Alexander for Congress 2018

AlexanderPetitionFlyer.001I’m Victoria Alexander. I’m running for Congress from New York’s 19th district. If elected, I will ask my constituents to vote on each bill using a secure online blockchain system. If voter participation surpasses a threshold, I will vote according to the majority.  My main role will be as advisor and educator. Visit United.Vote to read my opinion on past/upcoming bills and to cast your vote on these bills.  Find out how you can help collect 3,500 signatures to put my name on the ballot here.

I am seeking support from Libertarians and Greens, disenchanted Democrats and Republicans, voters who all have approximately the same goals but different ideas about how to achieve them. My goal, which unites us all, is to try to decentralize the power that has been concentrated in the hands of the few.  When all the power becomes concentrated in a few large corporations, business leaders can behave as if they are above the law and cease to be responsive to the consumer.  When power becomes concentrated in government, politicians can act as though they are above the law and cease to answer to voters. When these two power centers merge, we no longer have a democracy or a free market.

That’s where we find ourselves today. These are the first changes I want to try to make together:

Simplify Legislation.   I support the One Subject at a Time Act H.R. 4335, which will make it possible for all voters (as well as representatives) to read and understand the bills that go before Congress before voting on them.

End the Wars. We simply cannot afford the terrible loss of human life, damage to the environment, financial expense and refugee crises that U.S. involvement in foreign affairs causes. I advocate slashing the military and intelligence budgets to a figure adequate for maintaining a strong defense only. The U.S. spends more on military than all other countries combined. Funding wars and making surplus offensive weaponry creates enemies making us less safe, not more safe. To decrease our vulnerability to attack, we should also strive toward energy independence and decentralize and localize our communication, energy, and food production systems. We need to build a strong production economy at home. I support the Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Force H. R. 1229.

End the Fed. Allowing the Federal Reserve to create U.S. dollars that are loaned to the largest corporations at near 0% interest has led to the extreme economic disparity in the US, where the top 10% now own approximately 75% of the wealth and wield the political power that goes with this. We must phase out fractional-reserve banking and found a National Public Bank, which has the sole power to create U.S. Treasury dollars only for public infrastructure projects — roads, mass transit, hospitals, utilities, schools, and broadband — eliminating the need to tax the people or to borrow from private banks for these projects. These Treasury dollars will be backed by the value of the infrastructure assets that will return user fees. All newly created dollars would enter the economy through the middle class, not from the top. Using Public Bank funds for infrastructure (together with cutting the foreign war budget), would eliminate the need for 80% of Americans to pay income tax.  The role of the National Public Bank would not be to try to manage the economy, nor to set interest rates, nor to loan money to private entities. Its role would only be funding the creation of public assets. I support the Federal Reserve Board Abolition Act H.R. 2755 and a reconsideration of the National Emergency Defense Act H.R. 2990.

Criminal Justice Reform. Decriminalize drugs and end the imprisonment of all non-violent offenders. Focus on restorative justice rather than retribution and require all convicted criminals to perform community service to support and rebuild poor communities. Racial bias and economic discrimination in our current criminal justice system is a leading contributor to poverty, crime and drug abuse. If we fix the criminal justice system, we can also fix many economic and social problems in the process. I support the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act H. R. 1013 .

Impose Tariffs on Imports. Tariffs tend to encourage domestic production of goods and keep wealth circulating domestically.  It is the circulation of wealth, not so much the amount of wealth in existence, that results in more products and more improvements. Shipping raw materials far distances to be made into cheap products by cheap labor is energy inefficient, increases pollution, and encourages over-consumption and waste. Tariffs could once again be the sole source of funds for government administration expenses and define their limit. Free trade agreements mainly benefit stock-holders in multinational corporations, not the consumer or the producer. Trade agreements allow government to subsidize and promote, for example, corn production in the U.S. to the detriment of other kinds of crop production.  Free trade (which is not really free but unfairly managed and manipulated by government and industry lobbyists) not only hurts U.S. workers but can also adversely affect the local economies of trading partners and force migration to the U.S.  The exception for tariffs should be those products that cannot be adequately produced in the U.S. and the fair free trade between individuals for private consumption.

