We, the American People
Have everything we need to reverse our economic decline and achieve prosperity for all our citizens; we have 320 million amazing people, vast natural resources, the best universities in the world, and an economy abundant with capital and innovation.
The only thing standing in our way is the corrupt and complacent political establishment. Once we elect a Brand New Congress, we know that America can finally do what is necessary to bring about true liberty and justice for all: reinvest in American industry, repair our crumbling infrastructure, rekindle our struggling schools, build an all-renewable energy system, eliminate burdensome regulations, rebuild our broken healthcare system, reform our unjust criminal justice system and restore the promise of democracy.
OUR BRAND NEW CONGRESS WILL
Rebuild Our Economy
America has fallen into a long-term, economic decline. Wages have been stagnant since the 1970s. Over the past 4 decades, America has lost millions of high-wage jobs and failed to replace them, leaving many American workers with a low-paying service job or no job at all.
To reverse this economic decline once and for all, we will kickstart new high-wage industries, modernize old industries, build a 100% renewable energy economy, repair our crumbling infrastructure and rebuild local communities. We will:
Rebuild American Industry
During and after World War II, America experienced unprecedented economic growth. From 1940 - 1945, the American economy more or less doubled in size every year. At the end of the war, the U.S. had many new massive and modern industries producing everything from steel, aluminum, automobiles and ships, to plastics, machine tools, electronics and pharmaceuticals. The economy we built during the war provided middle class, high-wage jobs to half of America for three generations. We can, and must, do the same thing again today. Our plan calls for kickstarting new high-wage, high-value industries and modernizing existing industries — which will create millions of new jobs, lift wages and grow the economy all at the same time. Read More
America’s big banks don’t want to invest in America anymore. They want to gamble on Wall Street where the house always wins and the American people always lose. Our biggest corporations stash hundreds of billions of dollars in overseas tax havens, and spend far more of it on stock buybacks than on innovation. The little they do invest, they invest in countries that demand investment in exchange for access to markets and that make investment profitable by providing top-notch infrastructure and highly skilled workers.
We don't blame other countries for taking care of their own needs, or corporations for seeking profit but we, the American people, need to take matters into our own hands and rebuild our economy.
Our plan calls for creating regional and state investment banks whose mission it is to invest in kickstarting high-wage industries and modernizing existing industries. Unlike the big banks we have today, which gamble their money on Wall St, these new banks will invest in high-wage industries that will create millions of jobs for the American people. These regional and state investment banks will work hand in hand with a new national investment corporation that will work to find game-changing new ventures in which the banks can invest.
Imagine, for example, a national investment corporation convening companies like Apple, Google, Intel, AMD, Motorola, Samsung, FoxConn and others to jumpstart the world’s next generation industries here in America. This is exactly what high-wage and rising-wage countries like Germany, Japan, South Korea and China are doing all around us -- and it’s exactly the same strategy that America has used time and again throughout its history to build the world’s most prosperous economy.
The scale of the investment will be massive. And it will work because it is merely an infusion of capital and purpose into our already dynamic and powerful economy. Our economy today creates jobs, just not enough of them in high-paying sectors. Today, many American small businesses are thriving thanks to their own incredible hard work, but each year there are still more small businesses that fail than new small businesses that are created. Our state and regional investment banks and the investment corporation will work together to provide small businesses with the capital they need to compete on a level playing field with big business and seize every opportunity to grow through this economic mobilization. When we talk about returning jobs to coal country and the Rust Belt, we are backing up our words with trillions of dollars in investment.Read Less
Build the inevitable, cheap, renewable energy economy in 10 years
Our current energy system is costly, inefficient, and unsustainable. Unlike oil, coal and natural gas, the sun and wind can provide us with a virtually infinite supply of energy — millions of times more energy than we could ever possibly use. Building an all-renewable energy system will require a massive investment at first — just like the American highway system did back in the 1950s — but once it’s built, maintaining our new energy system will be far cheaper than the expensive energy system we have today.Read More
The cheap renewable energy economy is coming. If we choose to build it now instead of decades from now, we’ll create millions of jobs and free up trillions of dollars from energy costs for other projects. This will be a huge boon for American workers and this cheap renewable energy will give American businesses a competitive edge. Regardless of whether you believe in climate change, every nation in the world is moving away from fossil fuels. The oil, coal and natural gas industries are going to go out of business whether we like it or not. We have a choice: fall behind the rest of the world or build America’s cheap, renewable energy economy right now.Read Less
Invest the $4.6 trillion needed to repair our country’s crumbling infrastructure
We will fund the national and state agencies that oversee our major roads, bridges, dams and more for the projects they have been begging to start for decades. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that $4.6 trillion is needed to get America’s infrastructure back up to par. Much of this is straightforward “shovel ready” work that can be started right away. The rest requires planning across the private and public sector. In an age when bridges regularly collapse and levee's break, our infrastructure plan will save lives and keep the American economy going!
