Reflecting on issues during a summer afternoon


Education

As a mother, I care passionately about our schools, our children and their future. From the age of three to a college degree, Americans should be guaranteed a free public education of the highest quality. We cannot have a free and prosperous nation without a fully educated citizenry, so the learning process must be adjusted to fit the amount of information known to humanity.

Corruption

We’re sick and tired of the seemingly endless string of corruption scandals that flow from city halls to the White House.  I’m embarrassed to explain to my children every time another elected official or political party leader is arrested for corruption and abusing the public trust to line their own pockets.  It is time to take elections off the auction block and restore integrity to democracy.

Property Taxes

While politicians are more than happy to take our hard earned tax dollars, we are not getting back our fair share from Washington DC. This a bad deal that hurts New Jersey families and hinders their ability to survive. I’ll fight to restore fairness to America’s tax system, starting by making global corporations pay their share for the security and justice they expect from the United States government.

Heroin epidemic

We need to put an end to the drug crisis that is preying upon our children and destroying families. I’ll make sure first responders and emergency personnel have the tools they need to help people in crisis. I will work to insure that health care is a right for every American. I will also strive to reform our approach to drugs so that people who need help can get it without fear of being branded as criminals.

Storm Preparedness

I will never forget the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy. The storm caused devastation for so many of our neighbors, but the unacceptable and burdensome relief process left so many families stranded when they should have felt the comfort of Americans coming together. I will always defend families as they work to rebuild their lives. 

Protecting our water and our environment

Our water supply is critical to our health and to our property values. I’ll fight to make polluters pay so we have the resources to clean up the toxins that threaten the air we breathe, the land we live on and the water we drink. I will also establish tougher laws to prevent corporate criminals from poisoning our families.

 

I welcome your feedback on these and other issues of concern to our community. Please write to lisa@njdems.com and let me know what you think.

The Pentagon needs an audit


Men and women in the armed forces are held to the highest standards and taught discipline, respect and service to our country but those high standards are not reflected by the way that the Pentagon conducts its fiscal affairs and record-keeping.

Recent failures in the Department of Defense’s bookkeeping procedures have resulted in the military wasting enormous sums of taxpayer dollars and maintaining inaccurate government records.

Those inaccuracies have far-reaching consequences, according to budgetary critics and good government advocates.

One report from the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) shows the Pentagon spent $458 million between 2010 and 2015 to train Afghan intelligence officers.

SIGAR states, “It is almost impossible to assess whether this assistance was worth the $457.7 million spent on these programs.”

The Pentagon did not have measures in place to track how well the program was working, and in the end had no idea whether the program was successful.

Unfortunately, this is becoming something of a trend at the DOD.

Between 2011 and 2015, the DOD spent an estimated $900 million on contract workers at the Pentagon and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows that the Pentagon cannot confirm the extent to which these contract workers were used because information was not accurately recorded in federal databases in the first place.

The report explicitly states, “The extent to which DOD awards personal service contracts is unknown.”

When records are incorrectly entered in government databases, it can make contractors appear to be federal employees, leading to further inaccuracies.

“The Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest government agency with the largest discretionary budget and yet it has never been audited,” said Democrat Lisa McCormick. “Taxpayers deserve more accountability from an agency with 2.8 million employees and an annual budget of $580 billion.”

Ferreting out waste is important on its own, but this is about more than dollars and sense.

Wasteful spending and government inefficiencies threaten our military’s readiness. To protect our national security, it is crucial that the Pentagon streamline its processes, increase efficiency and use our tax dollars wisely as it works to strengthen our military.

McCormick urged Congress to mandate a full audit of the DOD and eliminate excess infrastructure through a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.

McCormick urging Democrats to pursue progressive agenda


Lisa McCormick is asking Democrats in Congress to sign on to eight bills that define a better future for America and show the nation what life could be like with a progressive majority running things instead of the greedy and corrupt cartel of billionaires who are driving the Republican agenda.

McCormick said every Democrat in Congress should support public campaign financing, Medicare for All, college tuition for all, a $15 per hour minimum wage, equal access to abortion, expanded voting rights, ending private prisons, taxing Wall Street and protecting our environment.

“Resisting the Trump Republicans will not move our country forward, so Democrats should campaign on a bold agenda that creates an America that works for everyone,” said McCormick. “If Democrats want to take our country back from the billionaire class and Republicans in 2018, we need to speak to the concerns of our people.”

