Running for Congress (Democrat, FL-06) / Campaign Issues

Richard Thripp’s 2020 Campaign for U.S. House in Florida’s 6th District
Revised 4/10/2020

Photo of Richard Thripp Here are the core issues I will work on in Congress. I am a 28-year-old husband, father, and teacher educator at University of Central Florida. I was born in Daytona Beach and have lived in Volusia County my whole life. Follow me online: Thripp.com, Twitter.com/Thripp2020, Facebook.com/ThrippforCongress. Click here to donate to my campaign.

Addressing the Climate Crisis

As a new father, I am acutely aware that the next generation will face the fight of their lives when it comes to the climate crisis. I support the Green New Deal as well as ending subsidies for fossil fuels. The United States must be a leader in reducing its emissions and developing new technologies to remediate the crisis. The Daytona Beach area has been hit by hurricanes Matthew and Irma in recent years, and is increasingly vulnerable due to population growth and development, as well as oceanic warming from human activities. The climate crisis is of immense importance. Congress needs representatives like me who will take it seriously.

Universal Healthcare for All

I support Bernie Sanders’s version of Medicare for All. This means healthcare for all Floridians and all Americans with no premiums, deductibles, co-insurance, or co-pays (except a small co-pay on some prescription drugs). It is not a government takeover of the medical industry—in fact, we will still have private hospitals and healthcare providers, whose main source of revenue will be reimbursement by the federal government (single payer) for services rendered. M4A is superior to existing Medicare (which has premiums and deductibles) and expands it to everyone.

Government, employer, and individual expenditures on healthcare are already massive. Many analyses say that eliminating the health insurance industry and consolidating and centralizing these inefficient and contradictory systems will reduce costs and improve the health, wellness, and security of all Americans. The Constitution of the United States says that one of the main purposes of our Union is to “promote the general Welfare” of the American people. Healthcare for all will bring us closer to realizing the vision of our founding fathers.

States, employers, and American workers will be required to pay into Medicare for All instead of the present dysfunctional patchwork of insurance companies and government agencies. The government already administers massive programs such as Medicare, Veterans healthcare, Social Security, and our military, with overhead costs as low as 2% or less compared to 30% or more with private health insurance companies. Corporate mergers and acquisitions are at an all-time high, under the rationale that bigger and stronger unions can increase profits and cut costs. Private corporations are often dysfunctional disasters of incompetence and graft (e.g., Boeing 737 MAX), and our insurance companies (UnitedHealth, Anthem, Aetna, Cigna, Humana, etc.) are no exception. It’s time for a change, and although it won’t be easy, we need to AIM HIGH—for universal healthcare for all.

I will co-sponsor Pramila Jayapal’s bill on Medicare for All (H.R.1384) when it is re-introduced in the 117th Congress. While fighting for universal healthcare and shifting the dialogue among other House members, I will simultaneously fight for incremental improvements, including:

  • Closing the coverage gap. Florida’s Republican leadership continues to disenfranchise poor Floridians by refusing to accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid. People who earn less than the federal poverty line but above the Medicaid cap are not covered under Obamacare (Affordable Care Act). I support tying expansion of Medicaid to federal highway funding (as we do with drinking age) or similar mechanism to help the poor, or expanding Obamacare to close the coverage gap.
  • Restoring funding for Obamacare health insurance navigators and other outreach efforts to educate Americans, many of whom are going uninsured despite being eligible for a full subsidy of their premiums.
  • Outlaw the practice of “surprise” medical billing. We have all been hit with one of these, which are often the result of such predatory practices as balance billing, out-of-network providers, insurers trying to wriggle free of their obligations, or even clerical errors.

Universal Basic Income for All

I support Andrew Yang’s “Freedom Dividend,” which is a monthly payment of $1,000 to all Americans adults—a universal basic income or UBI for short. The coronavirus pandemic and economic ice age we are presently facing has shined a spotlight on this idea. The cost is huge—about $2.5 trillion per year—but the wealth to fund a UBI already exists in America. In fact, the top 1% of American households hold $37 trillion in wealth—enough to fund a UBI for 15 years or even longer.

Our politicians are bought and paid for (believe me—it was an insane bargain), which is how the wealthy expanded their wealth at taxpayers’ expense in recent decades. They should have been paying MUCH MORE, for a long time. We are the richest nation in the world—only 4% of global population but nearly 25% of the global economy and over 50% of global publicly traded corporations by valuation. It makes absolutely no sense that we should have widespread poverty and such extreme wealth inequality.

When the ultra-rich acquire wealth, they don’t put much back into the economy. The cost of a UBI will actually be much less than $2.5 trillion, because Americans will actually spend the money, paying more taxes and improving their quality of life. The “laziness” bogeyman will prove to be just that—a phony bogeyman used to scare hard-working Americans about purported “socialism” while the rich quietly rob us blind. A UBI is much better than a federal jobs guarantee because it is impossible to provide meaningful, traditional jobs to every American—agriculture, for example, has declined from 50% to 2% of the American workforce yet food is plentiful. At the same time, Americans will continue to be innovative, entrepreneurial workaholics, but will have the security of universal healthcare and a UBI to fall back on. Research says employees are happier and more productive when they are financially secure. Our belief in the importance of American struggle and suffering—quite literally, the AMERICAN CARNAGE our president made a phony promise to end—is divorced from reality.

