Make potential gun owners take account of these potential social costs. One way to do this would be to charge an annual license fee for each gun you keep. Research by economists Phil Cook and Jens Ludwig suggests that the typical social cost of one more gun-owning household is somewhere between $100 and $1,800 per year. While that's a wide range, if we set a gun ownership license fee this high, it would force gun owners to face the true social costs of their choices, which would lead many fewer to buy guns.”
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwasik/2013/02/21/the-myth-of-gun-liability-insurance/#1cdd9a891028
    “Gun insurance is a win-win proposal because of its reliance upon the market to assign and price risk. Gun manufacturers would have incentives to "customize" guns to the owner through biometric safeties.”
    “In any case, liability coverage would offer great protection if a gun was lost, stolen or used by a third party to commit a crime.  It's about public and private protection, not gun control. It's an idea that seeks to shield the public from harm without intruding upon private rights.”
  2. Gun rights come with gun responsibilities.
    (Responsible Gun Ownership)
    https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2670521
    Fed up with the toll guns inflict on their patients, physicians joined with Illinois lawmakers to support state licensing of gun dealers.
    http://www.responsibleownership.org
    Require safe and secure storage of firearms to prevent access by children or unauthorized persons.
    https://www.thetrace.org/2016/02/live-fire-training-not-mandatory-concealed-carry-permits/amp/
    26 states will let you carry a concealed firearm without requiring firearm safety training.
    https://www.motherjones.com/wp-content/uploads/suiciderates6.jpg
    States that require gun  background checks have gun suicide rates 50% lower than states without those checks.
    https://www.cnn.com/2013/12/11/opinion/liu-gun-responsibility/index.html
    “A gun responsibility agenda respects the Second Amendment right to bear arms. It also demands that the right be exercised with the level of responsibility that a functioning society applies to any public health or safety issue.”
    “ …..gun responsibility means accepting -- indeed, championing -- reasonable rules and standards for the ownership and use of firearms. Criminal background checks prior to gun purchases, to take one obvious example, should be completely noncontroversial. That's the bare minimum responsibility requires.”
    “Criminal background checks can't prevent every gun death, of course. Similarly, speed limits and seat belt laws can't prevent every highway death. That is no argument for the repeal of either. It's just a reminder that our job as citizens is to make rules that reduce the chances of preventable harm.”
    “This is the zone of common sense, where we each do what we can and where not every curb on our desires is a total surrender of liberty. This is where a large and growing majority of Americans live. Background checks, for instance, garner 80% to 90% support in most public opinion polls.”
    “The idea of gun responsibility can and does appeal to people across the spectrum. A majority of NRA members would likely call themselves adherents. It's not about left versus right. It's just about being adult versus being immature. Adults know that every right carries an implicit duty to others -- that no right, constitutional or not, is absolute -- and they live accordingly.”
    https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2017-08-01/im-a-gun-lover-and-the-nra-has-lost-its-mind “A responsible NRA would be working for, not against, universal background checks on all firearms sales. As a responsible gun owner, it's my job to ensure anyone I transfer a weapon to is in fact legally permitted to possess one. That's the bare minimum due diligence that should be expected of me, and the vast majority of Americans and even gun owners agree. But not the NRA.”
  3. I believe in responsible gun ownership.
  4. The AR-15 is an assault weapon, not a defense rifle.
  5. Irresponsible gun laws kill our children.
    (Responsible Gun Ownership)
    http://fox5sandiego.com/2017/06/19/guns-kill-nearly-1300-us-children-each-year-study-says/
    Guns kill nearly 1300 children yearly. Doctors emphasize there are ways to restrict unwanted access.
    http://jjie.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/children-and-guns-chart-featured.png
    This chart shows by state the gun homicide, suicide, and accidental death rates for children.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/us/children-and-guns-the-hidden-toll.html?pagewanted=all
    “In all, fewer than 20 states have enacted laws to hold adults criminally liable if they fail to store guns safely, enabling children to access them.”
    “Legislative and other efforts to promote the development of childproof weapons using “smart gun” technology have similarly stalled. Technical issues have been an obstacle, but so have N.R.A. arguments that the problem is relatively insignificant and the technology unneeded.”
    “Because of maneuvering in Congress by the gun lobby and its allies, firearms have also been exempted from regulation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission since its inception.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/04/09/deaths-of-children-are-the-most-devastating-effect-of-our-gun-culture-the-nra-has-no-idea-what-to-say-about-them/?utm_term=.c45e8d9ad9ee
    “Over the past year, new studies and media reports have documented America’s extraordinary number of child-involved shootings. These occur when a child happens upon a gun, or is left alone with one, and ends up shooting themselves or another person. Such disasters result in hundreds of child fatalities and have made American children nine times more likely to die in gun accidents than children anywhere else in the developed world.”
  6. Our children deserve responsible gun laws.
  7. Responsible citizens support responsible gun laws.
Issue Titles ^      Responsible Gun Ownership ^

Public Education

  1. Missouri can be only as successful as its public schools.
  2. A publicly educated citizenry pays for itself.
    (Public Education)
    http://www.epi.org/publication/states-education-productivity-growth-foundations/
    The connection between education and income is strong. A high school diploma, technical college certificate, or college degree not only increases one’s skills and productivity, but signals to employers that the individual is motivated and completes tasks. A more educated individual is more likely to participate in the job market, to have a job, to work more hours, and to be paid more, and less likely to be unemployed
    SOURCE: The Social and Economic Benefits of Public Education (2011), Dana Mitra
    https://www.elc-pa.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/BestInvestment_Full_Report_6.27.11.pdf
    Research shows that individuals who graduate and have access to quality education throughout primary and secondary school are more likely to find gainful employment, have stable families, and be active and productive citizens. They are also less likely to commit serious crimes, less likely to place high demands on the public health care system, and less likely to be enrolled in welfare assistance programs.
    High school dropouts are more than twice as likely to be unemployed and three times more likely to receive welfare assistance, costing billions of dollars nationally each year for government-funded assistance programs.
    Decreasing the number of high school dropouts by half would produce $45 billion per year in net economic benefit to U.S. society.
    Improved education and more stable employment greatly increase tax revenue, such as a return of at least 7 dollars for every dollar invested in pre-kindergarten education.
    Forty-one percent of all prisoners have not completed high school, compared to 18% of the general adult population.
    The annual cost of incarcerating an individual is about $32,000, while the annual cost of a quality public education is about $11,000.
    A 5% increase in the male graduate rate would save $5 billion in crime-related expenses.
    Graduating from high school reduces dependence on public health programs by 60%.
    Average annual public health costs are $2,700 per dropout, $1,000 per high school graduate, and $170 per college graduate.
    A 1-year increase in median education level is associated with a more than 13% jump in political primary turnout.
    People with more education are more likely to have healthy diets and exercise frequently, and are less likely to smoke.
    People who drop out of high school are six times more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs than people with a college degree.
    People with higher levels of educational attainment have a lower divorce rate and are more likely to remain in stable, healthy relationships with their spouses.
    Education increases voter participation, participation in volunteer organizations, and personal tolerance of different viewpoints.
    SOURCE: The Benefits and Costs of Investing in Early Childhood Education (2015), Robert Lynch & Kavya Vaghul
    http://equitablegrowth.org/report/the-benefits-and-costs-of-investing-in-early-childhood-education/
    Investing in high quality universal pre-kindergarten improves economic growth, promotes opportunity, and eases a host of social issues.
    It would take only eight years for the total annual benefits of a publicly-funded universal pre- kindergarten program to exceed its costs.
    U.S. society would gain $8.90 in benefits for every dollar invested in a universal pre- kindergarten program.
    By 2050, a universal pre-kindergarten program would yield $304 billion in benefits: $81 billion in government budget benefits, $108 billion in increased compensation, and $114 billion in savings from improved health and reduced crime.
    Universal pre-kindergarten reduces socioeconomic inequality because its greatest positive effects are on the most disadvantaged children.
  3. Well-funded public schools produce job-ready employees.
  4. Educating our children is the ultimate use of Missouri tax dollars.
    (Public Education)
    http://www.epi.org/publication/states-education-productivity-growth-foundations/
    Strong state education systems are good not just for the national economy; they are good for the citizens of the state.
  5. Charter schools place the moral responsibility of education in the hands of profit-seeking corporations.
    (Public Education)
    The Little Blue Book by George Lakoff
    On the whole, charter schools perform no better than public schools, and they place the moral responsibility of education in the hands of profit-seeking corporations.
    SOURCE: The Network for Public Education (2017), Carol Burris
    https://networkforpubliceducation.org/2017/01/charters-vouchers-hurt-public-schools-answer-yes/
    When a public school loses a percentage of students to charter schools or a voucher program, the school can’t reduce costs by an equivalent percentage. The school still must pay the same
    utility, maintenance, transportation, and food services costs. The school must still carry the salary and benefit costs of administrative staff, custodial services, and cafeteria workers. The school may not be able to reduce teaching staff because the attrition will occur randomly across various grade levels, leaving class sizes only marginally reduced.
    In Nashville, Tennessee, an independent research firm (MGT of America) estimated the net negative fiscal impact of charter school growth on the district’s public schools result in more than $300 million in direct costs to public schools over a five-year period.
    On the whole, charter and voucher schools perform no better than the public school system, and often worse. At they same time they have a negative fiscal impact on existing public schools, and are creating a parallel school system that duplicates services and costs.
  6. ALL children deserve access to well-resourced public schools.
  7. Well-funded public schools keep our Missouri communities strong.
    (Public Education)
    https://www.cfra.org/renewrural/s/desirable-communities
    Small schools have long been a drawing card for rural communities. Communities that make a commitment to provide a quality education in small, community-based schools and invest in them will always have a powerful advantage in attracting young families with children.
  8. Public schools keep small communities alive.
  9. Investing in public schools pays all of us back.
    (Public Education)
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/10/the-war-on-public-schools/537903/
    Public education is a worthy investment, one that pays dividends not only to individual families but to our society as a whole.
    SOURCE: The Social and Economic Benefits of Public Education (2011), Dana Mitra
    https://www.elc-pa.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/BestInvestment_Full_Report_6.27.11.pdf
    Individuals who graduate and have access to quality education throughout primary and secondary school are more likely to find gainful employment, have stable families, and be active and productive citizens. They are also less likely to commit serious crimes, less likely to place high demands on the public health care system, and less likely to be enrolled in welfare assistance programs.
    High school dropouts are more than twice as likely to be unemployed and three times more likely to receive welfare assistance, costing billions of dollars nationally each year for government-funded assistance programs.
    Decreasing the number of high school dropouts by half would produce $45 Billion per year in net economic benefit to U.S. society.
    Improved education and more stable employment greatly increase tax revenue, such as a return of at least 7 dollars for every dollar invested in pre-kindergarten education.
    Forty-one percent of all prisoners have not completed high school, compared to 18% of the general adult population.
    The annual cost of incarcerating an individual is about $32,000, while the annual cost of a quality public education is about $11,000.
    A 5% increase in the male graduate rate would save $5 billion in crime-related expenses.
    Graduating from high school reduces dependence on public health programs by 60%.
    Average annual public health costs are $2,700 per dropout, $1,000 per high school graduate, and $170 per college graduate.
    A 1-year increase in median education level is associated with a more than 13% jump in political primary turnout.
    People with more education are more likely to have healthy diets and exercise frequently, and are less likely to smoke.
    People who drop out of high school are six times more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs than people with a college degree.
    People with higher levels of educational attainment have a lower divorce rate and are more likely to remain in stable, healthy relationships with their spouses.
    Education increases voter participation, participation in volunteer organizations, and personal tolerance of different viewpoints.
    SOURCE: The Benefits and Costs of Investing in Early Childhood Education (2015), Robert Lynch & Kavya Vaghul
    http://equitablegrowth.org/report/the-benefits-and-costs-of-investing-in-early-childhood-education/
    Investing in high quality universal pre-kindergarten improves economic growth, promotes opportunity, and eases a host of social issues.
    It would take only eight years for the total annual benefits of a publicly-funded universal pre- kindergarten program to exceed its costs.
    U.S. society would gain $8.90 in benefits for every dollar invested in a universal pre- kindergarten program.
    By 2050, a universal pre-kindergarten program would yield $304 billion in benefits: $81 billion in government budget benefits, $108 billion in increased compensation, and $114 billion in savings from improved health and reduced crime.
    Universal pre-kindergarten reduces socioeconomic inequality because its greatest positive effects are on the most disadvantaged children.
Issue Titles ^      Public Education ^

