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Josh Bocanegra

US Congress (CA-30)

California Forward

We stand on the precipice of a technological revolution that will usher in a new era of unprecedented opportunities and daunting challenges. The rise of AI and automation promises transformative innovations, yet also harbors the potential for widespread job displacement, economic instability, and deepening social disparities. To address this, I present a plan for a statewide California Universal Basic Income (UBI), that guarantees $1,000 per month for every adult over the age of 18. This UBI will be primarily funded through a Land Value Tax (LVT). A LVT is a levy imposed on the value of land rather than the structures or buildings on it. It aims to capture the economic benefit derived from the location and value of the land. I propose UBI for the following reasons, underpinned by recent studies and pilot programs in California: Economic Security: UBI provides a financial safety net for all Californians. This buffer protects against job market uncertainties amplified by automation and AI, and grants the liberty to adapt, retrain, or venture into new paths without the dread of financial insecurity. Fostering Entrepreneurship: UBI encourages risk-taking and innovation. With this safety net, Californians can invest in entrepreneurial endeavors, stimulating economic growth and job creation. Alleviating Poverty: UBI directly tackles poverty, providing a stable income that could notably reduce homelessness, food insecurity, and other socioeconomic issues in California. Promoting Well-being: By easing financial stress and ensuring access to basic needs, the UBI contributes to healthier, happier populations, leading to increased societal productivity and reduced healthcare costs. The Stockton study showed "statistically significant improvements" in emotional health among the participants​. In the sections below, I will delve into how UBI can positively impact different areas of society. Better Education For The Next Generation The United States is facing fierce competition from other countries in a world that is about to enter a second technological revolution. To succeed in modern society, we need to better educate students and advance their skills. American students are falling behind their peers in other countries in reading, math, and science proficiency scores. Many Americans lack a basic understanding of economic and financial concepts, leading to lifelong debt and poor financial habits. In addition, there is a mental health crisis among students, which makes personal development education and access to mental health service more critical than ever before. As your representative, I will support: Curriculum reform: We must strive for curriculum reform that includes STEM, financial literacy, and personal development as graduation requirements. This will equip students with the skills they need to succeed in modern society and ensure that they are prepared for the workforce. Support for innovative schools: Congress must authorize and fund legislation to support innovative schools that are at the forefront of education reform. We must also incentivize entrepreneurs to start new schools that incorporate the latest educational technology and practices. Expanding Access: Parents should have the freedom to choose the school that best suits their children's needs without being hindered by prohibitive tuition costs. This freedom will give parents greater influence over their children's education and ensure students receive the best education possible. UBI could play a crucial role in making this a reality, providing the financial flexibility families need to make the best educational choices for their children. An Affordable Place To Live Families and young people are spending more than half their income on housing. Many are forced to endure long commutes to work because they can't afford to live nearby. This is unacceptable. As your representative, I will support: Boosting the housing supply: It is vital to amplify the availability of affordable homes to satisfy the burgeoning demand and guarantee accessible housing for all. A promising starting point would be the fostering of innovative public-private partnerships. Streamlining the process of housing construction: The red tape often associated with the construction of new homes needs to be addressed. By formulating policies that facilitate the process for developers to build new residences, we can effectively tackle this issue. Providing financial assistance: The introduction of UBI will provide much-needed financial support to individuals and families by enabling them to afford housing costs. Furthermore, I propose to consider the implementation of a Land Value Tax (LVT). By taxing the unimproved value of land, we could encourage the more efficient use of land, potentially increasing the supply of housing and thereby reducing the cost of rent. This two-pronged approach of UBI and LVT could be instrumental in making housing more affordable for everyone. Protecting and Elevating Women A woman's right to choose is a fundamental human right that is essential for their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Despite the importance of this right, reproductive rights are under threat, and women face various challenges, including unequal pay, limited access to capital for female entrepreneurs, and the need for paid family and menstrual leave. As your representative, I will support: Codifying Roe into federal law: Congress must take action to protect the right to choose by codifying it into federal law. With Universal Basic Income (UBI), women could have greater financial security, enabling them to access necessary healthcare services, including those related to reproductive health, without the fear of economic fallout. ​Fighting for equal pay in the workplace: We must tackle the gender pay gap and fight for equal pay in the workplace, which is a significant part of women's economic empowerment. UBI can act as a safety net, making women less vulnerable to wage discrimination and providing a steady source of income while the fight for wage equality continues. ​Supporting female entrepreneurs: Women should have the ability to access capital to kick-start and expand their