“Universal” means everyone. Like with Social Security, even Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet will receive free healthcare and $1,000 per month. Getting rid of means testing greatly simplifies administration of these welfare programs and eliminates major hurdles for the most needy and deserving Americans. Wealthy individuals are welcome to donate their benefits back as a Gift to the United States.

Prioritizing Education

As a teacher educator, I know that education is a gateway to success and to civic engagement. We need to support students and educators at all levels, with a special focus on underserved urban and minority students. I support increasing Title I funding for local schools, as well as funding for the National Science Foundation and other agencies that further education and scientific progress. Beyond this, I believe that federal student loans should be limited to higher education that presents a good value, such as our excellent college and state university systems in Florida, as well as HBCUs and cutting-edge institutions. While I have not yet supported cancellation of all student debt, I think we need a refund and moratorium on all interest charges, as well as an expansion of loan forgiveness programs.

Regarding free college for all, in Florida, tuition at state colleges for residents is already rock-bottom. You can earn an entire 4-year Bachelor’s degree at Daytona State College for under $15,000 total in tuition and fees, or even completely free and get paid to go if you qualify for Pell grants. I think Florida could be a national model for free college for all without costing much more than present expenditures. In Congress, I will also support financial education and reining in financial institutions’ predatory, inequitable, and confusing practices.

Ensuring Fair and Equitable Taxation

The IRS is underfunded and understaffed. Tax evasion by wealthy individuals and corporations is at an all-time high, yet the IRS lacks the resources to collect these taxes when faced with obfuscation, stonewalling, and armies of attorneys. Instead, the IRS audits low-income taxpayers who may or may not have incorrectly claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit, while leaving billions on the table from wealthy tax evaders. I support strengthening the IRS by expanding its workforce and appropriating funds to overhaul its technology.

Social Security payroll taxes are regressive because high earners pay very little into the system. Presently, income that exceeds $137,700 per year is not taxed at all. I support removing this cap, which would make Social Security solvent for the foreseeable future, without cutting benefits. Beyond this, unearned income such as rents, interest, dividends, and capital gains should be taxed among high earners, which are typically their primary sources of income.

Many proposals abound regarding a tax on accumulated wealth. The wealthy have definitely not been paying their fair share for many decades, resulting in a new gilded age of staggering wealth inequality. In addition to raising taxes on new income received by the rich, I believe that a small portion of existing wealth among the top 1% should be taxed through new legislation that allows the U.S. Treasury department to take ownership of wealthy individuals’ corporate equity and other securities, while allowing them to maintain their shareholder voting rights on ceded shares. American ingenuity has produced astounding wealth, and in this way, a part of their fortunes will help enhance prosperity for all. Furthermore, we need to tax items that exacerbate the climate crisis, such as private jets, to ensure justice for disadvantaged populations.

Restoring Congressional Authority

Let’s face it—Congress has become known for gridlock and inertia, with public approval ratings in the single digits. Sycophantic and obstructionist Republicans are blocking any meaningful dialog or bipartisanship, with Congress unable to even pass a budget on a regular schedule. The judicial branch, now stacked with partisans, is running circles around legislators, striking down key components of hard-fought legislation. Petty squabbles and pointless government shutdowns hurt Americans, damage our credibility, and could end up costing us hundreds of billions in interest if investors demand higher rates on U.S. government debt due to a lack of trust. We need to restore Congressional authority over the purse strings, making and declaring war, and other duties that Congress is Constitutionally authorized—or even obliged—to oversee. I will act to help restore Congressional authority, at all times fighting for the 99% rather than merely enriching the 1% as the Republicans do.

Other Issues

I support ending American militarism and bringing home our troops and contractors in the Middle East, abortion rights and women’s health, equity and civil rights, the Equal Rights Amendment, voting rights, workers’ ability to unionize, and grassroots support and not dialing for dollars.

When elected, I will open a district office in mid-town Daytona Beach to serve local constituents, as well as 2–3 other offices and a mobile office.

Campaign Contributions

My platform does not garner PAC or big-money donors. Well-heeled donors are almost universally opposed to a wealth tax, universal healthcare, a universal basic income, and a Green New Deal, because it will hit them right in their wallets. My Republican incumbent opponent, on the other hand, takes in massive “donations” from the military–industrial complex, NASCAR’s France family, and other wealthy special interests. These are not “donations”—they are INVESTMENTS in a politician who prioritizes corporate welfare, tax giveaways, and privilege for them, while ignoring 99% of Volusia/Flagler residents who are actually hurting.

A campaign like mine is like David vs. Goliath, which is why your small, grassroots donations are so important and can make a real difference. In fact, I would say Florida’s 6th Congressional district is more competitive than generally known, so you should donate to my campaign even if you live in another part of Florida or a different state.

Please donate online at Thripp.com/donate or mail a personal check to:

Richard Thripp for Congress
265 Hickory Ave.
Orange City, FL 32763

Please include your name, address, and occupation.

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