Taxes

  1. Stop tax giveaways to global corporations.
    (Taxes)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/us/how-local-taxpayers-bankroll-corporations.html?pagewanted=all&mcubz=3
    “For years, mayors and governors anxious about local jobs had agreed to G.M.’s demands for cash rewards, free buildings, worker training and lucrative tax breaks. As late as 2007, the company was telling local officials that these sorts of incentives would “further G.M.’s strong relationship” with them and be a “win/win situation,” according to town council notes from one Michigan community.”
    “Yet at least 50 properties on the 2009 liquidation list were in towns and states that had awarded incentives, adding up to billions in taxpayer dollars, according to data compiled by The New York Times.”
    http://thehill.com/opinion/finance/362436-gop-tax-plan-a-corporate-giveaway-disguised-as-reform
    The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office report released earlier this week said this bill will actually hurt poor people more than originally thought and that it would add $1.4 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. “
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/09/27/tax-cut-fever-republican-supply-side-theory-hogwash-bruce-bartlett-column/704464001/
    “Virtually everything Republicans say about taxes today is a lie. Tax cuts and tax rate reductions will not pay for themselves; they never have. Republicans don’t even believe they will, they are just excuses to slash spending for the poor when revenues collapse and deficits rise.”
    https://www.creators.com/read/thomas-sowell/01/14/the-trickle-down-lie
    From a conservative columnist, Dr Thomas Sowell.. “While there have been all too many lies told in politics, most have some little tiny fraction of truth in them, to make them seem plausible. But the "trickle-down" lie is 100 percent lie.”
    “It should win the contest both because of its purity — no contaminating speck of truth — and because of how many people have repeated it over the years, without any evidence being asked for or given.”
  2. Undertaxing the rich means overtaxing the rest of us.
    (Taxes)
    https://americansfortaxfairness.org/tax-fairness-briefing-booklet/fact-sheet-taxing-wealthy-americans/
    It’s time for the wealthiest Americans and big corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. When they take unfair advantage of the many loopholes in the tax code the rest of us pick up the tab.
    http://www.ctj.org/pdf/regcg.pdf
    For reference…. In the 1950s and 1960s, when the economy was booming, the wealthiest Americans paid a top income tax rate of 91%. Today, the top rate is 43.4%.
    https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/09intop400.pdf
    The average federal income tax rate of the richest 400 Americans was just 20 percent in 2009.
    http://cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43768_DistributionTaxExpenditures.pdf
    Taxing investment income at a much lower rate than salaries and wages are taxed loses $1.3 trillion over 10 years.
    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2011/08/irs-1470-millionaires-paid-no-income-tax-in-09/1#.WpGRWxPwZfQ
    1,470 households reported income of more than $1 million in 2009 but paid zero federal income taxes on it.
    http://www.epi.org/publication/rising-income-inequality-role-shifting-market/
    30 percent of income inequality is due to unfair taxes and budget cuts to services and benefits.
    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2207372
    The largest contributor to increasing income inequality has been changes in income from capital gains and dividends.
  3. Fifty years of Republican tax cuts for the wealthy. Has it trickled down to you?
    (Taxes)
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trickle-down-economics-is-a-nightmare-kansas-proved-it/2017/06/12/c2d7aae0-4fa6-11e7-91eb-9611861a988f_story.html?utm_term=.fd5ce72de6fd
    Trickle-down economics is a nightmare. Kansas proved it.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/11/30/im-a-depression-historian-the-gop-tax-bill-is-straight-out-of-1929/?utm_term=.1ae3f0ea4811
    “There are two ideas of government,” William Jennings Bryan declared in his 1896 “Cross of Gold” speech. “There are those who believe that if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them.”
    “That was more than three decades before the collapse of the economy in 1929. The crash followed a decade of Republican control of the federal government during which trickle-down policies, including massive tax cuts for the rich, produced the greatest concentration of income in the accounts of the richest 0.01 percent at any time between World War I and 2007 (when trickle-down economics, tax cuts for the hyper-rich, and deregulation again resulted in another economic collapse).”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/26/business/economy/tax-cuts-incomes.html
    During Reagan’s years….“For one in two Americans, though — those in the bottom half of the income pile — income actually shrank on Reagan’s watch. In 1980, the year he was elected, they earned $16,371 a year on average, in today’s dollars, according to the World Wealth and Income Database. By 1988, Reagan’s last year in office, they had to make do with $16,268.”
    https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/the-legacy-of-the-2001-and-2003-bush-tax-cuts
    “The biggest tax policy changes enacted under President George W. Bush were the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, often referred to as the “Bush tax cuts” but formally named the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (JGTRRA).  High-income taxpayers benefitted most from these tax cuts, with the top 1 percent of households receiving an average tax cut of over $570,000 between 2004-2012 (increasing their after-tax income by more than 5 percent each year).  Despite promises from proponents of the tax cuts, evidence suggests that they did not improve economic growth or pay for themselves, but instead ballooned deficits and debt and contributed to a rise in income inequality.”
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-tax-fiscal/rich-would-benefit-most-from-trump-tax-cut-plan-policy-group-idUSKCN1C42C8
    “The wealthiest Americans would benefit the most from President Donald Trump’s proposed tax cuts while many upper middle-income people would face higher taxes, independent experts said on Friday in the first detailed analysis of the plan.”
  4. The rich are waging a tax war on the American poor and middle-class.
    (Taxes)
    https://www.salon.com/2017/07/12/the-class-war-is-a-one-sided-fight-and-the-very-rich-are-winning/
    The class war is a one-sided fight — and the very rich are winning
    https://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/Rich-are-waging-class-warfare-against-the-poor-2185956.php
    “And one consequence of the shift of taxation away from wealth and toward work is the creation of many situations in which - just as Warren Buffett and Obama say - people with multimillion-dollar incomes, who typically derive much of that income from capital gains and other sources that face low taxes, end up paying a lower overall tax rate than middle-class workers. And we're not talking about a few exceptional cases.”
    “According to new estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, one-fourth of those with incomes of more than $1 million a year pay income and payroll tax of 12.6 percent of their income or less, putting their tax burden below that of many in the middle class.”
    https://www.cnbc.com/2015/01/15/do-the-wealthy-pay-lower-taxes-than-the-middle-class.html
    State and local taxes……“The study, from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, found that "virtually every state's tax system is fundamentally unfair, taking a much greater share of income from low- and middle-income families than from wealthy families." It added that state and local tax systems are "indirectly contributing to growing income inequality by taxing low- and middle-income households at significantly higher rates than wealthy taxpayers."
    “In other words, it said the tax systems are "upside down," with the poor paying more and the rich paying less. Overall, the poorest 20 percent of Americans paid an average of 10.9 percent of their income in state and local taxes and the middle 20 percent of Americans paid 9.4 percent. The top 1 percent, meanwhile, pay only 5.4 percent of their income to state and local taxes.”
    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/04/billionaire-warren-buffett-i-dont-need-a-tax-cut.html
    On US tax system….”Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is keenly aware of the potential for gross inequality in the very system that has allowed him his own success. The octogenarian investor is worth almost $80 billion and is the third richest person in the world, according to Forbes.”
    https://uspirg.org/news/usp/offshore-tax-havens-cost-small-businesses-3244-year
    “Every year, corporations avoid paying an estimated $110 billion in state and federal income taxes by using complicated accounting tricks to book their profits to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens. This leaves small businesses to compete on an uneven playing field, and they, along with the average taxpayer, end up picking up the tab in the form of higher taxes, cuts to public priorities, or bigger deficits”
  5. Taxes generate the revenue that finance our future.
  6. Tax revenues are a patriotic investment in our future.
Issue Titles ^      Taxes ^

