2. PEOPLE FIRST: THE NEW TALENT ECONOMY
Together, we can rebuild and upgrade the American Dream. In tech circles we call this process a “2.0 iteration”. Ours will be a multi-partisan effort that incorporates the best ideas and people from all corners of the political spectrum: Democratic, Libertarian, Progressive and Conservative. There is no “us” versus “them” in this vision. We will work together for the common good—even when we disagree. Our campaign will be positive, focused on inspiring and engaging young people. Our goal will be to move the Democratic Party toward becoming more pro-freedom, pro-liberation, pro-innovation, pro-growth, and pro-technology.
Here are seven concrete ways I propose we put people first in the New Talent Economy.
America’s greatest strength is its people, but our education and workforce systems haven’t been upgraded in decades. College is too expensive. Our K-12 curriculum needs to be more project-based and connected to the real world. Students need to be engaged and empowered to find purpose, found companies, develop missions, and learn 21st century skills. I promote embracing alternate forms of postsecondary education and credentialing that are lower in price, higher in return, and more workforce-aligned than traditional higher education. While the college-for-all boon of the last fifteen years has had certain advantages, and the undergraduate degree remains the gold standard, the financial incentives of higher education have led to millions of young Americans drowning under $1.8 trillion in student debt, and smart new policies are needed to reduce the cost of college and solve this debt crisis. As someone who has worked in this industry for a decade, I have some innovative ideas. Technology can and should empower new ways of learning and preparing for future success. This administration plans to introduce specific programs to that end. We cannot afford to waste time with so-called culture wars. We must push back against the dangerous and antiquated practice of book banning. I support rapidly implementing personalized learning powered by technology in America’s public schools and implementing policies that encourage states to give every teacher a 25% raise. If I could I would throw educators a ticker-tape parade in every county in America, because our teachers are the unsung heroes who are inspiring our next great generation of leaders.
Our broken immigration system hasn’t been upgraded in forty years. As a nation of immigrants, Americans should embrace our diverse heritage. I propose a talent-based immigration system to efficiently welcome new Americans committed to our ideals and contributing to our economy. This entails rewriting our immigration laws to be more like the laws of Australia and Canada. Simultaneously, we must enforce existing laws to secure our borders, benefiting both communities and aspiring immigrants. Refugee and asylum standards need humane yet measured regulations, prioritizing support and application processes in neighboring countries. We must simultaneously disincentivize illegal and unsafe activities like human trafficking, under-the-table employment, and other forms of modern enslavement while attracting the world's best and brightest. The Statue of Liberty's call for the "tired, poor huddled masses yearning to breathe free" should guide a system balancing humanitarianism with economic interests. Achieving this will require significant effort, but it's feasible and crucial.
This nation deserves a better, more efficient medical system. Americans live five years less on average while spending twice as much as citizens of Canada, Britain, or Australia on healthcare. This is unacceptable. We need to upgrade Obamacare and make it work for more middle-class Americans, especially those who own or work for small businesses. In addition, I will propose we implement “Medicare For More”, allowing anyone 50 years old or older the ability to buy into Medicare for the price of a Gold or Silver Obamacare Plan. Priced correctly, Medicare For More can help solve Medicare’s long-term financial woes and reduce the deficit. Additionally, we need to increase transparency about employer spending on health care and mandate that Flexible Savings Accounts roll over from year to year to incentivize innovation across sectors. When consumer-based, community-focused clinical care grows we all win.
America needs a complete re-think on crime. On the one hand, our nation—and our large cities especially—are not doing enough to reduce violent crime by rapidly arresting and prosecuting criminals. Nor are we doing enough to implement evidence-based policies that we know can attack the root causes of illegal activities at their source like Arne Duncan’s CRED effort in Chicago. Our prison system has become a revolving door of recidivism, unequally targeting people of color in a $10.3 billion industry. We need to invest more in rehabilitation and second chances for the millions of imprisoned Americans. I propose we increase funding for solving violent crimes, mandate police officer training in de-escalation, and encourage innovative new models that enable unarmed “police social workers” to resolve non-violent issues like homelessness, mental illness, and the like.
I believe each American should maintain the legal right to enjoy sovereign, inalienable human rights, both social and economic: freedom of choice, freedom to love, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of (or from) religion. I am also in favor of protecting LGBTQ+ rights at the federal level. I believe all citizens should have freedom of autonomy over their own bodies and who they choose to love. I am firm in my conviction that the federal government has no business trying to dictate the personal lives of its citizens. With this level of freedom, American democracy will not only survive, but thrive.
To unlock the full economic potential of America, we need to recognize that childcare is as essential an element of economic infrastructure as broadband, quality roads and utilities, and good schools. In today’s economy, jobs follow talent; employers want to be in places where people want to live. Workers want to live where they can access, at an affordable price point, quality care options from birth through high school. Childcare is the ultimate multigenerational support—it puts each child on the road to educational (and professional) achievement while allowing the adults in their lives to lead an economically productive life. Childcare facilitates economic growth in communities and spurs individual economic mobility and security. I propose increasing financial supports to childcare providers to keep costs to families low. Many encouraging practices we are seeing in the states should be emulated more broadly, from encouraging employers to partner with community-based care providers in on-site or near-site care and expanding dependent care tax credits to implementing shared cost models for care like the ones in Michigan and Kentucky.
I’m pleased that the DoD has some programs to help veterans in transition, but we need to do more. Too many of these programs are understaffed. It’s gotten harder for our returning men and women in uniform to be successful in their post-military lives. Bureaucratic hurdles abound. While protecting & simplifying Skillbridge as a government program, we need to expand services for organizations like Bunker Labs, where they support veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs. Supporting entrepreneurship helps get veterans and military spouses financially situated. Too often it’s hard to get a job due to trouble translating skills, resume gaps, and military spouse licensure issues. My people-first, talent-focused administration will help to change all that. When Biden signed the Military Licensing Relief Act in January 2023, it seemed like a good thing—but putting it into practice with the states has proven to be a major challenge. Military spouses are still struggling. My administration will honor those who serve by increasing veteran transition resources in both public and private sectors, including COMMIT Foundation, New Politics, Hiring Our Heroes, Zero Mils, and Hill Vets.