BURLINGTON, Vt. – Sen. Bernie Sanders gave remarks regarding the lessons we can learn from the growing coronavirus outbreak.This is a rushed transcript provided by the Sanders campaign:
Good afternoon everyone, thank you for being here. In the midst of a major healthcare and economic crisis currently facing our country, I’d like to take a few minutes to talk about the lessons we can learn long-term about what we are experiencing today.
As I discussed yesterday, our country is facing, as everybody knows, a medical and economic crisis, the likes of which we have not seen for generations. And we must prepare for this response in an unprecedented way, making certain that our government responds effectively, and protects the interests of all our people regardless of their income, or where they live. In other words, this is not just about giving tax breaks to large corporations, but about remembering the people today who don’t have much money, who are nervous about their economic futures and healthcare prospects.
to say we must massively increase the availability of test kits for the coronavirus and the speed at which the tests are
processed. We need to anticipate significant increases in hospital admissions, which means that we will need more
ICU units and ventilators, we will need more
doctors, nurses, and medical personnel of all kinds – and we must make sure
that these frontline personnel are well
protected from the diseases they are treating. I have talked to nurses
recently who worry very much about whether they are getting the kind of
knowledge and equipment they need so that they do not get sick.
We need to significantly improve
our communications and collaboration with other countries to ensure that we
are learning everything that we can about the successes and failures of other
countries as they deal with this crisis. And furthermore, we must be honest with the American people and
communicate as effectively and directly as we can with all of the scientific
information that we can provide.
Further, and most importantly, our
response to this entire crisis must be guided by the decisions of doctors,
scientists, and researchers, not politicians.
But as we struggle with this crisis, it is also important that we learn
the lessons of how we got to where we are today, and what we must do in the
future so that we are better prepared for similar crises that may come.
Poll after poll already shows us that the American people understand
that we must do what every other major country on earth does, and that is to guarantee healthcare to all of our people
as a human right, not a privilege. As we begin to see the failures and
vulnerabilities of the current healthcare system, my guess is that those
numbers and the demand for universal healthcare will only go up.
The American people are asking: how is it possible that we spend twice as much per capita as
the people of Canada and other major countries, while 87 million of us are uninsured or underinsured.
And obviously, in this crisis, and unbelievably, it means that people
who are sick today, people who woke up this morning with symptoms of the
coronavirus, are saying, “you know I feel sick but I cannot afford to go to a doctor.” And when somebody is
not treated for the virus – somebody who is unable to afford to go to that
doctor – that means that that infection can spread to many others, putting us
So it’s not just
a question that in normal times – tragically, unbelievably – that we lose 30,000 people a year because they
don’t get to doctor on time, but now the lack of healthcare threatens other
people as well.
How could it be, that when we spend so much more than what other countries are spending, we have millions of people who may be dealing with the virus but they cannot go to the doctor because they can’t afford it? That is a question that must resonate in every American’s mind.
If this isn’t a red flag for the current
dysfunctional and wasteful healthcare system, frankly I don’t know what is.
For the benefit of all of us, we must make sure that every person in
this country who needs to seek medical treatment can go to a doctor free of
charge regardless of their income. That is obviously what we must do now in the
middle of a crisis, but it is what we must do as a nation in the near future.
Here are just a few instances about how absurd and dysfunctional our
current healthcare system is.
It has been estimated that a full battery of tests for the coronavirus costs over $1,300. First of all,
take a look at that – $1,300 to get the test people need to have to know if
they have the virus or not.
In America today, 40% of our
people don’t have $400 in the bank to pay for an emergency expense. We
have half of our people living paycheck to paycheck.
If their car breaks down they can’t afford to get it fixed, and if
somebody tells them it costs $1,300 for the test to determine whether you have
the coronavirus if they’re sick, what are they supposed to do? What happens to
How can someone without insurance afford to pay $1,331 to get tested when they don’t even have $400 in the bank? What are they supposed to do? What happens to them? Do they go to a payday lender where the average interest rate is over 390%? Do they borrow money from their family? Or do they go without the test? Which every doctor in the world will tell them is a test they should have.
And while the Trump administration says it may cover co-pays to cover
the cost of testing for those who have insurance, they will not cover the cost of treatment – which could cost tens of
thousands of dollars.
How cruel is that? How absurd is that? To say to people, “we’re sorry
you have coronavirus, we covered the cost of the test, but now you’re on your
own and it’s going to cost tens of thousands of dollars to get treated.” That
is totally absurd.
Clearly what we need to do is to make sure that if someone has the
coronavirus that person gets the treatment that they need.
words, our current system leaves people uninsured, but even if you have
insurance you may not even have the ability to travel to a doctor near you.
Because now we’re talking about a system in which many rural hospitals have closed down and
they cannot find a doctor in their communities.
The reality today, and this is an issue we must to deal with, is that we don’t have enough doctors, we don’t have
enough hospitals, and we don’t have enough clinics in rural communities and
Further, we are in a situation when we desperately need affordable prescription drugs, yet we have a
pharmaceutical industry that continues to make billions in profits by charging
outrageous prices for prescription drugs, sometimes 10x more in this country than in other countries.
In my view,
the most cost effective way to reform our dysfunctional and cruel system is to
move to a Medicare for All, single-payer healthcare system.
And I think in the midst of this crisis, more and more Americans
understand the truth of that.
It is nearly impossible to
believe that anyone can still think it’s acceptable to continue with a
healthcare system that leaves tens of millions of people uninsured. The cruelty
and absurdity of that view is more obvious in the midst of this crisis than it
has ever been.
And let’s be clear. Lack of
healthcare and affordable medicine does not only threaten the healthcare and
well-being of the uninsured. It threatens everyone who comes in contact with
In fact, what this crisis is beginning to teach us is that we are only as safe as the least insured
person in America.
Further, we are the only major
country on earth that does not mandate paid family and medical leave. And
we’re seeing how that crisis is impacting where we are today.
As we speak, there are millions of workers — right now — who are
being told to go to work, yet they may be ill and should be staying home.
But these very same families
will face financial ruin if they don’t go to work. These are workers in the
restaurant industry, transportation industry, tourism, retail — in other words
the people who interact with the public every single day.
Right now, at a time when half of our people live paycheck to paycheck,
and at a time of massive wealth and income inequality, we must directly address the economic desperation facing a
huge number of Americans.
So we must finally pass a paid
family leave program in the United States to keep this virus from spreading
and to keep Americans healthy.
We must do it right now.
People should not be going to work when they are sick, it is unfair to
them, it is unfair to the people they are in contact with. And yet, that
reality exists, because we are the only major country on earth not to guarantee
paid family leave and sick time.
Finally, from a national
security perspective, it is
incomprehensible that we are dependent on China and other countries for masks,
for prescription drugs, for rubber gloves, and for key parts needed to make
advanced medical equipment like ventilators.
As a result of
globalization and our disastrous trade policies, we have been outsourcing
millions of jobs and factories overseas that have gutted our economy. Now we
are seeing another tragic and devastating result of those policies, as we find
ourselves dependent on other countries to provide the most essential things we
need to combat a pandemic and protect the lives of the people in our country.
Now trade is
a good thing, but it has to be based on common sense principles. It has to
be based on protecting American workers
and protecting our national security, making sure we are producing what we need
in this country in the event of a national crisis.
Now is the time to begin
bringing back production and manufacturing to the United States and enact fair
trade policies so that we are never in this position again.
Now here is the bottom line. As we are dealing with this crisis, we
need to listen to the scientists, to the
researchers, and to the medical professionals, not politicians.
We need to move quickly to prepare for the exponential increase of
cases we will be seeing here in our country.
But as we do that, we must begin thinking about how, as a society, we
can create a healthcare and economic system that is humane, that is compassionate,
and that works for all people, not just the wealthiest.
Now that is an issue that people have had to think about for a long
time, but I think in this moment of
crisis more and more people understand that we need fundamental changes to our
economy, and we need fundamental changes to our healthcare system.
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Pete Buttigieg, stepping up his progressive bona fides, offered his plan to rebalance the economy in favor of American families, while ensuring the largest corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. This is from the Buttigieg campaign:
Los Angeles, CA – Today, Pete Buttigieg announced a series of proposals to rebalance
the economy in favor of American families while ensuring the largest
corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share.
Pete is announcing a series of proposals that
will provide tax relief to the 98% of American households that aren’t in the
richest 2%, including expanding the child tax credit to reduce child poverty by
2.5 million, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit by an average of $1,000 per
year for 35 million American families and rolling back the Trump
administration’s cap on the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT), which
disproportionately hurts states like California in their efforts to enact more
progressive tax policies.
At the same time, Pete will hold Wall Street and
corporations accountable for paying their fair share. As president, Pete will
roll back the Trump and Reagan-era tax cuts on millionaires and billionaires,
impose a Financial Transaction Tax and make big banks pay for financial crisis
risk to ensure Wall Street no longer takes advantage of Main Street, and crack
down on multinational corporations shipping profits and jobs
“This president has done everything in his
power to line the pockets of corporations and the wealthy, while too many
working and middle class families are having to choose between child care and
saving for college, and while homeownership remains out of reach for millions,”
said Pete Buttigieg. “As president, I will rebalance our economy so it works
for all Americans, hold Wall Street and corporations accountable, and bring
fairness to our tax system so we can lift millions out of poverty and into
Pete’s plans to achieve tax fairness in America
Expanding the Child Tax Credit to reduce child poverty
by 2.5 million
Under the Trump administration, housing and health care costs have
outstripped working-class wages. As President, Pete will rebalance the economy
in favor of working and middle class Americans by making the current Child Tax
Credit fully refundable, so every family earning under $400,000 receives $2,000
per child per year in refundable tax relief. He will also create an additional
$1,000 refundable Young Child Tax Credit for children under 6. These policies
will lift 2.5 million children out of poverty, including 1.5 million Black and
Expanding the Earned
Income Tax Credit.
Pete will expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and grow workers’
incomes by an average of $1,000 per year for 35 million American households.
This tax cut will help put more money in the hands of workers and middle class
families by offsetting income taxes and other taxes that eat into workers’ take
punitive cap on the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT) for households earning
less than $400,000.
SALT avoids penalizing states and cities in high-cost areas and
with robust social services, by allowing families to pay state and local taxes
out of pre-federal-income-tax dollars and thereby avoid double taxation. In the
2017 Republican tax bill, while at the same time as providing tax breaks to
corporations and millionaires, Trump placed a politically motivated cap on
SALT. Trump’s economic adviser gloated that it would deliver “death to
Democrats” by hurting families in Democratic-leaning states with high costs of
living and more progressive tax policies and social services. Removing the SALT
cap for families undoes Trump’s politically motivated tax increase and enables
governors and mayors across the country to enact progressive tax
These efforts bring Pete’s total direct
investments in the working and middle class families to $6 trillion and, in
combination with his other policy proposals, will cut child poverty in half. He
makes an additional $3 trillion of long-term investments in climate resilience,
strengthening our infrastructure, and protecting Social Security for American
workers and families.
At the same time as providing tax relief to
working and middle class Americans, Pete will hold Wall Street, corporations
and the wealthy accountable to pay their fair share by:
Rolling back the Trump and Reagan-era tax cuts for
corporations and the wealthy.
Pete will raise the total effective tax rate on millionaires from
31% to 49%, rolling back the Trump and Reagan-era tax cuts for the wealthiest
Americans and the corporations they own. In rolling back these tax cuts – which
lined the pockets of corporations, millionaires and billionaires – Pete will
achieve historic tax fairness by raising $9 trillion from corporations, Wall
Street, and the top 2% over the next ten years and will raise over $5 trillion
from wealth and wealth income.
Holding Wall Street
accountable through a Financial Transaction Tax and by making banks pay for
It’s time that Wall Street be held accountable for taking
advantage of Main Street. As president, Pete will impose a .1% financial
transaction tax on all stock and other securities trades to curb inequality and
Wall Street gambling that causes “flash crashes”. Pete will also make big banks
pay every year for the extra financial crisis risk they pose: the bigger and
more threatening the bank, the more tax they have to pay. Together, these
policies will raise $900 billion to pay for tax relief for working and middle
class Americans and to invest in priorities like education, infrastructure and
protecting Social Security.
Cracking down on
corporations shipping profits and jobs overseas.
Foreign profits of U.S. multinational corporations are currently
taxed at only 10.5% and on a weak “global basis” instead of a strong
“per-country basis”. As president, Pete will increase the tax on corporate
profits made abroad on a per-country basis at a 28-35% rate to ensure that
multinational companies are held accountable when they ship profits and jobs
overseas. This will raise over $700 billion to pay for tax relief for working
and middle class Americans and to invest in priorities like education, infrastructure
and long-term care for ailing seniors.
The vigorous contest of
Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent
policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Elizabeth Warren has
released independent analysis supporting her plans for a Green New Deal
creating 10.6 million new green jobs. This is from the Warren campaign:
Charlestown, MA – Senator Elizabeth Warren, campaigning for President, released a new independent analysis estimating that her plans for a Green New Deal will create 10.6 million new green jobs.
“America has a long and proud history of rising to the
challenges that have faced this country — and defeating the climate crisis is
no exception. A Warren administration will ensure that as we fight climate
change, each and every American benefits from the opportunities created by the
clean economy — especially the 10.6 million workers who will power our
transition to 100% clean energy.”
Elizabeth Warren’s plans for a Green New Deal will:
Develop the green workforce of the future by expanding job
training, partnering with unions to rebuild the middle class, and ensuring the
new clean economy is open to everyone
Rebuild and repower our energy grid to grow our economy,
invest in offshore wind, and achieve 100% carbon-neutral power by 2030
Transform our transportation sector by expanding green
public transportation programs and requiring all new light and medium-duty
vehicles sold by 2030 to be zero-emission vehicles
Repair our water infrastructure by rebuilding America’s
dams, levees, and inland waterways and ensuring safe drinking water for all
Rebuild our homes, buildings and schools to achieve safe and
affordable housing and provide our children with healthy living and learning
Finance the green jobs program by creating a new Green Bank
and issuing Green Victory Bonds, modeled after the programs FDR implemented
during the New Deal
My Plan to Create 10.6 Million Green Jobs
Earlier this month, climate scientists published new research suggesting the planet is hurtling towards an ecological tipping point that would irreversibly damage the earth and threaten our livable climate — for good. This most recent study adds to the growing body of evidence that climate change is happening faster than scientists originally thought. And it further reinforces what we already know: we have roughly a decade left to avoid catastrophic impacts by ending our economic dependence on fossil fuels and substantially reducing global emissions.
But while climate change presents an urgent threat, it also presents the greatest opportunity of our time: the chance to rebuild our economy with 100% clean energy, to address the racial and economic inequality embedded in our fossil fuel economy, and to create millions of good, union jobs in the process. This is not the first time our country has faced a threat of this magnitude.
When Franklin Delano Roosevelt said we would build a historic air force of 185,000 planes to defeat the Nazis, America had a nascent military aircraft industry. But FDR rallied the nation to the task: by the end of World War II, we had produced around 300,000 aircraft in less than 5 years.
When John F. Kennedy told the nation that we would send a man to the moon in under a decade, people said that would be impossible, too. But our top scientists and engineers came together and changed the world forever, delivering not just a lunar landing but also a torrent of new technology that helped working Americans here at home.
From World War II to the space race, American ingenuity has risen to meet seemingly impossible challenges — leading the world and unleashing economic benefits for Americans in the process.
Today we face a new challenge. Defeating the climate crisis will require the ingenuity of the moon landing and an economic and industrial mobilization unseen since our efforts in World War II. It will need to happen at the speed and scale of FDR’s New Deal, which launched over 50 federal programs and pulled millions of Americans out of unemployment. It will take workers of all kinds to rebuild and repower our energy grid and to upgrade our transportation, building, and water systems to guard against the worst effects of climate change and protect our most vulnerable communities. And it will take workers in every corner of America — from construction foremen in the Rust Belt to pipefitters in the Bayou — to transform our country’s infrastructure.