Provide Health Care for Catastrophic Illness. As a civilized society, we do not allow people to die or suffer unnecessarily. This cost of critical care for the poor is passed on to others in the form of higher hospital costs and higher taxes. Therefore we have a de facto catastrophic illness insurance system that currently only benefits a few.  Because any public benefit must be available to all, I advocate for a Federal program, through a Public Bank, that provides state hospitals with capital improvement funds and  allows state facilities to offer free care after the patient pays a sliding-scale deductible. I recommend revising and passing the  Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act H. R. 676 to include a system of minimal fees and/or sliding scale deductibles and no new Federal taxes. (Individual states should have the option of levying consumption taxes to further support health care and the option of including non-profit health centers in their programs.) With a Public Bank providing funds for state-owned healthcare infrastructure, the state will be able to provide quality service at low cost. With a universal health care system in place, individuals, businesses, schools and government agencies will save millions of dollars currently spent on private for-profit health insurance, and workers will not be inclined to stay with a job just for the insurance benefits.

Get Money out of Politics.  Limit how much can be spent on a campaign.  Every candidate on the ballot should be permitted to participate in all public debates and state funds should be used to provide basic information about all candidates on the ballot. For my campaign, I accept no donations. I will accept volunteer help and encourage my supporters to share this page and/or make their own memes and yard signs. Supporters can also donate to a charity in my name and share on social media. Most importantly, no one can buy my vote if I go by a Direct Democracy vote on each bill. Contact the Hudson Valley Libertarian Group to find out how you can help with the campaign. Between June 21 and July 24, we need to collect 3,500 signatures to get on the ballot.  Find out how to download the petition and fill it out here.

Institute Ranked Choice Voting. Protecting voters against the “wasted third-party vote” syndrome could be accomplished with ranked voting or alternative voting.  The lesser evil option hasn’t worked for us. I recommend passing Title I (regarding ranked choice) only of the Fair Representation Act. H.R. 3057.

Free Tuition at State Schools.  Any Federal support for higher education should be used solely for public benefit not private benefit.  I support free (or very low cost or sliding scale) tuition, room and board at highly competitive state colleges and state universities to train public sector workers in healthcare, law, civil engineering, education, social services and so forth. In exchange for a free college education, graduates should be required to work for the state for some number of years. Such a tuition program would also help the state provide quality social programs at lower costs. The program would be funded by a National Public Bank which would provide for the basic costs of operations, maintenance and academic facilities. Each state should have some ability to decide exactly how funds are spent and/or decide whether or not to charge low and/or sliding-scale fees at their state schools. Administrative pay must also be limited relative to faculty pay.

Separate Business, Government, and Non-Profits. Much of our political discourse is about whether the government or the free market should control the basic structures of society.  We need both, but we need a clear separation of business and state to help prevent power from concentrating.  We need a Direct Democracy to constrain Congressional Representatives and to prevent them from selling their votes. A stronger, less corrupt, Non-Profit sector is also needed to provide those services that neither the State nor the Free-Market is suited to provide.
___________________________

Since 2003, Dr. Victoria Alexander has lived in Dutchess County with her husband and son. She is an organic farmer, a novelist, director of an arts foundation and a researcher in complex systems science.

Questions? Want to volunteer? Contact Victoria. Or post your comments below.

NY19 is currently served by Representative John Faso (R) and includes Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster counties and parts of Broome, Dutchess, Montgomery and Rensselaer counties.

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NY Congressional District 19

 

 

7 Comments Add yours

  1. jrothenberg@taconic.net says:

    Presently, there’s a lengthy list of candidates running in opposition to John Faso for NY19. Naturally, they position themselves to the left of him, although, in a couple of cases, I’m not so sure.