“We’re fighting for a Congress that will put people before profits in an America where everyone has access to health care, free public education, and a job that pays a living wage,” said McCormick. “A livable planet, justice, peace and prosperity were handed down to us and we must preserve them to pass them on to our children and future generations.”

McCormick said all Democrats in Congress should co-sponsor the following bills:

Public Campaign Financing: S.1640 – Fair Elections Now Act , introduced by Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill).

Health Care: H.R. 676 Medicare For All Act, introduced by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich).

Education: H.R. 1880 College for All Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).

Worker Rights: H.R.15 – Raise the Wage Act, Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Keith Ellison (D-MN).

Women’s Rights: H.R.771 – Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. Lee, Barbara (D-CA-13).

Voting Rights: H.R.2840 – Automatic Voter Registration Act, introduced by Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI-1).

Criminal Justice and Immigrant Rights: Justice is Not For Sale Act of 2017, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) in 2017.

Tax on Wall Street: H.R. 1144 – Inclusive Prosperity Act, introduced by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN).

Climate Change: Environmental Justice Act of 2017’ introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07).

“What many people overlook is that much of these bills would protect rights to access service we have always had,” said McCormick. “Elections must not be for sale, health care is a human right, Americans have had free public education for more than a century while our body of knowledge has grown, while fair voting and immigration have been part of our culture.”

“The private prison business started in 1984 when one Tennessee county awarded the first contract allowing a corporation to take over and run a jail,” said McCormick. “Time has proved it was a bad idea so prisons for profit should be abolished.”

“What the Republicans are doing is allowing billionaires to take what we have had and we must once again fight to protect our freedom and equality,” said McCormick.

Expand Social Security


Democrat Lisa McCormick released the following statement concerning the future of Social Security, the nation’s retirement insurance system designed to protect workers.

CONGRESS SHOULD EXPAND SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS – NOT CUT THEM.

With corporations cutting worker pensions, our grandparents and veterans need Social Security more — not less. We must preserve, protect, strengthen and expand Social Security and Medicare. Medicare is the bedrock of health care coverage for more than 50 million American seniors and people with disabilities.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman says, “The truth is that we really should be increasing Social Security benefits… Social Security is the last defined-benefit pension still standing.”

For 80 years, Social Security has been America at its best. Social Security reflects our shared belief that every American should be able to retire with dignity after decades of hard work. That no American should face poverty because he or she is disabled, or when a loved one dies. That we all have an obligation to each other.

Republicans are using scare tactics about the future and effectiveness of Social Security to push through policies that would jeopardize it.  Clearly, Republicans want to cut or privatize successful programs that have kept seniors alive and out of poverty.

I will always defend Social Security against Republican attacks, fight any attempts to gamble seniors’ retirement funds on the stock market through privatization, oppose reducing cost-of-living adjustments or increasing the retirement age.

Women who are widows and those who took significant time out of the paid workforce to take care of their children, aging parents, or ailing family members deserve to be credited for their important labors by Social Security. I am tired of hearing about ‘family values’ from people who obviously do not value families and the loved ones who comprise them.

Millions of women—and men—take time out of the paid workforce to raise a child, take care of an aging parent or look after an ailing family member. Care giving is hard work that benefits our entire economy.

However, when Americans take time off to take care of a relative, that can reduce their Social Security benefits at retirement, since those benefits are calculated based on their top 35 years of earnings. No one should face meager Social Security checks because they took on the vital role of caregiver for part of their career. Americans should receive credit toward their Social Security benefits when they are out of the paid workforce because they are acting as caregivers.

The poverty rate for widowed women 65 or older is nearly 90 percent higher than for other seniors—in part because when a spouse dies, families can face a steep benefit cut. For a two-earner couple, those benefit cuts can be as much as 50 percent. Lisa will work to correct the injustice of allowing an elderly woman to face crushing economic burdens at the same time they endure the painful loss of the man she loved.

We can best preserve Social Security for decades by asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute more. Social Security must continue to guarantee dignity in retirement for future generations, and the way to accomplish that goal is simply by asking the highest-income Americans to pay more.

If working people can pay taxes on the first dollar they earn, people making more than $250,000  a year can share some of their income above the current cap and taxing unearned income, which is not currently subject to Social Security taxes.

Senators Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) agree. Even better, they’re doing something about it. Unlike the President’s proposal to cut Social Security benefits, Harkin and Begich would give a worker $452 more per year by age 75 and $807 more by age 85.

