What Does Ken Darga Stand For?

Bipartisanship

My approach is to develop solutions to America's problems that address the concerns of liberals and conservatives at the same time.

Moderates are in a good position to develop workable compromises and to develop policies that reflect the needs of all Americans--not just the interest groups that support a particular party.

Restoring Prosperity

The path to prosperity does not include fiscal cliffs, government shutdowns, threats to default on the nation's debt, or shrinking the economy through austerity.  I propose to restore prosperity through:

Restoring Manufacturing

Improving Health Care

Improve the health care system to make health care  affordable for everyone while removing health care costs from employers.

Strengthening Social Security

Restore the fiscal health of the Social Security system for all generations while honoring the promises made to workers and retirees.

Reversing the Budget Deficit

Reverse the budget deficit by addressing the economic imbalances that perpetuate it.

Raising Up New Generations

Implement policies to better address the needs of:

Respecting the Lives and Dignity of All Persons

I believe in respecting the lives and dignity of every human being at all stages of the life cycle—young or old, rich or poor, handicapped or able-bodied, citizen or non-citizen.  Neither party has a monopoly on respect for human life and dignity, and I want to combine the best of what every political perspective has to offer.

Reforming Political Finance

Reduce the influence of money in government by prohibiting organizations and corporations from using money for political purposes that has not been freely contributed for political purposes.

Protecting Rights of Workers

Protect the right of workers to form and finance labor unions.

Protecting America's Environment

I believe in harnessing economic market forces to protect America’s natural environment.  Regulations that are inconsistent with market forces are unlikely to be successful or politically acceptable, but smart policy choices can promote environmental safety and economic efficiency at the same time.

 



Bipartisanship

Moderates are the largest single component of the population, but they are hardly represented in Congress at all.  That is one of the reasons why Congress is unable to reach compromises or solve America's problems.  Moderates are in the best position to develop policies that address the concerns of liberals and conservatives at the same time because that is exactly the sort of policy that moderates believe in.


Click to enlarge

Winning support from both Democrats and Republicans will be an advantage in the November election.  However, having my support split between the parties makes it doubly challenging to win a partisan primary.  That is one of the reasons why moderates are under-represented in American politics.  Nevetheless, I expect the opinion polls that are conducted before the August primary to show that I can do better against the Republican candidates than anyone else who is running as a Democrat.  If that is the case, then even Democrats who prefer another candidate should seriously consider voting for me in the Democratic primary.

top of page

 


Restoring Prosperity

There are two principal barriers to faster economic growth:

There is good reason to be cautious about inflation because the usual remedy for inflation is to raise interest rates.  The government has accumulated so much debt in the aftermath of the latest recession that it cannot afford higher interest rates.  And none of us can afford the new recession (and the reduction in auto sales) that high interest rates would cause.  Because too much stimulus would be so dangerous under these circumstances, policymakers have decided to err on the side of giving the economy less stimulus than it needs.

My solution is:

When inflation becomes excessive, I propose controlling it through an income tax surcharge that would collect money for the Social Security fund during those times when it is necessary to cool down the economy.  In addition to being less painful and more efficient than controlling inflation through increases in interest rates, this approach would help restore the solvency of the Social Security system.

Follow this website between now and the election for videos and papers with additional details.

top of page


Restoring Manufacturing

Restoring prosperity is not enough.  America is bleeding to death from its trade deficit and it will not be healthy again until the trade deficit is reversed.

The trade deficit cannot be reversed until there is a revival of manufacturing in America.  This is my top priority and I believe that it should be the nations top priority as well:

Manufacturing will not be restored until we find a way to reduce the price advantage of outsourced and imported goods.  That can be achieved by replacing the taxes and social overhead costs that drive business out of America with smarter taxes that draw business back.  I propose to:

The key to achieving these objectives is the fact that every dollar saved by employers would be passed on either to consumers (through lower prices), to workers (through higher wages and benefits) or to shareholders and business owners (through higher profits). 

Thus, my strategy is:

(This would decrease the cost of U.S. goods and increase the cost of imported goods.  Consumers would no longer pay more than their share of the nation's overhead costs when they buy U.S. goods,  and they would no longer pay less than their share when they buy imported goods.)

(This tax should also incorporate credits based on a firm's number of U.S. employees.  This would create an added incentive to employ workers in the U.S. instead of outsourcing jobs overseas.)

Follow this website between now and the election for videos and papers with additional details.

top of page
 


Improving Health Care

The Affordable Care Act reduces the number of people without insurance, but it also places added burdens and mandates on employers and fails to provide a revenue stream to cover its costs.

