Today in Texas the few “haves” have an awful lot, and many of the rest of us struggle to get by. Many families struggle with the cost of quality health care, housing, transportation, and education, while a wealthy few have the money to access all the best of these, and also have been benefiting from all kinds of tax advantages.
One problem is that the payroll tax, which funds social security, is regressive: working Americans have to pay it starting from the first dollar they earn, but the highest income earners get out of it for all income over $120,000 a year. And unearned income from investments in stocks, bonds, etc, isn’t subject to it at all, meaning the investor class gets off without paying it, while workers shoulder the whole burden.
So I propose a tax cut that will exempt from payroll taxes the first $20,000 that any salary or wage-earner receives in a year. This will benefit all families with people who work. At the same time, my plan is to make the payroll tax apply to all of the top salary-earners over $120,000 per year, as well as to unearned income. This unearned income from investments is what Republicans hold sacred because they value investors more than workers. But my policy does the opposite. We’d have more resources for Social Security, shift the tax burden away from workers, provide services at lower rates, and still have the funds left over to help those whom fortune has thrown to the bottom of the income ladder give their families a better life. We can do this by getting the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share.
The Needs of West Texas
As laid down in the Constitution, our government is meant to promote the general welfare. Here in West Texas, that means that the Federal government has to be a better partner in supplying the resources for high quality roads, water, electrical, and communications infrastructure. In many parts of our district, the need for more sustainable communities could be met in part by expand post-office facilities. These could serve as centers of community, support clinic-space for medical practice or tele-medicine, and furnish space for social workers to help attend to the physical and social needs of populations in areas farther from big cities. We also need to support communications infrastructure, including broadband internet access, and an interstate highway to join the south plains to I-20. Better transportation and communication can help West Texas citizens and businesses thrive and engage with people and markets further afield.
Better Lives in West Texas
West Texans work hard, and our region has one of the lowest unemployment rates around. But too many jobs that West Texans do are poorly paid because of refusals to raise the minimum wage to meet inflation. We need to raise the Federal minimum wage significantly. A wage of $12.50/hr would mean somebody working full time, year-round could earn enough to keep a family of four above the poverty line. That’s not too much to ask for the workers of West Texas.
A single-payer health care system, where medical benefits don’t depend on your job, will allow all West Texans stay healthy, as well as freeing up more money for employers to pay their workers higher wages.
Put that together with better support for unions to bargain on an equal footing with employers, and support for vocational training to develop the skills for the high-paying jobs needed to build our infrastructure, and we can have a West Texas where everybody who works hard has a good life.
We don’t have that now. Too many West Texans are stuck in low-wage, no benefit jobs, and lots of hard-working moms and dads struggle for their families just to get by. That’s just not right, and we have to change it for the Texans of the future so we’ll have a society where everybody can share the bounty of our land and industry.