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The U.S. economy is one of the leading economies in the world. If the one sign of all economic health is the stock market, one would have to conclude we are thriving. The real question is who is thriving? The theory of “trickle-down economics” has been around since the late 19th century. It led to the Great Depression and reckless capitalism. It was through government’s protective measures to control and regulate the banking industry that we stabilized the financial markets and allowed full growth.

The Social Contract, with social safety nets like Social Security in the early 20th century - and the strengthening of public education, as well as the post-WWII initiatives to train, educate and provide housing loans to returning G.I.’s, led to the booming economy of the 20th century. Advances in science and technology came about because of the investments that were made in public institutions like the National Institutes of Health, the aerospace program and the public university system with cutting-edge research driven by intellect, not profit.

What we saw beginning in the 1980s with Ronald Reagan and “trickle down economics” was deregulation of the banking system and privatization of weakened public institutions. This has led to disparities in wealth distribution, loss of transparency and accountability.

I believe we must:

  • Strengthen our public schools
  • Make higher education and vocational training free and accessible, with a focus on Science, Technological, Engineering and Math to meet the demands of 21st-century technologies and energy independence
  • Support family farms and provide our farmers the resources they need to get their products out to new and existing markets
  • Fix infrastructure to meet the needs of the community
  • Ask corporations to pay their fair share by eliminating corporate welfare and instituting real consequences for polluting the environment
  • Provide livable wages so families can help make ends meet
  • Reform our student loan system so that young people can get ahead and stay ahead in the Southern Tier