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Our predecessors brought forth some of the most progressive policies in generations. From the Civil War that help end slavery to the Civil Rights Movement that helped secure the legal rights for African Americans that other Americans already held to The Women’s Rights Movement and many more, The United States of America has had a history of pushing progressive agendas…for their time.
The progressive issues of the day include, but are not limited to, LGBTQ Rights, Single Payer Healthcare, a living wage and affordable education. In other words, fighting for the right to have a prosperous life, no matter your race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation or national origin.
None of these ideas are outlandish and we have made some ground on a lot of these issues. On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (5-4) on Obergefell v. Hodges, stating bans on same-sex marriage and on recognizing same-sex marriages duly performed in other jurisdictions are unconstitutional under the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. As for discriminating against members of the LGBTQ community, in many states this is still legal and there is still much that needs to be addressed to change this in these states.
One of the most important issues for many Americans is healthcare. A healthy population is usually a happier and more productive population. Today, people are being turned away from the medical needs and medications they need due to insurance companies dictating their eligibility and need instead of their doctors. Insurance companies do not care about the people that they are insuring. They only care about making profits in spite of the people they are insuring. The best idea I have heard of to date is Improved Medicare for All. Yes this would include a tax on both employees (2.2% of payroll) and employers (6.7% of payroll), but employees and employers wouldn’t be paying the insurance premiums and deductibles to insurance companies anymore. This would save the average American family $3,855 to $5,173 in annual health care costs and would be cheaper for the employer as well. To top it all off, it would provide healthcare for every American.
On June 25, 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was signed into law. The FLSA established minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in federal, state and local governments. The last time the minimum wage was increased was to $7.25 per hour on July 24, 2009. If our standard for minimum wages had kept pace with overall income growth in the American economy, it would now be $21.16 per hour. Knowing this, asking for an increase to $15.00 per hour really isn’t that much. Increasing the minimum wage would increase employee morale and work ethic, leading to an increase in productivity and reduced employee turnover and training. Raising the minimum wage would also boost the economy. Low-wage earners earning a living wage would allow them to have disposable income increasing consumer spending and boosting the economy. This has been proven in cities that have already increased their minimum wage.
Tuition free public college would allow for families that are less fortunate to acquire an education that could lead to higher paying jobs. Increasing taxes on the wealthy, that are already seeing record profits, would allow for this to happen. A better educated population is a happier and more productive population as well. Also, if you remember from the above paragraph, this would also boost the economy by increasing consumer spending. Another extremely important benefit of tuition free public colleges is it would rid students from crushing, lifelong debt. Without crushing, lifelong debt, graduates will be able to further boost the economy through consumer spending.
There are many other issues that Progressives want to address too, but these are some of the issues that are most important to me. Progressives are not the “Alt-Left” or extremists that right-wing media likes to portray us as. We are normal, everyday people that, most likely, hold a lot of the same concerns and hopes for the future of America. We are just more outspoken and active on addressing these issues.
I am a liberal at heart. I have always been registered as an Independent until this year. I registered as a Democrat so that I can caucus for Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Presidential Nomination. I was a delegate for Bernie Sanders at the County, District 3 and State conventions. I am a member of the Ankeny, IA Democrats, Polk County Central Committee, Iowa District 3 Central Committee and Iowa State Central Committee and I am the Vice-Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party's Progressive Caucus.