United States Senator

DEAN M. BRAA
Socialist

OCCUPATION: Professor

OCCUPATIONAL BACKGROUND: Construction Worker; Ranch Hand; College Instructor; Researcher

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND: Ph.D. University of Kansas; M.A. University of Kansas; B.A. University of Northern Colorado

PRIOR GOVERNMENTAL EXPERIENCE: Faculty Union President and VP; Tenants Association VP; Member of Task Force on Economic Development, University of Kansas

WHAT IS SOCIALISM?

The Socialist Party of Oregon is dedicated to DEMOCRACY as a way of life. We believe in participatory political democracy and economic democracy. Socialists argue that "true" political democracy must be built on a foundation of economic democracy. In our society, where wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few corporate elites, democracy has not been realized. Even Aristotle knew that the basis of power is wealth and that great disparities in wealth would result in great disparities in political power.

Socialists are NOT COMMUNISTS! Socialists are critical of the Soviet experience and Communist China. Our commitment to democracy, with a focus on the empowerment of all workers, is the basis of our opposition to communism and corporate capitalism.

POSITIONS AND OPPOSITIONS:

1. Socialists believe that WORKERS SHOULD SHARE IN THE OWNERSHIP OF CAPITAL. There are over 200 businesses in the United States where workers either own or share in ownership/management. Job security and productivity will ultimately depend on empowering American workers. Worker pensions and government loans could be used as the basis of Employee Stock Ownership Plans. The key to these plans is to make sure that workers actually share in ownership/management. Living wages, full benefits, and full employment are goals of the Socialist Party of Oregon.

2. Political democracy is yet to be realized in the United States. Socialists believe that two developments would provide greater political representation for a larger number of constituencies: MULTIPLE PARTIES AND PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION. Are you frustrated by the lack of real choices offered by the Republicrats? Then support the development of third parties and support representation in our various legislative branches based on actual votes cast for each party. This would result in a more open public debate on the great issues of the nation and also result in a more representative political system. The political "strangle-hold" of the Republicrats is contrary to anyone's definition of democracy! The Socialist Party also supports the limitation and standardization of campaign financing.

3. Socialists believe in COMPREHENSIVE AND UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE. Socialists oppose the profit-driven health care and insurance industry that dominates our current system. This system has made health care unaffordable to over 40 million Americans! This is a national tragedy and disgrace. Americans currently spend nearly a trillion dollars a year on health care in the United States. Experts agree that this amount would more than fund a NATIONAL SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM that could provide comprehensive and universal health care benefits.

4. Socialists support the right of all Americans to a QUALITY EDUCATION in safe, well-equipped public schools that are staffed by fairly compensated professionals working closely with parents. We believe that our public school systems are inadequately and unequally funded. Funds for education should be increased using a progressive individual and corporate income tax. We are OPPOSED TO VOUCHERS because the result would be a public subsidy for wealthier families that can afford the total costs of exclusive private schools.

5. Housing is a serious problem for millions of Americans. We all know that real incomes have not kept pace with the incredible increases in the cost of housing, especially in Oregon and the Northwest. This "affordability gap" continues to grow making descent housing ever more problematic for many Americans. Socialists support a large-scale public investment in the DEVELOPMENT OF AFFORDABLE, HIGH-QUALITY HOUSING throughout the state. The formation of housing cooperatives, land trusts, and public housing programs that take advantage of "sweat equity" could dramatically increase the number of affordable homes. Major tax incentives should be used to encourage the development of quality "starter" homes and public grants could be provided for the improvement of existing low-income housing units. Socialists support the use of federal block grants for a new, major "affordable housing" program.

6. The present TAX SYSTEM in the United States is REGRESSIVE, with the heaviest proportional tax burden on those citizens who can least afford to pay, the working and middle classes. These two classes pay on average just over 20% of their income in taxes. Rich Americans and corporations average about half this rate. The corporate share of total federal taxes fell from around 39% in 1960 to around 17% in 1990, and it continues to fall. In Oregon, for every dollar paid by corporations in excise and income taxes, individuals pay an average of $9.35! The government has created a two-class tax system with the rich and corporations the clear winners. We support a federal and state tax overhaul that would result in a PROGRESSIVE tax system. Residential property taxes should be made progressive by using "circuit-breakers" such as household income and longevity in residence: lower household incomes and greater longevity would be used incrementally to lower property taxes. The goal is to create a progressive income and property tax system. Socialists are opposed to sales taxes because of their regressive structure. IT IS TIME TO END TAX BREAKS FOR THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS.

VOTE FOR REAL CHANGE, VOTE SOCIALIST!

(This information furnished by Dean M. Braa.)

United States Senator

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