I’m Victoria Alexander. I’m running for Congress from New York’s 19th district. If elected, I will give my constituents the opportunity to vote on each bill before it goes to the floor using a secure online blockchain system. If voter participation surpasses a majority threshold and the outcome contradicts my position, I will either change my vote or abstain from voting. No lobbyists or special interest groups will be able to buy my vote because the people will have veto power.
I am seeking the Libertarian nomination, as well as support from 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 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 their own customers. 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.
As your representative, I would not try merely to alleviate the symptoms of problems with new legislation. My first priority would be to address the underlying causes of problems for which government itself might be responsible. The problems that government creates are the easiest for government to fix. For example, before considering increasing welfare benefits, I would instead first try to reduce the need for welfare by removing legislation that taxes low and middle income households. Before subsidizing green energy, I would cut government subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. Before trying to close our borders, I would seek to end U.S. policies that create political and economic instability in our neighboring countries forcing their people to flee. Many of our problems today are the direct result of yesterday’s bad solutions.
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. 2240, which will make it possible for all voters (as well as representatives) to read and understand the bills before they go up for a vote.
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 its military than the next ten countries combined. Funding wars and making surplus offensive weaponry creates enemies and makes 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.
Green New Deal vs Gold New Deal. While many Democrat environmentalists may be lobbying representatives to try to get them to spend billions of dollars fighting pollution, Libertarian environmentalists want government to stop spending billions of dollars creating pollution.
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 70% of the wealth and wield the political power that goes with this. In the past year, under the “quantitative easing” program, the Federal Reserve has pumped billions of new fiat dollars into the stock market creating a dangerous inflationary bubble. We must phase out fractional-reserve banking and debt-based currency by gradually raising the reserve amount to 100%. Banks should only be able to loan money that is on deposit at their banks; they should not be able to create new dollars to loan. This would put ordinary savers in a better position to loan money and collect interest. The U.S. Treasury should have the sole power to create US dollars, and only for public infrastructure projects — roads, mass transit, hospitals, energy grids, schools, and broadband. New US Treasury dollars created for this purpose would be backed by the value of the infrastructure assets that will return user fees. Only those who use the infrastructure would be expected to pay for it. All newly created dollars would enter the economy at the middle income level, not at the top. Using direct funds for infrastructure (together with cutting the war budget), would eliminate the need for the bottom 80% of Americans to pay income tax as well as reduce the need for states to collect property taxes to build and maintain infrastructure. The role of the Treasury would not be to try to manage the economy, nor to set interest rates, nor to loan money. Its role would only be funding the creation of public assets. Any inflation caused by the influx of new Treasury dollars into the economy could be offset by raising the user fees and by slowing new construction of public works. I support the Federal Reserve Board Abolition Act H.R. 2755 and a reconsideration (without the public dividend) of the National Emergency Defense Act H.R. 2990.
Criminal Justice Reform. We need to decriminalize drugs and end the imprisonment of all non-violent offenders. Focusing on restorative justice rather than on retribution is a more effective way of addressing crime. We could require all convicted criminals to perform community service to support and rebuild poor communities and to provide resources to welfare programs. No inmates should work for private corporations, the Department of Defense or any local government agency while in prison, as they do now. Instead they should be performing work that will most likely end the conditions that led to their crimes. At the same time, the prison system would become the mechanism for maintaining welfare programs thereby reducing the amount of tax revenue that is currently put toward these programs. 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.
Pass Ranked Choice Voting in all 50 states. Voters often go to the polls and vote, not for the candidate they like the best, but for the candidate who is most likely to win. Being most likely to win usually means having a lot of financial support from super-wealthy donors, getting biased attention from the mainstream media and benefiting from corrupt, undemocratic insider partisan politics. Protecting voters against the “wasted third-party vote” syndrome could be accomplished with ranked voting, a voting method that allows you to rank candidates in order of preference, and if your first choice doesn’t win, your vote goes to your second choice or third choice. I support all states’ efforts to pass RCV, and at the Federal level, I support the Fair Representation Act. H.R. 3057. Since 2018, I have been advocating for RCV locally and I helped launch a statewide movement called Ranked Choice NY. Please follow the link to sign on to this cause and support New York Legislature bills A07387 and S02517.
Provide Low Cost Healthcare and Full Coverage 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 providing direct Treasury funding (see “End the Fed” above) to build and maintain state hospitals and health centers that will offer quality service at low cost and free care after the patient pays a sliding-scale deductible that would be equal to about what people pay in yearly premiums now. With such as system those who take care of their health would not be expected to subsidize those who do not take care of their health. And no one would suffer economic hardships as a consequences of illnesses that are beyond his/her control. No citizen would be forced to buy insurance or pay a Federal tax for this health care program. Businesses would not be required to provide health insurance for employees. All government employees and elected representatives would be covered through this plan and this would save the government billions that currently go to employee fringe benefits for private insurance. Individual states should have the option of levying consumption taxes to further support health care and the option of including charity-run health centers in their programs. The public health care system would operate alongside a private health care system, and citizens would have a choice to use one or the other.
