April 16, 2020
Your Weekly News from the Collin County Democratic Party
A Better Deal For Working People
by Maury Marcus
During the last quarter millennium, the democracies of the West and the Far East have experimented with three basic economic ideologies: conservative capitalism, centralized state socialism, and progressive capitalism. The verdict of history is clear.

Conservative capitalism has been strong in the United States for most of its history, with the exception of the New Deal and its sequels. Conservative capital, in theory, posits a utopia, wherein total market anarchy perfectly determines all human activity, and government plays no economic role. In practice, its results have been dismal. Wealth has been sucked upward. Working people have been driven downward. We have seen predation, monopolization, exploitation, and stratification. Working people, searching for answers, find themselves attracted to those who want to blame cultural groups, such as Mexicans. No conservative offers any proposal to elevate the poor or to expand the horizons of the working middle class.

Centralized state socialism, classically defined as government ownership of all economic enterprises, has always stifled entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation. In the words of Pete Seeger, who was a heroic lefty of the old school, no government committee could have invented Federal Express. The economic failures of Soviet Russia, Maoist China, and Castroite Cuba remain examples of an idea that will neither die nor work.

Progressive capitalism, a.k.a. modern American liberalism, New Dealism, social democracy, democratic socialism, or “Bernie socialism”, had done the greatest good for the greatest number until its advance was halted in the Reagan years. Progressive capitalism means truly free markets, governed by the rule of law, supported by public investment in infrastructure, education, and research, and protected by a comprehensive working class safety net. When working people have had a safety net, along with a voice in deciding their economic destiny, all have prospered.

What items should the Democratic Party, united behind Joe Biden, include in a progressive capitalist/social democratic agenda at this point in history?

1. A minimum wage that is a living wage. Fifteen dollars per hour is a good number, enough to guarantee a single person $30,000 per year and a couple $60,000. This will ensure that no one with a full-time job is below the poverty line.

2. Universal investment accounts for all persons, started at birth by the taxpayers, contributed to by all employers, managed by employees themselves, and used by the employees as they wish. This will make every working person into an investor and a person of wealth. It will back up Social Security in retirement, lessening the impact of the decline of traditional pensions.

3. Layoff disincentives. Successful corporations, with positive income statements, should be required to provide two years of severance pay to surplussed workers, along with cross-training, perhaps in the form of junior college scholarships, in new technological skills.

4. Seats on corporate boards, equal in number to shareholder seats, elected by employees on the basis of one person, one vote, to raise a voice against negative corporate actions, and for respect for employees. Businessmen must treat workers neither as adversaries to be bargained with, nor as costs to be borne, nor as resources to be exploited, but as partners in the enterprise.

5. Expanded education. Every elementary school should provide one year of kindergarten and one year of pre-kindergarten. Higher education should be supported as fully as is public school education. We can begin by reviving President Obama’s plan for free community colleges and technical schools. Later, we can expand to four-year colleges and even graduate schools.

6. Tax justice. We need a deduction swap, greatly enlarging the standard deduction, while reducing the specialized itemizations that favor the millionaire class. We need to increase rates for the upper brackets, and cut rates for the lower brackets. To finance Social Security, we need to replace the retrogressive high-rate payroll tax on wages and salaries with a low-rate progressive secondary income tax on all income from all sources, with no ceiling.

7. Healthcare coverage. Democrats must unite behind three basic health insurance principles -- cost control first, coverage for all, and no new taxes on working people – and then decide on a specific plan.

Democrats must reclaim the allegiance of working people. It is our root. We fall apart at our peril.

Victory! Texas Ethics Commission Holds Plano Council Member Accountable.
by David Smith

After well over a year of legal work, the Texas Ethics Commission held then Plano Council Member Tom Harrison accountable for his apparent 2018 campaign ethics violations. This past Friday they publicly released their findings and action.

The Commission found that Harrison violated the law in accepting and not reporting anonymous donations through a GoFundMe page, and ordered him to disclose the donations. They also levied a fine

Harrison and others have benefited from dark money injected into our local politics. The Commission sent a clear message to his supporters, that this will not be tolerated.