Women's Rights

  1. It is immoral to deny females the same rights as males.
    (Women's Rights)
    SOURCE: ERA REDUCATION PROJECT
    Women won the right to vote in 1920. The next step was supposed to be full equality for women under the Constitution. Almost a century later, that still has not happened. The United States Constitution still does not provide women with the same rights as men. Ratifying the ERA would secure a woman’s rights and provide her with legal equality in the United States of America.
    Not only has the United States not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment it is the only developed nation that has not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Countries who ratify the CEDAW are required to enshrine gender equality into their domestic legislation, repeal all discriminatory provisions in their laws, and enact new provisions to guard against discrimination against women. The only countries in the United Nations who haven’t ratified CEDAW are: Iran, Palau, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Tonga, and the United States.
    Comprising a majority of the population both in the United States and worldwide, women presently bear the brunt of economic injustice, violence, poverty and hunger. Studies show that improving the condition of women raises the standard of living for the community as a whole.
    If the ERA were ratified, there would no longer be a reason for the United States not to ratify CEDAW. The impact on the women worldwide, if the U.S. ratified CEDAW, would be profound and life changing for tens of millions of women and girls. The enforcement of CEDAW worldwide depends on the United States commitment to women – for this commitment to be real, we need full legal equality for women here at home first.
  2. Freedom requires unconstrained personal choice regarding one’s body.
    (Women's Rights)
    http://theconversation.com/the-contraceptive-pill-was-a-revolution-for-women-and-men-37193
    Birth control innovations have had a remarkable impact on modern societies in the past five decades. They enhanced women’s opportunities to control childbearing and their careers, allowed them the freedom to choose contraception and plan fertility independently of their partner or spouse, increased female human capital accumulation, job market options and earnings.
    The dramatic increase in women’s education, college and professional degrees, and participation in the job market since the 1960s can also be partly explained by birth control innovations.
    SOURCE: https://www.lectlaw.com/files/con17.htm
    The Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution guarantees individuals the right to personal autonomy, which means that a person's decisions regarding his or her personal life are none of the government's business. That right, which is part of the right to privacy, encompasses decisions about parenthood, including a woman's right to decide for herself whether to complete or terminate a pregnancy, as well as the right to use contraception, freedom from forced sterilization and freedom from employment discrimination based on childbearing capacity.
    As early as 1923, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution protects personal decisions regarding marriage and the family from governmental intrusion. In 1965, the Court ruled that a state cannot prohibit a married couple from practicing contraception. In 1972, it extended the right to use birth control to all people, married or single. And in its 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, the Court held that the Constitution's protections of privacy as a fundamental right encompass a woman's decision to have an abortion.
    The Roe decision, which legalized abortion nationwide, led to a dramatic improvement in the lives and health of women. Before Roe, women experiencing unwanted or crisis pregnancies faced the perils and indignities of self-induced abortion, back-alley abortion, or forced childbirth. Today, Roe protects the right of women to make life choices in keeping with their conscience or religious beliefs, consistent with American tradition. And by relieving American women of the burden of unwanted pregnancies, Roe has permitted them to pursue economic opportunities on a more equal basis with men.
    The movement to newly restrict reproductive choice is, therefore, not only an attack on personal autonomy but also on the principle of equality for women, and it is a grave threat to all Americans' cherished right to privacy, bodily integrity and religious liberty.
    Here are the American Civil Liberties Union's answers to questions frequently asked by the public about reproductive freedom and the Constitution.
    How does the Constitution protect our right to privacy, including reproductive freedom, if that right isn't explicitly named in the Constitution?
    Even though a right to privacy is not named, the Ninth Amendment states that the naming of certain rights in the Constitution does not mean that other, unnamed rights are not "retained by the people." The Supreme Court has long held that the Bill of Rights protects certain liberties that, though unspecified, are "fundamental to an individual's ability to function in society." These include the right to privacy, the right to travel, the right to vote and the right to marry. The Court has articulated various constitutional bases for these liberties, including the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments. And in recent years, the Court has viewed the privacy right as an essential part of liberty, specifically protected by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
    The Court has also held that the government may not restrict fundamental rights without a compelling reason, and it has repeatedly struck down various state restrictions on birth control and abortion as being unjustified by a compelling reason.
    Is reproductive choice protected by constitutional principles other than the right to privacy?
    Although the Supreme Court has not so held, ACLU believes that reproductive choice is not only protected by the right to privacy, but by several other constitutional principles, including the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of "equal protection of the laws" and the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion.
    Laws that force women to bear children not only rob women of their bodily integrity but make women, as a class, involuntary servants to fetuses.
    Since only women can become pregnant, only women are affected by laws that dictate whether and under what conditions childbearing should occur. By limiting only women's right to make personal decisions, laws that prohibit or restrict abortion discriminate on the basis of sex in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.
    All of the world's major religions regard abortion as a theological issue, although their doctrines on the issue differ. Some religions teach that abortion is a sin; others, that it is a woman's duty if a pregnancy imperils her life or health. Bans on abortion force all citizens to conform to particular religious beliefs. Thus, the ACLU believes that such laws violate the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause, which prohibits governmental encroachment on an individual's right to act according to her own beliefs or conscience. Abortion bans that establish, as a matter of law, that a fetus is a person violate the First Amendment's stricture against "an establishment of religion."
    Have restrictions on abortion always existed?
    No. Abortion was legal under common law -- except in late pregnancy -- for hundreds of years, including the period when our Constitution was written.
    Not until the late 1800s did a movement seeking to curtail women's reproductive choices arise in the United States, spearheaded by two groups: protestant nativists and medical doctors. The nativists opposed abortion out of fear that permitting limits on childbearing would cause the nation's white Protestant population to be "overrun" by ignorant Catholics, who had been entering the U.S. in great numbers since the 1830s and '40s. Doctors opposed it partly because they wanted to exclude midwives and traditional practitioners from performing abortions or any other medical practice, and partly because abortion in those days raised legitimate health concerns.
    Societal changes also spurred opposition to abortion. The average size of families was shrinking, and the movement for women's suffrage and equality that had emerged in the 1840s was growing. These developments fueled fears of an imminent breakdown in women's purely domestic roles.
    All of these factors prompted the passage of anti-abortion laws. But only in the late 20th century have anti-choice forces based their support for such laws on the concept of protecting the fetus as a person.
    Shouldn't the abortion question be left to state legislatures, or voted on by the people in referenda?
    No. The Bill of Rights guarantees that fundamental rights cannot be abrogated by the will of the majority. For example, even if the majority of a state's citizens wanted to ban the practice of Catholicism, the constitutional right to free exercise of religion would forbid the legislature from enacting such a ban. Similarly, the privacy right that encompasses reproductive freedom, including the choices of abortion and contraception, cannot be overruled by referenda or legislation.
    Moreover, we learned during the years before Roe v. Wade how women suffered in states where abortion was illegal. Affluent women were able to obtain safe abortions by traveling to states where they were legal, while poor, rural and young women -- a disproportionate number of them women of color -- were left to dangerous, back-alley abortions or forced childbirth. Such discriminatory conditions are unacceptable.
    Do abortion bans also outlaw birth control?
    Sometimes. Criminal abortion laws that define a fertilized egg as a "person" outlaw birth control methods that sometimes act to prevent pregnancy after fertilization, such as the intrauterine device (IUD), Norplant and the most popular birth control pill.
    In addition, because abortion bans are criminal statutes that provide for long jail terms, when implemented they have a chilling effect on contraceptive research and other reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization.
    Why are poor women and women of color especially hurt by anti-choice laws?
    In 1972, before Roe v. Wade, 64 percent of the women who died from illegal abortion were women of color. Middle-class and white women could more readily travel to obtain a legal abortion, pay a private physician to perform it, or convince typically all-white hospital committees that the procedure was necessary to preserve their mental health (one of the claims under which some states allowed abortion before Roe). Poor and nonwhite women would once again suffer, die or bear unwanted children in disproportionate numbers if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe.
    In addition, it is low-income women and, therefore, a disproportionate number of nonwhite women, who suffer the most when the government prohibits the use of public funds for abortion and abortion information, or otherwise blocks women's access to abortion. Indeed, the restrictive laws that govern public funding of medical care in effect coerce poor women to "choose" childbirth over abortion.
    Why shouldn't the government be able to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term for the sake of a fetus?
    Our courts have always held that the government cannot compel an individual to use his or her body as an instrument for preserving people who are already born, much less for preserving a fetus in the womb. For example, the government cannot force a relative of a child afflicted with cancer to donate bone marrow or an organ to the child, even if the child is sure to die without the donation.
    Obviously, if the state cannot force someone to undergo a bone marrow or organ transplant for a person already born, it cannot force a woman to continue a pregnancy that might entail great health risks for the sake of a fetus. As the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia stated in a 1989 decision, "surely a fetus cannot have rights superior to those of a person who has already been born."
    Enforcement of the idea that a fetus has legal rights superseding those of the woman who carries it would make pregnant women second-class citizens with fewer rights, and more obligations, than others. Moreover, application of the "fetal rights" concept has already had devastating effects on women's right to bodily integrity. For example, cancer patient Angela Carder, forced by the District of Columbia Superior Court to undergo a caesarean delivery of her 26-week-old fetus, died prematurely as a result. Under the banner of "fetal rights," pregnant women have been prosecuted for failing to follow medical advice, and even for failing to get to a hospital quickly enough after the onset of labor. The concept also inspired industrial employers to adopt "fetal protection" policies, whereby the capacity to become pregnant, and pregnancy itself, became the bases for closing off certain jobs to all women of childbearing age who refused to be sterilized. Fortunately, the Supreme Court struck down this discriminatory practice in a 1991 decision.
    Shouldn't pregnant women who drink or use other drugs be prosecuted for "child abuse"?
    Absolutely not, for several reasons. Prosecutions of women for their behavior during pregnancy threaten all women's rights because, again, they are based on the "fetal rights" concept. Acceptance of that concept in law could bring about government spying and restrictions on a wide range of private behavior, in the name of "fetal protection." Having one's privacy invaded would become the price of pregnancy.
    "One's right to life, liberty.... free speech.... freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections." -- (1943 Supreme Court decision in West Virginia State Board of Elections v. Barnette)
    Prosecutions of pregnant women for allegedly harming their fetuses through drug use contribute nothing to solving the problem of drug abuse. Instead, they create a climate of fear that deters pregnant women from seeking prenatal care and from informing doctors about their drug use. The waste of taxpayers' money on these prosecutions is especially cynical, given the scarcity of prenatal care services for poor women.
    Although 85 percent of the people who use drugs are white, 80 percent of the women criminally prosecuted for drug use during pregnancy are women of color. At least one study showed that African American women are ten times more likely than white women to be reported to civil authorities for allegedly harming a fetus by using drugs.
    What would really help pregnant women, and help them deliver healthy babies, is access to affordable drug treatment programs. Pregnant women are often excluded from the few such programs that exist.
    Why do laws that require parental involvement in a minor's abortion decision infringe upon fundamental rights?
    The Constitution protects all of us but especially those who are powerless to protect themselves. A minor who has good reasons for not wanting her parents to know she is pregnant is just such a powerless person.
    Laws that require young women to inform their parents before obtaining an abortion are, at best, unnecessary since most young women automatically turn to their parents without prodding from the law. At worst, such laws are tragically misguided. Consider the plight of the underaged who become pregnant through incest (a 1970s study showed that, of girls 12 years old and younger seeking abortions, 65 percent were victims of incest).
    Confidentiality in such cases can be a life or death matter: In 1989, the day before she was scheduled to obtain an abortion, 13-year-old Spring Adams was shot to death by her father. Family members claimed he had been feeling guilty about impregnating his daughter.
    Pregnant minors who cannot turn to their parents need extra legal protection that ensures their access to safe, confidential abortions, rather than laws that limit such access, since minors already face greater economic and privacy barriers to medical care than adult women do. (For more information about parental notification/consent laws, see ACLU Briefing Paper #7, "Reproductive Freedom: The Rights of Minors.")
    In what ways have the opponents of choice attacked the right to choose abortion and birth control?
    The right to choose has been under attack ever since contraception and abortion were first legalized. But the attacks have become more common and more extreme in recent years, in part because our last two presidents have supported them. They have taken the following forms:
    Opponents of choice have tried to limit the ability of federal or state health care programs to deliver abortion information and services to low- income women. First, in the late 1970s, Congress prohibited Medicaid coverage of abortion even though Medicaid fully funds all other health care, including childbirth. In 1980, the Supreme Court fund this discriminatory policy to constitutional. Since then, the federal government and many states have limited access to abortion and abortion information in a wide range of public programs. In 1991, the Supreme Court upheld federal regulations forbidding the staffs of family planning clinics that receive federal funds under Title X of the Public Health Service Act from providing their patients with accurate information about, or referrals for, abortion. States have erected such obstacles as mandatory waiting periods, restrictions on late abortions, parental notification/consent laws and laws that force doctors to give anti-abortion lectures, or that require married women to involve their husbands in their abortion choice. These laws directly restrict women's right to choose, and by increasing medical costs and physicians' liability, make access to abortion more difficult.
    Some states (Louisiana and Utah, for example) have enacted laws that criminalize nearly all abortions. These laws literally turn back the clock to the days before Roe when physicians, and sometimes patients, faced jail for performing and seeking abortions.
    HEALTHCARE:???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
    The ACA, which extends affordable preventive health care to women, including no-cost contraception, and prohibits discrimination in health care based on gender.
    Reproductive health is core to women’s, men’s, and young people’s health, well being, and freedom. And this includes fully funding Planned Parenthood.
    I will work to expand Planned Parenthood which provides vital healthcare services for millions of women, who rely on its clinics every year for affordable, quality health care services including cancer prevention, STI and HIV testing and general primary health care services. This will decrease costs to taxpayers for optional healthcare providers and support of unplanned children.
    Many of Planned Parenthood’s patients have no other accessible health care options. If Planned Parenthood health centers can’t provide care for them, nobody will. In fact, in more than 20% of the counties where Planned Parenthood health centers operate, there are no other health care providers who serve patients who rely on safety-net providers.
    Closing Planned Parenthood health centers will leave many women with NO healthcare provider. Even in areas where other providers exist, those providers won’t be able to take up the slack. Per year, Planned Parenthood health centers provide birth control for nearly 2 million people, as well as over 4.2 million STD tests and treatments; over 320,000 breast exams; and nearly 295,000 Pap tests. It’s no wonder the American Public Health Association says it’s “ludicrous” for politicians to claim that other providers could simply absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients.
    Meanwhile, more than two thirds of states already report difficulty ensuring enough providers for Medicaid, the nation’s largest publicly funded health care program. Providers of ob-gyn care who accept Medicaid, such as Planned Parenthood, are in particularly short supply. In addition, Planned Parenthood health centers are more likely than other safety-net family planning providers to provide the full range of birth control (including IUDs and implants) on-site and more likely to offer rapid-result HIV testing. For many women in America, Planned Parenthood is the only place where they are able to get this needed quality care.
    If extreme politicians shut down Planned Parenthood, 2.4 million patients would lose access to care.
    Here’s the breakdown: Approximately 60% of Planned Parenthood’s patients access health care at its health centers through publicly funded programs like Medicaid or Title X. Legislation that “defunds” Planned Parenthood immediately blocks those people from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers. In addition, we know that politicians real goal is to shut down Planned Parenthood health centers across the country. If these politicians succeed, it will be a national health disaster and devastate care.
    When patients can no longer turn to Planned Parenthood for care, there are devastating results. We’ve already seen them firsthand at the state level.
    In Texas, one study found that pregnancy-related deaths doubled after the state stopped reimbursing Planned Parenthood and imposed stringent funding cuts for women’s health — and 54% fewer patients in the state received care. In Wisconsin, fewer women could access lifesaving cancer screenings following the closure of Planned Parenthood health centers.
    We also know that people will be hurt if Planned Parenthood health centers are forced to close their doors because so many people depend on Planned Parenthood for health care. Think about it: An estimated one in five American women visits Planned Parenthood health centers during her lifetime. Without Planned Parenthood’s over 600 health centers across the country, many patients would not have timely access to basic preventive health care services
    Bottom line: Denying health care and education to millions of teens and adults will not make our country great. Denying care will only risk people’s lives and well-being, and limit their choices — all in service of an extreme agenda that Americans overwhelmingly reject. Politicians like Vice President Mike Pence, who’s led the charge to attack care at Planned Parenthood, would hurt those who already face significant barriers to accessing health care, and as such are some of our most vulnerable people. I stand with Planned Parenthood in doing everything in my power to stop them.
    Statistics from Planned Parenthood - Missouri
    Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri serve more than 50,000 women, men, and young people annually
    Over 4,600 Pap tests, detecting and preventing possible cancers.
    More than 6,100 breast exams.
    Education programs to 7,600 people.
    In Missouri, every $1 spent on family planning services saves $7.09 in taxpayer-funded health care.
    Over 55% of Planned Parenthood affiliate patients in Missouri are at or below 150% of the federal poverty level.
    Of the 684,360 Missourians in need of contraceptive care, 393,170 need publicly funded family planning services.
    Planned Parenthood in Missouri has over 350,000 supporters and volunteers.
    (Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri also have health centers in Kansas and Illinois. While some of those patients are included in these numbers, Missourians make up the majority of patients.)
    Statistics from Planned Parenthood - Nationwide
    An estimated one in five women in the U.S. has visited a Planned Parenthood health center.
    Helps women prevent an estimated 560,000 unintended pregnancies in a single year.
    Planned Parenthood websites, including Planned Parenthood en Espanol, receive an estimated 68 million visits in a single year.
    Seventy-five percent of Planned Parenthood healthcare patients live with incomes of 150 percent of the federal poverty level or less, the equivalent of $36,900 a year for a family of four in 2017.
    SOURCE: PLANNED PARENTHOOD
    Statewide:
    Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri serve more than 50,000 women, men, and young people annually
    Over 4,600 Pap tests, detecting and preventing possible cancers.
    More than 6,100 breast exams.
    Education programs to 7,600 people.
    In Missouri, every $1 spent on family planning services saves $7.09 in taxpayer-funded health care. (Guttmacher Institute, 2014)
    Over 55% of Planned Parenthood affiliate patients in Missouri are at or below 150% of the federal poverty level.
    Of the 684,360 Missourians in need of contraceptive care, 393,170 need publicly funded family planning services. (Guttmacher Institute, 2015)
    Planned Parenthood in Missouri has over 350,000 supporters and volunteers.
    (Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri also have health centers in Kansas and Illinois. While some of those patients are included in these numbers, Missourians make up the majority of patients.)
    Nationwide:
    An estimated one in five women in the U.S. has visited a Planned Parenthood health center.
    Helps women prevent an estimated 560,000 unintended pregnancies in a single year.
    PP websites, including PP en Espanol, receive an estimated 68 million visits in a single year.
    Seventy-five percent of PP hc patients live with incomes of 150 percent of the federal poverty level or less, the equivalent of $36,900 a year for a family of four in 2017.
  3. American women deserve equal pay for equal work.
    (Women's Rights)
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/03/01/2017-womens-history-month/98247518/
    According to the non-profit Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). Women earn 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families and black women earn 63 cents and Latinas only 54 cents.  Female doctors are paid about $20,000 less a year than male doctors.
    SOURCE: https://now.org/resource/women-deserve-equal-pay-factsheet/d. American productivity will be weakened until women are treated as equal partners.
    For full-time, year-round workers, women are paid on average only 77 percent of what men are paid; for women of color, the gap is significantly wider. These wage gaps stubbornly remain despite the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, and a variety of other legislation prohibiting employment discrimination.
    Women still are not receiving equal pay for equal work, let alone equal pay for work of equal value. This disparity not only affects women’s spending power, it penalizes their retirement security by creating gaps in Social Security and pensions.
    Facts About Pay Equity
    -   According to the Shriver Report released in 2014, women’s average annual paychecks reflected only 77 cents for every $1.00 earned by men. Specifically, for women of color, the gap is even wider: In comparison to a white, non-Hispanic man’s dollar, African American women earn only 64 cents and Latinas just 55 cents.
    -   Pay equity varies by location. In Washington, DC, women average 90 cents to every man’s dollar, partly due to transparency in government wages. Ironically, the “Equality State” is the worst, with women in Wyoming earning just 64 percent of what their male counterparts make.
    -   In 1963, when the Equal Pay Act was passed, full-time working women were paid 59 cents on average for every dollar paid to men. This means it took 44 years for the wage gap to close just 18 cents — a rate of less than half a penny a year. This narrowing of the gap has slowed substantially since the turn of the century.
    -   Women’s median pay was only equal in personal care and service work as of 2009. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics study from 2009, construction was the industry closest to gender pay equity. Even men working in the 20 most common occupations for women earn more than women working in those same occupations.
    -   According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), if equal pay for women were instituted immediately, across the board, it would result in an annual $447.6 billion gain nationally for women and their families. Over fifteen years, a typical woman loses $499,101 due to pay inequity.
    -   When The WAGE Project looked exclusively at full-time workers, they estimated that women with a high school diploma lose as much as $700,000 over a lifetime of work, women with a college degree lose $1.2 million and professional school graduates may lose up to $2 million. Not only are these inequities enormously detrimental to women and their families, wage inequities follow women into their retirement years, reducing their Social Security benefits, pensions, savings and other financial resources.
    -   A study by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) examined how the wage gap affects college graduates. Wage disparities kick in shortly after college graduation, when women and men should, absent discrimination, be on a level playing field. One year after graduating college, women are paid on average only 82 percent of their male counterparts’ wages, and during the next 10 years, women’s wages fall even further behind, dropping to only 69 percent of men’s earnings ten years after college. According to the AAUW report, “even after researchers controlled for age, education, hours worked beyond full time, industry sector, marital status, and presence of children in the household, female managers still earned just 81 percent of what male managers did, leaving an unexplained 19 percent pay gap,” and later observed, “women continue to earn less than men do, even when they make the same choices.”
    -   Women still are segregated into “pink-collar” jobs that affect their wages, according to an AAUW report. Based on their analysis of Department of Education data, 40 percent of women work in historically female occupations like social work, teaching and nursing, but only five percent of men were employed in these fields as of 2013. Even women studying in STEM fields are relegated to the typing pool. Female science and business majors are twice as likely as men in the same fields to find jobs in clerical work. Men get into management instead.
    -   A far greater proportion of women cut back or interrupt time in the paid workforce to deal with family responsibilities. 15 years after graduating college, male business school graduates of the University of Chicago were making 75 percent more than female graduates–unless those women had no children and rarely took time off.
    -   Time out of the workforce can directly impact women’s earning potential. Often mothers returning to the workforce experience a “motherhood penalty.” Employers are less likely to hire moms. If mothers are hired, they tend to be paid less than childless women, a pay cut worth more than their time outside the workforce. Fathers are not punished compared to other men.
    -   It is important to note that women’s choices regarding work are not made in a vacuum. Factors that impact women’s decisions include: workplace discrimination, either experienced or anticipated; a lack of women-friendly policies and resources in the workplace; persistent stereotypes that steer women and men toward different education, training and career paths; different societal expectations for wives compared to husbands and mothers compared to fathers; and myriad forms of sexism, both subtle and blatant.
  4. American productivity will be weakened until women are treated as equal partners.
    (Women's Rights)
    https://iwpr.org/publications/impact-equal-pay-poverty-economy/
    Women’s earnings are increasingly important to the economic stability of families. 
    http://www.businessinsider.com/how-women-make-boardrooms-more-productive-2015-12
    When women enter the boardroom and engage in high-level discussions, there is an immediate and positive change in productivity, says Xero general manager and former Microsoft Ventures director James Maiocco.
    The tech veteran is an outspoken supporter of female entrepreneurship and regularly volunteers his time to organizations like Women 2.0, a group that advocates diversity among employees, entrepreneurs, and investors in technology.
    In his experience, Maiocco says executive conversations with women at the table "tend to be more professional and have better outcomes."
    He admits that men have a tendency to engage in elbow rubbing and locker room talk that at times can be unprofessional and unproductive, but says when women join the team, much of that unproductive behavior disappears.
    "With women and other diverse backgrounds at the table it brings a level of transparency and accountability," Maiocco says. "We have jobs with a lot of responsibility and obligation. We should not be acting like kids in a locker room, and we should be getting down to business."
    Women are still dramatically underrepresented on boards, however. They hold just 18.8% of board seats at major American companies, according to the 2020 Women On Boards gender diversity index. In fact, there are 10 companies in the S&P 500, including Garmin and Discovery Communications, that still do not have any female board members.
    Maiocco believes having more women and minorities at the table is better for business, since diverse opinions can save a company from embarrassing PR nightmares that often spring from bad assumptions made by a single governing demographic.
    "Making sure the executive circles are inclusive of women and diverse backgrounds, in general, brings more opinions and better outcomes, because you are getting a look at something in a different way," he says. "We are often blind to our own biases or assumptions because we might not even realize we are making them. The right voices at the table can question and correct those unintended assumptions."
    Over the last two decades, Maiocco says he's seen firsthand that bringing women and other people of diverse backgrounds into executive roles and the boardroom consistently leads to increased productivity and stronger businesses.
  5. Gender should not be an obstacle to receiving excellent healthcare.
  6. Affordable healthcare for women saves lives and tax dollars.
  7. Violence against women and girls is a national epidemic we CAN cure.
    (Women's Rights)
    SOURCE: http://us.breakthrough.tv/resources/13-reasons-why-we-must-drive-the-culture-change-needed-to-make-violence-against-women-unacceptable/
    We’ll start with the bad news.
    -   Violence against women affects everyone. When women are unequal and unsafe, they cannot fully participate in society. Only when everyone is safe in public and private, can women, men, children, families, homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, communities, institutions, economies, ecosystems, and nations truly thrive.
    -   Violence against women is rampant. 35% of women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence. Look around whatever room you’re in: that’s about 1 in 3 of the women you see. Violence against women (VAW) takes countless forms, from domestic abuse and dating violence to online and street harassment, sexual harassment at work, rape as a weapon of war, bullying, reproductive coercion, forced and early marriage, stalking, and more. (For global stats, see UN Women.) And then there’s the always-hovering threat of violence that leads women to adjust their walking routes, carry pepper spray, watch friends’ backs at parties, avoid public transportation, stay inside or offline, or tell their daughters not to wear heels in case they have to run. All of the above interfere with women’s everyday ability to live, go, do, work, love, thrive, and just be.
    -   Violence and discrimination against women and girls are human rights violations. The underlying causes of violence against women are inequality and discrimination. A life free of violence and discrimination is a basic human right, one that every person and child deserves. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes that:

      • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
      • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
      • No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    -   Violence against women is everywhere. Violence is one expression of women’s unequal status. It varies in form and degree across cultures and countries, but persists worldwide.
    -   Violence against women is expensive. The annual cost of intimate partner violence alone in the U.S. alone exceeds $5.8 billion, including both medical costs and lost productivity. Violence against women has been shown to reduce countries’ gross national product.
    -   Violence against women hurts men and children. And leads to more violence. Witnessing violence in one’s home is the strongest predictor of violence in one’s adult and intimate relationships.
    -   Violence and discrimination against women is often seen as normal, not a big deal, a private problem, or the fault of…women. That’s what’s happening every time a woman is blamed for “getting herself raped.” (Welcome to “rape culture”—the norms that emerge when people and institutions tolerate, shrug off, or justify rape.) That’s what happened when the NFL punished players more harshly for possessing pot than for committing domestic violence. That’s what happened when many men surveyed in Delhi said women bring street harassment upon themselves (ICRW, 2013). And that’s what Dean Obeidallah means when he says: “A woman is attacked once every 15 seconds in this country. If women were doing this to men, we’d have gender profiling, we’d want terror alerts, we’d be going crazy.”
    And now, the good news.
         -   Ending violence against women will help end violence against everyone. We stand
    against all forms of violence and discrimination. And in fact, all are interconnected. Violence   
    against women—and gender-based violence in general—fuels and is fueled by virtually all  
    other societal ills and inequalities. They’re the same issues that drive bullying, homophobia,
    anti-trans* discrimination and violence, and more. We see preventing violence against women
    is a key entry point for addressing them all and promoting all humans’ human rights.
         -   Violence against women is preventable. Mallika Dutt: “Violence against women is
    staggering in scale. It is also one of the easiest things to stop. We don’t need to create a new  
    vaccine or a new technology. We just need to act. We can start in our homes and our schools
    by teaching kids to respect boys and girls. We can demand enforcement of laws that protect
    women and punish offenders. We can speak up in our workplaces, fraternities, congregations,
    and schools. We can use social media to challenge bullying and promote human rights. The
    power to change the world—for women, for girls, for everyone—is in our hands.”
    -   There’s never been a better moment. Men and women from Delhi to Dallas are—now
    more than ever—realizing their responsibility and power to end violence against women and
    standing together to do it. Awareness and momentum, among civil society, government
    leaders, the media, and more, have never been stronger: in the U.S., in India, around the world.
    This is a moment we can seize together.
         -   When we end violence against women, everyone wins. We believe that the norms and
    cultures that cause and continue violence against women hurt us all. These norms include  
    limiting, damaging notions and models of the “right” way to be a man or a woman. The more
    we challenge and dismantle those norms, the more we are all safe, free, and able to be our best
    and realest selves.
         -   A world in which violence against women is unacceptable is a better world for all.
    SOURCE: Reproaction
    The days of forcing girls to take home economics, while boys take wood shop, are long gone. But gender inequality in U.S. schools remains.
    Today, one in five women, as well as many LGBT and gender-nonconforming students, will experience sexual violence during their time in college. Many turn to their schools for support, only to be ignored, dismissed, or blamed — and without support, many survivors are forced to drop classes or leave school entirely. Violence and institutional indifference cost too many students the opportunity to learn.
    Although Title IX and the Clery Act require schools to take action to address gender-based violence, these federal laws set only a floor for schools' responsibilities to create safe and equitable learning environments. States can and should do more to keep schools from sweeping sexual violence under the rug.
    Students, parents, and alumni deserve comprehensive data on how their schools respond to reports of sexual violence. By adopting common-sense transparency requirements, states can keep schools from sweeping sexual and dating violence under the rug, ensure prospective students and parents can make informed choices about where to attend college, and provide students and alumni with the data they need to hold schools accountable in creating and sustaining safe learning environments.