businesses. UBI could serve as a form of seed funding, helping women overcome financial barriers to entrepreneurship, thus fostering innovation and economic growth. ​Providing paid family leave: We must craft policies that endorse a balanced work/life dynamic by providing mandatory paid family leave for working mothers. UBI would offer an additional layer of financial support during such leaves, ensuring women do not face economic hardship during these crucial times. ​Providing paid menstrual leave: Recognizing that the menstrual cycle can be accompanied by physical discomfort that may interfere with work productivity, it's crucial to provide employees with additional support through paid menstrual leave. UBI can serve as a buffer, compensating for any potential income loss during this period. Protecting Our Democracy In an era of growing challenges to our democratic values, it is essential to protect and uphold the principles that constitute the backbone of our democracy. This is a critical juncture, a time when our commitment to transparency, inclusivity, and fairness is tested like never before. Our democracy, the cornerstone of our great nation, is only as robust as our collective willingness to advocate for and enact necessary reforms. As your representative, I will support: Ranked Choice Voting: Our current 'winner-takes-all' voting system can often lead to polarized politics and leave many voices unheard. Ranked choice voting allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference, leading to more diverse and representative outcomes. It reduces the 'spoiler effect' and ensures that elected officials have broad support among their constituents.​ Ending Citizens United: The Citizens United decision has allowed for unlimited spending in politics, drowning out the voices of everyday citizens. We must aim to overturn this decision to restore the power of individual voters and limit the influence of big money in our political system. Campaign Finance Reform: A candidate’s ideas should matter more than their bank account. By implementing stricter campaign finance laws, and overturning Citizens United, we can limit the influence of big money in politics. By also implementing UBI, we would also enhance the financial capacity of voters to contribute to political campaigns. Open Primaries: An open primary system allows all voters, regardless of their party affiliation, to participate in the selection of candidates. This ensures that our elected officials are chosen by a wider, more diverse group of voters, not just a partisan few. It promotes more moderate candidates and may lead to less divisive politics. Reducing Crime and Gun Violence To reduce crime and improve safety in our communities, we need to address the root causes of crime, push for gun safety laws, and invest in new technological solutions. UBI can provide a reliable source of income to individuals in vulnerable situations, reducing the financial stress that often leads to crime. It can also provide a means for individuals to access essential services, such as mental health and addiction treatment, that they might otherwise be unable to afford. As your representative, I will support: Addressing the root causes: By ensuring access to affordable housing, mental health services, drug treatment programs, and strengthening our social safety net, we can make significant strides in crime reduction. Instituting robust gun safety laws: Reducing gun violence is possible through universal background checks, the implementation of red flag laws, and prohibiting military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines. Investing in innovative technology: We must invest in innovations like biometric guns with fingerprint recognition, gunshot detection systems, crime prediction algorithms and advanced body cam technology. Combating The Climate Crisis The climate crisis we are currently facing is undeniable and urgent. Inaction could lead to severe water scarcity, coastal areas being submerged, and lands turning infertile, disrupting our agricultural systems. As your representative, I will support: Championing renewable energy: We must continue to lessen our reliance on fossil fuels. The more we engage with clean energy, the more affordable and accessible it becomes. A Universal Basic Income (UBI) could provide individuals with the financial capacity to transition to renewable energy sources in their homes and personal transportation, expediting our shift from fossil fuels. Creating job opportunities: Investment in renewable energy not only protects our environment but also creates numerous job openings. UBI can support this transition by providing a safety net for those who may need to retrain or move to take advantage of these emerging job opportunities. Enhancing renewable energy infrastructure: We need to concentrate on constructing the necessary transmission lines for wind and solar power. By providing a UBI, we can ensure that all communities, even those in regions experiencing economic hardship, can support and benefit from this infrastructure. Supporting green energy initiatives: It's crucial to increase tax credits and research funding. UBI could foster innovation in this field by providing a stable income for entrepreneurs and researchers focusing on renewable energy technologies. Engaging rural communities and farmers: Their involvement in the transition to clean energy is vital to ensure that the benefits are widely shared. UBI can be particularly beneficial for these communities, often the most affected by climate change and the shift away from traditional energy sources. It can provide them with the financial stability to adapt and contribute to the clean energy transition. Fixing Our Broken Immigration System The US immigration system is broken and benefits only those who profit from its dysfunction. More than 11 million undocumented immigrants are living in the United States. They need a path to citizenship and access to the American dream. As your representative, I will support: Facilitate citizenship for undocumented immigrants: Providing a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US is crucial. In doing so, we extend to them the full range of opportunities that make up the American dream. Implementing UBI could provide an incentive