The Green New Deal is the answer to this national call.
After the 2008 crash, President Obama ushered through the historic American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to jumpstart our economy and bring an end to the Great Recession. Included in this total federal investment was $90 billion for clean energy, making it one of the largest investments in clean energy in U.S. history. The Council of Economic Advisors later reported that every $1 invested in clean energy leveraged an additional $1.60 in non-federal and private dollars.
Using this historical data and other estimates as a guide, my plans for a Green New Deal will result in an estimated total public and private investment of $10.7 trillion in our new clean energy economy. And independent experts that examined my ideas for a Green New Deal to analyze how they will drive job creation estimated that they will create 10.6 million new green jobs. This will help rebuild the middle class by providing family-supporting wages, career pathways, and worker protections in our new green economy. This is the opportunity of the Green New Deal: a $10.7 trillion total investment in our clean economy that spurs 10.6 million green new jobs. And we’ll do it all together — with no community and no worker left behind.
I mean it when I say that defeating the climate crisis will be a top priority of my administration. That’s why today I’m releasing my plan to enact a climate change agenda that not only reduces our carbon emissions but also jumpstarts our economy.
Developing the Green Workforce of the Future
There are already clean energy job opportunities across the country. But with $10.7 trillion in federal and private investments, we can turn these opportunities into 10.6 million new, union jobs rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure and transitioning to the new clean energy economy. To support the millions of skilled and experienced contractors we will need to plan and execute large construction and engineering projects in the new clean economy and to support the first responders, healthcare workers, social workers, and other public and private employees who respond to climate-induced disasters, my administration will commit to investments in retraining, joint labor management apprenticeships, and creating strong career pipelines to ensure a continuous supply of skilled, available workers. And, we will look for every opportunity to partner with high schools and vocational schools to build pathways to the middle class for kids who opt not to go to college.
Expanding job training.
We currently invest $200 million annually in apprenticeship programs across the country. Successfully training and re-training millions of skilled laborers to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, however, will require scaling up dramatically. That’s why my plan to Defend and Create American Jobs calls for a tenfold increase in investments in apprenticeships — a $20 billion commitment over the next ten years. I’ll follow Governor Inslee’s lead by re-establishing dedicated programs for green industrial and construction job training and placement under the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA), too.
And investing in job training is only the first step. A Warren administration will link public investments in clean energy infrastructure to apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship training, as well as graduation rates and local hires, to ensure that we are creating a full training-to-career pipeline. My plans also call for expanded technical and trade school opportunities to create pathways into good jobs in the new clean energy economy that will not require a college degree. And my administration will create regional sector-specific training partnerships to help better align training with the local job market, leverage the community college system, and ensure that workers gain transferable skills.
Partnering with unions to rebuild the middle class.
I am committed to ensuring that all of the 10.6 million new jobs in the clean economy pull working Americans back into the middle class — and to working hand-in-hand with unions to do so. That’s why I will fight for good wages and strong benefits for every worker that joins the new clean economy. A Warren administration will condition federal clean energy investments to state, local, and tribal governments on employers offering family-supporting wages and benefits — and will enforce this through Project Labor Agreements, prevailing wage laws, and Community Benefit Agreements. And I will work hand-in-hand with unions to return power to the working people powering the green economy. Unions built the middle class and unions will rebuild the middle class in the green economy of the future, too.
I’ve already committed to making sweeping reforms to our labor policy. These changes will extend labor rights to all workers — for example, narrowing the definition of “supervisor” under the National Labor Relations Act to end the exclusion of workers like the construction foremen that will lead the charge on building our clean energy grids. They will guarantee workers entering this new economy have a voice in actually shaping it by strengthening organizing and collective bargaining rights and increasing worker choice and control, including by requiring large companies to allow workers to elect no less than 40% of board members. And I will work with unions to design the training and apprenticeship programs that can create strong career pipelines for workers to enter this new green economy, helping to expand opportunities — and a continuous supply of skilled workers to power this transformation.
Ensuring the new clean economy is open to everyone.
In addition to employing millions of new workers in the clean economy, I am committed to leaving no worker behind as we transition to an economy powered on clean energy. That includes honoring our commitments to fossil fuel workers by holding fossil fuel companies accountable and defending worker pensions, benefits, and securing retirements. I will make sure the opportunities created are available to those who have traditionally been excluded — especially women and communities of color — by imposing new rules on companies that hope to receive federal contracts.
Rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure as part of the new clean energy economy will take all of us, including returning citizens — which is why my administration will partner with organizations that make renewable energy and associated job training available to underserved communities and formerly incarcerated individuals. And my plan to empower workers will expand worker safety protections for workers entering the green economy — like our transit workers who are increasingly subject to assault — and I will strengthen anti-discrimination protections for workers from all backgrounds.
Repowering our Energy Sector
In 2018, clean energy industries employed over 3.2 million Americans — more workers than in the petroleum, natural gas and coal industries combined. The clean energy industry is rapidly expanding — the two fastest-growing jobs in the nation are solar panel installer and wind turbine technician. But there is more to do, and the federal government can and should play a role in increasing the speed and scale of this transition. A Warren administration will focus on rebuilding and repowering our energy grid to grow our economy — and my plans will create 6.8 million good paying jobs in the energy sector, all while cutting carbon pollution.
100% Clean Energy Plan
While some states and utilities have been leading the way on cleaning up their electricity sources, far too many are falling behind. My plan calls for the federal government to set a bold standard for achieving 100% carbon-neutral power by 2030, including carbon-free baseload solutions, putting us on the path to a 100% emissions-free electricity supply by 2035.
These ambitious targets will require us to ramp up renewable energy generation and deployment dramatically. Cleaning up our energy system will create a diverse range of jobs — from construction worker to electrician to project manager. But these good paying jobs won’t just be in renewable energy. They will also come from making homes, offices, and industries more energy efficient. And through my Green Manufacturing plan, we’ll jumpstart American research and manufacturing in areas like battery storage, which will require a whole new set of skills and laborers. And wherever possible, we’ll invest in modernizing our grid with American-made materials, spurring still more jobs right here at home.
Offshore Wind Jobs
Right now, there is only one offshore wind project operating in this country — Rhode Island’s Block Island Wind Farm. It’s clear that today, we are failing to make use of the clean, powerful energy resource that lies just off our coasts. My Blue New Deal For Our Oceans plan will jumpstart the offshore wind industry. Bringing these offshore wind projects to life will generally require the help of workers from more than 70 different occupations — from machinists to engineers, sailors to ironworkers, electricians to longshoremen. By 2030, offshore wind energy development from Maryland to Maine could support more than 36,000 full time jobs. And even after they’re built, we will need workers to operate and service the turbines. My Blue New Deal also calls for electrifying and shoring up our ports, creating additional jobs throughout our coastal communities.
Restarting Our Transportation Sector
America’s transportation and trucking industry accounts for more than 10 million direct jobs, with over 3 million truck drivers alone. But right now, transportation also accounts for the largest portion of U.S. carbon pollution. Moreover, our public transportation infrastructure is crumbling: the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our roads a “D” grade on their most recent infrastructure report card, with one out of every five miles of highway pavement in poor condition.
For too long, our government has failed to invest in critical infrastructure — and unless we take action, poor conditions will continue to plague one of our most important industries. But this, too, is an opportunity: as we rebuild our crumbling transportation infrastructure, we can build in climate resiliency, and create a transportation system powered by electricity rather than fossil fuels. The massive project of investing in our transportation infrastructure will affect every state and county in the nation, creating about 2.6 million jobs in the public and private sector.
Build Green Program
Public transportation is a $71 billion industry that employs more than 430,000 people. And yet, 45% of Americans still do not have access to public transportation, leaving those without access reliant on car ownership to get to work, school and worship. We know that increasing public transportation rates and decreasing vehicle miles traveled is one of the best ways to reduce emissions. That’s why I’m proposing a new Build Green program, which would establish a new grant program to electrify public buses, school buses, rail, cars, and fleet vehicles that is modeled after the Department of Transportation’s BUILD grant program. This program will be paid for by closing corporate loopholes, and will open up new funding opportunities for states, cities, counties and tribal governments to expand and electrify public transportation options. A study conducted in the Twin Cities found Black, Asian-American, and Latinx commuters have longer commutes than white commuters. And people with disabilities face particular barriers in using and accessing public transportation. These investments will be crucial to ensuring equitable and accessible transportation for all.
100% Clean Vehicles.
Demand for passenger electric vehicles is growing at home and abroad — but even though more and more people want electric vehicles, they still only account for around 1% of vehicles on the road. To spur auto manufacturing in this space, I have put forward a bold and ambitious goal to require all new light -and medium-duty vehicles sold by 2030 to be zero emission vehicles. We’ll achieve this goal by investing in a nationwide network of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. By the end of the first term of a Warren administration, there will be a charging station at every rest stop in America. And this nation-wide network of charging infrastructure will begin to lay the groundwork for electrifying long-haul trucking, too. But charging station infrastructure is only half the battle. Right now, consumers don’t have enough access to vehicles. In 2011, there were only two mass market electric vehicles available to consumers — and even now, the auto industry offers only fifteen models. While car manufacturers are already trying to meet growing demand, my investment in clean energy technology, including products designed for use in the electric vehicle supply chain, will further increase adoption of electric vehicles by making it easier for auto manufacturers to build the vehicles that consumers want.
We’ve let our failure to take action destroy our transportation infrastructure for too long and a Warren administration will make sure that the Department of Transportation acts with the speed and scale necessary to address the climate challenges ahead of us. I will take executive action to require the Department of Transportation set performance management rules that require federal transportation investments to be accompanied by life-cycle analysis and reduction strategies for climate and other transportation related pollution.
Renewing Our Water Infrastructure
America’s water infrastructure is crumbling. The government’s failure to invest is putting Americans in danger in two ways: first, our levees, dams and inland waterways infrastructure are all at risk — and will only become more stressed by climate change as sea-level rise, extreme flooding, and drought all become more frequent and severe. Second, our drinking water is increasingly at risk: as the infrastructure supporting it crumbles, an estimated 77 million Americans live with tap water that violates federal safe water standards — and this number does not even include the millions more served by very small water systems or private domestic wells. Meanwhile, more and more Americans struggle to afford their water bills as water bill costs have risen at more than double the rate of inflation over the last 20 years. Fixing our water infrastructure is an urgent priority — but we risk not having enough hands on deck, as the water sector’s aging workforce increasingly enters into retirement. Reinvesting in our nation’s water infrastructure isn’t just essential for the health and the safety of our communities, it’s also a chance to grow our workforce. In a Warren administration, we’ll not only protect Americans by rebuilding our nation’s water infrastructure — we’ll also create about 190,000 thousand good, union jobs in the process.
Rebuilding America’s dams, levees, and inland waterways.
Our nation’s dams, levees, and inland waterways provide necessary infrastructure for shipping and hydroelectric power — but they’ve been so underfunded that they are putting our communities at risk. When the Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway failed in 2017, nearly 200,000 people were evacuated from rural Northern California. And the failure of New Orleans’ levees during Hurricane Katrina made Katrina one of the most devastating U.S. hurricane on record, killing 1,800 people, damaging 70% of homes in New Orleans, and resulting in damages of $125 billion. This stops now. A Warren administration will triple the US Army Corps of Engineers’ annual budget so that they have the resources they need to upgrade our water infrastructure and defend our vulnerable communities from harm. We’ll pay for this with savings from my plan to transition the military away from its dependence on fossil fuels and other internal Department of Defense funding shifts. This dramatic expansion will create new opportunities for good, federal jobs as we update critical infrastructure across the nation — an investment that is more important than ever to defend vulnerable front-line communities from more frequent and more severe weather events.
Ensuring safe drinking water for all
Nearly a decade ago the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing access to water and sanitation as basic human rights. But today, the United States is in the middle of a dangerous drinking water crisis. Not only do an estimated 77 million Americans’ have tap water that violated federal standards, but at least 2 million Americans still don’t have access to running water. And because of a long legacy of unfair, racist, and deliberate policy choices, communities of color are disproportionately likely to lack access to safe, affordable drinking water. After decades of declining federal investments in safe water, it’s time to invest in safe, affordable water for our communities. That’s why I have committed to fully capitalizing federal programs that fund drinking water capital infrastructure, such as the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. And I will go further by supporting Rep. Joe Kennedy’s Affordable Safe Drinking Water Act, which would extend the horizon for states and localities to repay revolving loans and expand the funding to cover the installation of lead and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) filtering systems and remediation measures. These important updates to the State Revolving Fund programs will not only guarantee much-needed upgrades to our drinking water infrastructure, but will also spur necessary investments to allow for expanded job opportunities. My administration will continue to invest in brownfield remediation, which is why I have proposed to reinstate and then triple the Superfund Tax to ensure that we protect our communities from the legacy of environmental harm and we put people to work in the process. And I will remain committed to standing with communities across the country that are impacted by lead.
Jobs in the water sector are wide ranging: there are more than 200 different occupations, including in skilled trades, administration, and finance. What’s more, because every community needs quality water, these jobs exist across the nation. I will work to create more inclusive career paths for water workers to meet the needs of our drinking water infrastructure by fighting for increases in the percent of local hires and minority/women-owned contracts that are awarded as part of water-related government contracting. And I will work with Congress to fully fund the EPA’s Brownfields Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants Program and the Environmental Health Sciences Environmental Career Worker Training Program, which is helping to improve workforce development for water-related careers. Lastly and in order to confront America’s drinking water crisis head on, I will take executive action to develop a national inter-agency safe and affordable drinking water roadmap. And to inform this effort I will convene a Water Equity Advisory Council with representation from key environmental justice and community-based organizations that are on the frontlines of addressing our safe water crisis.
Rebuilding our Homes, Buildings and Schools
In his Second Inaugural Address, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that the “test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” Later that term, FDR signed into law the Wagner-Steagall Housing Act, which put Americans to work building new, modern affordable housing units across the country. But today, whether it’s a leaky window, an old appliance, or mold in a home, it’s hard-working Americans that pay the price through increased utility bills and housing costs.
As I’ve outlined in my 100% Clean Energy Plan, I’ll work with states and local governments to develop and implement new and stronger building codes to reach zero-carbon emissions and building those new standards into federal grant requirements, tax credits, and mortgage products. And I’ll launch an initiative to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings, with the goal of upgrading 4% of buildings a year until the job is done. All told, my plans will create over 970,000 thousand new jobs as demand grows across sectors from the manufacturing of American-made energy efficient materials to large and small-scale construction efforts.
Safe and affordable housing
We currently have a government that has paid lip service to the idea of providing all Americans in need with safe and affordable housing. The federal government hasn’t funded new public housing construction in decades and has turned a blind eye to the massive maintenance backlog needed to make sure the limited housing we do have is safe to live in. That stops now. My Affordable Housing Plan would invest $500 billion over 10 years to address this crisis and would create 3 million new housing units. As a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, I recognize the right to safe, affordable housing for every American and the need for new, green jobs to realize FDR’s dream. My Green Public Housing program will build on the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, by raising living standards and providing the financial assistance necessary to retrofit these homes. This will require training a new American workforce and would alone create 240,000 new jobs. We can address the climate crisis while we tackle the housing crisis, too.
Providing our children with healthy learning and living environments
As a former public school teacher, I know firsthand how our children’s learning can be affected by their environment. More than half of our public schools need repairs in order to be in “good” condition. Our poor school infrastructure has serious effects on the health and academic outcomes of students and on the well-being of teachers and staff. That’s why in my K-12 plan I’ve committed at least an additional $50 billion to improving our school infrastructure. This will require a workforce across the country to identify the schools most in need and carry out the necessary upgrades to provide our children with the learning environment they deserve. There’s nothing more important to me than investing in our kids because it means we’re investing in our future.