    Some speak for progressive change, although with a sameness that gives pause. Save one, they do not address the issue of foreign policy/militarism/imperialism/hegemony, hereafter using the single word militarism as a shortcut.

    It’s natural to think that Republicans will not criticize US militarism, but Democrats are with them every step of the way. When Dennis Kucinich ran in the Democratic primary for president, he criticized it. Democrats rewarded him with about 3% of the vote.

    Perhaps the most qualified individual (in the sense of promoting the general welfare) ever to run for president, Ralph Nader, was an anti-militarist. This was his problem. Being for the general instead of the private welfare. He couldn’t crack the 3% barrier.

    Even Bernie Sanders, running as a Democrat, couldn’t talk strongly about US militarism. He did whisper about it. Not that he hasn’t advanced a left cause, but you can’t be a socialist and an imperialist because scientific socialism is an international movement.

    Victoria Alexander puts the issue right up front. For those that haven’t, I suggest reading her essay, Mother’s Day and the Anti-War Movement, from her personal website. It’s brilliant, says something about war and women but much more. It speaks of a society in need or rearrangement. That has to be stood on its head.

    Why is militarism such an important subject? A clue to the answer is that it so seldom comes up. Not in Washington. Not in the corporate press, corporate network and cable tv, NPR, Wall St., Madison Ave., and when it does come up in the think tanks and research institutions that shape public policy, it is to advance and refine it, not to eliminate it.

    It could be argued that militarism is society’s single greatest weakness. How could this be when it is so widely accepted and so seldom questioned? Simple. Some few make choices for the many that, in time, may come to see them as their own. Because we live in relative freedom, it’s called suasion (Merriam-Webster: persuasion as opposed to force or compulsion). There is a better word to describe what actually takes place when powerful elites keep people under control. Propaganda. Our government and its sycophants don’t use this term for what they do. It’s reserved for others.

    Let’s look at propaganda and militarism. Our government sends young men and women to fight offensive wars of choice — we haven’t fought any defensive ones — for the benefit of a ruling class. This is extremely cynical. How do they get away with it?

    It’s no longer pin medals on those who fight, jail those who refuse, because of the elimination of the draft, a very canny thing on their part. It still works on “exploitation in/exploitation out”. Take these two slogans: “Support our Troops”, and “Honor our Veterans”. Between these is a real hell whereby hidden agendas for war morph into glorification and end with honoring amputees. There is no “national interest” served in taking the lives of people of weaker nations. There is no national interest at all. Only the interests of the few that stand to gain. The rest lose, and lose big.

    We have been fighting non-existent enemies, from the communist menace to the nebulous war on terrorism, the scare tactic of which is to move public opinion away from peaceful co-existence and toward more military buildup.

    Some people get it. Martin Luther King got it and every 365 days Washington co-opts his goodwill, pretending he and Washington are arm in arm. We’re even further away then when King saw it. It’s time someone with real power got it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. VN Alexander says:

      Thank you for the thoughtful first comment. I hope that your comment sets the tone for all future discussions on this page. Here is a link to my Mother’s Day article you mentioned. https://victorianalexander.com/2018/05/12/mothers-day-and-the-anti-war-movement/#more-34495

