Problem Facing America: Politics are not focused around Young Americans

In the United States, our politics on both sides of the aisle is not on the side of young Americans. Republicans claim the only way to grow the economy and secure a future for young Americans is to cut our domestic spending programs. Democrats claim the only way to grow the economy and secure the future for young Americans is to continue the same old policies pushed forth again and again. In the end, everything stays the same.

2015-02-18-EarningsbyLifeCycleHere’s the facts from the past 40 years via the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA found that a typical employee, has the largest income gains between the ages of 25 and 35. However, the unemployment rate of 18 and 34 years old peaked at more than 13% in 2010 (doesn’t include underemployment or discouraged workers). While the average income increase for median earners fell to zero between the ages of 35 and 55. Finally, they found that incomes decline (“negative growth”) between ages 45 and 55.

During the recession, lower-wage industries constituted 22% of losses, but 44% recovery growth and higher-wage industries constituted 41% of recession losses, however only 30% of recovery growth, noted by the National Employment Law Project.  this caused an economic and perhaps even social crisis for young Americans are trying to enter or attempt to enter the workforce. Many of these young Americans are trying to get their first job to use their money to sustain themselves as they face the many challenges they have thrust upon them once they graduate high school. Many of them even use these jobs to help pay for their own education or to feed themselves while they are enrolled in college.

Now, they are not getting these jobs. Instead they are going to the people who before the recession were in middle-wage and higher-wage industries. These were people who had already made a life for themselves in many cases. Leading to young Americans with no avenue to work to start their lives to those who had good jobs now taking the jobs that use to go to young Americans just starting out.

Now, looking specifically at the jobs that were lost during the recession, Pew Research Center made some great points. the largest declines were in specialty trade contractors, construction 319, 800 jobs and local government, education 266,800 jobs. The largest gains have been in health care 1,481,400 jobs and food services and drinking places 1,385,400 jobs. Looking at these numbers you may notice that the second largest growing industry post-recession is also one of the industries that has the lowest pay and the least benefits for their employees.

2015-02-18-WhoOwestheMostAnother striking statistic, is the total amount of student debt owed, $1.3 trillion. Even further, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average amount owed for each graduate has risen from less than $10,000 in 1993 to more than $30,000 in 2013. With the bottom 25% of households owing 58% of student debt and the top 10% owing only 3%, according to the Pew Research Center.

Republican Message:

The new Congress is controlled by the Republican Party (GOP) and they could act on these issues and take meaningful actions. Instead, they seem to be focused on repealing Obamacare (ACA), rollback of immigration reform, and destroy agencies that protect the environment, consumers, workers, and taxpayers.

20141108_gdm333_10Specifically, on immigration the U.S. House took a vote of 236-191 on funding the Department of Homeland Security to February 27, until President Obama reverses his executive order on undocumented immigrants. The vote was poised at killing the President’s effort to enforce policies that limited deportations of people who aren’t criminals or serial immigration violators. One amendment to that bill even went as far as ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA stopped over 600,000 young undocumented immigrants from being deported and allowed them to work legally.

Progressive Confront:

Progressives have a plan to confront the Republican’s and the Democrat’s standard. The progressive plan is to regulate Wall Street, transform the U.S. global tax and trade policies (oppose TTP), enforce a progressive tax rate, curb perverse CEO compensation policies, revive anti-trust, equal pay for equal work, raise the minimum wage, paid sick leave, free community college (President Obama’s plan), 21st century infrastructure (President Obama’s plan), end the outrageous amounts of money in politics (Citizens United), and take advantage of the Green Energy Industrial Revolution.

international-maternity-leave-timeline-2013The plan includes supporting progressive legislators. Thus, people who disagree with the status quo should stand with U.S. Senators taking the lead on these policies such as Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Jeff Merkly, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren. It also means standing with the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the U.S. House, who are driving the same ideas.

Fundamental change comes only when the oppressed make it impossible to sustain the old order. – Robert Borosage, Campaign for America’s Future

In Mika’s Opinion:

Young Americans are our future, thus politics needs to take a major turn towards that which will benefit them. Right now, young Americans are turned off by both political parties.