Rebuild our local communities
We will provide grants to counties, towns, cities and rural areas to fund and finish long-overdue local projects such as building community centers, removing crumbling buildings, renovating downtowns, just to name a few. Our grants will help local communities rebuild with dignity and self-determination instead of displacement and gentrification.
Provide a tuition-free education to qualified students at all public universities, colleges, and trade schools
If you meet the academic requirements, you go for free. This is not a new concept — before the 1980s, many public American universities provided a tuition-free education to all qualified students. Today, most industrialized countries do the exact same thing. If we want to rebuild our economy and encourage innovation in America, we need a highly-educated and highly-skilled workforce. Saddling students with debt is not only destructive to students’ futures, it also slows and depresses our economy.
Raise the minimum wage to $15/hour — and tie it to inflation
Adjusted for inflation, today’s $7.25/hour minimum wage is actually $4 lower than the minimum wage of 50 years ago. No one can survive in America today on $7.25/hour, especially if they are trying to raise a family. We will raise the minimum wage to $15/hour, tie it to inflation, and encourage states and local governments to increase the minimum wage further in places with higher costs of living. This will help millions of workers make it to the middle class, which is good for workers and good for local businesses — because the larger the American middle class, the more customers there are to buy products and services.
Make special investments in communities that have been devastated over past decades
Due to regional, racial and sectoral divides, millions of Americans have been left behind. Some communities never made it into the middle class while others joined momentarily before being thrown back out. If we are to be one nation, we need to make special investments in all the communities that have made extraordinary sacrifices for America, but have been left behind with nothing. This includes regions and communities such as Rural America, Coal-Mining America, Rust Belt America, Black America, Latino America, Native Americans’ America and many others. Read More
How will these investments be made? The regional investment banks and corporations explained above will be given extra resources where needed. Additionally, special banks will be established to invest in particularly hard-hit communities. For example, there should be a Coal Country Bank, an Appalachian Bank, an Ozarks Bank, a Rust Belt Bank, a Black American Bank and a Native American Bank, just to name a few. Read Less
FIX THE HEALTHCARE MESS
Everyone knows health care in America is broken. It was broken before Obamacare, and it is still broken. Obamacare forces millions of people to pay for insurance they can’t afford to use because deductibles are so high. Millions are still left without coverage and costs are skyrocketing for everyone.
There has always been a simple solution to our health care mess: cover everyone with Medicare.
Private insurance companies have been allowed by generations of corrupt politicians to become monopolies with the power to extort many hundreds of billions of dollars from the American people each year. The health insurance industry spent $150 billion dollars last year in lobbying expenses alone, to protect their monopolies — money that could have been spent on providing care and saving lives. Our Medicare for All plan will provide all Americans with Medicare, increase the number of doctors and care facilities and stop Big Pharma from gouging American consumers.
Provide all Americans with healthcare through Medicare
This will include high-quality general, dental, vision, and mental health coverage. Medicare is more efficient than any private insurance provider and is accepted by 95% of doctors. Under our plan, private insurance companies will be allowed to compete with each other in a truly free market to offer supplemental insurance plans.
Increase the number of doctors, clinics and hospitals
We have a shortage of doctors and health care facilities in America today. In rural areas, it can be almost impossible to see even a general practitioner let alone a specialist. The American Medical Association currently restricts the number of doctors who are admitted to medical school and the number of foreign trained doctors who can be certified to practice in America. They do this to ensure higher salaries for doctors. We believe doctors are incredibly valuable members of our communities and economy and should be paid well — and they should not have to create shortages to raise their wages!
Stop the pharmaceutical industry from gouging the American people
The pharmaceutical industry, or “Big Pharma,” gouges the American people because the government forbids Medicare from negotiating drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Under our plan, this regulation will be eliminated and Medicare will be allowed to negotiate the best possible prices for the American people.