And they would make millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share by “scrapping the cap” on what wealthy people pay into Social Security. This would pay for the benefit expansion and extend Social Security’s solvency for decades. We’re working directly with Senators Harkin and Begich to move these bills forward. Join us!

 

 

 

 

Social Security is the most successful government program in our nation’s history. Before it was signed into law, nearly half of senior citizens lived in poverty. Today, the elderly poverty rate is 10 percent. Although still much too high, that’s a dramatic improvement.

Through good times and bad, Social Security has paid every nickel owed to every eligible American – on time and without delay. As corporations destroyed the retirement dreams of millions over the past 30 years by eliminating defined benefit pension plans, Social Security was right there paying full benefits. As millions of Americans lost their life savings after Wall Street’s recklessness crashed the economy in 2008, Social Security was right there paying full benefits.

Today, Social Security is more important than ever. Over half of workers between the ages of 55-64 have no retirement savings. More than a third of senior citizens depend on Social Security for virtually all of their income. One out of every five senior citizens is trying to scrape by on an average income of just $8,300 a year.

Given these facts, our job cannot be to cut Social Security. Our job must be to expand it so that every American can retire with dignity and respect.

Virtually every Republican candidate for president disagrees. Many of them claim Social Security is “going broke,” that it’s causing the deficit to explode, and its trust fund is full of IOUs.

They want the American people to believe Social Security is in crisis and must be cut.

They are dead wrong.

Here are the facts:

  • Social Security has a $2.8 trillion surplus. It can pay every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 19 years (and more than three-quarters after that).
  • Social Security’s assets aren’t “just paper,” as conservatives sometimes put it. Social Security invests in U.S Treasury bonds, the safest interest-bearing securities in the world. These are the same bonds wealthy investors have purchased, along with China and other foreign countries. These bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, which in our long history has never defaulted on its debt obligations.
  • Right now a billionaire pays the same amount of money into Social Security as someone who makes $118,500 a year. That’s because there is a cap on taxable income that goes into the Social Security system.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced legislation to end this absurdity, by lifting this cap so that everyone who makes over $250,000 a year pays the same percentage of their income into Social Security as the middle class and working families.

This would not only extend the solvency of Social Security for the next 50 years, but also bring in enough revenue to expand benefits by an average of $65 a month; increase cost-of-living-adjustments; and lift more seniors out of poverty by increasing the minimum benefits paid to low-income seniors.

Not only is this the right thing to do from a moral perspective, it is also what the vast majority of the American people want us to do. 61 percent of the American people support expanding Social Security benefits by lifting the cap on taxable income, according to reliable polls.

At a time when millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, even as virtually all of the new income in this country is going to the top one percent, Sen. Sanders’ legislation will begin to reduce the obscene level of income inequality in America.

It’s time to expand Social Security to make sure that everyone in this country can retire with the dignity and respect they deserve.

 

McCormick objects to Passaic mayoral salary increase


Passaic Mayor Hector Lora and Lisa McCormick

Democrat Lisa McCormick is urging Passaic Mayor Hector C. Lora to veto any salary increase approved by the City Council, saying he new the score when he sought the post in the city’s nonpartisan election in May.

McCormick says she enjoyed an exchange of comments with Lora through Facebook and believes the issue has broad ramifications.

“The proposed pay hike insults residents paying a tax hike to cover the $2 million in budget due increases to higher municipal salaries, but there is also a principle at stake,” said McCormick, who pointed out that she has addressed the issue on her website.

No ‘pre-election’ pay hike
No elected official should be entitled to a change in salary unless an election has transpired after the compensation has been set for the job.

“You knew what the job paid when you asked voters to elect you,” said McCormick. “Voters want a corruption-free administration, and there in no greater nobility in robbing the public in plan sight then there is in sneaking around collecting bribes from developers.”

“Former Mayor Alex Blanco pleaded guilty in federal court last November to stealing $110,000 of federal HUD funds through bribes from two developers,” said McCormick. “This pay hike would deprive taxpayers of $170,820 over the next four years.”

The City Council is weighing a 60 percent pay raise that would take effect one day before Lora is to be sworn in to his first full term July 2. The governing body introduced an ordinance this week increasing the mayor’s salary from $72,295 a year to $115,000.