Why? Could it be that both political parties have not spent much time focusing on the needs of young Americans? Could it be that both political parties are stuck in their same old ways, pushing their same old proposals?

This is why I believe in the progressive plan, the plan for our future, that includes and focuses on young Americans. That recognizes the need to take a turn and make changes. The plan includes some of the old proposals that are still relevant for today but recognizes that we are in the 21st century and need 21st century solutions. The progressive plan even will tackle social issues that many young Americans want to see dealt with. Many of these issues are not even seen as issues by many young Americans but are for older Americans and still are being debated within the two major political parties, which also turns off young Americans

It’s time we realize that immigration isn’t a side issue, it’s a national priority.marriage_equaltiy_3_0

It’s time we realize that women’s issues are not side issues but a national priority.

It’s time we realize that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) rights are not side issues but a national priority. 

 

*Source: Campaign for America’s Future*

*Source: Politico*

 

Advertisements

Call on Congress to take the 2014 Equality Poll

marriage_equaltiy_3_0
Image credits: Photo from google.com

Progressive friends and family, it is clear that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movement’s next move is to lobby Congress for a comprehensive LGBT civil rights bill.

That time is here. 

The Equality Pledge Network has begun conducting the 2014 Equality Poll. The poll is seeking our elected official’s position regarding comprehensive LGBT civil rights and full federal equality in the United States.

The Equality Pledge Network is a nationwide alliance for full LGBT equality. The Equality Pledge Network’s support spans the entire LGBT community including LGBT statewide organizations, pride committees, LGBT community centers, GLSEN and PFLAG chapters, Stonewall Democrats, and the grassroots.

The 2014 Equality Poll corresponds with the Pledge for Full LGBT Equality, endorsed by over 250 LGBT and allied organizations listed here, which calls upon Congress to categorically outlaw discrimination against LGBT Americans as a human rights imperative and a public health emergency.

The poll has been sent out to nearly every member of Congress. Now is the time to follow up with members of Congress and urge them to take the poll.

Therefore, I am asking you today, to call, email, or fax your member of Congress, ask them to take the poll and share your personal story.

The following is a sample message that you can use:

Dear Honorable United States Representative/Senator [Name],

My name is [your name] and I am your consituent. I am writing you to encourage you to take the 2014 Equality Poll. The poll is seeking your position regarding comprehensive lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights and full federal equality in the United States.

(Add your personal story)

I call upon your sense of justice and compassion in asking for your support to protect LGBT Americans from discrimination equally and fully.

Sincerely,
[your name]

You can find the 2014 Equality Poll here and you can go here to find your Congressperson. This website here makes it easy for you to fax your Congressperson.

Thank you so much for your time and energy in this effort for fairness and equality for all.

Sincerely,
Mika Covington

Full Equality Pledge – Equality Now!

PledgeLogoFinalEquality is most important to me and because of that, I decided to help the Full Equality Pledge team by doing what I can in Southwest Iowa by donating some of my time to be a team leader.

The Full Equality Pledge began in 2009 with eQualityGiving.org, an association of LGBTQIA major donors that created the first proposal for an omnibus bill, or one-bill strategy for full equality. The concept was even embraced by the 2010 National Equality March that drew over 250,000 people demanding “full federal equality.”

Act On Principles, Get Equal, the AEB Project, Marriage Equality USA, Out4Immigration, and other drafted the Equality Pledge. The document they created contains a list of all existing nondiscrimination laws that protect race, sex, national origin, and religion and calls for sexual orientation and gender identity to be added. It also calls for federal marriage equality, and includes immigration and family leave for same-sex couples.

The Pledge for Full LGBTQIA Equality:

IN ORDER TO FULFILL the promises of life and liberty, and to ensure equal protection of the law as guaranteed by the United States Constitution;

TO PROTECT the inalienable human right to be safe from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as required by international law and treaty; and

TO END the systemic stigmatization, cease the societal rejection and heal the suffering of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans as mandated by conscience;

WE, the undersigned, pledge our support for the passage of omnibus LGBT equality legislation that grants full non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity equal to those accorded other statuses under existing civil rights and Supreme Court jurisprudence, specifically including:

