fresh voices from the front lines of change







To listen to what’s coming out of Washington, D.C., these days is to realize that our elected officials are completely ignoring a deficit that threatens to devastate the American economy, and the lives of millions of Americans.

No, not that deficit. I’m talking about an appalling deficit of ideas about how to create jobs and return our economy to one that works for all of us, not just 1% of us.

Republicans repeat like broken records the same ideas that got us here in the first place. Lately, Democrats seem to be dancing to the GOP’s broken record, by offering ideas that bear a disturbing resemblance to the GOP’s bad ideas.

Does anyone know how to get us back to something like this?

Fortunately, that dearth of ideas is limited to D.C. Rebuild the Dream is creating a Contract for the American Dream, and is asking Americans for ideas. At the moment, there are over 12,000 ideas about how to: create good jobs and invest in a sustainable future; stop corporations and the rich from dodging taxes; strengthen communities by ensuring good health care, quality education, a clean environment, and a retirement with dignity for all. Once the Contract for the American Dream lays out the blueprint for rebuilding the American Dream, progressives will come together at the Take Back the American Dream conference in October to turn that plan into action.

The top ideas when I stopped by the site were:

  • Negotiate prescription drug prices.
  • Alternative Minimum Tax for Corporations
  • Voter-owned elections.
  • Make every home and building energy efficient.

Not only can you submit your own ideas, but you can rate those already submitted. I rated a few, and here are my favorites so far.

  • Medicare for All
    Break the monopoly of the insurance industry and the employee based health insurance system. All people will need health care: Medicare works, high unemployment damages access to care, billions wasted on for profit insurance. Health care is not only a right, it is an imperative for a healthy country.
  • Reduce Defense Spending
    Cut defense spending by half, withdraw from foreign entanglements, eliminate nuclear weapons, refocus defense priorities on peace.
  • Start National bank to loan when the private sector will not
    In North Dakota they have a state bank that funds businesses, they have not had as much of a problem as other states, because the State Bank has continued making loans when the private banks failed to do their job. This way, worthy projects could be financed by the US and the US would get the interest and be able to make more loans.
  • End Corporate Tax Relief in towns and states
    Many communities give a 10 to 20 year tax break to a corporation so that it will come into the community and hire people, but the second the term is up, the company flees, thus leaving turmoil and disaster in the wake.
  • Allow student loans to be paid back with community service
    Allow college graduates to pay back some or all of their debt with community service. Pro bono legal and/or medical services are examples of this kind of community service.
  • Invest in Good Teachers
    Create a national education fund to help raise teacher pay to make teaching a competitive choice for skilled professionals. This will bring better educators into the field and support them and their families in staying there, help rebalance educational quality for rural and impoverished districts, and improve the quality of American education and our workforce across the board.
  • Affordable Higher Education
    A college education is becoming increasingly essential to obtain a well paying job, yet the cost of higher education has increased exponentially. I believe that affordable higher education starts with free access to community college, financial aid that involves increased federal grants and decreased student loans, and affordable tuition to public universities.

But perhaps all my favorites can be summed up in the last idea I rated today.

Actualize FDR’s Second Bill of Rights

We should figure out ways to engineer our society to genuinely support FDR’s Second Bill of Rights: In a nutshell –> the right to opportunity & security.

Who could be against that? Never mind. I already know.

Head over to Rebuild The Dream and submit your own ideas, rate ideas, and share your favorites. Who knows? If enough of us do it, maybe Washington will eventually notice.

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