Invest in innovative research programs to develop new life-saving drugs
Not only does Big Pharma gouge the American people, but it also spends the vast majority of its profits on advertising and lobbying — not on developing new, life-saving drugs as it should. In fact, Big Pharma is scaling back drug development so much that most new drugs and other treatments are developed at small pharma companies, startups and university research programs. We will launch several competitive drug development programs that will invest in innovative research efforts already underway. These investments and programs will operate out of established organizations such as the National Institutes of Health. Not only will this directly produce more life-saving drugs, but it will also incentivize Big Pharma to stop spending so much on advertising, and start investing more in what they should — developing new and better drugs that will save lives.
END MASS INCARCERATION
America imprisons more of its own people than any other nation in the world. Even as the crime rate is on a steady decline, incarceration rates continue to climb. Incarceration rates are skewed in favor of targeting minorities with longer sentences and higher arrest rates.
This trend has left devastation in its wake, as more and more Americans find themselves unemployable and disenfranchised after serving their time. Children and partners lose their parents and loved ones to the system, perpetuating negative social and economic outcomes. We will attack this crisis through five important lenses
End the school to prison pipeline
Many children go to schools with aggressive zero-tolerance disciplinary practices, which are directly tied to Congressional funding requirements. These policies often result in suspension or expulsion for students with disciplinary issues — pushing them out of school and into the criminal justice system. Not only does this leave children without the resources they need to succeed, but it also creates antagonism between children and authority figures, contributing to the likelihood of their incarceration. Read More
We must change our priorities if we are to ever solve this problem. For instance, while school districts have increased funding for School Resource Officers, they have cut down funding for other services children need. We can help ease the financial burden for schools by changing funding requirements and providing financial support for programs and resources that can act as alternative to punitive sanctions. BNC will fund and promote programming to address disciplinary alternatives which address the factors that cause crime, and thus strengthening the quality of education for all students. This will go a long way in addressing the problems of mass incarceration at its source. BNC plans to work with state and local governments, and the Department of Education, to transform every public school in America by empowering our children, rather than marginalizing them. Read Less
End the wasteful, harmful, ineffective War on Drugs
Since its inception, the War on Drugs has been a failure. It has exacerbated our country’s massive drug problem, not fixed it. It has harmed the most vulnerable people in our country, not helped them. In the past 40 years alone, the government has spent over $1 trillion of taxpayer dollars in the War on Drugs. The time has come to stop the government from wasting any more of our money and fix the drug problem once and for all. To accomplish that, we will:
- Stop wasting taxpayer dollars on the ineffective War on Drugs.
- Legalize and tax marijuana just like we do alcohol and tobacco, which will save us over $13 billion per year.
- Invest all that saved money in drug diversion and mental health programs which have proven to be successful at slashing drug use.
Ending the War on Drugs is a priority for Americans across party lines. Especially in light of the ongoing opioid crisis, more and more people are realizing that incarcerating people for nonviolent crimes does not fix the problem at all — it creates new problems. Therefore, instead of waging a failed war, we should commit government resources to mental health support and drug diversion. Drug diversion programs have proven successful in giving those who would otherwise have a criminal record a second chance. Instead of criminal sanctions, they go through the drug courts and must complete various programs while remaining sober. This is an effective alternative for ameliorating the harm that comes from hard drug use, while freeing up the court system to handle more serious crimes. We will work with states, the DOJ, and the Department of Health and Human Services to create drug diversion programs all over the country, which will focus on treatment for those who have issues with substance abuse. The federal government will provide states with the funding to implement these programs effectively. Read Less
Expand and defend due process protections
BNC is calling for expanded protection and definition of the rights of prisoners, probationers, parolees and students. For prisoners, we will work to further define prisoners’ right to counsel at the Federal level and provide state funding for competent counsel to the indigent, and ensure a timely process for the evaluation of cases so that people do not spend longer than 6 months without being convicted. We will also push for legal changes to further expand and protect the right of all Americans to vote, repeal the exception to the 13th Amendment and provide prisoners the same labor rights we will expand for unions. Part of this due process expansion will come with further services for prisoners with needs. Additionally, a major priority will be to increase prison facility standards, thereby curbing the inhumane treatment of prisoners. The rights of probationers and parolees must be guarded as well. For example, while the Supreme Court requires minimal due process rights for arresting and formal revocation of parole and probation, their right to an attorney is non-existent, except under certain circumstances. Additionally, in the granting of parole, full due process guarantees are not required. We must change this through legislation in order to guarantee people have a fair shot at their second chance. Read More
