Growing income disparities and the erosion of the middle class endanger our democracy. Action must be taken to close those gaps.
- Education: Middle-class families are falling victim to the continued rise in higher education costs. College, university and technical schools should be affordable for all students and their parents. Measures to lighten the tuition burden at long-underfunded state colleges must be taken, and the federal student loan program must be reformed. Changing technological advances and economic conditions are creating new job opportunities. Therefore, community college education and skills training to help prepare the next generation of students and current and displaced workers for these new jobs must be bolstered.
- Health Care: Quality health care should be a right, not a privilege. Every American deserves access to affordable health insurance, including accessibly priced prescription drugs. We applaud the gains made during the Obama administration through the Affordable Care Act that extended health insurance to millions of Americans. However, gaps in access and quality remain. Congress should strengthen — not repeal — the ACA. We oppose efforts to block-grant Medicaid or to privatize Medicare. Mental health care should be funded and insured in the same manner as other forms of care. We support the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
- Jobs: Everyone should have the opportunity to fulfill his or her potential in a rewarding job. Providing employment opportunity for all Americans by preparing workers for new job opportunities created by economic, technological and environmental changes is a top priority. We support retraining and aid to displaced workers, and a much-needed increase in the federal minimum wage. We oppose efforts to discourage, inhibit or prevent workers from organizing. We support the right to collective bargaining.
- Paid Family Leave: The United States stands alone in the industrial world in not providing citizens with paid family or parental leave. Parents deserve adequate compensated maternity or paternity leave following childbirth or adoption. We also support paid family and emergency leave for other life-cycle situations.
- Social Security and Welfare: We oppose any effort to privatize or means-test the Social Security program, which has allowed Americans to live out their retirement with dignity. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) program has been a lifeline to millions of families. We oppose any effort to decrease funding for, or restrict access to SNAP, and believe that it should be expanded to provide more Americans with greater assistance. Nineties-era welfare reform, which block-granted and time-limited cash assistance to at-risk populations, has failed to provide adequate help to those living in extreme poverty and should be reconsidered.
- Taxes: Tax policy in America must be fair and equitable, and must include the commitment to pay responsibly for government obligations and expenses. Disproven economic theories that do not stimulate job growth and only increase income disparity and future deficits must not be the basis for America’s policies.