Dear Tenant Friend,
Why has the New Jersey Tenants Organization (NJTO) endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders over his opponent in the Democratic Primary, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?
First and foremost, Hillary Clinton is not endorsable because she was paid $225,000 by the National Multi Housing Council to give them a speech in April of 2013. This is the extremely powerful group that represents landlords on the national level. No transcript needed. End of story.
But why endorse Bernie? Here's why:
• Bernie only takes small campaign contributions from individuals like you and me. No Super PACs. No Fat Cats. No power brokers. Just you and me. And he supports Public Financing of political campaigns, which the NJTO has pushed for 47 years. The only reason landlords have so much power and influence over all levels of government is that they are extremely wealthy and give loads of money to politicians, usually in the form of campaign contributions. We believe that each tenant should have the same influence over government as each landlord. Unfortunately, money talks in this country, and while we may have one person, one vote, those with lots of money to spend, like landlords, have much more power. It is a corrupt system. The central theme of Bernie's campaign is to change that system, and he does it by example when he only accepts small donations. No one else has ever done this running for President.
• Bernie supports strong local rent control. Bernie grew up in a rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn. Without rent control, his family would probably not have made it. He understands the need for rent control.
• Bernie supports real federal funding of affordable housing for low and moderate income tenants.
• Bernie supports the best way to fix the long term problem with the funding of Social Security (there is no short term problem) – eliminate the "CAP" on the Social Security payroll tax (FICA) for income over $250,000 a year, making the rich and super-rich pay their fair share. Poof – no more problem – ever. This would also allow Social Security benefits to actually be increased! So many tenants depend on Social Security for their economic survival. Without it, many of us simply could not pay the rent.
• Bernie supports a realistic minimum wage of $15 an hour. Still not enough to pay New Jersey rents, but a lot closer!
• Bernie supports Expanded and Improved Medicare for All. Long supported by the NJTO, this would provide Medicare to everyone, making good health care a human right, rather than a privilege only really available to those who can afford it. Tenants struggling to pay the rent would no longer have to choose between paying for health care or for their rental home.
And Bernie's plan would really improve Medicare, which is not perfect. It would eliminate the deductibles and co-pays that make many lower income seniors afraid to get good care (because they can't afford Medi-Gap insurance). It would cover the important things currently left out of Medicare -- dental, vision, hearing aids, long term care, prescription drugs (without co-pays or doughnut holes). Everything important. Just like nearly every other industrialized country. Like Bernie says, if they can do it all over the world, why can't we do it here?
Bernie's plan would end up costing the average family much, much less (through a tax like the current Medicare tax rather than high insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays). The health insurance companies won't like it since they would lose their 30% profit. The drug companies would hate it since they'd have to negotiate with THE single payer -- Medicare -- and cut their outrageous prices at least in half. But the people will love it! And the looming economic problems with Medicare as it exists today will be gone completely, with everyone covered.
• Bernie would re-establish the Glass-Steagall Act set up by FDR after the market crash of 1929 to prevent regular banks from speculating in the stock market with our savings and checking accounts. (Bill Clinton signed the law eliminating this vital protection, and Hillary strongly supported his doing it). He would also break up those giant banks that are "too big to fail" instead of bailing them out at taxpayers' expense like we did in the crash of 2008 which the bankers caused with their wild speculation. They used our savings to fund the sale of defective mortgage "derivatives" through yet other banks and insurance companies. So many people lost their homes and their jobs because of Wall Street greed. Bernie's plan would prevent that from ever happening again.
• Bernie would end the waste of our public money on expensive and self-perpetuating privatization of important government functions (like prisons). Instead he would invest in education and a real jobs program focused on converting to clean energy (and saving the planet for all of us, our children, our grandchildren, …).
Hundreds of thousands of tenant families are evicted each year in New Jersey because they can't afford to pay the rent. That's a fact. Real jobs with decent wages, rent controls, affordable housing would go a long way to stem that awful tide of evictions.
Bernie may not get elected because the "delegate math" is pretty tough. We really don't know. But what we do know is that his program, his ideas, his dedication, his honesty deserves the support of New Jersey's tenants. Bernie has been saying these same things his entire political career spanning four decades, not flipping back and forth with the political winds. He deserves our vote and support.
Tuesday • June 7 • Democratic Primary election • Please vote for BERNIE SANDERS!
(*Democrats and Unaffiliated registered voters can vote in the Democratic Primary. An Unaffiliated voter is a registered voter who has not formally declared an affiliation with any party. An Unaffiliated voter can vote in the Democratic primary by just declaring their affiliation with the Democratic Party at the polls on June 7. )
Yours in the struggle for the civil rights of tenants,
New Jersey Tenants Organization
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