  1. Public Accommodations (Title II, 1964 Civil Rights Act)
  2. Public Facilities (Title III, 1964 Civil Rights Act)
  3. Federally-Funded Programs (Title VI, 1964 Civil Rights Act)
  4. Employment (Title VII, 1964 Civil Rights Act; 1978 Civil Service Reform Act; 1991 Government Employee Rights Act; 1995 Congressional Accountability Act; 10 U.S.C. Ch. 37)
  5. Housing (Title VIII, 1968 Civil Rights Act, aka the Fair Housing Act)
  6. Education (Title IX, 1972  Education Amendments Act)
  7. Credit (1974 Equal Credit Opportunity Act)
  8. Federal Marriage Equality (based on gender, sexual orientation)
  9. Immigration, Disability, and Family Leave (Uniting American Families Act (proposed, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act)

We call upon the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus to lead the way by filing an omnibus LGBT equality bill by July 2014 that includes all of the provisions enumerated above. We further call upon Congress, and all candidates for elected office, to sign, this pledge to pass such omnibus LGBT equality legislation immediately, but no later than 2014 — the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act — fulfilling both their individual duty and that of the United States government to ensure justice, equality, and the fundamental human rights protections for all Americans. 

 

The Equality Pledge has already received endorsements from over 225 groups from 44 states and the District of Columbia. These groups represent the full array of advocacy, direct action, faith-based, statewide, local, marriage, immigration, pride, transgender/gender-nonconforming, community centers, and other community constituencies. 

As a team leader with the Equality Pledge team, I wish to work with local leaders who are our greatest asset to grassroots organizing and to empower the LGBTQIA and allies community to continue to push forward for fairness and equality. It is my hope to work with all advocates to get as many groups as possible to endorse the Equality Pledge and to call on our elected officials to stand up for the rights of all humans.

Our first day of action for the Equality Pledge is on Saturday, May 17, 2014. It is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. This day of action is going to do two things call for the end of hate and call for full federal equality. The event will be in Omaha, Nebraska at 72 Dodge Street Intersection the northwest corner at 2pm. During and after will be a time to discuss the Equality Pledge, how to get involved, and what to do next. Go here to RSVP: Stop Homophobia/Transphobia! Full Federal Equality NOW! Event 

Please join me in standing up for and organizing for Full Federal Equality for our LGBTQIA brothers and sisters. 

Iowa 3rd Cong. District Convention

photo (25)Saturday, April 26th, I went to my first Iowa 3rd Congressional District Democratic Party Convention. I was a delegate at the convention and I was on the platform committee. It was an awesome experience and I was able to add my voice to what the Iowa Democratic Party stands for. That in itself was affirming and uplifting. My voice was heard and respected. 

It is a powerful thing to be welcomed and accepted by your community and the Iowa Democratic Party is inclusive and welcoming.

This is very much in contrast to the Iowa Republican Party. They are exclusive and elitist which is not what democracy is all about. It is not what the United States was founded on. The Republican Party is all about speaking for and working for the interests of the corporations and the wealthiest Americans not the nation as a whole. They are about cuts to the programs that help the middle-class and poor. They especially want to cut social security, medicare, and food stamps. They also want to further cut funding to live-saving research like stem cell research. They believe in amending our nation’s constitution to ban equal rights for LGBTQIA people. They want to take women’s reproductive rights away and instead give those rights and choices to politicians.

Braley for Iowa (credit)
Braley for Iowa (credit)

The Iowa Democratic Party is the complete opposite of the Iowa Republican Party. We are inclusive and welcoming. We believe in giving everyone an equal voice. We believe in equal rights for all. We believe in ensuring that money is not speech and that corporations are not people. We believe in sustaining social security and medicare. We believe in increasing the ability of Americans to find jobs so that they do not have to rely on food stamps to feed themselves and their families. We believe that women’s reproductive health is between her and her doctor not politicians in Washington.

This is why I cannot in good conscious allow my friends or family vote Republican in 2014. I vow to fight for progressive values. This is why I decided to volunteer to be a delegate for the convention and get more involved in the Democratic Party.