Issue Titles ^      Women's Rights ^

Rebuild Missouri

  1. Quality roads and bridges support our Missouri economy.
    (Rebuild Missouri)
    https://www.artba.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ARTBA-State-Bridge-Rankings-2015.pdf
    American Road and Bridges Builders Association. 
    Missouri ranks 4th worse among states for the number of bad bridges,
    Over 3,000.
    https://www.transportation.gov/policy-initiatives/grow-america/road-and-bridge-data-state
    31% of MO roads are in bad condition.
    https://www.ced.org/reports/fixing-americas-roads-bridges
    14 Trillion in goods are shipped from US sites to domestic and international locations, and 87% of those goods are carried by truck or courier.
    https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/state-item/missouri/
    Missouri infrastructure 2013 report card…..” Infrastructure is the backbone of the state’s economic and social activity. On any given day we engage in the use of infrastructure in all of our daily activities. From the water we drink, to the roads we drive on, to the energy that heats and cools our homes and powers our computers, to the schools in which our children are educated; we are completely dependent on the infrastructure that provides these necessities. Although they often go unnoticed, elements such as reliable power, efficient transportation, and safe schools provide quality of life and drive our economic engines as they attract business and allow it to prosper. The central location of the state of Missouri gives our infrastructure a unique importance as the crossroads of several interstate highways, rail systems and two major inland waterways intersect in our state. With this in mind, engineers from the Kansas City and St. Louis Sections of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) came together to grade the infrastructure for the entire state of Missouri and raise awareness of the need for continued funding and maintenance of these essential facilities.”
    http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article117753263.html
    “The funding shortfall takes its toll over time, said Patrick McKenna, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation. Most of the available money has to go toward trying to maintain the quality of roads and bridges at their current level, with little left over to make improvements or expansions.”
    “The result is that although the state has worked hard to keep the quality of its main transportation arteries in tact, only about 70 percent of less-traveled roads in rural Missouri are in good or fair condition. Out of 10,400 bridges around the state, 866 are in poor condition and another 1,200 are weight restricted.”
    “There are more bridges added to the list of those in poor condition every year, McKenna said, than the state is able to remove from the list by making repairs.”
  2. Rebuilding Missouri creates good paying jobs.
    (Rebuild Missouri)
    https://www.cbpp.org/public-infrastructure-has-been-neglected-1
    Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
    Public infrastructure has been neglected.
    https://cew.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/trillion-dollar-infrastructure.pdf
    ""Infrastructure jobs are good jobs that pay well and can potentially  reboot Middle America restoring economic growth to the pace it was on before being derailed by the Great Recession."
    Figure 2 in above link.
    Infrastructure jobs are good paying jobs especially for workers without a 4 year college degree. A one trillion dollar infrastructure program would mean more than half (55%) of jobs would go to high schools graduates and dropouts.
    https://www.brookings.edu/research/expanding-opportunity-through-infrastructure-jobs/amp/
    Infrastructure jobs often provide more competitive and equitable wages , consistently paying up to 30 per cent more to low income workers.
    https://www.aem.org/news/august-2017/u-s-infrastructure-our-competitive-advantage-or-not/
    The US is ranked 11th worldwide in infrastructure. China, India, and others are building a 21st century infrastructure. The US must do the same to maintain a competitive economic advantage.
    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/gov-tom-vilsack/rebuilding-and-revitalizi_b_596679.html
    “But here too the dynamics are changing. In the past 40 years, the United States lost more than a million farmers and ranchers. Many of our farmers are aging. Today, only nine percent of family farm income comes from farming, and more and more of our farmers are looking elsewhere for their primary source of income.”
    “To keep farmers on the farm we must maintain a strong farm safety net, but we will also have to build a thriving companion economy to compliment production agriculture in rural America. The improved safety net must pursue new approaches that create more good-paying jobs in rural America, in addition to the time-tested programs that support our abundant agricultural system.”
    “We must create new opportunities for prosperity and small business growth with investments into rural broadband access;”
    “We must create green jobs that can’t be exported by promoting the production of renewable energy in communities across the country;”
    “We must stimulate rural economies by encouraging natural resource restoration and conservation and by promoting recreational uses like hunting, fishing and other activities that create jobs;”
    “And we must continue to strengthen farm income by investing in critical research to ensure our farmers remain world leaders in providing a reliable, cheap, safe and abundant food supply.”
    https://www.transportation.gov/policy-initiatives/grow-america/road-and-bridge-data-state
    Rebuilding roads and bridges in Missouri will yield jobs. As per the USDOT, US Dept. of Transportation, Missouri 27.2% structurally deficient/functionally obsolete bridges….. $1.6 billion ($380 per motorist) of annual total extra vehicle repairs / operating costs due to driving on roads in need of fixing…….31% of roads in poor/mediocre  condition.
    https://www.democrats.senate.gov//files/documents/ABlueprinttoRebuildAmericasInfrastructure1.24.17.pdf
    Missouri could look to studies which show that Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure could create 15 million new jobs over the next 10 years….(see page 2 in link above)
    http://www.cleanjobsmissouri.org/
    “There are 6 wind farms in NW Missouri. Newly announced wind farms include the 100 MW Hawthorne Wind Farm and the 49 MW High Prairie Wind Energy Project. With so much generating potential, and with only 2.2% of Missouri’s clean energy workers, there’s lots of opportunity to grow the Show-Me State’s wind energy workforce.”
    http://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/369823-data-shows-solar-energy-really-is-a-leading-american-job-creator
    “The most recent Solar Jobs Census is the same survey that was administered by the U.S. Department of Energy for the 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report. This survey was reviewed by BLS and approved by the Office of Management and Budget.”
    What we’ve learned most of all from seven years of publishing the Census is that solar is a powerful driver of U.S. job growth. The solar jobs total has grown from 93,000 in 2010 to more than 260,000 six years later. These jobs pay higher than the national average, offer excellent opportunities for advancement, and can be found in all 50 states.”
    https://energy.gov/downloads/2017-us-energy-and-employment-report
    Nation wide solar is a growth area…so it could be in Missouri….”Just under 374,000 individuals work, in whole or in part, for solar firms, with more than 260,000 of those employees spending the majority of their time on solar. There are an additional 102,000 workers employed at wind firms across the nation. The solar workforce increased by 25% in 2016, while wind employment increased by 32%.”
    http://www.kansascity.com/news/business/article67544812.html
    “Missouri is projected to have the highest growth rate in clean-energy jobs this year, 8.3 percent, among a dozen Midwestern states, a report released Tuesday says.”
    “The “Clean Jobs Midwest” report estimates that the region had 568,979 such jobs in 2015, including renewable energy generation, conservation and efficiency efforts. Of those, Missouri had 52,479 such jobs and Kansas had 27,005.”
    “The region’s clean-energy job total is expected to grow 4.4 percent this year, the report estimates, and Kansas’ by 2.3 percent, the second lowest in the region. The full report is at cleanjobsmidwest.com.” “This report is more evidence of the strength of the clean energy and energy efficiency sectors in Kansas and across the Midwest,” said Joe Spease, whose Overland Park company, WindSoHy, develops renewable energy projects. But he said renewables “can really take off” with more support for policies that encourage clean-power generation through environmental regulation and investment and production tax credits.”(emphasis added)
  3. Want good paying jobs? Rebuild Missouri!
    (Rebuild Missouri)
    https://www.cbpp.org/public-infrastructure-has-been-neglected-1
    Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
    Public infrastructure has been neglected.
    https://cew.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/trillion-dollar-infrastructure.pdf
    ""Infrastructure jobs are good jobs that pay well and can potentially  reboot Middle America restoring economic growth to the pace it was on before being derailed by the Great Recession."
    Figure 2 in above link.
    Infrastructure jobs are good paying jobs especially for workers without a 4 year college degree. A one trillion dollar infrastructure program would mean more than half (55%) of jobs would go to high schools graduates and dropouts.
    https://www.brookings.edu/research/expanding-opportunity-through-infrastructure-jobs/amp/
    Infrastructure jobs often provide more competitive and equitable wages , consistently paying up to 30 per cent more to low income workers.
    https://www.aem.org/news/august-2017/u-s-infrastructure-our-competitive-advantage-or-not/
    The US is ranked 11th worldwide in infrastructure. China, India, and others are building a 21st century infrastructure. The US must do the same to maintain a competitive economic advantage.
    Also see support information for a. and b. above.
  4. Rebuild Missouri to support a competitive economy for decent paying jobs.
    (Rebuild Missouri)
    https://www.cbpp.org/public-infrastructure-has-been-neglected-1
    Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
    Public infrastructure has been neglected.
    https://cew.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/trillion-dollar-infrastructure.pdf
    ""Infrastructure jobs are good jobs that pay well and can potentially  reboot Middle America restoring economic growth to the pace it was on before being derailed by the Great Recession."
    Figure 2 in above link.
    Infrastructure jobs are good paying jobs especially for workers without a 4 year college degree. A one trillion dollar infrastructure program would mean more than half (55%) of jobs would go to high schools graduates and dropouts.
    https://www.brookings.edu/research/expanding-opportunity-through-infrastructure-jobs/amp/
    Infrastructure jobs often provide more competitive and equitable wages , consistently paying up to 30 per cent more to low income workers.
    https://www.aem.org/news/august-2017/u-s-infrastructure-our-competitive-advantage-or-not/
    The US is ranked 11th worldwide in infrastructure. China, India, and others are building a 21st century infrastructure. The US must do the same to maintain a competitive economic advantage.
    Also see support information for a. and b. above.
  5. Rebuilding our state and investing in our citizens/people is how we make Missouri great again.
Issue Titles ^      Rebulid Missouri ^