Green infrastructure means inclusive infrastructure. We have to recognize that our building infrastructure crisis is an environmental justice crisis. The disparities in our building infrastructure reflect the racial inequities that exist in America today. Historically, redlining denied entire groups of people—primarily communities of color—the chance to live in neighborhoods of their choice while also making them the victims of environmental racism. Studies have shown that low-income and minority children bear the brunt of poisoning from lead-based paint and failing lead pipes in older housing units. Our system has also failed Americans with disabilities who occupy 41% of our public housing units and yet only 3% of those units are ADA accessible. These same inequities exist in our public schools, too. In New York City, for example, 83% of elementary schools in New York City are not fully accessible to students with disabilities.
This ends in a Warren administration. It’s the job of our government to reverse these injustices, and I will put Americans to work to finish the job. That’s why I will use the full force of the federal government to invest in addressing these disparities — and creating millions of good, union jobs in the process.Together, these plans will curb homelessness in America, put Americans to work in quality jobs, protect the health of American families, and ease the burden on their pocketbooks.
Financing the Green Jobs Plan
Defeating the climate crisis and transitioning our economy to run on 100% clean energy will take big, structural change. That’s why my plans will result in $10.7 trillion in federal funding to fight for a Green New Deal — backed up by detailed plans laying out exactly how we will use those dollars — to address the size of this crisis.
The transition to clean energy is an opportunity to transform our economy, creating new industries, like in zero-emissions building construction, and greatly expandingothers, like electric vehicle manufacturing, at a speed and scale not seen since World War II — and creating huge opportunities for state, local and non-federal investment in the process, too. My Administration will create new financing tools to unlock state, local, and private investment and direct it towards meaningful investments that tackle climate change, produce jobs, and reduce inequality. And my administration will put in place strong protections to ensure that this $10.7 trillion commitment flows to the right places, so that our climate investments benefit all Americans — not just the wealthy and well-connected.
A New Green Bank
A Green Bank is among the best ways to ensure a dedicated funding stream for an economy-wide climate transition to reconcile the scale of investment required with the speed of transition necessary to defeat the climate crisis. I’ll work with Congress to establish a bank modeled after and expanded upon the National Climate Bank Act, introduced earlier this year by my friend and colleague Senator Markey. We’ll put in place strong bipartisan oversight and governance to ensure that investments are equitable and benefit working Americans. And ultimately, this new Green Bank will mobilize $1 trillion in climate and green infrastructure investments across the country over 30 years.
The Green Bank will open up new markets for greater investment by working alongside existing federal authorities through direct spending, grants, and loans. It will provide security for investors looking for climate-friendly investments in mid- to large-scale infrastructure projects that serve the public interest but might not otherwise attract private capital due to risk-return thresholds, payback horizons, credit risk or other factors. It will increase the overall scale of clean energy investment and the pace of substitution of clean energy technologies for fossil-fuel based technologies, while also protecting consumers by keeping energy prices low and ensuring compliance with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s regulations. And it will expand opportunities for communities and the private sector by directing funds toward communities on the front lines of the climate crisis that have traditionally been left out of investment opportunities.
Green Victory Bonds
Today many states have green bonds programs, using the proceeds to fund land use projects, river and habitat preservation, and energy and water infrastructure. Green bonds have also surged in popularity worldwide, with sales growing 46% last year to about a total of about $460 billion.
While the federal government has never issued a green bond, the World War II-era “Victory Bond” program was a major success, raising $185 billion — over $2 trillion in 2012 dollars — and four out of five American households bought Victory Bonds. I’ll propose a “Green Victory Bond,” backed by the full-faith and credit of the United States by the Treasury Department, to finance the transition to a green economy. These Green Victory Bonds will be sold at levels that allow Americans across the socioeconomic spectrum the opportunity to own a piece of the climate solution, and to benefit from the new green economy that we build together.
The vigorous contest of Democrats
seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy
proposals to address major issues. One of the major issues is how to
restructure the economy for sustainability and protect jobs. Senator Amy
Klobuchar just released a comprehensive plan to address the future of work
in a changing economy This is from the Klobuchar campaign:
DES MOINES – Today, ahead of a panel discussion
at Machinists Lodge 254 in Des Moines, Senator Amy Klobuchar released her plan
for the future of work and a changing economy. Senator Klobuchar’s proposal is
a comprehensive plan to address digital disruption and renew the social
contract in the gig economy, respect the dignity of work, invest in America’s
future and focus on economic justice and shared prosperity.
Senator Klobuchar’s plan includes updating consumer and worker
protections, strengthening collective bargaining and labor rights, establishing
national paid family leave, creating portable personal retirement accounts,
boosting entrepreneurship and investing in cybersecurity.
Senator Klobuchar’s Plan for the Future of Work and a
In America, no matter where you come from, who you know, or where you
live, if you work hard, you should be able to make it in this country. But
that’s not the case for too many people in today’s economy. Senator Klobuchar
is committed to championing economic policies that give all Ameicans an
opportunity to succeed. That means connecting our students and affordable
education to the jobs of today and tomorrow, increasing wages and respecting
the dignity of work, making health care more affordable, ensuring a secure
retirement, investing in our infrastructure and creating jobs, focusing on
economic justice and shared prosperity, and budgeting responsibly for our
future. And it means a Competitive Agenda for America to ensure that America
continues to be a country that thinks, that invents, that makes stuff, and that
exports to the world.
Address Digital Disruption
Senator Klobuchar believes we need to start tackling the challenges
presented by digital disruption and a changing economy. The future of work is
changing, which is putting stress on the social contract we’ve had in this
country when it comes to job training, employment, and retirement. Senator
Klobuchar’s plan is a plan for the future: offering stronger worker
protections, reasserting protections for consumers in a digital world,
investing in cybersecurity across the economy to prevent crippling attacks on
infrastructure and commerce, and taking on consolidation which is threatening
to take us into a new Gilded Age.
Renew the Social Contract for the Gig Economy. Senator
Klobuchar believes we must update our laws to reflect the evolving nature of
Invest in education and job training, including for
workers at risk of losing their jobs to automation. Senator Klobuchar
is committed to creating new opportunities and ensuring a just transition for
workers who have been displaced by the changing economy. She believes the
federal government has an important role to play during economic transitions.
As President she will take action to ensure that workers can pursue additional
education and can do so without a financial burden at any age. She will also
create a new tax credit for employers that invest in training for workers at
risk of being laid off through on-site training programs or provide paid time
off for off-site retraining.
Make it easier to save for retirement. The
retirement system we have today wasn’t designed for today’s economy where
workers stay in a job for an average of four years and more than 57 million
Americans are working in the gig economy. As President, Senator Klobuchar will
work to create innovative, portable personal retirement accounts called
UP-Savings Accounts. Under her plan, employers will set aside at least 50 cents
per hour worked, helping a worker build more than $600,000 in wealth over the
course of a career.
Invest in quality, affordable child care and create a
national paid family and medical leave program. As President, Senator
Klobuchar will create a national paid family leave program to provide workers
with 12 weeks of paid leave per year to care for a new child, a family member
with a serious health condition, or their own serious health condition. She
will also create a new federal-state partnership to make child care more
affordable by capping spending on child care at seven percent of income for
families making up to 150 percent of their state’s median income, invest in
expanding the availability of child care, and work to raise wages for
caregivers and early childhood teachers. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s
child care and paid family leave policies here.
Give workers access to a non-profit public option for
health insurance. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to pass
legislation to create a non-profit public option that expands Medicare or
Medicaid. She will also build on the Affordable Care Act to help bring down
costs to consumers, including expanding premium subsidies, providing
cost-sharing reductions, making it easier for states to put reinsurance in
place, and continuing to implement delivery system reform. And she will take on
the other health care challenges we face including the price of prescription
drugs, mental health care, addiction and long-term care. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s
health care policies here.
Allow gig workers to organize and prevent employees from
being misclassified as independent contractors. As President, Senator
Klobuchar will work to pass Senator Patty Murray’s Protecting the Right to
Organize Act — a bill Senator Klobuchar co-sponsors in the Senate — that
protects gig workers by preventing employers from misclassifying their
employees as independent contractors.
Update the tax code to work for gig workers. Gig
workers face additional challenges in properly tracking earnings and expenses
and calculating and paying taxes. As President, Senator Klobuchar will simplify
withholding for self-employed workers. Giving workers the option of having
their self-employment taxes withheld directly from their 1099s would reduce the
burden of quarterly tax filing and help smooth irregular incomes. She will also
lower the 1099-K threshold for gig economy platforms, so workers have more
information about their earnings, and consider creating a gig worker standard
business deduction to simplify the calculation of business expenses for gig
Update Consumer Protections for the 21st Century
Economy. Advances in technology have opened new opportunities for
consumers, entrepreneurs and businesses, but they have also created new threats
to privacy. Consumer protection laws have not kept pace with these
technological advances. As President, Senator Klobuchar will update consumer
protections so they work in the 21st century economy.
Strengthen consumer privacy protections. As
President, Senator Klobuchar will work to pass legislation similar to the
Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act, which she leads with Senator Maria
Cantwell. The bill would establish strong privacy rights for consumers
including the right to access their data and greater transparency, the right to
prevent data from being distributed to unknown third parties, the right to
delete or correct their data and the right to take their data to a competitor.
It would also establish a “duty of loyalty,” which would prohibit
companies from engaging in deceptive and harmful data practices. In addition,
the legislation would require companies to implement strong data security
policies, receive affirmative consent from consumers for collecting sensitive
information, and give consumers, states, and the Federal Trade Commission new
enforcement authorities. Senator Klobuchar will also work to pass legislation
based on her bipartisan Protecting Personal Health Data Act to create
protections for new health technologies not covered by existing privacy laws.
Increase rights for consumers after data breaches. As
more personal information is collected and stored online, consumers are
increasingly vulnerable to having their data exposed in a data breach. As
President, Senator Klobuchar will push for legislation similar to her
bipartisan Social Media Privacy and Consumer Rights Act to require companies to
notify users within 72 hours when their data has been breached and offer
meaningful remedies for people whose data has been compromised.
Empower consumer protection agencies. Without
effective enforcement, fraud and scams — like robocalls, senior fraud,
identity theft, and predatory student loans — have become problems for too
many Americans. As President, Senator Klobuchar will make sure that the federal
agencies charged with protecting consumers have the tools they need to be
effective cops on the beat, including personnel, technological expertise, and
strong enforcement authorities.
Tackle new forms of discrimination. As
President, Senator Klobuchar will update our laws to counter new forms of
discrimination, like digital redlining and racial bias built into algorithms
that are playing a larger role in everything from hiring decisions to medical
Provide access to a free and open internet. Consumers
and businesses deserve a level playing field on the internet. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will work to codify strong net neutrality principles and make
immediate progress in her first 100 days by using federal contracting
requirements to encourage broadband providers to honor net neutrality
principles and promote a free and open internet.
Invest in Cybersecurity That Protects Our Economy and Our
Democracy. Our economy increasingly relies on internet-connected
devices and infrastructure and this trend will only accelerate in the coming
years. This creates opportunities for terrorists, foreign governments, and
competing firms that could severely damage our economy. And we already know
that our election infrastructure is vulnerable to cyber attack and foreign
governments are working to interfere in our elections. Read more about Senator
Klobuchar’s plans to protect our democracy here.
Build the cybersecurity workforce our economy
needs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the United States will
add over 550,000 new information technology jobs to our economy over the next
10 years, including in big data and information security. As President, Senator
Klobuchar will expand STEM programs, including for women and traditionally
underrepresented minorities, and invest in apprenticeships so students and
workers can get on-the-job training in the technology jobs of the future, and
she will expand access to credentials through tution-free one- and two-year
degrees, technical certifications, and tuition-free community college.
Protect critical infrastructure against cyberattacks. Cyberattacks
on our electric grid, transportation infrastructure, or water management
systems could be devastating to our economy. As President, Senator Klobuchar
will work to build federal partnerships with the private sector to implement
NIST’s cybersecurity framework. She will make sure the federal government is
assisting companies in addressing global supply chain risks and increasing the
security of emerging technologies. Senator Klobuchar will also improve federal
preparedness for responding to cyber incidents.
Increase cybersecurity expertise in the federal
government. As President, Senator Klobuchar will make cybersecurity an
immediate priority. She will issue an Executive Order launching government-wide
cybersecurity initiatives, fast-tracking and streamlining procurement of modern
information technology across agencies. She will also work to pass legislation
similar to her bipartisan Cyber Security Exchange Act to provide a path for
cyber experts at private firms or academia to work for federal agencies for up
to two years. Federal workers will also be given the opportunity to work in the
private sector to develop their skills in the latest cybersecurity
Strengthen Antitrust Enforcement. U.S. firms
have engaged in $10 trillion worth of acquisitions during the past
decade. Senator Klobuchar believes we need to do more when it comes to
taking on monopoly power and promoting competition not just for our consumers
but for our businesses. Competition does more than just lower prices. It
improves quality, spurs innovation, makes it easier for entrepreneurs to start
new businesses, and creates better jobs. As the top Democrat on the Senate
Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, Senator Klobuchar has been a leader in taking
on this new Gilded Age. She leads the Consolidation Prevention and Competition
Promotion Act to make sure our antitrust laws adequately promote competition
and protect consumers, the Merger Enforcement Improvement Act to give antitrust
enforcement agencies the tools they need to be effective, and the Merger Filing
Fee Modernization Act to update merger filing fees.
Investigate monopolization claims and review mergers that
have already taken place. As President, Senator Klobuchar will harness
the power of investigations to look at acquisitions that have already occured
and investigate monopolization claims, including whether the integration of
services insulate tech companies from competition.
Strengthen merger enforcement. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will make sure that our antitrust agencies have the resources
they need to be aggressive and effective, updating the outdated merger filing
fees so that the merging parties of the largest deals start paying their fair
share. She will also give the agencies tools to analyze the effectiveness of
merger conditions so they can make better and stronger enforcement decisions.
Give antitrust agencies and courts the legal tools
necessary to promote competition. As President, Senator Klobuchar will
work to pass legislation creating a more stringent legal standard to protect
competition, shifting the burden of proof for mega-mergers from the government
to the parties to demonstrate that their mergers do not reduce competition, and
clarifying that existing antitrust laws should take into account more than
price and that they should also consider vertical integration, harm to
innovation, as well as monopsony — a market condition where there is only one
Create a new competition advocate. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will create a new position to oversee the effectiveness of
merger enforcement. The Office of the Competition Advocate would help consumers
raise complaints about anti-competitive activity, encourage antitrust
investigations, and analyze and publish reports on merger activity.
Respect the Dignity of Work
Senator Klobuchar believes that everyone who works hard should be able
earn enough to care for and support their family. Respecting the dignity of
work means raising the minimum wage, providing paid family leave and child care
and making sure people have a secure retirement.
Raise the Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour and Enforce
It. As President, Senator Klobuchar will push for legislation to raise
the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and eliminate the tipped minimum wage.
To make immediate progress toward this goal, she will increase the minimum wage
for federal contractors to that threshold. She will also immediately strengthen
enforcement and expand investigations to make sure that our wage laws are
properly enforced and that workers are able to recover back pay when the
government rules in their favor.
Create a National Paid Family and Medical Leave Program. The
United States is the only industrialized nation without a national paid leave
program, and only 19 percent of American workers have access to paid family
leave through their employer. As President, Senator Klobuchar will create a
national paid family leave program to provide workers with 12 weeks of paid
leave per year to care for a new child, a family member with a serious health
condition, or their own serious health condition. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s
plan for paid family and medical leave here.
Invest in Quality, Affordable Child Care. Senator
Klobuchar believes that early, quality child care and education is one of the
most important public investments we can make as a country. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will work to create a new federal-state partnership to make
child care more affordable by capping spending on child care at seven percent
of income for families making up to 150 percent of their state’s median income
and invest in expanding the availability of child care and raising wages for caregivers
and early childhood teachers. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s
plan for child care here.