Lastly, students must have greater due process protections as well. While the Supreme Court held that students may not be suspended without a hearing, many states do not require schools to publicize clear sets of expectations for students and their parents. This means that there is little to no clarity as to what behaviors are prohibited. Further, there are also no identified procedures which enumerate the rights of students, or the ability to appeal for reinstatement. Additionally, school officials are often required to report certain infractions to law enforcement. Often, evidence used to legally incriminate students may be obtained in violation of the Constitutional prohibitions against unreasonable searches, seizures, and interrogations, policy vagueness and self-incrimination. Together, this leads to the over policing of youth, which is often discriminatory, promotes a school to prison pipeline, and denies them the education they need. Read Less
End police militarization and improve oversight
We will work to ensure that the government stops stocking local police departments military-grade weapons. Instead, we will fund police departments to implement proven community policing practices under civilian governing boards. Our military functions under direct civilian control — so should law enforcement. Read More
Additionally, we will work to improve federal civil rights laws to make it easier to hold officers and policy makers accountable for criminal acts of police violence, while increasing the funding for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to execute these laws. We will also increase funding for the DOJ’s National Institute of Justice to advance research on criminal justice reform and restructuring. BNC will work to strengthen the DOJ’s Practice or Pattern Unit by stopping discriminatory law enforcement practices. Read Less
Returning judicial discretion to judges
Judicial discretion has eroded due to the politicization of law enforcement. Loss of discretion means that judges are compelled to deliver sentences that are often harsher than the crime committed. If discretion is given back to the courts, judges may have greater latitude in delivering a sentence that gives an individual in the system a chance to get his or her life back on track, rather than waste away in prison for years. BNC plans to return this discretion by first removing mandatory minimums both prospectively and retroactively. The Sentencing Commission has done all it can in adjusting sentencing guidelines and showing that retroactive relief does not impact public safety. Now Congress must act to obtain meaningful reform by eliminating mandatory sentencing requirements. BNC will act be moving away from mandatory minimum sentences that focus on penalizing non-violent offenders. We will also work to decriminalize non-violent federal offenses while promoting greater guidance and review of criminal regulations promulgated by federal agencies, in order to guard against federal overreach.
FIGHT FOR FAMILIES
American families are struggling. 40% of Americans face the impossible task of raising their families on less than $20,000 per year. Millions of young people’s lives are ruined by broken schools and a broken K-12 education system. Here’s our plan to help families live better lives:
Support parents, children and families
We will expand the earned income tax credit by $1 trillion for families raising children. In addition, we will make 6 months of family leave available to all parents — both women and men. We will also build and fund of a new network of childcare centers.
Fix America’s broken schools
America contains thousands of the best schools in the world — and thousands of the worst schools in the world. Millions of young people’s lives are being ruined in those broken schools. Fixing schools is not rocket science and does not require a cultural revolution — it’s a management task. A range of evidence-based best practices covering teaching methods, teacher training and school discipline have been demonstrated to work over and over again. Read More
However, communities where schools are failing are justifiably skeptical of reform efforts after decades of being used as guinea pigs for billionaire-funded education reform proposals.
Therefore, we will first invite struggling school districts to participate in a voluntary reform effort to prove that our plan will work — and then lead a national movement for all struggling districts to adopt the reform program. Participating districts will receive funding along with infusions of teachers and principals, management training and teacher training.
One nationwide reform that will apply to all districts from the start will be a federal grant program to ensure that all districts receive adequate funding regardless of their local property tax base. Our current system leads to great inequality between school districts. Read Less
Keep abortion legal and safe for all women — while lowering instances of abortions
Brand New Congress is working to elect new leaders in both deep-blue and deep-red districts. Some BNC candidates in red districts identify as personally pro-life; BNC candidates in blue districts identify as pro-choice. But these partisan labels are beside the point. Why? Because regardless of their district or party, all BNC candidates will support keeping abortion legal and safe for all women, while advocating for programs to reduce the total number of unwanted pregnancies through better access to education, family planning, birth control, economic alternatives and more. BNC candidates recognize that economic issues often play a large role in a woman's decision to seek abortion in the first place, so BNC candidates will seek to address those underlying economic issues. Fundamentally, this is an issue of giving women and families the freedom to listen to their consciences and make their own health decisions, while providing them with the best possible alternatives to seeking abortion.
CLEAN UP WASHINGTON D.C.