Racial Injustice

  1. Racism impedes human potential and social progress.
    (Racial Injustice)
    https://www.psychiatry.org/news-room/apa-blogs/apa-blog/2017/10/racism-and-mental-health
    “Racism and racial discrimination adversely affect mental health, producing depression, anxiety, and heightened psychological stress in those who experience it.”
    “Chronic emotional stress is known to have negative physical and mental health effects. Racism and racial discrimination create a unique environment of pervasive, additional stress for people of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States.2These repeated traumatic interactions can result in reduced self-esteem and internalized hatred as they’re forced into conservative and apologetic thinking.”
    https://theconversation.com/discrimination-is-bad-for-your-health-and-your-kids-too-36054
    “During a conference on racism led by the Missouri Psychiatric Association, Marva Robinson, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist and president of the St. Louis Association of Black Psychologists, shared her findings on mental health in the African-American community. Robinson led a study on the stress levels in Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting death of Michael Brown in 2014. Thirty-four percent of the community and 14 percent of police officers met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as defined by the DSM-5. About 7.8 percent of people meet the criteria for PTSD nationwide.4”
    “In recent years, there has been a growing amount of research highlighting the effects of racial discrimination on not only mental health but also physical health. Discrimination may influence physical health through changes in stress physiology functioning.”
    “As an example, in African-Americans experiencing racism has been associated with higher evening cortisol levels, which are considered unhealthy. Similarly, a study among Hispanic youth found that racism experience was associated with higher cortisol levels across the day.”
    “Cortisol and other hormones in the stress physiology system are important for maintaining immune, reproductive and cardiovascular health. Therefore changes in this system as a result of discrimination experience can adversely affect everything from your body’s ability to fight infection to your ability to become pregnant.”
    “The quantity of evidence supporting the relationship between discrimination and physical health is staggering. And yet discrimination may have even greater impacts than was initially recognized.”
    file:///Users/tomflanagan/Downloads/The%20effects%20of%20racism%20in%20schools%20(1).pdf
    Above link in from the Department of Education WA 2010
    “Racism in schools hurts both individuals and the learning and working environment. It generates tensions that distort cultural understanding and narrow the educational experiences of all students. It affects: • Educational outcomes • Individual happiness and self confidence • School climate • Cultural identity • School-community relations • Student behaviours”
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27571526
    recent study from Northwestern University corroborates Agostini’s experience, suggesting that the stress of racial discrimination may partly explain the persistent gaps in academic performance between some nonwhite students, mainly black and Latino youth, and their white counterparts. The team of researchers found that the physiological response to race-based stressors—be it perceived racial prejudice, or the drive to outperform negative stereotypes—leads the body to pump out more stress hormones in adolescents from traditionally marginalized groups. This biological reaction to race-based stress is compounded by the psychological response to discrimination or the coping mechanisms youngsters develop to lessen the distress. What emerges is a picture of black and Latino students whose concentration, motivation, and, ultimately, learning is impaired by unintended and overt racism.
  2. Public schools in America should provide a quality education for all regardless of skin color.
  3. Categorizing people by race creates unproductive social consequences.
    (Racial Injustice)
    https://soapboxie.com/social-issues/Racism-and-Its-Effect-on-Society
    “Racism causes tremendous moral, cultural, and economic suffering to a country. When the seeds of hatred and ethnocentrism are planted and fostered in society, it negatively affects every area of life.”
    “Racism does not allow for a collective contribution of its citizens, which is a critical component of a country’s development and success. If a class of people is not allowed to be educated, they cannot make important contributions to society in technological, economical, and medical arenas. The denial of quality education to certain groups of people only serves to obstruct the economic progress of a nation.”
    "Segregationist policy taxes all citizens not only on a financial level but on a civil, mental, and emotional level with reduced property values, a strain on community relations, tension and violence, depression and anxiety, the desperation of being deprived of the most basic of needs, the threat of arrest and conviction, and the confusion of changing law in rapid succession.”
    “If a class of people is not allowed to participate culturally, we fail to understand and appreciate our differences and similarities. We become increasingly ethnocentric. We fail to develop socially, unable to get along with our fellow man.”
    “Racism destroys our morality. No matter what a person’s culture or religious belief, racism is based on hypocrisy. To illustrate this point, the Christians have a commandment, issued by Jesus, to “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Most religions have similar philosophies governing their social morality. Yet, there is the hypocrisy in going out into the night to burn crosses or participating in hate crimes. Racism is powerful enough to undermine their Golden Rule and turn it upside down.”
    http://time.com/3843203/racism-is-poisoning-our-society/
    “Racism is complicated, and has an individual aspect of prejudice. But even worse is the reality that generations of racist attitudes are now woven into our systems and institutions like poisonous threads, hurting us all. When our election laws begin again to systematically make it harder for African Americans to vote; when police forces protect and defend some people less than others and are not held accountable; when schools and jobs are routinely of lower quality in areas where people of color live; and when white people don’t know or care, then we have a system that perpetuates racism whether the people in it intend to be racist or not.”
  4. Elimination of racism is good for a strong America.
  5. Elimination of racism will help grow our economy.
    (Racial Injustice)
    https://www.vox.com/2015/4/13/8360789/racism-sexism-productivity-economy
    Researchers from the University of Chicago and Stanford's business schools have found that up to one-fifth of the labor force's productivity growth between 1960 and 2008 came from simply making it easier for women and minorities to get better jobs.
    Eliminating racism and sexism would boost US workers' output by 10 percent or more
    The researchers concluded that 15 to 20 percent of the productivity growth per worker in the US economy since 1960 has been due to the decline of barriers to employment like discrimination and systemic inequality. 
    Source….Measuring America: How Economic Growth Came to Define American Greatness in the Late Twentieth Century by Andrew L. Yarrow
    The Economic Costs of Racial Discrimination, which claimed that eliminating racism would raise GNP by 3.2 percent
    https://theconversation.com/how-racism-and-a-lack-of-diversity-can-harm-productivity-in-our-workplaces-73119
    review of multiple studies indicates exposure to racism is detrimental to performance. This is due to its impact on job attitudes, mental and physical health, as well as organisational behaviour. Research also indicates that, by inflicting job stress, racism can reduce productivity.
    https://www.salon.com/2013/03/01/how_racism_and_sexism_are_net_drains_on_the_u_s_economy_partner/
    Discrimination isn’t just an insult to our most basic notions of fairness. It also costs us money, because those who are discriminated against are unable to make the best use of their talents. This not only hurts them, it hurts us all, as some of our best and brightest players are, in essence, sidelined, unable to make their full contributions to our economy.
  6. A patriotic America is a melting pot of all colors.
  7. Opportunity for all Americans rests on being color blind.
Issue Titles ^      Racial Injustice ^

Affordable Housing

  1. When people have a stable place to live, they become better parents, workers, and citizens.
    (Affordable Housing)
    https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html
    Maslow (1943, 1954) stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs and that some needs take precedence over others. Our most basic need is for physical survival, and this will be the first thing that motivates our behavior. Once that level is fulfilled the next level up is what motivates us, and so on.
    The 2 basic fundamental needs of humans are 1. Biological and physiological needs - air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep…..2. Safety needs - protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear.
    Maslow's theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire (or focus motivation upon) the secondary or higher level needs.
    Physiological needs are the physical requirements for human survival. If these requirements are not met, the human body cannot function properly and will ultimately fail. Physiological needs are thought to be the most important; they should be met first.
    Source: Evicted Teacher’s Guide by Matthew Desmond     
    When people have a place to live, they become better parents, workers, and citizens.
    https://www.cbpp.org/research/various-supports-for-low-income-families-reduce-poverty-and-have-long-term-positive-effects
    Income supports can boost employment rates among parents and have long-term positive impacts on children — including better school performance — that can translate into higher earnings when the children become adults.  Similarly, a recent study that examined what happened in the 1960s and 1970s — when government first introduced food stamps county by county — found that children born to poor women who had access to food stamps had better health outcomes.
    https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/reduce-poverty-improving-housing-stability
    Reduce poverty by improving housing stability
    Stable housing can strengthen parenting and support early childhood development
    Research shows that eviction can have enduring effects on families’ ability to obtain basic necessities (e.g., food, clothing, and medicine) and can cause depression among mothers, and a strong body of evidence links inadequate housing and homelessness to child abuse and neglect. Housing instability can lead to frequent school moves, high rates of absenteeism, and low test scores among children. Housing affects almost everything.
    Housing vouchers increase housing stability, but they also buy a lot more than shelter. Recent research on homeless families who received housing vouchers shows that vouchers decrease economic stress and food insecurity, help keep families together (and keep kids out of the child welfare system), reduce the rates of domestic violence and alcohol dependence, and limit school changes among children.
    Increasing housing benefits could reduce child poverty by 21 percent
  2. Family values demand affordable housing for all.
  3. No American should be homeless.
  4. Homeless women and children are not free.
  5. Affordable housing, like education and job programs, is a human-capital investment.
  6. Life, Liberty and Happiness requires affordable, livable housing.
    (Affordable Housing)
    https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html
    Maslow (1943, 1954) stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs and that some needs take precedence over others. Our most basic need is for physical survival, and this will be the first thing that motivates our behavior. Once that level is fulfilled the next level up is what motivates us, and so on.
    The 2 basic fundamental needs of humans are 1. Biological and physiological needs - air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep…..2. Safety needs - protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear.
    Maslow's theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire (or focus motivation upon) the secondary or higher level needs.
    Physiological needs are the physical requirements for human survival. If these requirements are not met, the human body cannot function properly and will ultimately fail. Physiological needs are thought to be the most important; they should be met first.
    Source: Evicted Teacher’s Guide by Matthew Desmond     
    When people have a place to live, they become better parents, workers, and citizens.
    https://www.cbpp.org/research/various-supports-for-low-income-families-reduce-poverty-and-have-long-term-positive-effects
    Income supports can boost employment rates among parents and have long-term positive impacts on children — including better school performance — that can translate into higher earnings when the children become adults.  Similarly, a recent study that examined what happened in the 1960s and 1970s — when government first introduced food stamps county by county — found that children born to poor women who had access to food stamps had better health outcomes.
    https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/reduce-poverty-improving-housing-stability
    Reduce poverty by improving housing stability
    Stable housing can strengthen parenting and support early childhood development
    Research shows that eviction can have enduring effects on families’ ability to obtain basic necessities (e.g., food, clothing, and medicine) and can cause depression among mothers, and a strong body of evidence links inadequate housing and homelessness to child abuse and neglect. Housing instability can lead to frequent school moves, high rates of absenteeism, and low test scores among children. Housing affects almost everything.
    Housing vouchers increase housing stability, but they also buy a lot more than shelter. Recent research on homeless families who received housing vouchers shows that vouchers decrease economic stress and food insecurity, help keep families together (and keep kids out of the child welfare system), reduce the rates of domestic violence and alcohol dependence, and limit school changes among children.
    Increasing housing benefits could reduce child poverty by 21 percent
  7. Your wages should always guarantee a roof over your head.
  8. It is your right to have the protection of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when signing a loan.
Issue Titles ^      Affordable Housing ^