      Like

  2. David De Santo says:

    I am a registered Libertarian. I live in the 19 Congressional District. After I read your positions on various issues, I thought I would comment on some of your proposals.
    I do not agree with your protectionist position. I am a supporter of free trade. Protective tariffs and import quotas result in trade wars. We see that today with the trade policies espoused by our president. Imposing tariffs, quotas, and sanctions result in reciprocity. Major trading partners are answering our threats by imposing sanctions on U.S. imports. Currently, there is a trade imbalance. The U.S. is a net importer of goods and services. If our trading partners respond with restrictions of their own, our exports will be reduced, and trade revenues will fall. What should be done is to abolish all direct and indirect subsidies to U.S. exporters. Government intervention will artificially suppress the actual cost of exports. Government agencies such as the U.S. Ex-Im Bank, provides credit and subsidies to U.S. companies, thereby artificially lowering the price of U.S. exports. This allows the U.S. to sell its products to foreign buyers at below market prices and stifle competition. Protectionism only results in choking efficient markets.
    As far as controlling the high cost of healthcare the answer is not more government but higher efficiency. The answer is to reform the way healthcare is presently dispensed. This means allowing trained professional healthcare providers,(nurses, nurse practitioners, and others) to perform routine procedures such as physicals, minor surgery, treating colds and infections, dispensing medications, giving vaccinations and writing prescriptions. This would free doctors to perform more important and complicated procedures. Maternity costs could be substantially reduced if certified professionals, not just doctors were allowed to deliver babies.
    Your proposal to establish a Public Bank is not a solution to the Federal Reserve. All central banking should be eliminated. We must adopt full reserve banking and have interest rates set by the market, not by a central bank. Establishing a gold standard would avoid the so-called “expansion” of the money supply. A gold standard would prevent inflation by limiting the supply of money and debt that the government could produce. There is more than enough gold in the government reserves to reestablish a gold standard. Currently, the U.S. Treasury undervalues its gold supply. The “official” price for an ounce of gold set by the government is $ 44.44 per ounce. The current market value of an ounce of gold exceeds $ 1200. This means that actual market value of U.S. gold reserves exceeds $331 trillion! The current U.S. money supply,(M1), is only (?) $ 3.5 trillion. Clearly, a gold standard could be adopted. The Fed and central banking could be eliminated, sound money would return.
    I am pleased to see that you address the issue of high tuition costs. However, I feel that your recommendations do not go far enough. Tuition could be handled by the consumer through the expansion of vouchers, tax-deductible education savings accounts,(like IRAs). As well as tax credit scholarships.
    The focus of your campaign should be on freedom, choice and less concentration of power in the hands of the government.

    Like

    1. VN Alexander says:

      David,

      Thank you for your comments. Let me respond by noting how we agree.

      Regarding Free Trade. We agree that quotas and sanctions are not good for our economy. We agree that central planning is counter-productive to a healthy economy. We agree we should abolish all direct and indirect subsidies to U.S. exporters. I see tariffs, not as an economy management tool, but as a Federal sales tax, as a way of collecting revenue. One of the Federal government’s few legitimate roles is to maintain a border between the US and other countries. Charging tariffs to let goods come in helps pay for the service of maintaining borders. I would be much more inclined to fight for free trade within the US and would work toward making it possible for state sales taxes to be abolished for most products and services. (With a Public Bank, this might be possible). The function of adding a (reasonable) tariff to imported goods is not to protect domestic producers so much, but simply to collect revenue for the bureaucratic operations of the US gov. (This was the original function of tariffs in the beginning of US history.) To want a central body managing export-import and trade balances runs counter to theory that markets that are self-organizing and self-balancing are more robust and equitable. A tariff doesn’t prevent US citizens from buying Russian vodka, Cuban cigars or Canadian pharmaceuticals. If our trading partners want to impose tariffs on our Monsanto corn, let them. That’s their right. Reciprocity is reasonable feedback mechanism that helps balance trade without undue interference. If this means our corn growers lose some foreign markets, maybe they should consider growing something that we need in the United States, such as hemp for biofuel. A healthy domestic economy is one that is more self-sufficient and depends upon as little foreign trade as possible. As you note, we have become a consumer economy (due largely to our manipulative “free” trade agreements), which puts us in a vulnerable position. I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to imagine that, if the power centers of the world shift, the US could be hit with sanctions for our human rights violations–e.g., our role in the ongoing genocide in Yemen or our high per capita incarceration rate–and the supply of imported products we depend on too much could be cut off. Then we would experience some of the hardships that have toughened up the Russians and the Iranians. We might do well to prepare for the worst by focusing on building up a strong domestic production economy.