Eliminate regulations that tilt the playing field in favor of big businesses over small businesses
We will establish a department in the small business administration that identifies burdensome regulations that are strangling the potential of America’s small businesses. This department will make recommendations to Congress for which regulations to repeal. One example of a program that currently favors big businesses over small businesses is America’s system of employer-based health insurance. Big businesses can afford massive HR departments to administer and manage a vast, complex stew of health insurance plans for their employees — but small businesses cannot. With our Medicare For All plan, we will eliminate the employer-based health insurance system, freeing up small businesses to grow their business, raise wages, innovate, and compete with big businesses on a fairer playing field.
Cut taxes for middle and lower income Americans and simplify the tax code
Middle and working class people pay a higher tax rate than wealthy people when you add up all the sales, property, local and other taxes and fees that Americans pay. Our plan will lower taxes and provide tax rebates and refunds to working and middle class people. While we’re at it, we will eliminate the need to file federal taxes, which is an unnecessary nuisance for millions of Americans — especially since, for regular W2 employees, the government already knows how much you owe. We will work with state tax agencies to eliminate filing for state and local taxes. Our plan will bring U.S. corporate taxes into line with global norms, then offer amnesty for U.S. wealth and profits stashed in tax havens. We will slash tax loopholes and giveaways throughout the tax code: they overwhelmingly benefit big business over small business.
Get money out of politics once and for all
We will reform our electoral system to create a more perfect democracy: This will include removing money from politics, getting rid of the electoral college, investigating alternative voting systems such as ranked choice voting, and making election day a national holiday. In addition, we must improve the actual mechanics of voting to make it easier to vote and to defend against electoral fraud.
REFORM OUR IMMIGRATION SYSTEM
Today, the United States, for almost the only time in our history, has net-negative immigration — because decent paying jobs are drying up. Our plan to reverse America’s economic decline and rebuild our country is going to demand huge numbers of new workers. Our economy will once again be begging for new immigrants. We believe that immigration makes America stronger — it always has. Here is our plan to reform our nation’s broken immigration system:
Create a swift and secure roadmap to citizenship
For America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. One of our great strengths as a society and economy is our healthy population growth, thanks to immigration. The idea that America would be better off deporting 11 million contributors to our society and economy is ludicrous. Immigrants pay taxes and perform millions of important jobs. We need them.
Implement an employment verification system
Like E-Verify that prevents employers from hiring undocumented workers in the first place. This would be far better than the current regime of “I-9 raids” that make immigrants vulnerable to abuse by employers and rarely result in serious penalties for employers.
Establish legal immigration centers around the world
To recruit the best working families in Latin America and the Caribbean and elsewhere to join the American family. Not only does this provide a safer path to America for potential immigrants, but it enables us to finally be proactive about our immigration policy, instead of always being reactive.
Secure the Borders
We want immigrants to come to America — but we do not want them coming here in unsafe and illegal ways. Today, too many potential immigrants risk their lives by illicitly crossing desert borders and paying human smugglers. To fix this problem, we must establish a safer way for potential immigrants to come to America — and we also must secure the border. Of course, Trump’s border wall will be completely ineffective (not to mention outrageously expensive). Truly effective border control is about high-tech night vision cameras, paying staff to monitor them, and non-stop enforcement that will let potential immigrants know that the only way to work in the U.S. is to enter through legal, safe channels.
STOP FIGHTING RECKLESS WARS
We must stop fighting reckless, costly wars and focus on keeping America safe. America has been a force for good in the world many times over. Unfortunately, careless and arrogant politicians have too often made America a force of reckless destruction around the world.
Most recently, the totally unnecessary war in Iraq created conditions that anti-Western terrorists had been dreaming of for decades. Our actions that toppled Muammar Gaddafi added Libya to the list of chaotic failed states where Islamic terror groups could thrive. Those actions emboldened a range of anti-government actors in Syria, including anti-Western terrorists. The U.S. government encouraged those actors to rebel, helping to plunge Syria into chaos, and expanding the zone of free operation for terror groups. The rise of ISIS was in part thanks to George W. Bush’s rush to war in Iraq, in which he made ISIS’s founder famous and a magnet for new recruits and resources.
We need to turn the page on this track record of destruction and chaos. We need to start following a policy of respecting the internal politics of sovereign nations.
With that said, Brand New Congress is not isolationist. We believe that America must take action as part of the international community to protect peace and human rights when necessary. We stand totally against “wars of choice” and will stop presidents from taking America to war unnecessarily. We believe that the best role America can play in the world is to support economic development through industry and investment as we did with the Marshall Plan after World War II. Supporting economic development will help build up our own economy as much as it will help others.