I propose to build upon the structures and strategies of the Affordable Care Act in a way that:

Follow this website between now and the election for videos and papers with additional details.

top of page


Strengthening Social Security

The "Social Security crisis" is much more manageable than many people believe.  America's projected age distribution is more favorable than that of any other developed nation.  In fact, based on projections from the U.S. Census Bureau and data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, merely returning to pre-recession employment rates will be sufficient to produce the same ratio of workers to non-workers in 2030 and 2060 that the U.S. had in 2010.  With normal growth in productivity, the workforce of 2030 or 2060 should find it easier to provide for non-workers of all ages than the recession-encumbered workforce of 2010.

That means that it is feasible to have enough money in the Social Security fund, but we still need to find a way to bring that about.  I propose to do it through a temporary income-tax surcharge that would be applied only in periods when it is necessary to reduce inflation by cooling down the economy.  In addition to restoring the solvency of the Social Security fund, such a tax would be much less painful and much more efficient than the increases in interest rates that are normally used to control inflation.

Follow this website between now and the election for videos and papers with additional details.

top of page


Reversing the Budget Deficit

The most dangerous component of America's debt is the portion that is owed to other countries.  This portion of the debt is a direct result of buying more from other countries than we sell.  Thus, my strategy for reversing the trade deficit is an important remedy for America's debt.

Federal budget deficits have also consistently increased in recessions and decreased in times of prosperity.  Thus, my strategy for restoring prosperity and preventing future recessions is another important remedy for America's debt.

Another important step toward reducing the budget deficit is to make a meaningful assessment of public spending programs.  The tests for evaluating public spending should be (a) whether it is of higher priority than the private spending that it displaces, and (b) whether it is of higher priority than unmet public needs.

Follow this website between now and the election for videos and papers with additional details.

top of page


Raising Up New Generations

There may be no human activity more critical than raising up new generations.

America needs to give more attention to the economic needs of the generation that is coming of age in the aftermath of the Great Recession.  Average real earnings dropped 50% between 2001 and 2011 for people age 16-19 and 35% for people age 20-24.  (In Michigan, the decreases were 60% and 47%.) The needs of this generation should be addressed through measures such as:

Higher priority should also be given to needs of the current generation of children and the families that will raise future generations of children.  These needs should be addressed through:

Follow this website between now and the election for videos and papers with additional details.

top of page


Respecting the Lives and Dignity of All Persons

I am striving to develop an approach to life issues that reflects the best of liberal and conservative perspectives.  People of all political persuasions value human life and dignity, and there are several respects in which Democratic politicians tend to do better than Republican politicians.  Areas where this is often the case include capital punishment, ill-conceived military strategies, access to health care, and public spending priorities.

I differ from typical pro-life politicians in some important ways.  Some politicians seek to attract votes by advocating legislation that cannot be implemented.  Laws to limit abortion might pass the House, for example, but they are unlikely to pass the Senate.  Even if they passed the Senate, they would not prevail against a presidential veto.  Even if they could prevail against a presidential veto, they would be struck down by the courts.  Even for people who do not recognize a legitimate place for choice with respect to abortion, empty gestures of this sort have little value.

I think there is a better alternative.  My approach is simply to speak the truth about children to everyone.  Politicians typically use targeted mailing lists to communicate their views to people who agree with them while sending different messages to voters who might disagree. I believe in providing a consistent message to everyone.  I would rather try to persuade people to consider my views than get them to vote for me because they only heard part of my message.  

I have two important things to say about children.  Every Democrat and every Republican should be able to join me in saying those things, regardless of whether they take a libertarian or statist approach to laws about reproductive choice.  I do not propose these statements about children as the basis for a legislative agenda.  Rather, I present them simply as convictions that should be expressed throughout our culture by politicians as well as by the friends and families of prospective parents. 

First, I believe that raising up new generations is one of the most important tasks that a culture must accomplish.  The alternative to raising up new generations is extinction.  This is a task that many modern nations are not performing very well.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, fertility rates are below replacement level in slightly more than half of the world’s nations.  That figure is projected to exceed 80 percent by 2050.  Some of our culture’s negative attitudes toward children were formed during the Baby Boom when overpopulation seemed inevitable and children seemed to be a threat to the world’s future.  We need to adjust our attitudes to reflect a new world where fewer people are willing and able to make the sacrifices involved in raising children.  We need to start recognizing that children are our future.

Second, I believe that parenthood merits more appreciation and recognition than it often receives in our culture.  It is truly amazing that a human being is able to conceive a child whose expected lifespan extends onward from conception for eighty years or so, just like the lifespan of the parents.  That is an extraordinary return on investment.  We sometimes fail to recognize that a developing child has a life expectancy and a genetic identity separate from that of the mother.   Regardless of the circumstances of a child’s conception, the child itself should be recognized and appreciated for the marvel that he or she is. 