      We agree the US needs to end fractional reserve banking. (I believe we should gradually raise the percentage that banks need in deposits to make loans until it is 100%.) We also agree that the amount of US dollars that the US Treasury creates should be limited. That limit could be based the amount of gold in reserve or it could be pinned to another commodity and/or also limited to the population. We probably also agree that no new US dollars should be created to be spent on warfare or welfare. However much these expenses may be needed, they would have to be funded by other means because to create new dollars for these purposes would devalue the dollar and create inflation (welfare/warfare aren’t tangible public assets that can be used to bring in revenue). If the Federal Reserve is phased out, the amount of money in circulation will shrink as loans are paid back. New dollars (the amount of which is limited) could be created and transformed into infrastructure assets that will return user fees. Thus these new dollars would be backed by the value of the infrastructure. This is effectively backing the dollar, not with a commodity, but with a tangible asset. We also agree that a National Public Bank should not create debt, should not loan to private individuals or private industry and should not attempt to manage the economy or set interest rates. (Individual state Public Banks could keep government deposits and could make loans to towns at 0% interest.) I see a Public Bank primarily as a way to fund public infrastructure without levying taxes or paying interest. In this respect, I see the Federal government’s role as public building construction and maintenance. (The gov would build/buy state hospitals, but not run them. The gov would build and maintain state schools grounds, but not run the programs. Medical and educational services should be managed by the people directly involved in those services.)

      Regarding health care, as a Libertarian, you ought to agree that the government should not dictate how medical care is administered. Those decisions should be made by the professionals together with their clients. I believe a government should provide the facilities and equipment only, not the health policies. I advocate a system of state owned, non-profit facilities (built by Public Bank funds) operating alongside but separate from private facilities. The public would be free to choose to use state facilities whose fees would reflect the basic actual material and staff costs of the services. In addition the Federal government would be smart to act as insurer, providing for free catastrophic care for all citizens, after paying a sliding scale deductible, but without paying premiums, fees or a taxes.

      I do not support tax-deductions for education or voucher programs which funnel tax money to private educational providers for private benefit. This does not benefit the public at large, and thus it is inherently unfair to tax-payers in general. This is a form of government subsidy of a private industry. As a Libertarian you might agree with me that the government should be much less involved in education. Public education should not be funded by property taxes; property taxes put the essential social safety net of basic home ownership at risk. Read my opinions on education here: https://directdemocracyus.org/2016/07/03/public-education/. I’m way ahead of you in my Libertarian desire to get rid of most taxes, not just offer tax deductions for certain things.

      I know my platforms seems to differ from the standard Libertarian platform, but I hope you can agree that decentralization of concentrated powers is the prevailing theme in all of the above. Thanks for bringing up all these issues. Your questions are the ones that will inevitably come up with Libertarians and I hope that by answering your concerns here, I have satisfied many others who would ask the same things. I won’t comment further on this particular comment, instead I want to open the issue up to discussion to others with similar interests.

      With respect and mutual concern,
      Victoria

      Like

      1. David De Santo says:

        ” I won’t comment further on this particular comment, instead I want to open the issue up to discussion to others with similar interests”

        That’s too bad. I always enjoy a lively, sophisticated, exchange of views.
        If you are planning to be in Hudson,(or Claverack), please let me know. I would most like to meet you.
        Regards,
        David

        P.S. If you would like additional help with your campaign let me know. I am always available to assist a compatriot.
        D.

        Like

        1. VN Alexander says:

          Well, here I go breaking a campaign promise not to comment further. Thanks, David. I like a lively discussion too. I’ve gotten a lot of help from fellow Libertarians putting this platform together. It’s been a learning experience for us all. If you want to organize a meeting of three or more and I’ll come to speak to your group, in Hudson or Claverack. Could be at a diner or library or public park. I spoke at the Claverack Library last year on the subject of propaganda and met a lot of nice people in town. In the meantime, you can download a petition and help us collect signatures. We need to get 3,500 by July 24. Here’s the link to download the PDF, plus instructions. https://directdemocracyus.org/sign-ballot-petition-gather-signatures/

          Like

          1. David De Santo says:

            Okay!

            Like

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