Economy

People who work hard should be able to afford a decent life.

That is the guiding principle of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s economic policies.

It’s hard to believe that once upon a time, a blue-collar worker with a high school education could support a family, take vacations, and even save for retirement. Technology has made our productivity many times higher — so why is life poorer, not richer, than in the 1960s? Why do people just accept that life will get slowly worse?

Kennedy does not accept it. We can restore the American middle class by reversing the missteps of the last 50 years. A massive military machine has nearly bankrupted this country. Rampant corruption in Washington has put corporations in charge, enriching the wealthiest as working people have dropped out of the middle class. Official unemployment is low — but most of the new jobs are in the low-pay service sector. Wealth inequality in the country is at a 100-year high. More than 60% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, with no savings for an emergency. Take-home pay after inflation and taxes has fallen 9% since Biden took office.

Under the Biden administration, the price of an average home has risen from $250,000 to around $400,000, and mortgage rates have more than doubled. Rents have followed the trend, putting more and more people on the edge of catastrophe.

But we can turn it around. Being able to afford a decent life doesn’t mean working more hours. It means higher pay and lower bills.

Here is what Kennedy will do to make that a reality:

  1. Raise the minimum wage to $15, which is the equivalent to its 1967 level.
  2. Prosecute union-busting corporations so that labor can organize and negotiate fair wages.
  3. Expand free childcare to millions of families with programs like that pioneered by the state of New Mexico.
  4. Drop housing costs by $1000 per family and make home ownership affordable by backing 3% home mortgages with tax-free bonds. 
  5. Cut energy prices by restricting natural gas exports.
  6. Support small businesses by redirecting regulatory scrutiny onto large corporations.
  7. Secure the border and bring illegal immigration to a halt, so that undocumented migrants won’t undercut wages.
  8. Negotiate trade deals that prevent low-wage countries from competing with American workers in a “race to the bottom.” 
  9. Rein in military spending and use the resources to fund infrastructure, health care, higher education, child care, and domestic prosperity.
  10. Reverse the chronic disease epidemic that is a $3.7 trillion drag on families and the American economy. 
  11. Clean out the corruption in Washington, D.C., which funnels so much of our nation’s wealth to giant corporations and billionaires.
  12. Establish addiction healing centers on organic farms across the country.
  13. Make student debt dischargeable in bankruptcy and cut interest rates on student loans to zero.
  14. Cut drug costs by half to bring them in line with other nations. 

People always ask, “How are we going to pay for all this?” The answer is simple. First is to end the military adventures and regime-change wars, like the one in Ukraine. The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya already cost us over $8 trillion. That’s $90,000 per family of four. That’s enough to pay off all medical debt, all credit card debt, provide free childcare, feed every hungry child, repair our infrastructure, and make college tuition free — with money left over. That’s enough to make social security solvent for another 30 years. 

Second is to end the corruption in Washington, the corporate giveaways, the boondoggles, the bailouts of the too-big-to-fail that leave the little guy at the mercy of the market. Corporations right now are sitting on $8 trillion in cash. Their contribution to tax revenues was 33% in the 1950s — it is 10% today. It’s high time they paid their fair share. 

Other Presidents have tinkered on the edges, but Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will make the deep changes necessary to put the economy on a sound footing. The broad prosperity of the Eisenhower and JFK era can be ours again. It is just a shift of priorities away.