The election in 2014 is all about giving America a chance to move forward. We have a choice. Do we want to continue on the path where our nation continues to do nothing and go from brink of shutdown to the brink of shutdown because the Republican controlled U.S. House refuses to work? Do we want to continue to let radical tea party Republicans block common sense immigration reform, increasing the minimum wage, and universal background checks? If yes, then vote for the Regressive Party (Republican). If no, stand with me and vote Democrat.

If we do not take back the U.S. House and keep the U.S. Senate our nation will head down a dangerous path were the wealthiest Americans will continue to get richer and the corporations will continue to buy America.

Vote Democrat in 2014 for the good of the nation. 

If you are in Iowa, vote for our Democratic candidates: Go here to see them! 

Survival

Pyramid_of_Capitalist_SystemSurvival in this world is most difficult, especially if you weren’t born into a well off privileged family. 

Many people in this world don’t have food, water, or shelter. Yet, there are many people in this world that have more then enough food, water, and shelter. Why is that? I have an answer for you, it’s simple, because of capitalism. 

Capitalism is a mode of production based on private ownership and greed as a means of production. Capitalists produce commodities for the exchange market and to stay competitive must extract as much labor from the workers as possible at the lowest possible cost. The interest of capitalism is to pay the workers as little as possible to make a large profit. In other words capitalism is the exploitation of the workers. (hesta)

Capitalism is what creates the environment in this world where a majority of us are just struggling to survive. We or the us do not have the ability to just go out and fully enjoy life by spending our Thanksgiving buying away at retail stores. We cannot afford to because many of us would be choosing from either paying bills or feeding ourselves or our children.  In this world, there is about 1% of the world’s population that owns 40% of the world’s wealth, there are about 34,000 children dying every day from poverty and preventable diseases, and there are about 50% of the world’s population living on less than 2 and a half dollar each day. (theguardian)

I personally am effected by the destruction of capitalism. I grew up with a family that would rather spend their money out buying things then saving their dollars to help pay for my college education or to help pay for my future medical expenses even though they knew very well that one day I would need a kidney transplant. (I am trying very hard to not bash anyone in particular)

20130107-graph-poverty-on-the-rise-in-americaEven, when I was in high school capitalism was hurting me. I needed to get a job to help pay for things I needed and as any high school student wants to have money to spend on things that they want, which I know is a form of greed. Thus, I got a job at Burger King and I was paid $5.55 an hour. You know, for just a part-time after school job it wasn’t the worst but still that was very little. I barely had any money to do anything with. Then, I get to 11th grade, now I really need to take care of myself with buying food, paying for things for school, and then paying for gas to get to work. Thus, I get a job at SpeeDee, paying at $8.00. That is over the minimum wage at that time, but it still isn’t nearly enough for me to pay for my pills which weren’t a lot and buy food, plus pay for gas to get to work. I couldn’t save any money and I worked every day of the week and on holidays. Then, we get to my Senior year in high school, now, I am needing to fully take care of myself and I was making $7.75 at JCPenney. Again, barely was making it. All of this was because of capitalism and how these private ownerships were exploiting me to get the most labor out of me while paying me the bare minimum. 

Dividing-land-like-wealth

Yes, I am a survivor of my illness but not of capitalism. Capitalism is literally killing our children. It is starving our elders. Capitalism is killing God’s creation. 

poverty_children-1a90pac
Image from google

This leads me to what I believe we can do to end the starvation, and exploitation.

I believe we need socialism and so does Albert Einstein,

“I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society. (MontlyReview)

I am a strong supporter of Democratic Socialism. Democratic Socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically to meet public needs, not make profits for a few. We do not want to create an all-powerful government bureaucracy. We believe that social and economic decision should be made by those whom they most affect.

I believe that a people have a right to a job, education, healthcare, secure retirement, living wage, in addition to civil rights. I believe that socialism is the extension of democracy to all parts of society. Leading to the general improvement of humanity.

While, I am aware, that we cannot just throw capitalism in the trash over night, I do believe that we can take steps to ease the hardships of millions of people. I believe some steps that we can take is passage of H.R. 676 the Single Payer Health care Plan, H.R. 1010 the Fair Minimum Wage Act, and passage of right to strike bills.  

Please visit forwardequality.wordpress.com to learn more about progressive issues and ways to act. 

cpt06a-fig01