Make It Easier to Retire. As President, Senator
Klobuchar will work to create innovative, portable personal retirement accounts
called UP-Savings Accounts. Under her plan, employers will set aside at least
50 cents per hour worked, helping a worker build more than $600,000 in wealth
over the course of a career. She will continue to push for legislation to
protect retiree pensions. Senator Klobuchar will also work to strengthen Social
Security, and she believes that this program must remain solvent for
generations to come and she will fight against risky schemes to privatize it.
As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to lift the Social Security payroll
cap. Currently the payroll tax only applies to wages up to $133,000. Senator
Klobuchar supports subjecting income above $250,000 to the payroll tax and
extending the long-term solvency of Social Security. And Senator Klobuchar will
make sure people are treated fairly by the current Social Security system. As
President, she will work to strengthen and improve Social Security benefits for
widows and people who took significant time out of the paid workforce to care
for their children, aging parents, or sick family members. Senator Klobuchar
also opposes cuts and risky schemes to privatize Medicare and will take action
to strengthen Medicare and find solutions so it remains solvent. She will
improve Medicare for current beneficiaries by reforming payment policies
through measures like site neutral payments and providing incentives for
getting the best quality health care at the best price, including bundled
payments and telehealth. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s
policies for seniors here.
Stand up for Our Unions. As the granddaughter of
an iron ore miner and the daughter of a union teacher and a union newspaperman,
Senator Klobuchar knows firsthand how unions give Americans and their families
the opportunities they need to succeed. As President, she will support real
labor law reform, ensure free and fair union elections, protect collective
bargaining rights, roll back Right to Work laws, and make it easier — and not
harder — for workers to join unions. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s
labor policies here.
Invest in America’s Future
Right now, our economy is stable thanks to the efforts of our workers
and our businesses. Senator Klobuchar believes that real leaders use times of
stability to take on the challenges before them and invest for the future. As
President, Senator Klobuchar will strengthen our economy by empowering small
businesses and entrepreneurs and expanding exports, get our fiscal house in
order and tackle the big challenges we face as a country.
Empower Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs and Expand
Exports. Senator Klobuchar knows that small businesses and
entrepreneurs help power our economy and create jobs. Supporting small
businesses is one of the best ways to maintain a dynamic economy. And in an
increasingly global economy, she is committed to giving more businesses the
opportunity to export and reach customers across the world.
Expand access to capital for small businesses. Lack
of access to capital is one of the biggest obstacles to starting a small
business. As President, Senator Klobuchar will expand Small Business
Administration (SBA) lending programs and make it easier for small businesses
to get the loans and technical assistance they need to grow. She will also work
to increase small dollar lending by the SBA, which can be particularly
important for women and people of color seeking to start a small
Promote entrepreneurship and reverse the “startup slump.” New
businesses drive economic growth, but fewer startups are launched every year.
Startup rates have fallen to near 30-year lows. Senator Klobuchar recently
launched the bipartisan Senate Entrepreneurship Caucus with Senator Tim Scott
to address the most pressing issues facing entrepreneurs. As President, she
will build on her work through the America COMPETES Act to close the gap
between innovation and commercialization, help colleges and universities
partner with entrepreneurs, accelerate the commercialization of federally
funded research and update regional innovation programs at the Economic
Development Administration. To reverse the startup slump she will also tackle
unprecedented corporate consolidation, make it easier to export, simplify small
business rules, expand access to capital, as well as promote incubators,
mentoring and training.
Make it easier to export, especially for small businesses. Ninety-five
percent of the world’s potential customers live outside of the U.S., but less
than one percent of American businesses export. As President, Senator Klobuchar
will restart the President’s Export Council, which brings together business,
labor, and agricultural leaders with Members of Congress and key Administration
officials to help promote a comprehensive export and trade strategy. She will
also work to pass legislation based on her bipartisan Promoting Rural Exports
Act to establish a Rural Export Center to help rural businesses export their
products to new international markets. And since international tourism is one
of our top exports, she will work to reauthorize Brand USA so the United States
can compete to attract foreign visitors.
Support small manufacturers. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will support and expand the Manufacturing Extension
Partnership program, which the Trump Administration has tried to eliminate. The
program helps small manufacturers innovate, upgrade their technology and
improve production. She will work to create a manufacturing tax incentive to
encourage investment in rural communities or communities that have faced or are
about to face manufacturing job losses. She will also support our small
manufacturers by expanding guaranteed loan programs that make it easier for
rural manufacturers to access capital, pushing for a new tax credit for
manufacturers to hire registered apprentices, providing financing and grants
for equipment and technology upgrades, and working with states, localities,
research universities and community colleges to promote workforce development,
apprenticeships, and innovation in manufacturing.
Govern with Fiscal Responsibility. In less than
three years, President Trump has added $4 trillion to the national debt. The
nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2029, the national
debt will be higher than it has been at any time since 1946, right after World
War II. And each year over the next decade the federal government will spend an
average of about $1.2 trillion more than it collects in revenue. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will reverse this trend with the goal of lowering the debt to
GDP ratio by the end of her first term and putting our country on a sustainable
Move to a biennial budget process. Senator
Klobuchar will push to overhaul the way Congress budgets federal dollars to
strengthen oversight of government spending and move the country forward when
it comes to tackling the nation’s debt. She is a co-sponsor of Senators Johnny
Isakson and Jeanne Shaheen’s Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act, which
would create a two-year budget and appropriations cycle with the first year
dedicated to appropriating federal dollars and the next year dedicated to
conducting oversight of how those federal dollars are being used. Senator
Klobuchar also supports moving from a 10-year forecasting window to a 25-year
forecasting window for Congressional Budget Office and Joint Tax Committee
scores, as the expanded window will better capture the long-term fiscal impact
of federal policies.
Establish a dedicated fund to tackle the U.S. debt and
support our economy. Senator Klobuchar will establish a dedicated fund
to make a down payment to tackle the U.S. debt and protect our economy. She
will initially seed the fund with $300 billion by raising the corporate tax
rate and dedicating savings from the government-wide budget review. When the
economy is doing well, the fund will finance deficit reduction. When specific
economic indicators show our economy is in a recession, the funding will
automatically be diverted to increase spending on programs that are effective
at stimulating the economy like infrastructure spending, increased unemployment
and nutrition assistance, and an increased federal share of Medicaid and CHIP
spending. As tax changes are implemented and as departments complete Senator
Klobuchar’s government-wide review, she will invest additional government-wide
savings towards expanding the fund to decrease the deficit and support our
Eliminate duplicative government spending. Senator
Klobuchar will immediately order all cabinet secretaries to undertake a
comprehensive review of their department’s budget and identify a list of
duplicative and unnecessary programs as well as potential gaps in spending.
When it comes to our nation’s defense, Senator Klobuchar is committed to
maintaining and extending our military superiority over any adversary that
would challenge us. She will ensure that our troops are the best-trained and
best-equipped in the world, while also providing for their families at home.
Yet virtually every analysis of the Pentagon’s budget has found duplicative and
unnecessary programs – so she will ask her Secretary of Defense and other
cabinet secretaries to take a close look at how money is being spent with an
eye towards eliminating duplicative and unnecessary spending.
Tackle Today’s Challenges for a Stronger Future. Senator
Klobuchar believes we need to govern from opportunity, not chaos. And governing
from opportunity means meeting the challenges we face head on.
Build a 21st century workforce. Senator
Klobuchar believes we should align our education system with the needs of our
economy. As President, she will champion tuition-free one- and two-year
community college degrees and technical certifications, expand apprenticeships,
and make it easier for Americans who need help to afford four-year degrees. She
will work to reduce the burden of student loans, support our Historically Black
Colleges and Universities, and expand Pell Grants. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s
post-secondary education policies here.
Pass comprehensive immigration reform. Senator
Klobuchar believes that comprehensive immigration reform is crucial to moving
our economy and our country forward. As President, she will push for a
comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes the DREAM Act, targeted
border security and an accountable pathway to earned citizenship.
Invest in our infrastructure. Senator Klobuchar
has proposed a bold plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure, invest in our
future, and create millions of good-paying American jobs. Her plan includes
repairing and replacing our roads, highways and bridges as well as building
smart climate infrastructure, ensuring clean water, modernizing our airports,
seaports and inland waterways, expanding reliable public transit options,
rebuilding our schools, overhauling our country’s housing policy, and
connecting every household to the internet by 2022. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s
policies to build America’s infrastructure here.
Make housing more affordable. Senator Klobuchar believes everyone deserves a safe and affordable home. As President, Senator Klobuchar will expand the Housing Choice Voucher program to make vouchers available to all qualifying households with children, increase access to homeownership while investing in neglected neighborhoods, tackle homelessness, and increase affordable rental housing in rural communities. She will also fight housing discrimination and invest in providing access to counsel in civil cases involving basic human needs. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s housing policies here.
Focus on Economic Justice and Shared Prosperity
Senator Klobuchar believes that right now the Trump economy works for President Trump and his wealthy friends, not for everyone else. As President, she will take on structural racism and remove barriers to success and support communities at risk from being left behind in the new economy.
Address Structural Racism and Barriers to Success. Senator
Klobuchar is committed to addressing the structural racism in our society and
making sure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed. She believes that no
matter where you live, who you know, where you come from, or what you look
like, you should be able to make it in this country.
Work to end child poverty. As President, within
her first 100 days, Senator Klobuchar will put forward a plan to cut childhood
poverty in half in ten years and end child poverty in a generation. The plan
will be based on a National Academies of Science report and include expanding
the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Care Tax Credit, SNAP benefits and
overhauling our country’s housing policy.
Eliminate the wage gap. Today, women working
full-time earn 80 cents for every dollar paid to a man, and the gaps are even
larger for women of color. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to pass
Senator Patty Murray’s Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure that employers pay
employees equally for equal work — including by prohibiting employers from
asking about the salary history of prospective employees.
Eliminate the wealth gap. Today, Black and
Latino households have only about a tenth of the median net worth of white
households. Senator Klobuchar’s proposal to establish portable, employer-funded
UP-Savings Accounts for retirement savings will help address this disparity.
She is also co-chair of the Diversifying Technology Caucus and the
Entrepreneurship Caucus with Senator Tim Scott. As President she will work to
get more women and people of color in STEM jobs and she will fully empower
agencies to aggressively fight modern-day redlining that prevents businesses
owned by people of color from getting loans and take on predatory lending that
results in higher interest rates in low-income communities of color.
Make education the great equalizer. Senator
Klobuchar believes a good education is one of the very best investments we can
make in our country’s future. As President, Senator Klobuchar will help make
education the great equalizer by increasing teacher salaries, investing in math
and science to prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow, and rebuilding
our school infrastructure. She has proposed “Progress Partnerships” to help
states take bold action to fund our public schools — including making sure
infrastructure funding goes to high need areas and reviewing state funding
formulas to improve equity. She will also put back in place guidance from
President Obama directing schools to reduce racial disparities in how they
Support Communities at Risk From Being Left Behind in the
Changing Economy. As President, Senator Klobuchar is committed to
providing additional support to at-risk communities so that no one is left
Expand loans for and investments in local communities in
need. For the past 40 years, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has
encouraged financial institutions to make loans and investment in local
communities, especially low-income and minority communities. Senator Klobuchar
will protect the CRA and instruct financial regulators to conduct greater outreach
to assess the true credit needs of their communities.
Support and strengthen the Economic Development
Administration. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) works
directly with communities and regions to promote competitiveness and innovation.
It has a proven track record of success and on average every $1 of EDA
infrastructure funding generates $15 in private investment. Still, the Trump
Administration has repeatedly proposed eliminating the agency. Senator
Klobuchar will ensure the agency has the resources to carry out its mission.
Bridge the rural-urban divide. Senator Klobuchar
has proposed a plan for America’s Heartland that will strengthen our
agricultural and rural communities, bridge the rural-urban divide, and make
sure that kids who grow up in rural America can stay in rural America. This
includes connecting every household to high speed internet by 2022. She knows
that America’s prosperity depends on the success of our farmers and rural
businesses and as a senior member of the Agriculture Committee, she’s been a
champion for farmers and rural communities in the Senate. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s
agriculture and rural policies here.
Fulfill our responsibility to our communities and workers who have helped power this country. As the granddaughter of a miner who worked 1,500 feet underground, Senator Klobuchar understands the hard work and sacrifice of those who built and powered our country. She is committed to supporting and creating new opportunities for workers and communities that have depended on the fossil fuel industry as our country transitions away from fossil fuels. Senator Klobuchar will work with the public and private sectors to attract new employers and maintain public services, while investing in infrastructure and educational opportunities in areas that experience job loss. As part of any carbon pricing system, she will create a significant manufacturing tax incentive to encourage investment in communities that have faced or are about to face job losses. To make it easier for workers to find new jobs, Senator Klobuchar will also create a new tax credit for companies that hire workers who have previously depended on the fossil fuel industry for employment.
Senator Klobuchar describes how she will pay for these plans and more here, here, here, here, here and here. To pay for her deficit reduction fund, Senator Klobuchar will increase the corporate rate by two additional points to 27 percent and initiate a government-wide budget review. To pay for her child poverty plan, Senator Klobuchar will repeal the regressive portions of the 2017 Republican tax bill.
vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has
produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues.Senator
Elizabeth Warren details a plan for Rural America that “will help create a new farm economy where family farmers have
financial security and the freedom to do what they do best. Farmers of all
backgrounds will finally have the economic freedom to pursue diverse,
sustainable farming — and get paid up front for doing so. Americans will have
a steady and affordable supply of food. Kids in rural communities will have
healthy lunches grown in their backyards and packaged at local food hubs run by
small town entrepreneurs. Taxpayers won’t pay twice — once at the grocery
store and once through their taxes — for overproduced commodities. We will
replenish our soil and our water to chart a path towards a climate solution and
achieve the goals of the Green New Deal.”Here are the details, as provided by
the Warren campaign:
Charlestown, MA – Elizabeth Warren released her plan to invest in rural America and build a new farm economy. Her plan includes creating a public option for broadband and ending government giveaways for private internet service providers, investing in rural health care, and taking strong anti-trust action against hospital mergers that threaten access to basic services. She outlines how her plans for universal child care and high-quality early education, student debt cancellation, building and rehabilitating affordable housing, and tackling the opioid crisis will restore opportunity in rural America.
Warren also lays out how she will replace the government’s failed approach to the farm economy and address our climate crisis head-on by paying farmers for sustainable farming practices that can help us fight climate change.
Warren released her plan before kicking of a 4-day tour across Iowa. Read more about her plan to invest in rural America here. Read more about her plan to build a new farm economy here.
My Plan to Invest in Rural America
A strong America requires a strong rural America. Rural communities are home to 60 million people, hundreds of tribal nations, and a growing number of new immigrants who account for 37% of rural population growth. These communities feed our nation. And they are leading the country in sustainable energy, generating 99% of America’s wind energy and pioneering efforts to harness solar energy.
But both corporate America and leaders in Washington have turned their backs on the people living in our rural communities and prioritized the interests of giant companies and Wall Street instead. Burdened by student debt, young people are leaving rural communities to find jobs elsewhere. Big broadband companies exclude entire communities – especially tribal communities and rural communities of color – from access to high-speed Internet. Rural communities are losing access to quality health care. Climate change – from more severe floods to extreme heat – is changing the rural way of life. And farmers are forced to compete with giant agribusinesses on an uneven playing field.
Our failure to invest in rural areas is holding back millions of families, weakening our economy, and undermining our efforts to combat climate change. It’s time to fix this.
Protecting Access to Health Care in Rural Communities
Health care is a human right. But people can’t fully exercise that right in communities lacking access to basic services like primary, emergency, and maternity care. That is what’s happening across rural America, where the prevalence of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes is higher, as is the risk of dying from the leading causes of death in the country compared to urban areas. Barriers to coverage, disappearing health facilities, and a shortage of health professionals are denying rural communities the high-quality health care they deserve.