Affordable Prescription Drug Prices

  1. All Missourians deserve affordable prescription drugs.
  2. Stop welfare for drug companies.
    (Affordable Prescription Drug Prices)
    https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/drug-industry-pharmaceutical-lobbyists-medicare-part-d-prices/ Allowing free market competition rules to apply to Medicare D grugs prices could save billions. This is just a form of corporate welfare to the drug industry. ….”The federal government was barred from negotiating cheaper prices for those medicines. Instead, the job of holding down costs was outsourced to the insurance companies delivering the subsidized new coverage, known as Medicare Part D.”
    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/18530709/ns/politics/t/senate-kills-bid-import-prescription-drugs/#.WplRcJPwZfQ Overseas, drugs can cost two-thirds less than they do in the United States, where prices for brand-name drugs are among the highest in the world. In many industrialized countries, prices are lower because they are either controlled or partially controlled by government regulation.
    The drug industry does not want the US to import prescription drugs so they can charge Americans higher prices…” The pharmaceutical industry vehemently opposes allowing drug imports, arguing that they could leave the nation vulnerable to dangerous counterfeits.”
    http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/blog/2016/may/drug-price-control-how-some-government-programs-do-it
    Both Medicaid and the VA bid drug prices…not Medicare. This keeps prices high for Americans.
  3. Can't afford your medications? Ask your legislator why.
    (Affordable Prescription Drug Prices)
    SOURCE: An American Sickness (2017), Elisabeth Rosenthal
    Since 1990, the U.S. pharmaceutical industry has grown twice as fast as the national economy
    The FDA collects $500M in annual fees from pharmaceutical corporations
    FDA metrics for drug approval do not include consideration of price or cost-effectiveness— analysis performed by virtually all other countries before adding a drug to the accepted formulary
    As unrestricted pharmaceutical prices increased, insurers imposed copayments to encourage the use of cheaper alternatives; drug companies invented co-pay assistance (i.e. corporate charity) so they can continue to submit bills for the full drug price to insurers
    Pharmacy Benefit Managers (e.g. Express Scripts, CVS Caremark) are hired by employers and insurers to negotiate drug purchase prices (i.e. controlling which drugs appear on the formulary); PBMs are for-profit companies that earn revenue by retaining a percentage of the discounts they negotiate
    Medicare Part D—prescription drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries—was enacted in 2006 [Once all seniors were guaranteed drug coverage, and were paying only a copayment,
    drug companies increased prices for common conditions in the elderly (e.g. hypertension, arthritis).]
    The U.S. healthcare industry spends $15B annually on advertising [The FDA does NOT require drug manufacture’s advertisements to compare a drug’s efficacy with that of other drugs/treatments.]
    http://time.com/money/4462919/prescription-drug-prices-too-high/
    Ask your legislator why they don’t address these five issues which could help lower drug prices…..1. Drug manufacturers in the U.S. set their own prices, and that’s not the norm elsewhere in the world. 2. We allow “government-protected monopolies” for certain drugs, preventing generics from coming to market to reduce prices. 3. The FDA takes a long time to approve generic drugs. 4. Sometimes, state laws and other “well-intentioned” federal policies limit generics’ abilities to keep costs down.-----Pharmacists in 26 states are required by law to get patient consent before switching to a generic drug, the authors wrote. This reportedly cost Medicaid $19.8 million dollars in 2006 for just one drug: a statin called simvastatin whose brand name is Zocor. Costs ran higher because pharmacists didn’t get patient consent and Medicaid had to pay for the costlier brand name drug even though a cheaper product was available. 5. Drug prices aren’t really justified by R&D.
  4. When prescription drug markets get rigged, the American public gets fleeced.
    Also see support information for b. and c. above.
  5. Remember when you didn't have to choose between medicine or food?
  6. The US prescription drug market: Of Big Pharma, by Big Pharma, and for Big Pharma.
  7. The drug market is not a free market.
    (Affordable Prescription Drug Prices)
    Support data:
    SOURCE: An American Sickness (2017), Elisabeth Rosenthal
    The FDA grants any company that converts a prescription drug to over-the-counter (OTC) status three years of market exclusivity for that sales route—thus denying competitive pricing for that product
    Drug manufacturers frequently file lawsuits claiming patent infringement in order to receive automatic patent protection for an additional 30 months while the case is adjudicated
    U.S. government agencies charged with the responsibility of ensuring patient-centered healthcare cannot directly consider the PRICING of treatments, medicines, or devices when making their recommendations
    https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/drug-industry-pharmaceutical-lobbyists-medicare-part-d-prices/
    Allowing free market competition rules to apply to Medicare D grugs prices could save billions. This is just a form of corporate welfare to the drug industry. ….”The federal government was barred from negotiating cheaper prices for those medicines. Instead, the job of holding down costs was outsourced to the insurance companies delivering the subsidized new coverage, known as Medicare Part D.”
    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/18530709/ns/politics/t/senate-kills-bid-import-prescription-drugs/#.WplRcJPwZfQ
    Overseas, drugs can cost two-thirds less than they do in the United States, where prices for brand-name drugs are among the highest in the world. In many industrialized countries, prices are lower because they are either controlled or partially controlled by government regulation.
    The drug industry does not want the US to import prescription drugs so they can charge Americans higher prices…” The pharmaceutical industry vehemently opposes allowing drug imports, arguing that they could leave the nation vulnerable to dangerous counterfeits.”
Issue Titles ^      Affordable Perscription Drug Prices ^

Improving the Rural Economy

  1. Missouri small farms are vital for Missouri’s growth.
    (Improving the Rural Economy)
    https://www.farmflavor.com/missouri/missouri-family-farms/missouri-farm-families-matter/
    Whether they’re producing the state’s top commodities, embracing new technologies or implementing sustainable farm practices, Missouri’s farm families are the motivating force in driving the state’s No. 1 industry forward.
    https://www.farmflavor.com/missouri/missouri-agriculture/
    90% of Missouri’s farms are family owned. More than one in every ten Missouri jobs are in agriculture and contributing  $88.4 billion to Missouri’s economy.
    http://agriculture.mo.gov/aboutMDA.php
    In 2014, Missouri raked in an impressive $12.8 billion in farm receipts from all agricultural commodities.
    All aspects of Missouri agriculture unite to form “one agriculture,” allowing the state to thrive. 
  2. You have a right to accessible, affordable high speed Internet.
    (Improving the Rural Economy)
    https://www.fcc.gov/general/connect-america-fund-caf
    Broadband has gone from being a luxury to a necessity for full participation in our economy and society – for all Americans. For that reason, the FCC has adopted comprehensive to accelerate broadband build-out to the approximately 23 million Americans. This will drive economic growth in rural America and expand the online marketplace nationwide, creating jobs and businesses opportunities across the country.
    http://www.govtech.com/network/Missouri-Officials-Make-Efforts-to-Erase-Gaps-in-Rural-Internet.html
    Rural health services, namely telemedicine, would flourish under a stronger rural internet
     Source: Center for Data Innovation Feb 2017
    http://infographic.statista.com/normal/chartoftheday_10600_us_home_broadband_penetration_by_state_n.jpg
    Missouri ranks among the worse states in home access to broadband internet.
    Source: St Louis Public Radio.
    http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/fcc-more-two-thirds-rural-missourians-lack-high-speed-internet-access#stream/0
    More than two-third of rural Missourians lack high speed internet.
  3. Rural Missouri residents and schools need faster broadband to effectively compete.
    (Improving the Rural Economy)
    http://www.govtech.com/network/Missouri-Officials-Make-Efforts-to-Erase-Gaps-in-Rural-Internet.html
    "It's important for business reasons," he said. "We need to have our schools connected."
    http://www.perryvillenews.com/news/government/fighting-to-expand-broadband-access-in-rural-missouri-areas/article_12244bb8-89a3-11e7-89b2-ab8886962896.html
    Students depend on the internet to enhance their education and prepare for the jobs of the future. As one parent recently told me, students in her community have a more difficult time doing their homework because they do not have internet access close to where they live. By bringing broadband to rural areas, we’ll take an important step toward ensuring students in rural communities have access to the quality education they need.
    http://neatoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/homework_gap_Pew_Study.png
    National Education Association  
    https://amp.news-leader.com/amp/100020086
    Springfield News Leader………
    Lower income schools and families in rural Missouri lack access to broadband access needed for class and homework.
  4. Every rural school needs the Internet for our children’s freedom to grow and prosper.
  5. It is your right to travel safe roads and bridges to go to work and bring your goods to market.
  6. Give the family owned farm a chance, stop subsidies to greedy corporate farms.
    (Improving the Rural Economy)
    http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/309575-how-agriculture-subsidies-are-hurting-farmers-taxpayers
    The notion that subsidies help small family farms is an outdated myth. Policies that favor specific industries like farming—or crops like peanuts, or corn—contribute to a two-tiered society in which the well-connected and wealthy benefit at the expense of everyone else. This is bad for all Americans, as it holds back innovation and penalizes competitors who don’t have political influence.
    Second, these policies drive up the cost of some foods for Americans and harm opportunity for American workers
    https://thinkbynumbers.org/government-spending/corporate-welfare/corporate-vs-social-welfare/
    The largest fraction of corporate welfare spending, about 40%, went through the Department of Agriculture, most of it in the form of farm subsidies, resulting in the largest 7% of corporate farming operations receive 45% of all subsidies. Instead of protecting family farms, these subsidies actually enhance the ability of large industrial operations to shut them out of the market.
    https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/documents/food_and_agriculture/cafos-uncovered-executive-summary.pdf
    US taxpayers pay billions each year in subsidies to concentrated animal feeding operations -CAFOs. Subsidies for grain production saved CAFOs 35$ billion in animal feed from 1997 to 2005, in the US. Table ES-1.
    Taxpayers subsidize corporate farming in many different ways.
    CAFOs get subsidized in their externalization of costs to the environment by their disproportionate use of roads, and pollution of air, land, and water in our state. While property values can be impacted by CAFOs , the impact is dependent on land proximity, whether downwind, and type of animals fed.One study found that each CAFO in Missouri lowered surrounding property values by $2.68 million. Fish kills due to manure waste reduce recreational opportunities. Air pollution, in addition to unpleasant smells, can cause respiratory problems for local community members.
  7. Access to affordable college education is your children’s right.
  8. Public schools keep small communities alive.
    (Improving the Rural Economy)
    https://www.cfra.org/renewrural/s/desirable-communities
    Economic opportunity is more likely to be created in attractive places to live because they draw young families and entrepreneurs who start new farms and businesses and revitalize existing enterprises. Small schools have long been a drawing card for rural communities. Communities that make a commitment to provide a quality education in small, community-based schools and invest in them will always have a powerful advantage in attracting young families with children. 
    When a Community Loses Its Schools - Education Week
    83%  of rural schools that close do not get replaced. Students are bussed to schools in other communities, and some families relocate to those communities.
Issue Titles ^      Improving the Rural Economy ^