For those unfamiliar with the history, Harrison was the subject of a recall campaign after his Islamophobic and racist Facebook posts came to light. Over 4,400 citizens succeeded in submitting a petition resulting in the City Council calling a November 2018 recall election. Harrison was, unfortunately, successful in a legal action that canceled that election.

Where did the money come from to pay his attorneys? He disclosed only $1,150 in contributions that year. One counter indicator was a GoFundMe page that raised $12,353, almost all of which came from “Anonymous” per that site.

The GoFundMe page included a pitch that “[Harrison] is the victim of malicious distortions, character assassination and outright lies. Democrats, special interest and fanatics have conspired to break the law … to force him off the City Council to make way for [the Mayor’s] political and social agenda.”

Harrison claimed that this was not a political solicitation. On reviewing it, the Texas Ethics Commission, in so many words, said that this was political solicitation.

By the way, the nonpartisan citizen group spearheading the recall included a broad cross-section of our community, including Democrats, Republicans and Independents. And the group succeeded, despite the cancellation of the recall election. Harrison did not file for re-election and left the Council a few months later.

This was a long battle, undoubtedly hard fought by the dark money proponents. It is gratifying to see the conclusions of the Commission as well as their decision to publicly release it.

David Smith is a former Plano City Council Member, serving three terms in the seat later occupied by Mr. Harrison for one term. Mr. Smith was one of the leaders of the recall campaign and initiated the Texas Ethics Commission prosecution of Mr. Harrison.
Democratic Primary Runoff is Tuesday July 14
Early Voting is Monday July 6 - Friday July 10
May 2 Municipal Elections are now Tuesday November 3. More information at https://www.collincountytx.gov/elections/election_information/Pages/default.aspx .

The Collin County Democratic Party is look for election judges, alternate judges, and election workers for the primary runoff in July. These are paid positions. Sign up at https://forms.gle/PpAjHkXXfCeSprzY7 .

Disabled voters and voters 65 and older are encouraged to vote by mail. When you apply to vote by mail, you will receive ballots for all elections in that calendar year. Even if you do request a mail-in ballot, you can always choose to vote in person. More information at https://www.collincountytx.gov/elections/election_information/Pages/absentee_bymail_voting.aspx .

Vote by mail applications are at https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/forms/5-15f.pdf .

Please don't hesitate to call 469-609-0539 or email elections@collindemocrats.org with any questions.
R.U.D.T.V. - a R e yo U D own T o V ote?
To Do List:

  • Have you contacted voters near you? Try this cool tool Map the Vote to leave mail-in voter registration forms under the doormat while maintaining distance.

  • Do you have a plan to vote?

  • City/School Elections - MOVED to Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Contact the elections offices for these cities for more detail and updates.

  • Primary Runoff Elections - MOVED to Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Last day to register to vote: June 15,
Last day to apply for mail-in ballot: July 3

  • General Election - Tuesday, November 3, 2020

  • Will you contact voters? Call the Democratic Party Office to get a list and login for a Virtual Phone Bank! 972-578-1483

For more info on these activities, email us at vdrlead@collindemocrats.org
Democratic Club Events
McKinney Democrats Host Lulu Seikaly
Please join fellow Democrats as we meet Lulu Seikaly, who's running for the Democratic nomination for Texas CD-3. Pour a cup of coffee, bring your favorite sweet treat, and let's talk on Zoom!

When: Thursday, April 16, 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Where: Zoom. RSVP for link.
Collin County Democrats With Disabilities Meeting
You don't have to live in Collin County or have a disability to participate in the CCDWD meeting. We welcome allies and advocates!  

When: Monday April 20, 2020 - 5:30 p.m.-7:30 pm
Where: Zoom. RSVP for link.
Contact: disabilitydemocrats@gmail.com or 307-314-ABLE (2253)
MADC Hosts Sean McCaffity
Please join MADC in learning more about Sean McCaffity, who is running for the Democratic nomination for CD3.
Please sign up here to receive the Zoom invitation link:  https://www.mobilize.us/collindemocrats/event/267222/

When: April 21 at 7:00 PM
MADC Hosts Angie Bado for TX
Please join the McKinney Democrats as we learn more about Angie Bado and how she'll represent our community in the state legislature. Please sign up here to receive the Zoom link:  https://www.mobilize.us/collindemocrats/event/267221/

When: April 29 7:00 PM