Insurance coverage continues to remain out of reach for many people living in rural communities – and even for those with coverage, rural America is quickly becoming a medical desert. In less than a decade, 112 rural hospitals have closed, with hundreds more teetering on the edge. Those that do remain open operate on razor-thin margins from uncompensated care, lower patient volume, and insufficient reimbursement.
That’s why I support Medicare for All, so that every person will have access to affordable care no matter where they live. That means access to primary care and lower health care costs for patients – and less uncompensated care for hospitals, helping hospitals stay afloat. We also need to increase reimbursement rates for rural hospitals and alleviate unnecessary restrictions that make it difficult for them to serve their communities. Medicare already has special designations available to rural hospitals, but they must be updated to match the reality of rural areas. I will create a new designation that reimburses rural hospitals at a higher rate, relieves distance requirements, and offers flexibility of services by assessing the needs of their communities.
But we can’t stop there. Higher rates of consolidation for both for-profit and non-profit hospitals are making it harder to access care. And yet, many hospitals can evade federal antitrust enforcement either because the value of the merger is too small to trigger mandatory review or because the Federal Trade Commission’s purview over non-profit hospitals is constrained. Vertical integration is also increasing as more hospitals acquire physician practices, and some states have deliberately sheltered hospitals from federal antitrust action. I will boost the federal government’s oversight of mergers and anti-competitive behavior to make sure that health care companies play by the rules and put the needs of patients first.
As President, I will direct the FTC to block all future mergers between hospitals unless the merging companies can show that the newly-merged entity will maintain or improve access to care. If a proposed merger helps maintain or improve access to health care, that’s fine. But when it is a first step to closing hospitals or slashing basic services, then a Warren administration will block it.
I’ll also put forward a set of reforms to strengthen FTC oversight over health care organizations, including establishing new federal regulations and guidance to require that all mergers involving health care centers be reported to the FTC. I’ll authorize the FTC to conduct reviews of non-profit hospitals for anti-competitive behavior, update Department of Justice guidance on vertical mergers, and crack down on vertically integrated health care companies that are raising costs without improving the quality of care. And I’ll work with states to repeal Certificate of Public Advantage, or COPA, statutes that shield health care organizations from federal antitrust review and can leadto the creation of large monopolies with little to no oversight.
We also have a responsibility to make sure that places that have experienced a loss in services or are otherwise medically underserved can better meet the needs of their communities. That’s why I will increase funding for Community Health Centers by 15 percent per year over the next five years. I will also establish a $25 billion dollar capital fund to support a menu of options for improving access to care in health professional shortage areas, including: constructing a new facility like a Community Health Center, Rural Health Clinic, School-Based Health Center, or birthing center; expanding capacity or services at an existing clinic; establishing pharmacy services or a telemedicine program; supporting a diabetes self-management education program; improving transportation to the nearest hospital; or piloting models like mobile clinics and community paramedicine programs.
Rural communities have been particularly impacted by the opioid epidemic, with the rate of opioid overdose deaths having been higher there than in urban areas in recent years. I’m pushing for $100 billion over 10 years to end the opioid crisis, including $2.7 billion for the hardest-hit counties and cities and $800 million in direct funding for tribal governments and organizations. Funding can be used for prevention and early intervention services at federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics and to train health professionals on treating substance use disorders in rural and other medically underserved areas.
To ensure access to quality health services, we must also close the health care workforce gaps across rural America. Nearly 60% of Health Professional Shortage Areas – those lacking sufficient primary care physicians, physician assistants, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, EMTs, and home health aides – are in rural regions. More than 3,600 additional doctors are needed to close the rural physician workforce deficit today, but Congressionally-imposed caps on medical residencies and unstable funding of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) have made this gap nearly impossible to close. What’s more, this shortage is rapidly increasing as rural physicians near retirement and fewerincoming medical students plan to practice in rural areas.
As President, I will make sure we expand our health care workforce by investing more resources in building the pipeline of medical professionals in rural areas. This starts by dramatically scaling up apprenticeship programs as proposed in my Economic Patriotism plan to support partnerships between unions, high schools, community colleges, and a wide array of health care professionals to build a health care workforce that is rooted in the community. I’ll lift the cap on residency placements by 15,000 – and because residents are more likely to practice where they train, I’ll target half of new placements in medically-underserved areas such as rural residency programs, residency programs with Rural Training Track programs, and the Indian Health Service (IHS), while working with rural programs to ensure that they can take full advantage of these increases. I’ll also significantly expand the NHSC loan repayment program to $15 billion and the IHS loan repayment program to $1 billion over the next 10 years to cover full loan repayment for 5 years of service and to increase the number of health professionals serving rural and Native American communities.
Building Economic Security in Rural America
My plan doesn’t stop at health care. Every American is entitled to some basic financial security, no matter where they live. But people living in rural communities face challenges that can threaten that security. My plans are designed to address these challenges and allow people in rural communities to thrive economically.
Take child care. Today, a majority of rural communities lack sufficient access to child care. On average, rural families spend more of their incomes on child care than families in urban areas. My plan for Universal Child Care will provide access to high-quality child care in every community that is free for millions and affordable for everyone. The federal government will also work closely with local providers and tribal governments to make sure there are high-quality child care options available in every community – including home-based child care services, which rural families are more likely to use.
Rural communities also face unique housing challenges. More than 150 rural counties have a severe-need for affordable rental housing and 38% of rural counties have moderately-severe rental housing needs. Home values in rural areas have also been slower to recover from the financial crisis. My housing planinvests $523 million to create 380,000 affordable rental homes in rural communities and provides an additional $2 billion to help homeowners with underwater mortgages still struggling to recover from the financial crisis. It also invests $2.5 billion to build or rehabilitate 200,000 homes on tribal lands, where overcrowding, homelessness, and substandard housing have reached crisis levels.
And the student debt crisis hits rural areas particularly hard. In part because of huge student debt burdens, young adults are leaving rural communities for jobs in cities. Just 52% of rural student loan borrowers remain in a rural area, compared to 66% of those who did not take out loans – and those with more debt are more likely to leave. My plan to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt will mean that recent graduates won’t need to flock to urban centers to find jobs that will help them pay down these loans. And my plan to provide universal free technical, two-year, and four-year public college will make sure that no student is ever put in this situation again. We need to make it possible for students to see rural communities as places of opportunity where they can live, work, and build a future for themselves.
A Public Option for Broadband
One of the best tools for unlocking economic opportunity and advances in health care, like telemedicine, is access to reliable, high-speed Internet. In the twenty-first century, every home should have access to this technology – but we’re not even close to that today. According to the FCC, in 2017 26.4% of people living in rural areas and 32.1% of people living on tribal lands did not have access to minimum speed broadband (25 Mbps/ 3 Mbps), compared to 1.7% in urban areas. And given the notorious loopholes in FCC reporting requirements, these figures underestimate the gap.
At the same time, while urban areas may be more likely to have access to fiber broadband, many residents can’t afford to connect to it. Nearly 27% of households in Detroit and Cleveland had no Internet access in 2017, and households with incomes below $35,000 comprise 60% of households without broadband access, despite making up just 31% of the national population.
We’ve faced this kind of problem before. Prior to the late 1930s, private electric companies passed over rural communities they felt offered minimal profit opportunities, leaving the families living there literally in the dark. Just like the electric companies eighty years ago, today’s biggest internet service providers (ISPs) have left large parts of the country unserved or dramatically underserved.
Not only that, they have deliberately restricted competition, kept prices high, and used their armies of lobbyists to convince state legislatures to ban municipalities from building their own public networks. Meanwhile, the federal government has shoveled billions of taxpayer dollars to private ISPs in an effort to expand broadband to remote areas, but those providers have done the bare minimum with these resources – offering internet speeds well below the FCC minimum.
This ends when I’m President. I will make sure every home in America has a fiber broadband connection at a price families can afford. That means publicly-owned and operated networks – and no giant ISPs running away with taxpayer dollars. My plan will:
Make it clear in federal statute that municipalities have
the right to build their own broadband networks. Many small towns and
rural areas have turned to
municipal networks to provide broadband access in places that the private
market has failed to serve – but today, as many as 26 states have
passed laws hindering or banning municipalities from building their own
broadband infrastructure to protect the interests of giant telecom companies.
We will preempt these laws and return this power to local governments.
Create an Office of Broadband Access in my Department of Economic Development that will manage a new $85 billion federal grant program to massively expand broadband access across the country. Under my plan, only electricity and telephone cooperatives, non-profit organizations, tribes, cities, counties, and other state subdivisions will be eligible for grants from this fund – and all grants will be used to build the fiber infrastructure necessary to bring high-speed broadband to unserved areas, underserved areas, or areas with minimal competition.
The federal government will pay 90 cents on the dollar for construction under these grants. In exchange, applicants will be required to offer high-speed public broadband directly to every home in their application area. Applicants will have to offer at least one plan with 100 Mbps/ 100 Mbps speeds and one discount internet plan for low-income customers with a prepaid feature or a low monthly rate.
Of these funds, $5 billion will be set aside specifically for 100% federal grants to tribal nations to expand broadband access on Native American lands. In addition to necessary “last mile” infrastructure, tribes will be able to apply for funds to build the missing 8,000 miles of middle mile fiber on tribal lands.
Appoint FCC Commissioners who will restore net neutrality. I will appoint FCC Commissioners who will restore net neutrality, regulatinginternet service providers as “common carriers” and maintaining open access to the Internet.And I will require all telecommunications services to contribute fairly into the Universal Service Fund to shore up essential universal service programs that provide subsidies to low-income individuals, schools, and libraries to increase broadband adoption, including signing into law and building on the Tribal Connect Act, so that we can work toward every tribal library having broadband access.
Bolster the FCC’s Office of Native Affairs and Policy. This office holds trainings, technical assistance, and consultations for Indian Country. Providing it with dedicated, increased funding to expand its capacity will help close the digital divide.
Improve the accuracy of broadband maps. Weak FCC oversight has allowed ISPs to greatly exaggerate how many households they serve and has given ISPs added fuel to downplay their failures and protect themselves from regulation. To provide universal broadband access and crack down on anti-competitive behaviors, the government has to know how extensive the problems are. I will appoint FCC Commissioners who will require ISPs to report service and speeds down to the household level, as well as aggregate pricing data, and work with community stakeholders – including tribal nations – to make sure we get this process right. Then, we will make these data available to the public and conduct regular audits to ensure accurate reporting.
Prohibit the range of sneaky maneuvers giant private providers use to unfairly squeeze out competition, hold governments hostage, and drive up prices. It’s time to crack down on all the anti-competitive behaviors that giant ISPs have used to steamroll the competition. We will return control of utility poles and conduits to cities, prohibit landlords from making side deals with private ISPs to limit choices in their properties, and ban companies from limiting access to wires inside buildings. We will make sure that all new buildings are fiber-ready so that any network can deliver service there, and we will also enact “Dig Once” policies to require that conduit is laid anytime the ground is opened for a public infrastructure project.
Ensure every person has the skills to fully participate
in our online economy. Even when there’s access to broadband internet
– and even when it’s available at an affordable price – people may still not
take advantage of it because they don’t know how to use it. That’s why I will
work to pass the Digital Equity Act,
which invests $2.5 billion over ten years to help states develop digital equity
plans and launch digital inclusion projects.
Creating and Defending Jobs in Rural America
Expanding broadband is just the first step to boosting economic opportunity in
rural communities. We need to do more to bring high-quality jobs back to rural
areas and small towns and negotiate trade agreements that keep jobs in the U.S.
– and don’t ship them overseas. That’s why I’ve committed to creating a National Jobs Strategy focused
specifically on regional economies and trends that disproportionately affect
rural areas and small cities. And why I will spend $2 trillion in green research,
manufacturing, and exporting to create more than a million new
jobs, reversing the manufacturing losses that many rural communities have
experienced over the last two decades.
I’ve also called for a $400 billion commitment in clean energy research and
development – funding that will go to land grant universities, rural
areas, and areas that have seen the worst job losses in recent years. I’ll
dramatically scale up worker training programs, spending $20 billion on
apprenticeships and instituting new sectoral training programs to boost job
opportunities for people across Rural America.
Immigration is also revitalizing local
economies and reversing population
decline in a number of rural communities. I’ve called for expanding legal
immigration – done the right way and consistent with our principles – to grow
our economy, reunite families, and meet our labor market demands. My immigration plan
will raise wages for everyone and make sure that businesses won’t be able to
get away with dirty tricks that undercut pay.
And I will build a new approach to
our trade policy to make sure that the new, high-quality jobs
we create stay right here in America. As part of my new plan, I’ll
fundamentally change our negotiation process so that rural communities are
explicitly represented at the table, and use our leverage to demand more for
workers and farmers by raising standards worldwide.
Bolstering Small and Local Business
Small businesses are critical to the economic vitality of rural communities,
but people in rural communities face challenges accessing capital and financial
services to start, grow, and operate their businesses. The number of rural counties
without a locally owned community bank has doubled since 1994,
and 86 new rural
banking deserts have appeared since 2008, leaving these communities with no
banking services within 10 miles. That’s why I’ve proposed allowing the
U.S. Postal Service to partner with local community banks and
credit unions to provide access to low-cost, basic banking services online and
at post offices.
What’s more, 25% of new rural
banking deserts have been in communities of color. Credit and small loans are
critical to starting and growing a small business, but longer distances between
a borrower and their bank are associated with more credit denials and higher interest rates on
loans. That’s why I will establish a $7 billion
fund to close the gap in startup capital for entrepreneurs of
color, which will support 100,000 new minority-owned businesses, provide over a
million new jobs, and further boost economic development in rural areas.
Private equity firms have further harmed local businesses, buying up everything
from mobile home parks to hospitals to nursing homes to local newspapers,
loading them up with debt, sucking them dry, and leaving workers to pick up the
pieces. I’ll rein in Wall
Street to hold private equity firms accountable and keep them
from destroying businesses that bring economic opportunity – and jobs – to
small towns and rural communities across the country. It’s time to
prioritize the long-term interests of American workers, not the short-term
interests of big financial institutions.
Building a New Farm Economy
Rural America is also the home of our nation’s agriculture
sector, but today, farmers are getting squeezed by giant agribusinesses that
are gobbling up more land and driving down prices. In 1935, there were 6.8 million farms in
the United States – but in 2017, there were just above 2 million. What’s more,
as the number of farms has decreased, the size of each remaining farm has
dramatically grown – from an average of 155 acres per farm in 1935 to an average
of 444 acres per farm
today. Meanwhile, the farmer’s share of the food dollar has plummeted to
just 14.6 cents in 2017
– the lowest number since
the USDA began reporting this figure in 1993.
That’s why I’ve pledged to
address consolidation in the agriculture sector by reviewing – and reversing –
anti-competitive mergers and breaking up big agribusinesses that have become
vertically integrated. I’ll also support a national right to repair law for
farmers, reform country-of-origin labeling, and restrict foreign ownership of
American agriculture companies and farmland.
And I’ll take it one step further – charting a new farm economy that
replaces our government’s failed approach with one that guarantees farmers a
fair price and protects our environment.
The cost of each and every one of these investments is fully offset by my plans
to make the ultra-wealthy and large corporations pay more in taxes. Those plans
include my annual two-cent wealth tax on
fortunes over $50 million and my plan to ensure
that very large and profitable American corporations can’t get away with paying
zero taxes. And the new investments I’m announcing today for universal
broadband access and health care options in rural areas can be offset by
changing the tax laws that encourage companies to merge and reduce
I want Washington to work for communities all over this country. From expanding
access to broadband to boosting investment in quality jobs, together we can
make big, structural change to create new opportunities all across rural
A New Farm Economy
Consolidation in the agriculture sector is leaving America’s family farmers
with lower prices
and fewer choices.
