What is the real economic crisis facing the American people?
Mass unemployment and growing impoverishment are a national emergency.
Make the rich and corporations pay their fair share and end the wars and military hardware spending.
What is the cause of the $14.8 trillion dollar long-term federal debt?
Conservatives claim that runaway spending is the cause of the long-term federal debt burden, which has risen from $1.5 trillion dollars in 1981 to $14.8 trillion today. But the true cause of the federal debt has been thirty years of tax cuts for the rich and corporations.
Education Is A Right, Not A Privilege
College, in the popular imagination, is still seen as both a time of freedom & intellectual exploration, and as the gateway to future economic opportunity. Yet young people today are increasingly working harder & taking on debt just to get a degree whose value is becoming more questionable. At the same time, universities are increasingly being subordinated to the needs of the corporate world. It hasn’t always been this way and needn’t always be this way. We suggest that in addition to being an important part of fighting for social justice & equality, a high-quality & accessible public education system can be part of the fight for a world which is not based on exploitation and economic inequality - a world beyond capitalism.
Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) favors both the DREAM Act as well as broader immigration reform legislation that would grant immediate permanent resident status to all undocumented workers and their children and would establish an expeditious and non-punitive road to citizenship for these workers and their families. Such measures should render illegal the all-too-frequent local law practice of using racial-profiling to arbitrarily check individuals’ immigration papers. These practices effectively criminalize “breathing while brown.”
The question of pay equity, obscured by Mitt Romney’s “binders of women” remark in the presidential candidates’ debate this fall, remains critical to American families—two-parent and female-headed households alike. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of the gender wage gap by occupation, despite progress since the 1970s, the median wage for women employed full time in 2010 was only 81% male full time worker, a gap of 19%. Not surprisingly, for Latinas, it’s 59.8% of the average white male’s pay, and for African American women, 69.6%. (The gap is considerably smaller within these groups.)
The Federal income tax forms are confusing and complex - what are we getting for our money?
First, a far larger share of our tax revenue - more than half -goes to the military than any comparable country. Our military budget now exceeds the defense expenditure of all other nations combined. Second, because of our reliance on the private market for provision of health care, another large portion of our tax revenue – almost 8% of GDP - goes into health Eliminating weapons programs we no longer need and reducing our more than 700 foreign military bases would yield $200-300 billion in yearly revenues — restoring 1/7th to 1/5th of our projected $1.4 trillion deficit.
In his 1944 State of the Union address, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called for a Second Bill of rights "under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed." Sixty-six years later, his vision for a nation in which no member of society went "ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed and insecure" is yet to be realized.
How much poverty is there in the U.S. today?
Defining poverty by income level is tricky and makes comparisons between countries difficult. In 2011, the government reported that 15% of the total U.S. population, or 46 million people, live with incomes below the official poverty line of $22,811 for a family with two adults and two children. (The standard is adjusted for different household sizes.) Almost half of this group in poverty have incomes lower than 50% of the official poverty level.
Another way of defining poverty is to consider those with incomes less than half of the median income as poor. (The median is the midpoint.) In January 2012, the estimated median household income was about 50,000. Using this definition, over 19% of the U.S. population is poor.
Why do we now have such a large federal budget deficit?
1. Ten years of the Bush tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 have accumulatively cost $2.5 trillion dollars in federal revenues. The tax cuts primarily benefited wealthy individuals and corporations, turned the modest budget surpluses under the Clinton administration into growing deficits, but failed to promote economic growth. Tax revenues remain depressed as even fewer workers are employed at decent wages following the onset of the Great Recession.
2. The costs of the lengthy wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are being paid for by borrowed money rather than taxes.