Lora was appointed as acting mayor in November, filling the vacancy left by previous Mayor Alex Blanco’s resignation, and he easily defeated his main rival, Richard “Richie” Diaz, a former school board president and public safety director, 5,716 to 1,753 votes.

GOP puts America on a road to economic disaster


Lisa McCormick‏ is warning people to “brace for impact” as Republicans seem intent on hijacking democracy and derailing the economy with dangerous, greedy policies moving through Congress.

“Every Republican president presided over economic calamity: Prepare yourself for the Trump Slump: Tax cuts for the rich, Millions uninsured,” said McCormick‏ in a recent post on Twitter. “Every Republican president presided over economic calamity: Reagan Black Monday; Bush’s jobless recovery; Bush Jr 9-11 & Great Recession.”

McCormick‏ explained that Republicans favor the rich, which includes an increasingly smaller number of people and corporations, and those powerful and wealthy interests do not behave intelligently just because they have more money.

“When you think about economic rationally, you see that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats,’ to use a phrase commonly attributed to John F Kennedy,” said McCormick‏. “Unfortunately, people often do not act responsibly or rationally, but they are instead driven by emotion, in the current case, greed.”

“It also appears that self-interest obscures the realistic understanding of what makes America great. ‘The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little,’ according to Franklin D. Roosevelt,” McCormick‏ said. “The current Republican president is driving toward a future that dangerously threatens economic stability in the world by depriving health insurance coverage to millions Americans, accelerating the pace of climate change and advancing the demand for austerity or magnitude of our national debt.”

McCormick‏ said Trump Republicans have dislodged the United States from its position as leader of the free world, recklessly moved to reduce government revenue needed to pay for a strong military, and sacrificed our fundamental wealth by selling off public assets to finance short term infrastructure improvements.

“The Goldman-Sachs infrastructure scheme proposed by the Trump administration means selling off roads you own to some international conglomerate that will start charging you to drive on them,” McCormick‏ said. “It is the same thing Jon Corzine wanted to do with New Jersey toll roads, except the federal interstate highways are free for all to use. It is a poor choice for dealing with public debt and I warn all Americans to brace for impact as the GOP puts our nation on the road to economic disaster.”

McCormick: President Trump’s budget proposal would bury the U.S. in debt


New Jersey Democrat Lisa McCormick says President Trump’s budget proposal would bury the U.S. in debt, he makes no effort to fulfill the pledge to generate $1 trillion for restoring America’s sagging infrastructure and by trading defense spending for deep cuts in domestic programs, it immediately endangers the quality of life for most Americans.

Trump’s first budget as president would increase the debt by more than $3 trillion—but only through unrealistic assumptions about economic growth and double-counting of tax revenue. In reality, economists believe economic growth is not going to improve just because we cut taxes on the rich. It has not worked the last four times and it will not work now.

Trump would lower spending in Health and Human Services ($15.1 billion), State Department ($10.1 billion), and Education ($9.0 billion), not to mention the foolhardy one-third decline in EPA spending.  Those ‘savings’ are going to mean more disease and suffering, more war and strife and less educated and trained citizens contributing to our national prosperity because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

There is no transparency and accountability in this administration but there is clearly a lack of respect and understanding about what our government does, because cutting spending does not always save money and spending more does not always get better results but spending more than you have always puts you in a hole.

Complexity is lost on this administration, which means voters have got to get smarter.

 

McCormick pleased by appointment of special prosecutor


New Jersey Democrat Lisa McCormick praised the US Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein for appointing former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to serve as special prosecutor to oversee the investigation of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election, any collusion by the GOP presidential campaign and President Donald Trump’s subsequent actions.
“President Donald Trump’s decision to fire the FBI director investigating Russian involvement with the 2016 presidential election does not just make him look guilty, because obstruction of justice is itself a crime,” said Lisa McCormick, a New Jersey Democrat who recently sponsored an online petition demanding the appointment of a special prosecutor. “This is our opportunity to get the answers we need for a functioning democracy because no one is above the law in America, no matter who they are or how much money they have, and that goes for the President, too.”
Booking agents may arrange interviews with Lisa McCormick by calling 774-338-4630

Governor Christie cut environmental protection budget


When Governor Chris Christie took office, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) budget was $387 million but it will drop to $274 million under the Republican’s latest spending plan, more then $2 million less than the state spent last year.