for these individuals to engage in this process, as it offers them a tangible immediate benefit and a chance for economic stability as they transition to legal status. Secure the border: To bolster border security, we must leverage advanced technologies like surveillance drones, biometrics, AI, and integrated data systems, and enhance personnel training to effectively use these tools. Uphold the law: To uphold immigration laws effectively, we must invest into the use of advanced technologies, such as integrated data systems, biometric verification, AI, and user-friendly online platforms, to streamline processes, prevent illegal activities, and improve accessibility. Simplifying Healthcare Healthcare is a basic human right that should be guaranteed to all individuals, regardless of their income or employment status. The present healthcare system in the United States, with its high costs and disparities, is unsustainable. A comprehensive solution should be affordable, accessible, and universal. I'm an advocate for a single-payer system like Medicare for all, and UBI can play a crucial role in this context. As your representative, I will support: Simplifying the healthcare system: Through a single-payer system, we can reduce administrative costs, allowing for greater negotiation with healthcare providers, and bring down costs. Reducing financial barriers to healthcare: Through a single-payer system, we can ensure that everyone has access to necessary medical treatment. By offering UBI, we can help individuals afford any additional healthcare costs not covered by the single-payer system, such as over-the-counter medications or alternative therapies, further reducing financial barriers. Improving health outcomes: A single-payer system would reduce the disparity in healthcare outcomes between different socioeconomic groups. UBI can supplement this by providing individuals with the financial means to invest in preventive healthcare and wellness activities, potentially improving overall health outcomes. Promoting Civil Rights For All As a society, we must preserve legal and constitutional protections that prevent discrimination based on race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and disability. ​Despite these protections, marginalized and disadvantaged groups still face discrimination and prejudice. Ensuring that everyone has access to the same rights and opportunities is crucial for creating a fair and just society. As your representative, I will support: Policies and laws that promote equality: We need to protect the rights of marginalized and disadvantaged groups and ensure that everyone has access to the same rights and opportunities. Combatting discrimination and prejudice: We must promote understanding and respect among different groups and create a society where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Fighting Racial Injustice: I propose the establishment of programs dedicated to reducing systemic racial disparities in areas like education, employment, and criminal justice. UBI will be a key part of this approach, providing a consistent income to individuals in marginalized communities, thereby helping address economic disparities that often perpetuate racial injustice. Keeping Religion Out Of Politics It is essential that we maintain a separation of religion and politics for the benefit of all individuals, regardless of their personal beliefs. ​Our religious institutions have done great things for our communities, as with many nonprofit organizations. However, the harmful effects of religious influence on politics has been evident for a long time. To maintain a separation of religion and politics, decisions must be made based on facts, reason, and evidence rather than on religious beliefs. As an atheist, I promise to prevent religious ideology from influencing legislation, especially on issues such as women's rights, LGBTQ+ rights, science, and education. As your representative, I will support: Establish clear guidelines to prevent religious groups from using their tax-exempt status to influence political campaigns. Protect reproductive rights so that access to contraceptives and abortion services are based on medical evidence and not on religious beliefs. Support increasing funding for STEM programs and promote the teaching of critical thinking skills in schools to help students develop the ability to evaluate evidence and think logically. Promote the separation of church and state by opposing legislation that seeks to impose religious values on society, such as laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Fighting For Freedom Of Speech Cancel culture has created a climate of fear and self-censorship, leading to a lack of honest discussions and democracy. Banning and cancelling those who don't agree with us will not solve the root cause of misinformation and conspiracy theories, which stem from a lack of critical thinking. As your representative, I will support: Promote critical thinking in our education system: We need to foster evidence-based thinking in our next generation. This starts with reforming our curriculum to teach students how to sort out misinformation and manipulative content from all forms of media. Strengthen laws on defamation and cease and desist: Existing laws are often too broad and can be used to suppress legitimate criticism or speech. By making amendments to these laws, we can ensure that our legal framework remains reasonable and effective in a rapidly changing media landscape. Tell all sides of every story: We need to implement regulations for news and social media companies to ensure that all sides of a story are told. Media companies that reach millions of people should have an ethical, moral, and legal responsibility to share content that is fair, transparent, and accurate. Cancel the cancelers: We must discourage normalizing the banning, silencing, and canceling of those who do not agree with us. These actions only deepen the national wounds and do not solve the root cause of the problem: a lack of critical thinking.


Nick Nunnelkee 09/21/2023
I'm so glad Josh is running to push UBI within the Democratic party, that being said, I hope he will continue to challenge the Democrat party to progress forward.

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