Giant corporations use their market share to squeeze farmers
from both sides. Farmers are pressured into taking on huge debts to pay the
high prices that a small number of large suppliers charge them for inputs like seeds and
fertilizer. Then, farmers are at the whim of a market that is controlled
by meatpackers and grain traders that
can pay them low prices for the
commodities they produce — prices that often don’t cover all the
money farmers had to spend in the first place.
All of this causes tremendous overproduction of
commodities. In the face of lower and lower
prices in the market, farmers are left to produce more to try and
break even. But this just causes prices to go down even further, benefiting the
huge corporations looking to buy goods on the cheap and leaving farmers dependent on the
government to backfill their costs.
As a consequence, the agriculture sector has become one of the largestpolluters in our
economy. As farmers are pressured to plant fence row to fence row and
use more fertilizer in search of a higher yield, rural communities lose their
soil and water and the environment suffers.
Much of this situation is the direct result of government policy. Our current
system of subsidies is supposed to make up
the difference between the low prices farmers get on the market and what they
have to pay to grow food. But instead it lets big corporations at the top of
the supply chain get away with paying artificially low costs while farmers
struggle and taxpayers make up the difference. It encourages overproduction by
guaranteeing revenue regardlessof prices or
environmental conditions. And it feeds climate change.
Farmers are stewards of the land, and they know this system of overproduction
is unsustainable — but without a change in incentives, they have no other
To fix this problem, we need big, structural change. That’s why I’m calling for
a complete overhaul of our failed approach to the farm economy. Instead
of subsidizing industrial agriculture and starving farmers and rural
communities, my new approach will guarantee farmers a fair price, reduce
overproduction, and pay farmers for environmental conservation.
By making this shift, we can raise farm incomes and reduce taxpayer
expenditures. We can break the stranglehold that giant agribusinesses have over
our farm economy, and expand economic opportunities for small- and medium-sized
farmers, family farmers, women farmers, and farmers of color. We can also
provide consumers with affordable, high-quality, and often local food, while
protecting our land and water and combating the existential threat of climate
Replacing our government’s failed approach to the farm economy
Our agriculture markets are badly broken. American farmers spend their days
toiling over their crops, but at sale time, more than half report
negative income from their farming activity. In 2018, the median income farmers
made from farming activity before federal subsidies was negative $1,316. Why?
Because the market is paying farmers far less than what it costs them to
produce their goods.
And it gets worse. Farm subsidies that are necessary to keep farms afloat in
this market function as an incentive to overproduce by
guaranteeing payments only for certain commodities and encouraging farming
on marginal land. This squeezes small farmers, undermines sustainable farming
for the long-term, and damages our environment.
It hasn’t always been this way. During the New Deal, FDR’s administration
recognized the critical role farmers would play in getting our country out of
the Great Depression. His administration set up a system
that guaranteed farmers fair prices, tackled overproduction, and reversed environmental
degradation. And it worked: for decades, this system
gave farmers the security they needed to thrive, kept consumer prices stable,
and helped restore our country’s farmland.
But starting in the 1970s, giant agribusinessesconvinced the Nixon
Administration to change the system. Corporations called it “deregulating” the
farm economy, but of course, this didn’t actually mean reducing government
intervention. It just meant shifting that intervention from advancing the
interests of farmers, consumers, and the environment to protecting the bottom
line of giant agriculture corporations.
Now, the Department of Agriculture budgets over $10 billion each
year on post-sale subsidies that are supposed to make up for the low prices
that big corporations and livestock giants pay farmers on the market.
Meanwhile, Big Ag pockets the profit:
one study shows
industrial livestock giants, for example, have saved $35 billion over twenty
years from buying feed below the cost of production.
We need a new approach that uses taxpayer money more wisely, provides stable
access to food, and accounts for the complexities of the agriculture
markets. Just like workers need a living wage, farmers need a fair price — one
that covers the costs they have to pay to produce their goods. We need to
replace our failed system with a tried-and-true method that guarantees farmers
that fair price and ends overproduction. Building on the successful model of
the New Deal, my plan calls for a new supply management program — which studies show
would be billions cheaper for
taxpayers than our current subsidy program, yet provide farm incomes that
Here’s how it will work. First, we guarantee farmers a price at their cost of
production. To do that, the government would offer farmers a non-recourse loan
that covers most of their costs of production — essentially, an offer to buy
their products at cost if a farmer can’t get a better price from a private
purchaser on the market before the end of the loan period. Farmers can either
repay the loan by selling their products or they can forfeit the products they
used as collateral for the loan at the end of the loan period.
If the farmer does not sell those products to a private buyer during that time
period, then the government will store the products in reserves. As supply
comes off the market as a result, prices will rise. And if prices rise beyond a
certain point, the government can release the supply from the reserves back
onto the market, stabilizing prices once again. This mechanism guarantees
farmers a fair price at a far lower cost than the current subsidy system.
In addition, to address overproduction, farmers will have the option of bidding
acres of land currently used to produce commodities into conservation programs.
USDA will offer attractive prices based on the environmental benefit that
repurposing the land towards conservation programs would provide. This will
provide farmers with the choice — and revenue — to diversify their farms,
rather than face mounting pressure to produce more and more of the same.
This approach has advantages beyond guaranteeing farmers a fair price for their
goods. It gives us the tools to stabilize farm income where farmers aren’t
getting prices at the cost of production, like commodity crops and dairy. It enhances
our foodsecurity by giving
the government access to reserves if needed — a particularly important consideration
as climate change continues to disruptfoodproduction. It addresses our
overproduction problem and helps reduce environmental
damage. And it keeps consumer prices relatively stable.
It would also save taxpayers billions. Because a supply management
program only pays for the
amount of commodities that it takes off of the market, it would substantially
reduce costs for taxpayers who, in the current subsidy approach, can end up
paying for every single bushel and bale that farmers grow.
Paying farmers to fight climate change
To transition to a sustainable farm economy, we also need to diversify our
agriculture sector. As President, I will lead a full-out effort to
decarbonize the agricultural sector by investing in our farmers and giving them
the tools, research, and training they need to transform the sector — so that
we can achieve the objectives of the Green New Deal to reach net-zero emissions
This begins with paying farmers for embracing techniques that promote a
sustainable future for all of us. Farmers are already adopting climate-friendly
practices — including proven and profitable techniques
like cover crops. But today,
there are far more farmers who
want to join land conservation programs than there are funds available to
support them. That’s because we have continually underfunded a
tried-and-true program — the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
— that provides funding for farmers eager to transition to sustainable
practices, and that delivers substantial returns to
My plan will make it economically feasible for farmers to be part of the
climate change solution by increasing CSP’s payments for sustainable farming
practices from around $1 billion today to
$15 billion annually – and expanding the types of practices eligible for
compensation – so that every farmer who wants to use their land to fight
climate change can do so. This will put our future investment in
conservation above the level we currently
fund commodity programs. And I will support staff at USDA to empower them in
the fight against climate change, from scientists in Washington all the
way down to the county-level offices tailoring solutions to challenges in their
Research and innovation are also essential in supporting a transition to
sustainable farming. I will dedicate resources from the $400 billion
R&D commitment in my Green
Manufacturing Plan towards innovations for
decarbonizing the agriculture sector, including a farmer-led Innovation Fund
that farmers can apply to use towards pioneering new methods of sustainable
farming, like agroforestry.
Our land grant universities also have a critical role to play – but first, we
need to reclaim our land grant universities from Big Ag and restore
them to their core purpose of supporting our family farmers. My
Administration will reinvest inour
land grant universities and focus their agricultural efforts in part on
evaluating farmers’ ideas to decarbonize the agricultural sector and training a
new generation of farmers.
Take on Big Ag to level the playing field for family farmers
We also must take on Big Ag head on if we want to create a new farm economy.
When Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture told farmers to “get big or get out,”
he paved the way for
the giant agribusinesses that have eroded America’s
rural communities and turned the
agricultural sector into one of the largestpolluters, all
while making huge profits.
That ends now. I will use every tool at my disposal to level the playing field
for family farmers and hold agribusinesses accountable for the damage they’ve
wrought on our farmland.
Strengthen rules and enforcement under the Packers and
Stockyards Act.In 1921, Congress passed the Packers & Stockyards Act (P&S
Act) to protect independent farmers. But Trump has eliminated Grain
Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) — the office
responsible for upholding the
P&S Act — as an independent office. My administration will restore
GIPSA and make it easier for farmers to bring suits against unfair practices —
including by clarifying that they do not have to prove harm across the entire
sector to bring a claim.
Make sure programs benefit independent family farmers,
not the rich and powerful. Agribusinesses exploit loopholes to put
taxpayer dollars that should be going towards family farmers into their own
pockets instead. The Trump administration has handed over billions more into
the pockets of the wealthiest through trade war bailouts. On average, the top 1% of
recipients received over $180,000, and the bottom 80% percent received less
than $5,000. — all without Congressional authorization. I will prevent
huge factory farms from accessing funds intended to benefit family farmers,
like those for payment limitations and for programs like EQIP, and ban
companies that violate labor and environmental standards from accessing funds,
Hold Big Ag accountable for environmental abuses. Agribusinesses
are the likely culprits for
polluting hundreds of thousands of miles of rivers and streams and causing dead
zones in our waters, including in the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. I
will make agribusinesses pay the full costs of the
environmental damage they wreak by closing the loopholes that
CAFOs use to get away with polluting and beefing up enforcement of the Clean
Air and Clean Water Acts against them, including by working with state and
Build out local and regional food systems that support rural farmers and their communities
Because giant agribusinesses control entire supply chains, many small farmers today must send their products to huge packaging and distribution centers that are hundreds of miles away from their farms and from the end consumer. This deprives rural communities from access to produce, contributing to food desertsand obesity.
I will provide farmers and rural communities with the resources they need to build thriving local and regional food systems so that every community has access to healthy food — and the billions in economic opportunities that come with it.
I will use the full power of federal and state procurement to ensure access to local, sustainable produce in all communities. My administration will expand the “Farm-to-School” program a hundredfold and turn it into a billion-dollar “Farm to People” program in which all federally-supported public institutions — including military bases and hospitals — will partner with local, independent farmers to provide fresh, local food.
To meet this additional demand, farmers will need access to local and regional supply chain infrastructure. USDA’s Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) currently invests $50M a year in local infrastructure-building projects — which experts estimate falls far short of meeting the substantialdemand. I will increase LAMP’s funding ten-fold, investing $500M a year over the next decade to fund food hubs, distribution centers, and points-of-sale that our rural and small town communities can use.
Create opportunities for diverse and beginning farmers
Farmers of color have experienced a longhistory of discrimination, some of it at the hands of the federal government. From 1910 to 1997, black farmers were stripped of 90% of black-owned farmland. They received a mere fraction of the value of the land they lost — a staggering loss of wealth that is a major contributor to the racial wealth gap. My plan will end the policies that have perpetuated this discrimination and help rural families of color build wealth and sustainable livelihoods.
Addressing the systematic dispossession of land in communities of color, including Black farmers and Native American communities. Over the past century, Black farmers were stripped of 90% of black-owned farmland and received a mere fraction of the value of the land they lost – largely because they held the land as “heirs’ property,” an unstable and much-exploited form of ownership. I will establish programs to assist heirs’ property owners and make sure they retain access to their land, including building on successes in the 2018 Farm Bill to allow heirs’ property owners to present additional types of documentation to not only access USDA programs, but also other federal programs in FEMA and HUD. I will also fully fund the relending programenacted in the 2018 Farm Bill to expand support services for farmers of color, including legal and technical assistance to help farmers hold on to their land – and prioritize lending organizations operating in states that have enacted model legislation that protects heirs’ property ownership.
Native American communities have also experienced challenges related to fractionated land ownership. This problem was caused by a destructive federal policy from the late 1800s that allotted tribal lands held in common to individual tribal members and sold additional tribal lands to non-Native settlers and commercial interests. This policy eventually led to roughly two-thirds of all reservation lands being taken from tribes without compensation. Several generations later, individual tribal allotments are now co-owned by many people — sometimes hundreds or thousands — making it difficult to use the land or coordinate activities on it.
Expand access to credit and land for new and diverse farmers. Women and farmers of color have been disproportionatelyexcluded from accessing the credit and land they need to farm. The Farm Credit System was founded a century ago as a government-sponsored enterprise to provide credit for farmers — but it has strayed from its central mission and instead is pocketing big profits. I will require FCS to allocate 10% of its $5 billion in annual profits towards supporting new and diverse farmers through regional lending mechanisms. I will make sure that farmers can access land, too, by stopping foreign interests from buying up American farmland and expanding the use of programs like the transition incentives program. Native American Community Development Financial Institutions also provide crucial access to credit in underbanked areas and for underbanked businesses, especially farmers. We should provide significant financial support to Native CDFIs.
Invest in protecting the civil rights of farmers of color. I will fully fund and staffUSDA’s Office of Civil Rights and administrative law courts — so that they have the resources necessary to resolve discrimination complaints at a reasonable pace. I will direct regular audits of USDA to ensure that it is not discriminating against farmers of color in issuing loans or subsidy grants. And I will increase the agency’s transparency by creating an online civil rights database that would regularly report on the complaint process.
My plan will help create a new farm economy where family farmers have financial security and the freedom to do what they do best. Farmers of all backgrounds will finally have the economic freedom to pursue diverse, sustainable farming — and get paid up front for doing so. Americans will have a steady and affordable supply of food. Kids in rural communities will have healthy lunches grown in their backyards and packaged at local food hubs run by small town entrepreneurs. Taxpayers won’t pay twice — once at the grocery store and once through their taxes — for overproduced commodities. We will replenish our soil and our water to chart a path towards a climate solution and achieve the goals of the Green New Deal.
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Vice President Joe Biden has presented his plan for Rural America. This summary is provided by the Biden campaign:
Rural America is home to roughly 20% of Americans, but we are all connected to rural
communities in many ways. Rural Americans fuel us and feed us. Rural lands
provide us with places to spend time outdoors with friends and family and
A healthy, vibrant rural America is essential to the success of our country.
Yet in small town after small town, parents watch their kids and grandkids
leave rural communities because there just is not enough opportunity for them
at home. For too many rural Americans, a pathway to the middle class is out of
reach if they stay in their rural communities.
The moral obligation of our time is rebuilding the middle class, so that this
time everyone comes along regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation,
disability or zip code. It should not be dependent on whether they live
in a city center, a small town, or a remote area. Everyone means everyone.
As president, Biden will build a pathway to the middle class for rural
Americans, in rural America. He will pursue a rural economic development
strategy that partners with rural communities to invest in their unique assets,
with the goal of giving young people more options to live, work, and raise the
next generation in rural America. It’s not just good for those in rural
America, it’s good for everyone across our country.
I. FUNDAMENTALLY REVITALIZE
Rural America is asset-rich. It feeds and fuels the rest of the country, gives
us places to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with friends and family, and is
home to creative, hard-working Americans. Yet rural America’s economy is
traditionally based on extraction, taking the resources out of rural
communities and never returning the profits.
The Biden strategy for rural economic development will be to partner with rural
communities, invest in their unique assets, and make sure the wealth created in
rural America stays in rural America.
Under this strategy, Biden will:
agricultural sector by:
Pursuing a trade policy that works
for American farmers. More than 20% of all crops grown and products raised in the United
States are exported, supporting
hundreds of thousands of jobs and helping
to stabilize farm income. But America’s farmers and rural communities have paid
a heavy price for President Trump’s tariffs. While Trump is pursuing a damaging
and erratic trade war without any real strategy, President Biden will stand up
to China by working with our allies to negotiate from the strongest possible
position. And, he’ll make sure our trade policy works for American farmers.