Maintain a Social Safety Net. A stable, safe domestic economy could exist if government does less not more. 1. Taxing the wages of low and middle income earners prevents them from securing a home, saving money for an emergency, improving their education, and improving and maintaining their property. 2. As Henry George noted in the 19th century, taxing property discourages people from securing/improving a home or other assets. Only finite resources such as fossil fuels, mineral and water rights and land in excess of medium-size lots should be taxed. If people work hard all their lives to buy a modest home, they should not be in danger of losing it when retirement income can’t meet the tax. 3. Government subsidies of agriculture has made food cheap, especially processed foods. This has created a crisis in the labor market as the most accessible entry-level position in an economy has historically been that of the small farmer. Our skewed tax system has made the cost of housing artificially expensive and the cost of food artificially low. If housing were cheaper, as per #2 above, and food were more expensive, more people would use their tax-free land to grow food. A decentralized, locally grow food system is an inherently more stable system. 4. The actions of the Federal Reserve have caused inflation, and by keeping interest rates low, have prevented ordinary savers from earning interest income. This discourages saving, encourages going into debt, and encourages investment in the risky stock market where people might easily lose their retirement funds. 5. Although many think the government needs to create more jobs, I would like to help create an economy in which one full-time salary is more than enough to support a household.
Impose Low Tariffs on All Imports as a source of Federal revenue, not as a means to manipulate markets or to provide protection for weak U.S. industries. If a low tariff on all imports is imposed, together with an end to Federal subsidies of industries, this type of revenue could once again be the sole source of funds for government administration expenses and define their limit. 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 of cheap labor to the U.S., which, in turn, further harms the U.S. labor market. Current free 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 agreements mainly benefit stock-holders in multinational corporations, not the consumer or the producer. In addition, shipping raw materials far distances to be made into cheap products by cheap labor is short sighted, energy inefficient, increases pollution, and encourages over-consumption of low quality goods and subsequent increase of waste. 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 at home. The exception for tariffs should be the fair free trade between individuals for private consumption.
Get Money out of Politics. I do not support government funding (matching funds) for political campaigns. I think state funds should be used to provide voters with basic information about all candidates on the ballot. Moreover, I recommend that legislation be enacted to ensure that every candidate on the ballot is invited to participate in all public debates. 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. I will speak to any group that has organized an event in NY19 and I will accept in-kind contributions of travel, meals and accommodations. I acknowledge that any Political Action Campaign (PAC) has the right to share information about my campaign without my involvement and should have full control over any message it may promote as long as the message is factual. 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 give the majority Direct Democracy veto power on each bill. Together with RCV, this is how we get money out of politics.
Provide College Education at State Schools. Any Federal support for higher education should be used solely for public benefit not private benefit. I support Federally funded scholarships, with room and board covered, at highly competitive state colleges and state universities to train public sector workers in healthcare, law, civil engineering, education, and social services. In exchange for a “free” college education, graduates should be required to work for a state institution for some number of years. Such a scholarship program would also help states provide quality social programs at lower costs. The program would be funded directly by the US Treasury. Government should not guarantee student loans. This practice just drives us the cost of tuition and encourages students to go into debt.
Phase out taxation. There are better ways to fund government. Currently governments tax to raise revenue, borrow against the future by selling Treasury bonds to make up for shortfalls in tax revenues. The Federal Reserve creates fiat dollars, backed only by a promise to repay, which it pumps into the economy so that the governments can tax this money as it circulates. Then governments spend money into the economy through their programs and tax that money as it circulates. This is an inefficient system. As described above, instead of taxing: 1. The U. S. Treasury could create funds directly to build public infrastructure assets. 2. Federal, state or local governments could charge minimal fees to use this infrastructure. 3. The Federal government could charge minimal flat tariffs on all imports. 4. If, necessary to control inflation and/or to lessen wealth inequality, governments could continue to levy a progressive tax on the top 10% of income and/or the top 10% of inheritance income; with such as tax, donations to charity should be 100% deductible. 5. Consumption taxes could be levied only on those products that degrade public health. 6. And finally, I would seek to make it possible for states to phase out property taxes on all capital improvements and allow each family to own a medium sized residential or commercial property tax free; only land, in excess of the medium, and other finite resources, like mineral or water rights, should be taxed, per Henry George’s idea. If only these six means of funding government are used, then only those benefiting from public programs would tend to pay for them and participation in public programs and services would be voluntary. In addition, while the U.S. dollar should be the only form of legal tender for government services, other forms of legal tender for all other kinds of transactions should be permitted. This would prevent the public from suffering the involuntary “tax” of inflation if the Treasury created a surplus of U.S. dollars.
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 also need a stronger non-profit sector to provide those services, mainly having to do with our intellectual life and access to information, that neither the state nor the free market is suited to provide. For example programs in education, culture, scientific research and journalism are best supported by non-profits, not government or business. Federal, state, and local governments should primarily be concerned with enforcing the law and operating as a construction and maintenance department for public infrastructure, building, equipping and maintaining transportation systems, communication systems, and energy grids, as well as public hospitals and schools. I do not see a role for government in running those systems or institutions. Instead, the people who use and manage the systems should have local democratic control of them and run them like non-profits or cooperative corporations.
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 and self-organization. This research informs her theory of free markets and decentralized government. She is currently serving as a Fulbright Scholar in St Petersburg, Russia, working on articulating the differences between biological intelligence and artificial intelligence. As part of the U. S. State Department, the Fulbright Program has the mission to use intellectual exchange as a path toward peace.
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NY19 is currently served by Representative Antonio Delgado (D) and includes Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster counties and parts of Broome, Dutchess, Montgomery and Rensselaer counties.