Voter Rights

  1. Democracy collapses when ANY citizen is denied the right to vote.
    (Voter Rights)
    https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/10/20121022125746737657.html
    Democracy denied: Millions of Americans blocked from voting
    With roughly seven million voters effectively prevented from voting in 2008, according to the Co-operative Congressional Election Study, and perhaps five million more imperiled by new voter-suppression measures, according to another study in 2011, this should be a dominant campaign story. 
    It's a throwback to a bygone era, when similar efforts throughout the North - stopping short of the blood-stained mass terror favoured in the South - were employed to suppress the votes of thousands, perhaps millions of naturalised working class voters. 
    https://www.voteriders.org/news_item/dont-let-democracy-collapse-qa-richard-hasen/
    Voter ID laws cause voter discrimination and keep people from exercising their civic duty of voting.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/02/15/do-voter-identification-laws-suppress-minority-voting-yes-we-did-the-research/?utm_term=.062e966feadb
    Do voter identification laws suppress minority voting? Yes. We did the research.
    SOURCE:http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/gop-voter-suppression-is-the-canary-in-the-coal-mine-of-democracy
    GOP voter suppression is a singular threat to our democracy.
    This week's Truthout Progressive Pick isThe Best Democracy Money Can Buy: The Case of the Stolen Election,an updated documentary by investigative reporter Greg Palast. It makes the case that Trump's victory in the presidential election of 2016 would not likely have happened if Republicans in control of state governments had not impeded voting through a variety of methods, including one they have long used to great effect -- the purging of voter lists.
    In this context, it is important to remember two things: the GOP controls the majority of state houses (in many cases with an assist from gerrymandering) and they indefatigably try to reduce the voting of likely opposition voters. They also try to challenge ballots and leave many of them uncounted. The aim of these strategies is to counter the changing demographic nature of the United States into a more diverse nation: a country that is less white and younger, and a country where the poor might become more empowered. Palast cites a telling statistic in a January 25 op-ed for Truthout: "According to the US Civil Rights Commission, the chance your vote will be disqualified is 900 percent higher if you're Black than if you're white."
    In his commentary, Palast uses Michigan in the 2016 as an example of how vote "spoilage" can potentially swing an election, in this case the presidential vote that year:
    Take Michigan. Trump officially won the state by 10,700 voters. But dig this: 75,355 ballots were never counted.   
    Like, huh? Not counted? Yes. Michiganders vote on these ridiculous paper ballots that old machines have a hard time reading. And critically, 87 machines simply broke down and didn't count the votes at all.
    And where were these uncounted ballots and broken machines? I found them in Detroit and Flint, Michigan -- two majority-Black cities. Do you think those 75,355 ballots in Detroit and Flint were Trump ballots?
    Palast explains that these two cities had old voting machines, and Detroit's "city manager" -- appointed by the Tea Party Republican governor -- was alerted to the problem but chose not to fix or replace the machines.
    Nevertheless, the primary voter suppression technique that Palast has tracked since it was used in Florida in the stolen presidential election of 2000 is the use of what are called caging lists to purge a wide number of voters of color. In an interview with Palast by Truthout that will be published on January 28, he asserts:
    Interstate Crosscheck is the GOP’s latest Jim Crow tactic to remove voters of color from the rolls. It’s absurdly simple. Kobach convinced 27 Republican voting chiefs (and two dumber-than-dirt Democrats) to share their voter rolls to hunt for suspected “potential duplicate” voters or duplicate registered voters. The voters get a postcard that looks like junk mail. If they don’t return it, they are either immediately scrubbed from voter rolls or put on the “inactive” voter list (where they are scrubbed if they miss a federal election).
    Here’s why it’s evil: GOP officials only match first and last name. As one shocked expert says in my film, “If you’re name is José Garcia, you’re suspected of voting in 29 states!” The list is overwhelmingly biased against voters of color (because 85 of the 100 most common names in America are minority names like Rodriguez and Washington).
    Interstate Crosscheck is the pernicious brainchild of one Kris Kobach, secretary of state of Kansas and erstwhile co-chair of the now disbanded Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. (The other co-chair was Vice President Mike Pence.) The goal of the commission appointed by Trump was to try and prove the president's ludicrous assertion that 3 million people -- which just happens to be the number of voters Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by -- voted fraudulently. One can speculate that the intention was to try and create a justification for expanding voter purging lists, primarily to reduce the number of people of color from voting. However, since the premise of the commission is the real fraud, Kobach, the other commissioners and the staff couldn't produce any evidence.
    As BuzzFlash has pointed out before, the number of fraudulent voters in elections is almost nonexistent. The whole notion of massive voter fraud is bogus, used only to justify purge lists and other Republican means of voter suppression, including onerous voter ID laws.
    Indeed the strict voter ID law that went into effect in Wisconsin in 2016 was credited by Ari Berman in The Nation last year with swinging the state to Trump by suppressing the vote:
    According to federal court records, 300,000 registered voters, 9 percent of the electorate, lacked strict forms of voter ID in Wisconsin. A new study by Priorities USA, shared exclusively with The Nation, shows that strict voter-ID laws, in Wisconsin and other states, led to a significant reduction in voter turnout in 2016, with a disproportionate impact on African-American and Democratic-leaning voters. Wisconsin’s voter-ID law reduced turnout by 200,000 votes, according to the new analysis. Donald Trump won the state by only 22,748 votes.
    The mass corporate media's preoccupation with Trump's every tweet is a distraction from the real issues inhibiting our ability to build a robust, participatory democracy. The relative lack of news media attention to the Republican efforts to keep non-Republicans from voting shortchanges universal suffrage and keeps power in the hands of a declining older white population in a majority of states and the federal government.
    The evidence uncovered by election sleuths such as Palast deserves to receive more attention and condemnation. After all, democracy is at stake.
  2. The right to vote is the engine of democracy.
  3. In a democratic society, refusing citizens the right to vote is a denial of their existence.
  4. Twenty-five voted illegally; millions were denied the right to vote.
    (Voter Rights)
    https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/debunking-voter-fraud-myth
    comprehensive 2014 study published in The Washington Post found 31 credible instances of impersonation fraud from 2000 to 2014, out of more than 1 billion ballots cast. Even this tiny number is likely inflated, as the study’s author counted not just prosecutions or convictions, but any and all credible claims.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/08/03/heres-how-rare-in-person-voter-fraud-is/?utm_term=.8fffddccceb9
    Two studies done at Arizona State University, one in 2012 and another in 2016, found similarly negligible rates of impersonation fraud. The project found 10 cases of voter impersonation fraud nationwide from 2000-2012. The follow-up study, which looked for fraud specifically in states where politicians have argued that fraud is a pernicious problem, found zero successful prosecutions for impersonation fraud in five states from 2012-2016.
    How often does it find fraud? For that, we turn to the much-cited 2014 analysis of voter fraud reported by The Post. Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt looked at 14 years of voting and found 31 possible incidents of in-person voter fraud, comprised of approximately 241 fraudulent ballots.
    So that's 241 ballots -- out of 1 billion cast.
    SOURCE: ACLU.org
    VOTER ID REQUIREMENTS ARE A SOLUTION IN SEARCH OF A PROBLEM
    -   In-person fraud is vanishingly rare. A recent study found that, since 2000, there were only 31 credible allegations of voter impersonation – the only type of fraud that photo IDs could prevent – during a period of time in which over 1 billion ballots were cast.
    -   Identified instances of “fraud” are honest mistakes. So-called cases of in-person impersonation voter “fraud” are almost always the product of an elections worker or a voter making an honest mistake, and that even these mistakes are extremely infrequent.
    -   Voter ID laws are a waste of taxpayer dollars. States incur sizeable costs when implementing voter ID laws, including the cost of educating the public, training poll workers, and providing IDs to voters.
      • Texas spent nearly $2 million on voter education and outreach efforts following passage of its Voter ID law.
      • Indiana spent over $10 million to produce free ID cards between 2007 and 2010.
  5. Voter obstruction strips away our freedom, right & civic duty to vote.
  6. Voter fraud? Show me the proof.
    (Voter Rights)
    Same support information as in d above.
    SOURCE: ACLU.org
    VOTER ID REQUIREMENTS ARE A SOLUTION IN SEARCH OF A PROBLEM
    -   In-person fraud is vanishingly rare. A recent study found that, since 2000, there were only 31 credible allegations of voter impersonation – the only type of fraud that photo IDs could prevent – during a period of time in which over 1 billion ballots were cast.
    -   Identified instances of “fraud” are honest mistakes. So-called cases of in-person impersonation voter “fraud” are almost always the product of an elections worker or a voter making an honest mistake, and that even these mistakes are extremely infrequent.
    -   Voter ID laws are a waste of taxpayer dollars. States incur sizeable costs when implementing voter ID laws, including the cost of educating the public, training poll workers, and providing IDs to voters.
      • Texas spent nearly $2 million on voter education and outreach efforts following passage of its Voter ID law.
    Indiana spent over $10 million to produce free ID cards between 2007 and 2010.
  7. Voter purging is UnAmerican.
  8. Voter ID laws are meant to strip away the freedom to vote for the poor, minorities, elderly, students & the military.
    (Voter Rights)
    https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/democrat-photo-id-rule-seeks-keep-poor-minorities-elderly-and-students-voting
    Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) said that every state governed by a Republican is attempting to prevent the poor, minorities, seniors and students from voting by requiring individuals to present photo identification at the polls.
    https://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Vet-ID-holders-cannot-vote-1924290.php
    “Not only are they going to disenfranchise the Latino vote, they're also going to disenfranchise our military personnel who fought for our ability to vote,” said Farias (D-San Antonio), who served in Vietnam. “In haste, because they wanted to pass a voter ID bill, (Republicans) hurt the same people who fought and are dying to give us that right.”
    https://www.citylab.com/equity/2016/02/research-more-conclusive-that-voter-id-laws-hurt-blacks-and-latinos/459819/
    More Research Shows Voter ID Laws Hurt Minorities
    Black and Latino voters are “increasingly losing their place in the democratic process.”
    https://www.usnews.com/news/the-report/articles/2016-04-01/voting-restrictions-are-impacting-elections
    THE BATTLE LINES ARE already being drawn for the general election in November, and Democrats are eager to line up African-Americans, Latinos, women, senior citizens and young voters, all of whom the party believes could form a formidable team to thwart a potential Donald Trump presidency and wrest the Senate majority from the GOP.
    That is only, however, if all those people will be able to vote. And given the sweeping new regulations and restrictions a number of states have placed on voting, that's not a given.
    SOURCE: ACLU.org
    -   Millions of Americans Lack ID. 11% of U.S. citizens – or more than 21 million Americans – do not have government-issued photo identification.
    -   Obtaining ID Costs Money. Even if ID is offered for free, voters must incur numerous costs (such as paying for birth certificates) to apply for a government-issued ID.
    • Underlying documents required to obtain ID cost money, a significant expense for lower-income Americans. The combined cost of document fees, travel expenses and waiting time are estimated to range from $75 to $175.
    • The travel required is often a major burden on people with disabilities, the elderly, or those in rural areas without access to a car or public transportation. In Texas, some people in rural areas must travel approximately 170 miles to reach the nearest ID office.
    -   Voter ID Laws Reduce Voter Turnout. A 2014 GAO study found that strict photo ID laws reduce turnout by 2-3 percentage points,4 which can translate into tens of thousands of votes lost in a single state.
    VOTER ID LAWS ARE DISCRIMINATORY
    -   Minority voters disproportionately lack ID. Nationally, up to 25% of African-American citizens of voting age lack government-issued photo ID, compared to only 8% of whites.
    -   States exclude forms of ID in a discriminatory manner. Texas allows concealed weapons permits for voting, but does not accept student ID cards. Until its voter ID law was struck down, North Carolina prohibited public assistance IDs and state employee ID cards, which are disproportionately held by Black voters. And until recently, Wisconsin permitted active duty military ID cards, but prohibited Veterans Affairs ID cards for voting.
    -   Voter ID laws are enforced in a discriminatory manner. A Caltech/MIT study found that minority voters are more frequently questioned about ID than are white voters.7
    -   Voter ID laws reduce turnout among minority voters. Several studies, including a 2014 GAO study, have found that photo ID laws have a particularly depressive effect on turnout among racial minorities and other vulnerable groups, worsening the participation gap between voters of color and whites.
Issue Titles ^      Voter Rights ^