Supporting beginning farmers. America tries to make it easy to start a business, but unless
you inherit the land, it’s much more difficult to start a farm. The Biden
Administration will expand the Obama-Biden Administration’s microloan program
for new and beginning farmers, doubling the
maximum loan amount to $100,000. And, it will increase funding for the U.S.
Department of Agriculture’s farm ownership
and operating loans that typically serve
beginning farmers who grew up on a family farm but need low-cost capital to add
to their family’s operation to support another household.
Fostering the development of
regional food systems. The Biden Administration will
partner with small and mid-sized farmers to help them collectively create
supply chains to deliver fresh produce and other products to schools,
hospitals, and other major state and federal institutions, including the
Defense Department. This will allow these farmers to negotiate their own
prices. And, it will help farmers identify markets for specialty crops and
secondary products, like ice cream produced by dairy farmers to bring in
Re-investing in land grant
universities’ agricultural research so the public, not private companies, owns
patents to agricultural advances. The Biden
Administration will reinvest in agricultural research by bolstering funding for
the Sustainable Agriculture
Research and Education Program and
Institute of Food and Agriculture. Our farmers
need new technologies to compete in world markets while protecting our soil and
water. These new technologies – and the next new seeds – should be developed
and owned by the American people, not private companies who can use patents to
Partnering with farmers to make
American agriculture first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions, giving
farmers new sources of income in the process. Many
farmers are some of the best stewards of our land, air, and water. The
government needs to partner with them to accelerate progress toward net-zero
emissions. As president, Biden will ensure our agricultural sector is the first
in the world to achieve net-zero emissions, and that our farmers earn income as
we meet this milestone. Toward this end, the Biden Administration will
dramatically expand and fortify the pioneering Conservation
Stewardship Program, created by former Senate
Agriculture Committee Chair Tom Harkin, to support farm income through payments
based on farmers’ practices to protect the environment, including carbon
sequestration. In addition to seeking full federal funding for the program, the
Biden Administration will ensure the program can participate in carbon markets.
Corporations, individuals, and foundations interested in promoting greenhouse
gas reductions could offset their emissions by contributing to Conservation
Stewardship Program payments to farmers for those sequestering carbon — for
example, through cover crops. This will not only help combat climate change,
which Vice President Biden has called an existential threat, but also create additional revenue sources for farmers
at a time when many are struggling to make ends meet. And, this approach will
create a whole series of new businesses that survey, measure, certify, and
quantify conservation results. In addition, the Biden Plan will make a
significant investment in research to refine practices to build soil carbon
while maximizing farm and ranch productivity. Soil is the next frontier for
enforcement. From the inputs they depend on –
such as seeds – to the markets where they sell their products, American farmers
and ranchers are being hurt by increasing market concentration. The Biden
Administration will protect small and medium-sized farmers and producers by
strengthening enforcement of the Sherman and Clayton Antitrust Acts and the
Packers and Stockyards Act.
Expand bio-based manufacturing to
bring cutting-edge manufacturing jobs back to rural America. The Biden Administration will create a low-carbon
manufacturing sector in every state in the
country, but not just in cities. As president, Biden will grow the bioeconomy
and bio-based manufacturing to bring cutting-edge manufacturing jobs back to
rural America. This means taking every aspect of agricultural production – from
corn stock to manure – to create chemicals, materials, fabrics, and fibers in a
process that is good for the environment and creates new sources of revenue for
farmers. Key to this strategy will be connecting research universities,
community colleges, incubators and accelerators, manufacturing institutes,
employers, unions, and state and local governments – alone or as part of a
regional pact. The federal government will provide them with significant
funding for deployment of a place-based plan to help their state or region
build a competitive and low-carbon future in manufacturing that reflects
climate impacts in their local communities.
and the next generation of biofuels. Joe
Biden believes renewable fuels are vital to the future of rural America – and
the climate. The Biden Plan will invest $400 billion in
clean energy research, innovation, and deployment – more than twice what America spent to
put a man on the moon. And, as part of this effort, developing the next
generation of biofuels will be a top priority. The Biden Plan will invest in
research to develop cellulosic biofuels in a manner that protects our soil and
water and addresses the challenge of climate change, while turning grass, crop
residues, and other biomass into fuel. Doubling down on these liquid fuels of
the future will not only make value-added agriculture a key part of the
solution to climate change – reducing emissions in planes, ships, and other
forms of transportation – but will also create quality jobs across rural
America. From day one, President Biden will use every tool at his disposal,
including the federal fleet and the federal government’s purchasing power, to
promote and advance renewable energy, ethanol, and other biofuels.
Invest in wind and solar energy. President Obama put Vice President
Biden in charge of the Recovery Act, which invested more than $90 billion in clean energy technology. Those
investments contributed to a doubling of the share of domestically produced
wind turbine components and produced a dramatic decrease in solar costs, making wind and solar
power cost-competitive. Biden will build on the Recovery Act by setting an
ambitious but essential goal for America to achieve a 100% clean energy economy
and net-zero emissions no later than 2050. His clean energy plan will accelerate the already dramatic
growth of solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources.
Invest $20 billion in rural broadband infrastructure, and triple funding to
expand broadband access in rural areas. High-speed broadband is essential
in the 21st Century economy. Yet far too many rural communities still don’t
have access to it. Rural Americans are over 10 times
more likely than urban
residents to lack quality broadband access. At a time when so many jobs and
businesses could be located anywhere, high-speed internet access should be a
great economic equalizer for rural America, not another economic disadvantage.
Investing $20 billion in rural broadband infrastructure has the potential to
create more than a quarter million
new jobs. The Biden Plan will
triple Community Connect broadband grants and partner with
municipal utilities to bring cutting-edge broadband connections to communities
across rural America.
Invest in green infrastructure nationwide. As president, Biden will
make smart infrastructure investments to rebuild the nation and to ensure that
our buildings, water, transportation, and energy infrastructure can meet
America’s economic needs and withstand the impacts of climate change. The Biden
Administration will use this infrastructure funding to ensure that rural
communities across the country have access to clean, safe drinking water. It will
modernize the lock and dam system vital to getting rural products to markets,
leveraging the federal resources to the maximum extent possible with the
private sector. And, it will build the roads to give farms and small town
businesses access to markets and an efficient means to participate in the world
Expand access to credit for new and small businesses. Entrepreneurs
in small towns and rural areas should have access to the capital they need to
realize their dreams. The Biden Administration will dramatically expand funding
for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and the Rural
Microentrepreneur Assistance Program to help rural entrepreneurs. Biden will
expand the number of Rural Business
Investment Companies to help
rural companies obtain capital.
II. PARTNER WITH RURAL
COMMUNITIES TO HELP THEM FULLY ACCESS FEDERAL RESOURCES
A contributing factor to place-based inequality across the U.S. is the simple
fact that some communities are more successful at accessing federal dollars and
technical assistance than others. The federal government’s programs are too
often too challenging to navigate for cities and towns that do not have the
ability to hire highly qualified professionals to engage with the system.
The Biden Administration wants to fundamentally change how the federal
government interacts with rural communities that so often do not have access to
federal programs. The Biden Administration will partner with these communities
to help them fully access federal resources to create jobs, build wealth, and
give rural Americans who live in poverty the chance to join the middle class.
The Biden Administration will do this in two ways:
Create a White House “StrikeForce”
to partner with rural communities to help them access federal funds. The Biden Administration will create a White House
StrikeForce consisting of agency leaders who will partner with
community-building organizations in persistent poverty rural communities and
help them unlock federal resources. This approach is modeled on the StrikeForce Secretary Tom Vilsack successfully
established in the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Obama-Biden
III. PROTECT AND
BUILD ON THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO QUALITY HEALTH CARE IN
The Affordable Care Act was a big deal in rural America, and it should be
protected and built upon. As president, Biden will protect and build on
Obamacare – not get rid of it and start over with something new. He will not
support any policy that means getting rid of Obamacare, whether proposed by a
Democrat or Republican.
Vice President Biden believes that every American has a right to the peace of
mind that comes with knowing they have health insurance and access to
affordable, quality health care. He believes that it’s a right, not a
privilege. It should not be dependent on whether they live in a city center, a
small town, or a remote community.
Rural America faces unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to access
to quality health care. In many rural communities, the local hospital is one of
the largest – if not the largest – employers. Keeping our rural hospitals
open is critical not only for saving lives, but also for supporting local
economies in rural America. Yet, since 2010, more than 100 rural
hospitals across the United
States have closed. Combined, these closures represent the loss of over 10,000 jobs. And, they could mean life or death for
patients in rural communities. Already, someone injured in a rural area has to
travel, on average, nearly twice as
far to get to the closest hospital as someone
injured in an urban area. These critical moments lost in travel time are one
reason an estimated 60% of all trauma fatalities occur in rural
This problem is at risk of getting even worse. Roughly 1 out of 3 rural hospitals are at risk of shutting
down. And that’s only part of the story. Rural clinics and rural nursing homes
are closing as well.
You can read Vice President Biden’s full health care plan here. To specifically help rural Americans, his
plan will also:
Finishing the job of expanding
coverage to low-income adults. Research found that, in states that took up the Affordable Care
Act’s Medicaid expansion, the expansion was a critical tool in keeping rural
hospitals open. Yet, 14 states have still not expanded Medicaid eligibility, and an estimated 4.9
million individuals would be eligible for
coverage but for their state’s inaction. Vice President Biden’s plan will
enroll all of these individuals in a new public option, without a premium and
with benefits like those offered in Medicaid. This isn’t just the right thing
to do, it will help rural hospitals remain solvent. And, under the Biden Plan,
which preserves individuals ability to choose private insurance, these
hospitals won’t be threatened by having to get by on low Medicare reimbursement
rates for all.
Giving rural hospitals the
flexibility they need to keep their doors open and care for their patients. The Biden Administration will provide rural health care
providers with funding and flexibility necessary to identify, test, and deploy
innovative approaches to keeping their doors open and providing care for the
unique needs of rural communities. The Affordable Care Act supports this type
of innovation, for example through demonstration projects like the Pennsylvania
Rural Health Model, which is giving rural hospitals
in the state more flexibility to decide how best to spend dollars to improve
the health of the population they serve. The Biden Plan will expand funding for
these types of demonstration projects, and then accelerate efforts to replicate
proven models to other rural hospitals across the country. And, the Biden Plan
will identify and eliminate federal rules making it harder for rural hospitals
to serve their communities. For example, many rural hospitals serving small
populations do not have enough patients to maintain inpatient care, but those
communities still need a 24/7 emergency department. One approach to ensure they
can keep their doors open is to create a new designation, the Community
Outpatient Hospital, as proposed in the bipartisan Save Rural
Hospitals Act. The Biden Administration will
make sure the federal government is helping rural hospitals meet community
needs, not serving as a roadblock.
Adequately funding our rural
hospitals. To help hospitals keep their doors open,
President Biden supports the elimination of payment cuts and additional
payments for rural hospitals as detailed in the bipartisan Save Rural
care and innovative health care delivery models in rural communities by:
Doubling funding for community
health centers. Community health
centers provide primary, prenatal, and other
important care to underserved populations. The Biden Plan will double the
federal investment in these centers, expanding access to high quality health
care for the populations that need it most. More than half of community health centers are in rural areas.
Equipping rural community health
centers to be hubs for healthy communities. As
president, Biden will establish a grant program to help community health
centers hire social workers or other professionals to coordinate resources
necessary for community health, such as transportation to get patients to
health centers and connections to housing and nutrition services.
Expanding the pipeline of rural
health care providers. The Biden Administration will
use a comprehensive approach to increase the number of rural individuals going
to medical school or other training programs and returning or staying in rural
communities to provide care, with a focus on primary care physicians, nurses,
nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and other in-demand providers. This
initiative will include additional funding for residency programs in rural
areas, expanding theNational Health
Service Corps, and developing high
school-community-college-health-center partnerships to inspire rural youth to
pursue jobs in health care and pursue the advanced credits or industry
credentials that will put them on the path to success in the field.
Building new health clinics and
deploying telehealth in rural America. The Obama-Biden
Administration successfully used the USDA Community
Facility Direct Loan & Grant Program to build
rural hospitals and mental health clinics across rural America and equip them
with the best technology. As president, Biden will expand this grant funding,
with a focus on accelerating the deployment of telehealth for mental health and
specialty care. Telehealth – the use of videoconferencing and other technology
to provide remote care – can be a vital resource for rural communities with
limited access to providers.
For Educators, Students, and Our Future, which will triple funding for Title I schools, including those in rural communities, and expand high school-community college-business partnerships to prepare students for good jobs.
In the months ahead, Biden will release a higher education proposal which will include a policy to support small, low-endowment private colleges that are often anchor institutions in rural communities.
New York State has just
announced that Luminate NY – one of the world’s largest business accelerators
for startup firms in the optics, photonics and imaging industries is now accepting applications for Round III of the innovative
competition. Selected teams will compete for one of 10 available slots in the
third cohort of companies.
The Luminate NY
accelerator, located in Rochester, assists promising optics, photonics and
imaging companies with advancing their technologies and businesses through the
assistance of a six-month mentoring program. Once selected, teams will compete
for follow-on funding, including a $1 million top prize; $500,000 second prize;
and two $250,000 prizes that will be awarded to two teams.
The Luminate NY program is funded by the transformative Finger Lakes
Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative.
is a globally recognized competition and resource for the most promising new
companies in the cutting-edge fields of optics, photonics and
imaging,” Governor Andrew Cuomo
said. “This accelerator represents just one of the many
strategic industry investments New York is making to foster new business growth
and improve job opportunities as we continue working to propel the Finger Lakes
“Our business plan
competitions have proven to be a catalyst for driving great ideas and job
growth across the state,” said
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.”Luminate NY is part of
our strategy to encourage collaboration and provide support to the
growing OPI industry in the Finger Lakes region. As we begin a new
round, we remain committed to embracing Rochester’s spirit of innovation to
deliver ambitious plans focused on the future.”
Luminate NY, which is administered by NextCorps, is looking for entrepreneurs from around the globe who are
interested in solving OPI challenges, including but not limited to:
machine vision, inspection, biophotonics, security, surveillance,
augmented and virtual reality and autonomous vehicles. The winning teams must
commit to remaining in the region for at least 18 months.
for Luminate NY must be incorporated, have at least two full-time
employees and should have proven their core technology, preferably having
developed a working prototype. Once admitted, companies will receive
assistance, including capital, access to comprehensive lab facilities for
technology development, education, and business mentoring. Applications will be accepted now through September 23,
The recruitment for
new OPI-enabled technologies comes just one week
before Luminate NY’s second cohort of companies competes for $2
million in follow-on funding. The free “Light Tomorrow with Today”
Demo Day event will be held on June 27, 2019, at the CGI Big
Tent at the Rochester International Jazz Festival. One company will be awarded
$1 million, with the additional $1 million to be awarded to three companies
based on judges’ ratings.
continues to build on the region’s historically strong OPI industry
sector. Rochester is home to the American Institute for Manufacturing
Integrated Photonics’ Test, Assembly and Packaging facility at Eastman Business
Park, the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics, the Rochester
Institute of Technology and to more than 100 local OPI companies and
17,000 employees who are building on the region’s legacy as a global imaging
For more information
about Luminate NY, click here.
complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive
blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. New
York State has already invested more than $6.1 billion in the region since 2012
to lay the groundwork for the plan—investing in key industries including
photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today,
unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession;
personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing
places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and
Now, the region is
accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through
the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December
2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to
invest well over $2.5 billion; and, the region’s plan, as submitted, projects
up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.
Charlestown, MA – Elizabeth Warren, Democratic Senator from Massachusetts who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, laid out her vision of economic patriotism, calling for using new and existing tools to defend and create quality American jobs and promote American industry. Warren will continue to release individual plans reflecting how economic patriotism should shape our approach to specific parts of the American economy. She released the first plan: A bold $2 trillion investment of federal money over 10 years in American green research, manufacturing, and exporting — which includes ambitious new ideas to link American innovation directly to American jobs, and focuses on achieving not only the ambitious domestic emissions targets in the Green New Deal, but also spurring the kind of worldwide adoption of American-made clean energy technology needed to meet the international targets of the Green New Deal.
