I believe the federal budget should be balanced over the long term.  It should be balanced by reducing unnecessary military spending and increasing the taxes paid by the highest income residents of the country.


I support labor unions, the EFCA and increasing the minimum wage.


Social Security

I am opposed to privatizing Social Security. 

Social security is an obligation, not an entitlement.  We worked hard to pay into social security and the government is obliged to return our money to us when we retire.  Social Security is supposed to be a separate account from the rest of the Federal budget and should stay that way.

Obviously, I support keeping social security solvent, but social security is not a piggy bank the Tea Party can steal from to give tax breaks to the wealthy.


The most important asset any company has are the people who work for it.  That means that our economy is dependent on having a good education system.

I spent 13 years in a public school in rural New York State; so, I support public education. 

I also think our public schools need to be a lot better than they are, now.  I believe the road to improvement involves

  1. Merit pay for teachers.
  2. Standardized testing.

The formula for merit pay needs to be based on more than just raw test scores.  It should also be based on improvement in test scores, supervisor evaluation, peer evaluation and possibly even student surveys.

We cannot manage an enterprise like public education without measuring the results.  That would be standardized testing.  I realize this is going to make me the villain of every teacher's union in the country, but let me tell you why I think that.  When I was a freshman at Cornell, I was chatting with one of my biology classmates (who as it happens, graduated from the high school in one of the most affluent towns in Massachusetts).  I noted what a gut class biology was because I had learned practically all the material in high school.  Her horrified response was that she hadn't been taught ANY of the material by her high school.  So why did I get a better education from a high school in a poor farming town?  The answer is the New York State Regents Exam.  The teachers (and students) all hated the Regents Exams, but it's hard to argue with the results.

That said, I think some other standardized tests could be better than they are.  For example, a single, two day long, test is a bad idea.  Splitting it up into multiple tests that aren't taken at the same time is a lot less stressful and will do a better job of measuring learning.

I am opposed to vouchers that take money out of the public school system.

I support alternative organizations like charter schools as long as they work.  We should note that charter schools should be evaluated carefully, because they cherry pick students.  Public schools have to educate all pupils who show up.  Perhaps a way to compare them would be to compare the charter school performance against just the public schools students who get better grades than students rejected by charter schools.

I also support vocational education -- not every student needs college prep.

Higher Education

A college is the best way to improve ones career and the country needs more college graduates.  I support the following programs to increase the number of students who get college degrees.

  • Low interest student loans.
  • Work study programs.  Including subsidized internships in private industry.
  • Pell grants.
  • A new grant system that provides all college students grants that are large enough to cover state and/or community college tuition (if we can get this though).
  • A new form of college loan that requires one to pay back a percentage of one's earnings that are over a the amount a non-college grad would earn -- as opposed to payments based on the cost of the education.  This would work by initially advancing the colleges the capital to cover the loan, but only support future loans based on the amount the students end up paying back.  The would automatically weed out colleges that rip off students by teaching useless skills.

Forgiveness of College Loans

The Federal government has approved loans to attend a large number of private colleges and other private educational institutions that provided a pretty much totally useless education and left students with a huge amount of debt.  I believe the Federal government owns this issue and should forgive the loans and possibly make the lenders whole if the lenders weren't involved in the scam.  I also believe the people who started these should go to jail.

I support forgiving college loans for those who go into public service.