My name is Juan, I grew up in deep poverty, now I am running for Congress, AMA
As the title says, I am a Democratic candidate running for congress in Florida's 28th Congressional District and I did indeed grow up in poverty for the vast majority of my life. My mother was a single mother and made less than $12k/year because she had to choose to either work more to make more money or be more involved in raising four children and have no money, she chose the latter. I do not say this to garner sympathy or pity, but to demonstrate that I not only intimately know the deficiencies of this country that leads to our rampant poverty compared to other developed nations, I lived that reality. I am not backed by any political organizations, think tanks, corporations, or any large moneyed interests, I am independently trying to improve the lives of all Americans, but I cannot do that on my own.
You can visit my website to learn more about my policies in detail at www.juan4congress.com. However, as a summary, here are some key points:
Public Funding of Elections:
While I am in congress this will be my primary focus and I will explain why. Our politics are dictated by corporate power. Since elections are privately funded, the primary goal of politicians who receive that funding is to maintain their source of revenue. Since the revenue disproportionately comes from corporate and big moneyed interest, that is where most politicians are going to cater their policy to.
Growing up in the conditions I did, I know there are a lot of very important issues right now. People are dying because they can not get the proper healthcare, for example. However, this must be our primary focus, this must be our number one issue. Before we can fix anything else. Yes, granted, people are not dying because elections are privately funded, but until the majority of people have more of an impact in politics, we can never have enough power to change the more important issues.
Currently, our economy is in decline, but it has been this way since the fall of the Bretton Woods system in 1973. After the 2008 financial crisis, the US economy massively increased its twin deficit, the budget deficit of the US government and the trade deficit of the American economy, was increased exponentially and intentionally to have the entire world pay for it with their surplus. Paul Volcker described it vividly as the "controlled disintegration in the world economy". This is something that we were still feeling the ramifications of to this day, then came the economic crisis due to the covid pandemic.
Even though we were massively increasing our deficit and using quantitative easing to rehabilitate the dying US economy, we had no inflation. In fact, even after trillions of dollars in QE, there was a noticeable deflation in 2011. The inflation from the covid pandemic did not come from an increase in spending, but from a disruption of the supply chain. After the supply chain was disrupted, it was further exasperated when the US, the largest consumption economy in the world, gave stimulus checks to everyone which massively increased demand. Now I do agree that there needed to be a stimulus, but there is no denying that it contributed to inflation, not because it was additional spending, but because it created additional demand, then there was the no tolerance "Covid Zero" policy from China further disrupted the supply chain. Reducing spending won't improve inflation and austerity will only succeed in harming those affected the most by inflation.
The United States healthcare system is worse than any other developed nation in the world. Our citizens spend more money on healthcare per capita and receive the worst care. Many other countries have had decades of different degrees of single-payer healthcare, the UK being the outlier that completely nationalized its health industry from top to bottom, and all of them get better outcomes. We are far richer and more capable than all of these countries, there is no excuse to continue using this broken system.
The only reason the system exists as it is now is because lobbyists ("American Hospital Association", "Blue Cross Blue Shield Association", "American Medical Association", "Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America", etc.) spend hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, combined, making sure that the system exists not to benefit American's health, but their own pockets.
Homelessness is a massive issue in the United States. In fact, it is an increasing issue in many developed countries. However, there is one country, the only one, that had a fall in homelessness during covid and that was Finland. They have a housing-first policy. Essentially, they get those who need shelter a stable home, they get them mental and medical care if necessary, then they assist them in getting their life on track and getting supporting themselves. Once they are able to, they assist them in transitioning to the private housing market and give the social housing to someone else that is in need of it. This is the type of policy that we must use in the US, our issues with homelessness is a lot more critical, so the costs, in the beginning, will be high, but as time goes on, the cost to maintain that system will decrease as fewer and fewer people become homeless.
These are just some of my policies, but a lot more are on my website, if you have further questions about my policy or me personally, I would be happy to answer them.
Lastly, even if you are not in my district, if you agree with my policy, I would implore you to donate to my campaign.
I am a qualified candidate on the ballot and the decisions made by congress have national impact. As much as I have a disdain for the way our elections are funded, as things are now, without money to pay for things like signs, cards, staff, ads, etc, I cannot win, unfortunately, that's how things are.
Edit 12:00pm 6/18/2022: I have answered the questions that I can for now, I will be resuming around 1pm, I will be unavailable until then (for transparency sake, I have to take my pet to the vet).
Edit 2:20pm 6/18/2022:
I have a few meetings and other engagements for the next two hours, but I will answer more questions later today. I add these edits if there will be long periods of no activity.This was postponed.
Edit 10:00pm 6/18/2022: This lasted a lot longer than I expected, but it is now 10PM so I will call it here, I appreciate everyone who participated, even if we did not agree, I genuinely do!