The World That We Want

By Tim Canova

It is not enough to criticize the corporate cronyism in our politics. There’s so much we must confront everyday against the predatory corporate agenda of Washington political insiders that we often overlook how important it is to articulate our own positive agenda for progressive reform.

Hands Across the Sand in Hollywood Beach, Florida.

According to the laws of attraction, if we want something, we must first visualize it and give it expression. “The world that we want” is one in which all men and women are provided equal opportunities to develop and actualize their full human potentials. The late great American psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a theory of psychological health and happiness predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in order of priority from the most pressing basic physiological needs for survival, health, and well-being to the higher needs of social inclusion, self-esteem, and self-actualization. These insights explain why we must protect those who are most vulnerable and threatened by exploitation, including women, children, the elderly, refugees, and our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. It’s also why we must demand Medicare for All universal healthcare coverage, Jobs for All for genuine full employment policies, protection of our drinking water and food quality, and huge investments in essential public services, from public education and public safety to housing, infrastructure, and renewable energies.

Your contributions are crucial to supporting this progressive agenda. I have pledged to take no corporate money from any political action committees (PACs) or SuperPACs. We rely entirely on small donations from people like you. That’s why you can always count on me to stand with you and the 99 percent!

In 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt called for an Economic Bill of Rights to provide all Americans with the practical ability to meet both their basic and higher needs. As Roosevelt said, we cannot be content “if some fraction of our people — whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth — is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.” Unfortunately, today there are still millions of people across our country without adequate access to healthcare, without an opportunity for an affordable quality education, without decent paying jobs, and without basic security or even clean drinking water.

We need a progressive agenda to update the economic rights proposed by Roosevelt. For instance, the right to a useful and decent paying job requires reforms in corporate governance to ensure a fairer distribution of corporate earnings, a rebalancing of our trade relations away from deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and requiring corporate social responsibility in exchange for the trillions of dollars in public subsidies to the largest corporations and Wall Street banks. It requires minimum wage and maximum salary standards to reduce the enormous disparities in compensation between CEOs and non-management workers in firms benefiting from trillions of dollars in federal contracts. And it requires support for and protection of workers’ rights to organize in unions and bargain collectively.

Likewise, Roosevelt spoke about the right of every businessman and businesswoman “large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home and abroad.” Today, that means reinvigorating enforcement of the nation’s anti-trust laws to confront the huge Wall Street banks and monopolies that exploit consumers and stifle family-owned small businesses. It means creating public banks and bolstering community banks to channel credit to Main Street enterprises. And it means creating a federal infrastructure bank and reforming the Federal Reserve so that it is never again dominated by private bankers to the exclusion of every other diverse interest in our society.

There’s much more to our progressive agenda, from helping rebuild public education, providing opportunities for national civilian service to our youth in exchange for tuition-free higher education, ending the racially discriminatory drug war and reforming our criminal justice system, ending our reliance on fossil fuels while providing a green New Deal to convert our economy to solar, wind and other renewable and sustainable energy sources.

Finally, none of this agenda will be possible unless we reduce the influence of corporate and billionaire money in our politics. We need to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that says corporations are people with a 1st Amendment right to flood our political system with corporate cash. We need a Move to Amend the Constitution to overturn this decision. And we need public financing of elections, and a requirement for “Free TV Airtime” for candidates in exchange for granting broadcasters the privilege to use our public airwaves. And we need much more progressive tax rates so the super rich can no longer buy enormous influence in Washington, DC and state capitals.

In addition to these political reforms, we need to ensure integrity in our elections so that the vote counting is transparent and verifiable. This means moving to systems of paper ballots counted by hand in public, or open-source electronic voting systems.

For more details on our People’s Agenda, please visit our website’s issues page at TimCanova.com.

The world that we want must be believed to be seen. With your help and support, we will keep the faith and never stop working for our progressive ideals.