As the adoptive father of two sons, the value of children at all stages of the life cycle has a very personal meaning for me.  Everyone can accept the fact that my sons’ birthmothers made the right choice for themselves, but I have to go a step further.  They also made the right choice for Mike and Matt.  Ending their lives in the minutes or months before birth would have been more than simply removing unwanted tissue.  It is Mike and Matt who would have died.  Their life expectancies of 80-some years would have been taken away from them, along with their lifetimes of experiences and relationships and accomplishments.

Thus, I think Republicans make a mistake when they introduce fruitless legislative proposals that lead people to focus on political battles instead of on the nature of developing children.  Likewise, I think Democrats make a mistake when they allow themselves to be portrayed as believing that developing children are worthless tissue that should be discarded.  I seek instead to build a culture where human beings at all stages of their life cycle are recognized and valued for what they are.

Follow this website between now and the election for videos and papers with additional details.

top of page


Reforming Political Finance

I believe that individuals have a right to spend or contribute money for political purposes and that they have a right to do so through organizations as well as directly.  However, organizations themselves do not have all of the same rights as individuals.  Organizations cannot vote or register for the draft, and I believe that they should not spend money for political purposes that individuals have not freely contributed for political purposes.

Conservatives are aware of this issue in connection with political uses of union dues.  Liberals are aware of this issue in connection with political uses of corporate revenues.  This is a case where I believe that conservatives and liberals are both right.  I believe that Congress should prohibit the use of funds for political purposes that individuals have not freely contributed for political purposes.  The Supreme Court should be given an opportunity to rule on the constitutionality of an appropriately drafted law.

Follow this website between now and the election for videos and papers with additional details.

top of page


Protecting the Rights of Workers

Citizens should take notice whenever a government--whether controlled by Democrats or by Republicans--takes action to weaken the institutions and organizations that tend to support the other party.  That has happened at the federal level through policies of the Internal Revenue Service and it has happened at the state level through "right to work" legislation.

People have a fundamental right to form organizations and to govern those organizations on the basis of majority-rule.  This right is not limited to labor unions.  For example, my mother used to live in a condominium complex where residents met periodically to decide about spending money on things like pavement repair and landscaping.  Residents did not have the option of deciding not to pay their annual assessment.  People who lived in that complex were bound by the decisions of the majority.  It is reasonable for labor unions to operate in the same manner if a majority of workers have chosen to be represented by the union.

Thus, although I favor legislation to prohibit organizations and corporations from spending money for political purposes that individuals have not voluntarily contributed for political purposes, I oppose legislation that prevents unions from collecting dues from workers that they represent.

Follow this website between now and the election for videos and papers with additional details.

top of page


Protecting America’s Environment

Taxing Pollution.  Most costs of pollution are classified by economists as “external” costs—they are borne by the public at large rather than by the individuals and corporations whose decisions cause environmental damage.  Taxes on various forms of pollution have been proposed as a means of bringing these costs into the decision-making process.  I propose that such taxes should be revenue-neutral—all of the revenues raised should be used for per-capita tax credits and credits for individuals and corporations that adopt measures which protect the environment.  This would neutralize the adverse effects on the cost of living and on American industrial competitiveness that would otherwise result from taxes on pollution.  Combining taxes and tax credits in this manner would also double the beneficial impact in such areas as energy conservation, pollution abatement, alternative fuels, renewable energy, public transportation, and urban sprawl.

Energy Subsidies.  Subsidies that distort market decisions and benefit well-placed corporations at the expense of the public treasury should be replaced with better strategies that promote economic efficiency and fiscal responsibility.  For example, the government should provide more “pay-as-you-save” financing for prudent expenditures that benefit the environment.  This would reduce or even eliminate up-front costs for individuals and corporations while incurring no long-term net expense for the government.

Fracking.  America’s underground oil and gas deposits are important resources that can help our nation achieve energy independence.  I believe that these resources should be extracted safely, however, even if that means keeping some of them in reserve instead of extracting them immediately.  A good strategy for balancing resource development with public safety is to establish bonding requirements for fracking projects and other environmentally sensitive endeavors.  Politicians and government regulators sometimes lack the risk management expertise and political will to regulate such activities effectively.  However, the financial institutions that provide bonds do have such expertise.  Their financial interests should ensure that they make reasonable assessments of risk, require prudent measures to reduce risk, and make effective arrangements to cover the cost of potential environmental impacts.  This market-based approach could succeed in some of the situations where public regulators tend to fail.  Bonding requirements would prevent some high-risk endeavors from being undertaken, increase the safety of those that go forward, and ensure amelioration for those that go wrong.

(This bonding strategy was first brought to my attention by Shari Pollesch, an attorney from Livingston County who is running for Michigan’s 22nd Senate District seat.)

Follow this website between now and the election for videos and papers with additional details.

top of page

 

Paid for by Darga4Congress
Campaign Websites by Online Candidate