Tuesday, February 03, 2009

You say you got a real solution Well, you know We'd all love to see the plan

(Revolution-The Beatles)

I went to a meet-up today with a guy running for Congress. He came highly recommended, but still, I was a little unsure.

When he started talking, though, I was mesmerized. This guy is smart, his ideas are solid and progressive, and I hope he kicks ass and wins the seat in the Illinois-05 district recently vacated by Rahm Emmanuel.

Ladies, gentlemen, wake the neighbors, call the kids, I introduce you to Tom Geoghegan (pronounced Gay-gun):
In my life as a lawyer I have lived out a commitment to one cause above all – to bring economic security to working Americans, in our District, in our country. That’s the same commitment I will bring to Congress. We’re deep in an economic crisis unlike any other we’ve known. It may last years. We need new and creative ways to protect working Americans, especially our older working people who have no real pensions to live on.

For years we’ve heard the doomsayers: “We can’t afford Social Security.” “We can’t afford ‘single payer’ national health.” One thing we all learned from the $700 billion bailout: We’ve got the money to do all of this and more. At the moment, the Federal Reserve is literally printing money, to give not billions but trillions to banks and financial firms. To the people of this District, the banks and others have gotten their money. Now it’s your turn. Here’s the bailout I will go to Congress to get:
First, I want to expand Social Security, our public pension system, to replace, not overnight but in stages, the private pension system which has collapsed. Social Security now pays about 38 to 39 percent of your working income. In other developed countries, it averages 65 percent. That’s where our fiscal stimulus should be: a commitment to reach this goal, a public pension that ordinary working people can live on.

Second, we have to move to single payer health care program, at least in phases: we might begin with extending Medicare to children, but the government should ultimately be the single payer for all. That’s not because single payer is the only ethical and efficient way to protect us all. No, it’s also because it is crucial to making us competitive globally. Through single payer and expanded Social Security, the goal is to pick up the “non-wage” labor costs that employers now have to pay. That’s already how other countries out-compete us: they have the government and not the private employer pick up these non-wage health and pension costs.
Here's Tom in his own words:

The event today, at the offices of Brave New Films, was videotaped. When the editing is done, I'll post it.

This is a deeply serious guy, with complex, nuanced positions and proposals. While he is totally capable of throwing out the pithy slogan, his answers to questions posed today clearly indicate that's he's been thinking about this for a while. Not a political naif, but a well-prepared candidate.

Makes me wish I could vote in Illinois. Tom will make a great addition to a Democratically controlled congress.