Long Term Policy Agenda

 
The Middle Class Alliance developed this long term policy agenda through electronic polling of Middle Class Alliance members, discussion at Middle Class Alliance meetings, and professionally facilitated meetings with community leaders.  

Italicized action items are part of MCA's current Triple Play Campaign.

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SECTION ONE:  Growing the Middle Class
Guiding Principles

  • We support a large and secure Middle Class and upward mobility for all, including rural communities and all races, religions, abilities, genders, ethnicities, cultures, and economically distressed communities.  America must reverse the decades-long trend toward a hollowed-out economy with fewer and fewer Middle Class jobs.

 

  • We support equal prestige and profile for apprenticeship, technical training, and college as effective pathways to rewarding Middle Class careers.

 

  • We support the science and sustainability of protecting our natural resources, including protecting rural jobs in agriculture and food processing, to uphold our present health and future prosperity.

 

  • We support designing economic growth incentives to ensure they not only grow the economy, but also measurably increase the number of Middle Class jobs in local communities.

 

Actions

 

  • We support rural broadband reaching every community in our state and nation. Rural economies can produce more jobs for rural residents if they have affordable and reliable broadband access and computer literacy training available for all who may need it.

 

 

  • We support a high-profile report card to citizens from state and local governments each year, reporting progress growing the Middle Class and increasing the number of Middle Class jobs for rural communities and all races, religions, abilities, genders, ethnicities, cultures, and economically distressed communities.

  • We support defining middle class income and measuring progress toward increasing jobs in the Middle Class. We agree that one measure that should be used to define “Middle Class” is household income of $41,000 to $103,000 per year. This is a range of twice to five times the federal poverty rate for an average-sized household. This measure should include rural communities and all races, religions, abilities, genders, ethnicities, cultures, and economically distressed communities; and other measures should be used to add accuracy and context. 

 

  • We support access to education and opportunity for our local small business community members and entrepreneurs who bring clean energy jobs to our city and region through ingenuity, innovation and stewardship.


SECTION TWO: Unity Among All Americans
Guiding Principles

  • We support the principle that true leadership means uniting—not dividing—our nation, state, and local community, even when working on complex and controversial issues in a vibrantly diverse community.

 

  • We support the principle that our economy should create good jobs in rural communities, just as much as in urban communities.

 

  • We support and actively promote the principle that all races, religions, abilities, genders, ethnicities, and cultures, are welcome and wanted in America, in our local community, and in good local jobs.

 

  • We support proactively welcoming all races, religions, abilities, genders, ethnicities, and cultures safely and confidently into our country, state, and local community, and building stronger relationships between urban and rural communities.

 

Actions

  • We support creating a local rapid response against racism team.  This team would be prepared ahead of time to respond immediately when racist actions against local individuals or families occur, such as racist vandalism on cars or homes.  The team would provide immediate support to the family so they know the vast majority of the community supports them, and the team would take public action to show our community that acts of racism are always met with acts of inclusion and kindness, in order to demonstrate that racism is wrong, reprehensible, and completely unwelcome in our community.

 

  • We support placing highway signs at entry points to Washington State expressing that all races, religions, genders, ethnicities, and cultures are welcome and valued in Washington, and rural jobs and rural pride matter to us, in order to consistently and permanently reinforce Washington’s commitment to the basic principle of equality for all.


SECTION THREE:  Reducing Corruption in Government
Guiding Principles

 

  • We support the principle that equal protection under the law is undermined when major campaign contributors have greater influence over elected officials as compared to regular Middle Class citizens. Having such an imbalance of influence leads to passage of laws that serve the interests of major campaign contributors and harm the interests of Middle Class citizens.

 

Actions

  • To level the playing field between Middle Class citizens and major campaign contributors, we support a cap on total direct and indirect political contributions by any organization or individual, capped at 10% of the median household income in the state.

 

  • We support elections that have a verifiable audit trail, including paper records that are not subject to electronic hacking.

 

  • We support full and transparent disclosure of the identity of political contributors and their contribution amounts.

 

  • We support laws to make dishonest political advertising more easily prosecuted as slander or libel.

 

  • We support laws to eliminate Gerrymandering (defined as manipulating the boundaries of an electoral district so as to favor one party, race, or class).

 

  • We support laws creating convenient access to voting for all eligible citizens, while also ensuring voter eligibility, election security, and full inclusion of citizens who have historically been marginalized or excluded from voting.