The plan is designed to ensure that American taxpayer investments in combating climate change result in good American jobs. The plan makes a historic $400 billion investment in clean energy research and development, and includes a provision that any production stemming from that federally-funded research should take place in the United States. It also makes a massive $1.5 trillion commitment to federal procurement of clean, green, American-made products over the next 10 years, and requires that all companies that receive federal contracts pay all employees at least $15 per hour, guarantee 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, let employees exercise collective bargaining rights, and maintain fair schedules at a minimum. According to an independent analysis from Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, these provisions ensure that Warren’s Green Manufacturing Plan would boost economic growth and create more than a million new jobs right here at home.
Warren’s plan also includes a Green Marshall Plan — a commitment to using all the tools in our diplomatic and economic arsenal to encourage other countries to purchase and deploy American-made clean energy technology. It creates a new federal office dedicated to selling American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy technology abroad, with a $100 billion commitment to assisting countries to purchase and deploy this technology — supporting American jobs while supplying the world with the clean energy products needed to cut global emissions.
Warren’s plan also identifies specific cost offsets that, according to the Moody’s economic analysis, cover nearly the entire cost of her plan: her Real Corporate Profits Tax, ending subsidies for oil and gas companies, and closing tax loopholes that promote shipping jobs overseas.
Warren’s Green Manufacturing Plan comes after her Public Lands Plan, two in a series of proposals as she continues to lay out her vision for how we implement the Green New Deal.
“The climate crisis demands immediate and bold action. Like we have before, we should bank on American ingenuity and American workers to lead the global effort to face down this threat — and create more than a million good jobs here at home,” Warren said.
Read more about Warren’s vision of Economic Patriotism here.
Read more about Warren’s Green Manufacturing Plan here.
Bill Chalmers, the “ringmaster” and
Chief Experience Officer of the Global Scavenger Hunt, launches us on this around-the-world-in-23-days
mystery tour with what he calls a “chimpanzee test” – a test where a chimpanzee
is likely to get more answers right than a human being who has news and
information available to them. The test basically demonstrates that unlike the
gloom-and-doom of headlines, the trendlines are positive and these are actually
the best of times for human society.
Throughout this Global Scavenger Hunt, “A Blind Date With the World” – where we don’t know where we are going next until we are told when to go to the airport or get ourselves there, and along the way, complete scavenges and challenges – we are encouraged, even forced, to “trust in the kindness of strangers.” To interact with local people even when we can’t understand each other’s language. To learn and understand for ourselves.
For me, it is an incomparable
opportunity to see in close proximity and context what is happening in countries
literally around the globe – to examine this notion of American Exceptionalism,
America First; to see the scope of such hot-button issues as trade, technology,
migration and how they have played out over the longer course of human
civilization. (I have a theory that 98% of Trump’s so-called hard-core base
have never traveled beyond their own provincial border.)
As Chalmers notes, it is conceit to
think we can parachute into places and understand the nuances of complex
issues, but still, travel is about seeing for yourself, but also gaining an
understanding of one another, disabusing stereotypes or caricatures, and most
significantly, not seeing others as “other”, which works both ways. In very
real ways (and especially now), travelers are ambassadors, no less than
diplomats. Isolating people is not how change happens – that only hardens
points of view, and makes people susceptible to fear-mongering and all the bad
things that have happened throughout human history as a result. “See for
yourself,” Chalmers tells us.
This is particularly poignant when
we arrive in Myanmar: One of the first things I see upon arriving in
Yangon, Myanmar (formerly known as Rangoon in its colonial days) is the National
Human Rights Commission which at this juncture, strikes as ironic. But despite
the awful headlines, we all find the people of Myanmar to be kind, gentle,
considerate. And a complete lack of politics or angst.
And just after returning home, the
two prizewinning Reuters journalists imprisoned for their reporting of the
deadly crackdown on the Rohingya, were released.
Vietnam is a testament to the
resiliency of human society to rebound after wars and other crises (as we see
everywhere, in fact – in Spain, in Portugal, in Greece, places that suffered
during World War II, and you reflect on the success of the alliances that set
the stage for 70 years of progress, now being weakened). In Vietnam, visiting
the Chu Chi Tunnels and the War Remnants Museum, you cannot help but feel
ashamed at the war crimes that remain unpunished because of the wealth and
power of the United States.
In Gibraltar, still a colony of
Great Britain, I come upon a May Day labor rally that could have been New York
City: Privatization. Nonconsultation and lack of transparency. Unfair
distribution. Wage increases that don’t keep up with the cost of living.
Abu Dhabi is like a fantasy of a
society built on oil wealth, conspicuous ostentation, a gallery of skyscrapers
that defy physics; Amman, Jordan, on the other hand, is the real world. But my
side trip to Petra – a fantastic city carved out of the rock faces, showed how
greatness is made possible by innovations in engineering a water supply. Petra
was able to dominate (and protect) the caravan routes, and the result was
fabulous art and culture.
This theme picked up again in
Athens, visiting the National Archaeological Museum, where I am struck by the
artistry from 2500 years ago (themes and imagery that I will see again repeated
throughout history on our final stop in New York City, at the Metropolitan
Museum of Art) and realize that the human species is not smarter or better than
thousands of years ago, we just have better tools and technology.
But this panel about 6th Century
Greece stood out that notes the nexus between trade, migration, innovation,
democracy and culture and rise of empire:
“The nature of the economy underwent
a radical change as a result of the growth of trade. A new class of citizens
emerged who were conscious of liberty and its potential and now demanded the
right to play an active role in the running of public affairs….The liberty
that was characteristic of the Greek way of life and which governed their
thinking finds eloquent expression in their artistic creations. …Works of art
and artists moved freely along the trade routes. The wealth and power of the
city-states were expressed in the erection of monumental, lavishly adorned
temples and impressive public welfare works.
“Greeks turned their attention to
the natural world and to phenomena that gave rise to philosophical speculation,
formulative ideas such as those of matter, the atom, force, space and time, and
laying the foundations of science…”
But then came the rise of the
Persian Empire and the Persian Wars.
These themes are repeated in New
York City where our “Global Scavenger Hunt” ends. At the Metropolitan
Museum of Art where the challenge I take is to find objects from five of the
countries we visited, and this leads me to a fascinating exhibit, “The World
Between Empires: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East.” The museum
rarely (if ever) becomes political, but in this exhibit, archaeologists comment
on the destruction of Palmyra and other ancient sites by ISIS.
“It may seem frivolous to focus on
monuments, museums when people are enslaved and killed. But to wipe out,
destroy culture is a way of destroying people. We must protect heritage as
It is a humbling experience, to be
sure, to go to the origins of the great civilizations, fast forward to today.
How did they become great? How did they fall? Greatness is not inevitable or
forever. Empires rise and fall. Rulers use religion, art and monuments to
establish their credibility and credentials to rule; successors blot out the
culture and re-write history. Traveling around the world, you appreciate just
what a small world it is, how interdependent we are, how vulnerable our
societies are, and that individuals do have impact. Also, that people
everywhere are more similar than different.
I come back to a monstrously
disturbing New York Times headline: “Humans Are Speeding Extinction and
Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace:”
“Humans are transforming Earth’s
natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal
species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that
people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United
Nations assessment has concluded.”
In this case, headlines are
trendlines. And it isn’t just about aesthetics or seeing animals like the
Barbary Macaques that delight tourists in Gibraltar, but whole economies and
sustenance. It is a matter of national security, peace and progress. It is
about food and water supply, disease, habitable spaces. Sea level rise alone is
expected to trigger 300 million climate refugees, competing for dwindling
resources. There have been periods of mass extinction in the past – in fact,
homo sapiens (us) were touch and go there for awhile.
Chalmers started off our “Blind Date
With the World” with the Nicholas Kristof model, that these are actually the
best of times for human society despite the gloom and doom headlines. But I
disagree: the trendlines are not that hopeful. We may well be living in a golden
age of human capacity, but we must recognize that we now have the power of the
Gods to shape, to destroy or to create. And we seem too short-sighted to see
“Governments must start putting
people and the planet ahead of corporate interests and greed and act with the
urgency this report illustrates,” writes Annie Leonard, Executive Director,
Greenpeace USA. “Leaders must adopt strong targets and implementation plans to
protect biodiversity with the active participation and Free, Prior, and Informed
Consent of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Instead of plundering the
forests and seas for short-term profit we need to shift our system into one
that respects planetary boundaries.”
The Greek Gods may well have the
last laugh at the extraordinary ability humans have to destroy themselves.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a declared 2020 candidate for 2020 presidential nomination, came to Long Island City, where local activists rejected Amazon, to propose a plan to rein in big tech and other giant multi-national companies that use their economic power to stifle competition and intimidate government. Here is her proposal — Karen Rubin, News& Photo Features
big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our
society, and our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private
information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And
in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.
I want a government that makes sure everybody — even the biggest and most
powerful companies in America — plays by the rules. And I want to make sure
that the next generation of great
American tech companies can flourish. To do that, we need to stop this generation of big tech companies
from throwing around their political power to shape the rules in their favor
and throwing around their economic power to snuff out or buy up every potential
That’s why my Administration will make big, structural changes to the tech
sector to promote more competition—including breaking up Amazon, Facebook, and Google.
How the New Tech Monopolies Hurt Small Businesses and Innovation
America’s big tech companies provide valuable products but also wield enormous
power over our digital lives. Nearly half of all e-commerce goes
through Amazon. More than 70% of all Internet traffic goes through
sites owned or operated by Google or Facebook.
As these companies have grown larger and more powerful, they have used their
resources and control over the way we use the Internet to squash small
businesses and innovation, and substitute their own financial interests for the
broader interests of the American people. To restore the balance of power in
our democracy, to promote competition, and to ensure that the next generation
of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last, it’s time to break up our
biggest tech companies.
America’s big tech companies have achieved their level of dominance in part
based on two strategies:
Mergers to Limit Competition.
Facebook has purchased potential competitors Instagram and WhatsApp.
Amazon has used its immense market power to force smaller competitors
like Diapers.com to sell at a discounted rate. Google has
snapped up the mapping company Waze and the ad company DoubleClick. Rather
than blocking these transactions for their negative long-term effects on
competition and innovation, government regulators have waved them through.
Proprietary Marketplaces to Limit Competition. Many
big tech companies own a marketplace – where buyers and sellers transact –
while also participating on the marketplace. This can create a conflict of
interest that undermines competition. Amazon crushes small
companies by copying the goods they sell on the Amazon
Marketplace and then selling its own branded version. Google
allegedly snuffed out a competing small search engine
by demoting its content on its search algorithm, and it has
favored its own restaurant ratings over those of Yelp.
Weak antitrust enforcement has led to a dramatic reduction in
competition and innovation in the tech sector. Venture capitalists are now
hesitant to fund new startups to compete with these big tech companies because
it’s so easy for the big companies to either snap up growing
competitors or drive them out of business. The number of tech startups
has slumped, there are fewer high-growth young firms typical of
the tech industry, and first financing rounds for tech startups
have declined 22% since 2012.
With fewer competitors entering the
market, the big tech companies do not have to compete as aggressively in key
areas like protecting our privacy. And some of these companies have grown
so powerful that they can bully cities
and states into showering them with massive taxpayer handouts in exchange
for doing business, and can act — in the words of Mark Zuckerberg —
“more like a government than a traditional company.”
We must ensure that today’s tech giants do not crowd out potential competitors,
smother the next generation of great tech companies, and wield so much power
that they can undermine our democracy.
Restoring Competition in the Tech Sector
America has a long tradition of breaking
up companies when they have become too big and dominant — even if they are
generally providing good service at a reasonable price.
A century ago, in the Gilded Age, waves of mergers led to the creation of some
of the biggest companies in American history — from Standard Oil and JPMorgan
to the railroads and AT&T. In response to the rise of these “trusts,”
Republican and Democratic reformers pushed for antitrust laws to break up these
conglomerations of power to ensure competition.
But where the value of the company came from its network, reformers recognized
that ownership of a network and participating on the network caused a conflict
of interest. Instead of nationalizing these industries — as other countries
did — Americans in the Progressive Era decided to ensure that these networks
would not abuse their power by charging higher prices, offering worse quality,
reducing innovation, and favoring some over others. We required a structural
separation between the network and other businesses, and also demanded that the
network offer fair and non-discriminatory service.
In this tradition, my administration
would restore competition to the tech sector by taking two major steps:
First, by passing legislation that requires large tech platforms to be
designated as “Platform Utilities” and
broken apart from any participant on that platform.
Companies with an annual global revenue of
$25 billion or more and that offer to the public an online marketplace, an
exchange, or a platform for connecting third parties would be designated as
These companies would be prohibited from
owning both the platform utility and any participants on that platform.
Platform utilities would be required to meet a standard of fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory dealing with users.
Platform utilities would not be allowed
to transfer or share data with third parties.
For smaller companies (those with annual global revenue of between $90 million
and $25 billion), their platform utilities would be required to meet the same
standard of fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory dealing with users, but
would not be required to structurally separate from any participant on the
To enforce these new requirements, federal regulators, State Attorneys General,
or injured private parties would have the right
to sue a platform utility to enjoin any conduct that violates these
requirements, to disgorge any ill-gotten gains, and to be paid for losses and
damages. A company found to violate these requirements would also have to pay a fine of 5 percent of annual revenue.
Amazon Marketplace, Google’s ad exchange, and Google Search would be platform
utilities under this law. Therefore, Amazon Marketplace and Basics, and
Google’s ad exchange and businesses on the exchange would be split apart.
Google Search would have to be spun off as well.
Second, my administration would
appoint regulators committed to reversing illegal and anti-competitive tech
Current antitrust laws empower federal regulators to break up mergers that
reduce competition. I will appoint regulators who are committed to using
existing tools to unwind anti-competitive mergers, including:
Whole Foods; Zappos
Waze; Nest; DoubleClick
Unwinding these mergers will promote healthy competition in the market — which will put pressure on big tech companies to be more responsive to user concerns, including about privacy.
Protecting the Future of the Internet
So what would the Internet look like after all these reforms?
Here’s what won’t change: You’ll still be able to go on Google and search like you do today. You’ll still be able to go on Amazon and find 30 different coffee machines that you can get delivered to your house in two days. You’ll still be able to go on Facebook and see how your old friend from school is doing.
Here’s what will change: Small businesses would have a fair shot to sell their products on Amazon without the fear of Amazon pushing them out of business. Google couldn’t smother competitors by demoting their products on Google Search. Facebook would face real pressure from Instagram and WhatsApp to improve the user experience and protect our privacy. Tech entrepreneurs would have a fighting chance to compete against the tech giants.
Of course, my proposals today won’t solve every problem we have with our big tech companies.
We must give people more control over how their personal information is collected, shared, and sold—and do it in a way that doesn’t lock in massive competitive advantages for the companies that already have a ton of our data.
We must help America’s content creators—from local newspapers and national magazines to comedians and musicians — keep more of the value their content generates, rather than seeing it scooped up by companies like Google and Facebook.
And we must ensure that Russia — or any other foreign power — can’t use Facebook or any other form of social media to influence our elections.
Those are each tough problems, but the benefit of taking these steps to promote competition is that it allows us to make some progress on each of these important issues too. More competition means more options for consumers and content creators, and more pressure on companies like Facebook to address the glaring problems with their businesses.
Healthy competition can solve a lot of problems. The steps I’m proposing today will allow existing big tech companies to keep offering customer-friendly services, while promoting competition, stimulating innovation in the tech sector, and ensuring that America continues to lead the world in producing cutting-edge tech companies. It’s how we protect the future of the Internet.