“Cutting environmental protection is like surrendering to an attack on the lives, health and safety of our citizens,” said Lisa McCormick, a Democratic activist. “If a foreign country polluted our air or water, jeopardizing the lives of innocent Americans, Republicans like Chris Christie would be screaming for war but when corporate polluters spread cancer among our kids, these GOP politicians push tax breaks instead.”

“There is no way to justify a 30 percent reduction in environmental protection while we have lax enforcement of laws designed to protect our land, air and water,” said McCormick. “Some issues still facing New Jersey are sewer overflows, unhealthy air quality, polluted waterways, and cleaning up the legacy of toxic waste dumps.  New Jersey’s environmental problems are well-known, but Christie shows no concern for these dangers because he does not care about our children and taxpayers who are at risk.”

McCormick was not alone in faulting the Republican spending plan for its environmental weakness.

“Every year, the Governor’s priorities in the budget are wrong; he gives tax cuts to corporations and budget cuts to important environmental programs,” said Jeff Tittel, of the Sierra Club. “This year he has continued to cut more DEP staff and programs, while rolling back environmental protections.”

“Commissioner Martin is trying to put a good face on the department where staff is down, morale is low, and the remaining staff left are spending all of their time rolling back environmental protections,” said Tittel. “What he is doing is trying to justify the unjustifiable and defend the indefensible.”

“Claims that government regulations hold back the economy ignore the roots of our real problems, such as the collapse of the housing market, the financial crash and inadequate demand,” said McCormick. “Our economy was booming when America had high taxes rates on the wealthy and corporations, effective regulation to protect consumers and the environment, investment in infrastructure and our people, combined with strong unions to insure fair wages and increasing benefits.”

“Our economy cannot function without a healthy environment,” said McCormick. “It is short-sighted to ignore life-threatening dangers to save a few dollars. Big tax cuts for the wealthy and shifting burdens from the rich to the poor are terrible injustices that have become all too common. Chris Christie is to blame.”

Murphy invested in profitable corporations that paid no taxes


Goldman Sachs billionaire Philip D. Murphy has corporate connections that make him unqualified to lead in government, according to a vocal critic who charged that his campaign for governor would be “a hostile Wall Street takeover of the Democratic Party and New Jersey” because he invested in corporations that stashed profits in offshore accounts so they could pay no taxes.

“I am very disturbed by the stock selections in which this greedy billionaire has invested,” said Murphy detractor Lisa McCormick. “Tobacco companies, polluters, ‘too big to fail’ banks, military contractors, and companies that are known for cheating workers and robbing taxpayer subsidies, such as Walmart, make up a large part of Phil Murphy’s stock portfolio and it reflects shameful greed.”

“Perhaps most alarming, greedy Phil Murphy owns stock in 15 of the 18 profitable tax-dodging corporations that paid no federal income tax at all from 2008 to 2015,” said McCormick. “The same greedy corporations President Donald Trump wants to reward for evading their responsibility to pay taxes and paying dividends to Phil Murphy. He owns stock in many of the 258 corporations that paid no federal income tax in one or more years despite showing big profits.”

“Phil Murphy invested in profitable corporations that paid no taxes,” said McCormick. “These tax-dodging corporations stashed about $2½ trillion in overseas accounts so they can cheat everyone else in America. Understand that a trillion is a million times a million, so we are talking about a lot of money and Phil Murphy, as a former Goldman Sachs partner and top level Wall Street executive, he knows they are putting profits ahead of patriotism.”

McCormick said a financial disclosure statement filed with the Election Law enforcement Commission reveals hundreds of companies in which Murphy has stock holdings.

Also, McCormick said corporate tax cheaters, billionaires buying elections and the resulting economic inequality that is distressing so many Americans demands a cure that is not going to come from someone among the richest one-percent of the population.

“The time has come to consider new, bold ways to make our economy work again for all Americans. In a time of immense wealth, no one should live in poverty, nor should the middle class be consigned to a future of permanent stagnation or anxiety,” said McCormick, who is supporting Senator Raymond Lesniak for the Democratic nomination. “Handing power to a greedy Wall Street billionaire is not going to accomplish the economic justice for which Americans are starving, no matter what poll-tested rhetoric he utters in expensive TV commercials.”

“There are some wonderful investment opportunities in socially conscious businesses, but greedy Phil Murphy did not put his money where his mouth is, he bought stock in companies that have shafted working Americans and decimated this nation’s middle-class,” said McCormick.