Drive Economic Opportunity

Michael's Vision

America calls itself the land of opportunity. It doesn’t feel that way today. Wages are stagnant, costs are rising, and the economic inequality in our country is only growing worse. We need to build opportunity for every American. We need ambitious solutions to our country’s greatest challenges.

To drive economic opportunity, Michael will work to ensure that when the economy grows, incomes for everyone grow. In the meantime, he will take immediate steps to increase wages and lower the costs of a middle-class life. And as a former school superintendent, he will recommit our country to delivering a quality education for every American.

When the Economy Grows, Incomes for Everyone Should Grow

When the economy grows, incomes for everyone should grow. But over the last 40 years, even as the economy has grown, 9 out of 10 Americans have not received a decent pay raise. Globalization, automation, and unfair competition from China have left far too many workers and families behind.

Yet, instead of addressing these economic changes, our broken political system has made matters worse. Since 2000, politicians have cut taxes by about $5 trillion, with two-thirds of those tax cuts going to those at or near the top. Meanwhile, we’ve spent another $5 trillion on wars overseas. We can’t spend the next two decades doing the same thing and expect a different result.

Imagine if we invested in a stronger country that builds opportunity for every American here at home. Driving up incomes for everyone won’t happen overnight, but we can start by making investments to compete in the 21st century.

Michael will seize the economic opportunity of combating climate change—providing new opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities to become more resilient and to invest in zero-emissions energy while growing the economy.

He will work to fix roads and bridges that need repairing; upgrade and expand our mass transit systems, electric grid, and airports; and connect rural communities to high-speed, reliable broadband.

He will make strategic, job-creating investments at home that help us out-compete China in the industries of the future—such as advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, superconductors, and quantum computing.

We can do all of this for far less than the cost of those tax cuts and wars. And these investments will be designed to directly address the fact that too many shrinking small towns and rural counties, too many post-industrial cities, and too many pockets of concentrated poverty in rural and urban America have been left behind for too long.

Michael will work with rural communities to make sure they have what they need to be competitive and that generations to come can live a good life in rural America. He will end the trade war and fix our broken immigration system, so our farmers and ranchers have access to global markets and can find the workers they need. He will empower local leaders to connect rural economies and schools to high-speed, reliable broadband and to drive federal funding for rural infrastructure projects. Michael will partner with farmers and ranchers to create new opportunities for growth locally and globally, streamline regulations, make the Department of Agriculture more accessible, and crack down on abuses by big companies against small- and medium-sized producers. And, his public health care option, Medicare-X, will come to rural areas first.

In the Meantime, We Need to Increase Wages and Lower Costs

Americans turning 30 today are just as likely to earn less than their parents did at that age, as they are to earn more. While incomes have stagnated, the costs of living have continued to rise. Most people cannot afford some combination of health care, housing, child care, and higher education. In other words, they can’t afford a middle-class life. This means for the first time in our history, we are at risk of leaving less opportunity to our kids—not more. Democracy cannot function with a lack of economic mobility for a majority of people.

We need to take steps that will immediately increase economic security for all Americans. Michael’s plan to overhaul and expand the Child Tax Credit, called the American Family Act, will help middle-class families afford to raise their kids and cut child poverty by nearly 40%. He also will expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, ensure equal pay for equal work, enact paid family and medical leave, make it easier for workers to bargain for better pay, and raise the minimum wage.

At the same time, we need to lower the costs that are making life unaffordable for too many Americans. That starts by covering every American with high-quality, affordable health insurance. Michael will work to create a public option called Medicare-X that increases competition, lowers costs, and provides everyone with a better healthcare choice. Medicare-X also empowers the federal government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for the first time, bringing down costs for tens of millions of Americans. To further lower costs, Michael will take action to tackle the housing affordability crisis and make child care more affordable.

It’s Time We Provide A Quality Education for Every American

We must recommit to providing a quality education to every American. As a former school superintendent, Michael knows that in too many places, educational outcomes are reinforcing economic inequality rather than liberating children and their families from it. Some American children, through no fault of their own, have access to high-quality preschool and others do not; some have access to high-quality elementary, middle, and high schools and others do not; some enjoy enrichment activities and tutoring, as well as the advice of parents and coaches who themselves went to college, and others do not. When all of this is true, then equal is not equal—and unequal is catastrophic, not only for students holding the short end of the stick, but for our shared future.  

Michael will work to ensure that all of our children receive a high-quality education, from early childhood through high school; college students can pursue their studies without incurring the crushing burden of debt; more people seeking an alternative to college can pursue high-quality apprenticeships and job training; and Americans throughout their lives can advance their careers by improving their existing job skills or learning new ones.


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