Imagining a Different Year Through the Lens of the Blueprint for a Better America
[This is a special guest post from Sandra M. of New Jersey]
If you passed me or any member of my family on the street, you would not look twice. We are a fairly average family; my husband and I have two children and we live in a suburban neighborhood. The kids are healthy, happy and well cared for; we overall are very lucky. Yet like so many other middle- or lower-class American families, 2020 was a nightmare of a year for us.
In March, my husband lost his job for months. Soon after, I found myself forced to leave my full-time job, due to the transition of schools from in person to virtual learning. Despite the multitude of global and national changes, very little was done to help working class Americans through this crisis. People who, much like the members of my own family, were suffering from consequences of job loss, metal health deterioration, isolation and more. It seemed that politicians on both sides of the aisle were too busy working towards their own interests to do much about the needs of the individuals who they are supposed to represent.
I started working full-time when I was fourteen years old. My father was raising us alone, and when the 2008 recession hit, he could barely pay the bills. As such, asking him for anything was impossible, and my sister and I went out and found jobs. I have worked multiple jobs since that time, paying into a system which I’ve realized recently is extremely flawed. When I was forced to leave my job this year, I filed for unemployment. It has been months and I still have not received a dime.
What does this sob story have to do with the Blueprint for a Better America? First and foremost, if my husband and I had faced the last year with a universal basic income (UBI), we would have been able to stay afloat much more easily than we have without it. The Blueprint grants an American Union job to all US citizens. This job pays all Americans $1300 per month for adults and $433 per child. In my household, this equates to $3,466 additional pre-tax income every month. We are a relatively frugal family, this income would completely change our current status.
The Blueprint for a Better America also aims to end the war on drugs. Two months ago, my father died of a drug overdose; leaving behind four children, two of whom are below the age of three. Three weeks ago, the mother of these children also died of an overdose. There are now two small children in foster care because of drug addiction. There is little support for addicts in this country, making recovering from addictions like these difficult to impossible.
The Blueprint also addresses this problem and aims to end the stigma against drug addiction and extend support and treatment to addicts. When I think about the effect this would have had on all of my father’s children, it is almost incomprehensible to me. To start, there would be two fewer orphans in my own family and an uncountable number of other families who were still intact because of the availability of treatment. This alone, should be enough in my eyes to consider implementing this Blueprint.
The last year has highlighted many faults in the current political climate of the United States. These faults impact the vast majority of the citizens in one way or another. Times are hard, and the changes which the Blueprint aims at putting forth would positively impact the majority of families. Universal basic income could allow parents or individuals to make choices which previously were unavailable. UBI would allow families an additional way to stay afloat. Treatment and de-stigmatization of addiction, would allow individuals to heal and seek help; especially during these trying times when isolation is increased and mental health issues are on the rise, this could make all the difference.
The Blueprint for a Better America doesn’t pretend to address every problem facing the American people today. Instead, it focuses on three core issues, eradicating poverty, ending constant wars, and reducing needless mass incarceration. These three issues affect all Americans; people such as the members of my own family, who would benefit from this legislation passing. By unionizing as voters, we can forge the groundwork to allow politicians to cooperate with each other over problems which need to be solved.
I can easily say that the Blueprint for a Better America would have made my life in 2020 much less stressful, and I hope in 2021 we can build the Blueprint.
Sandra M., New Jersey
How would your life be different if America ended poverty, mass incarceration, and the endless wars? Write us at phoenixcongress2020(at)gmail.com and tell us your story.
You can find more information about the details of the legislative package at AnAmericanUnion.com