SECTION FOUR:  Reducing Poverty through Work
Guiding Principles

  • We support reducing the number of people living in poverty by genuinely helping those who can work move up into Middle Class employment, including rural communities and all races, religions, abilities, genders, ethnicities, and cultures.

 

  • We support understanding that some people will never be able to escape poverty through work and providing a compassionate and comprehensive support system for them.

 

  • We recognize that historical trauma, domestic violence, racial discrimination, unequal job growth that leaves out rural communities, and similar barriers are still very real in America today.  This makes it harder for many individuals to advance economically.  We support policies and investments to address this, so all people can share in the American dream and a secure middle class lifestyle.

 

  • We support entrepreneurial ventures as one avenue to work, complete with connecting to potential financial assistance and mentoring, and designed to be of high value to all races, religions, abilities, genders, ethnicities, and cultures.

 

  • We support advocacy for equity in small businesses to assure small business owners have similar advantages as large businesses.

 

Actions

  • We support permanent local, state, and national accounts to provide employment services and supportive services for the homeless and the poor, to help them move up through work or, if truly unable to work, live a life of dignity, honor, and valued inclusion in our society without work; matched by accountability to publicly report total spending, total people moved out of poverty through earnings, and total people moved out of poverty through housing and subsidies for basic needs. This should include a breakdown of different identifying factors to recognize and help those racially, ethnic, and cultural groups that need additional resources for them to move out of poverty and collect data as to why these groups of people’s economic growth is stifled, in order to create solutions for promoting sustainable growth, development, and inclusion in the Middle Class.

 


SECTION FIVE:  Humane and Economically Rational Immigration Policy
Guiding Principles

  • We support the principle that immigrants contribute to our nation’s culture, economy, and Middle Class foundation, and that immigration is good for America and good for the Middle Class.

 

  • We support immigration policies that encourage and accelerate legal immigration, promote Middle Class attainment for all, and protect the safety and dignity of United States citizens and immigrants.

 

  • We understand that migrants seek to reside in the United States for many reasons including seeking better opportunities for themselves and their families, finding relief from extreme poverty, and wanting a better future. We understand that many people immigrate to America due to persecution and threat of harm based on the immigrant’s race, religion, national origin, political opinion, membership in a particular class of people subject to harm, and because of actual or imminent torture or death.

 

Action

  • We support proactive intervention through economic incentives and diplomacy to support the rule of law, basic human rights, and democracy in nations throughout the world, to promote the growth of a strong Middle Class in other nations over time and increase global stability and security.  We recognize this is a long-term strategy that must be pursued consistently over many years to increase stability, security, and human dignity in the United States and throughout the world.

 

  • We oppose taking children from their families due to immigration issues.

 

  • We support citizenship for immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, graduated from high school or obtained a GED, work and pay taxes, and have not committed a serious crime.

 

  • We support establishing an accelerated path to earn citizenship for all immigrants who have been in the United States for over 10 years, work and pay taxes, and have not committed a serious crime.


SECTION SIX:  Reducing Costs for the Middle Class (improving their purchasing power)
Guiding Principles

  • We agree that the Middle Class is heavily impacted by health care costs.

 

  • We support policies to reduce the cost of medical care and medical insurance for Middle Class and low-income families.

 

  • We agree that the Middle Class is heavily impacted by the cost of college and other post high school education/job skills training.

 

Actions

  • We support a tax-neutral Medicare buy-in. This would require Medicare to develop a premium structure that allows currently ineligible small businesses and individuals to buy in voluntarily, enabling Medicare to compete on the open market with other health insurance providers. This would not affect the underlying Medicare program; it would only allow people and small employers who are not currently eligible to buy-in voluntarily if they so choose, at premium rates set by Medicare with no government subsidy.

 

  • We support allowing Medicare to negotiate bulk discounts with pharmaceutical companies, just as private insurers do. 

 

  • We support expanding Washington State Opportunity Scholarships, which are funded by private contributions matched dollar for dollar by the state.  These are scholarships that reach families well into the Middle Class. For example, families of four with earnings of up to $110,000 are eligible to apply for Opportunity Scholarships.

 

  • We support a pay-it-forward model for college loans, allowing student payments to be deferred until the student has landed a good-paying job and can afford payments, and including a pay-it-forward contribution to a revolving fund for future students.

 

  • We support measures to stop increasing, and then reduce, our national debt, through a system of fairly-distributed taxation (based on ability to pay) for all businesses and individuals, where we do not mortgage our future and the future of our children.