As hundreds of thousands of students return to Maryland colleges and universities, Ian Schlakman - Green Party candidate for U.S. House, District 2 - urges them to support candidates who will take transformative action on issues affecting education, the environment, and the economic sustainability of future generations.
"Students need to support Green candidates like myself," said Schlakman, "who are calling for a basic income guarantee, forgiveness of student loan debt, and universal post-secondary education. These policies are the most reasonable ways to release millions of Americans from the debt that is crushing our productivity, creativity, and economic vitality."
"I am running so students can have a voice in Congress that will represent them, not the companies that want to profit off them. I don't accept contributions from financial institutions or banks or the political action committees that represent them. I have no interest in keeping students shackled to student loan payments."
"We can afford to send every American student to college," said Schlakman. "The amount the government spends annually on grants, loans, and other support to students paying inflated private tuition is sufficient to send every American student to an excellent state institution. Education is not something that only the privileged - or those willing to tether themselves to decades of loan payments - should have access to."
In Congress, Schlakman would introduce legislation to forgive existing student debt.
Schlakman is calling for a basic income guarantee - a monthly payment, similar to Social Security - made to every U.S resident, regardless of age, health status, or employment. "Young people learning new technologies today will be free to innovate with them in the future if there is a sustenance-level income available to every American. We can't develop the new technologies we need - like an entirely new renewable energy grid - if today's students spend their rest of their working lives in mid-level positions for fear of losing their homes."
Schlakman also pointed out the danger of continuing to tie health coverage to employment. "The mandates of the Affordable Care Act were written by the conservative Heritage Foundation in the 1980s in order to preserve health insurance industry profits. Without 'Medicare-for-All' - a truly universal, single-payer health care system - today's students will live in fear of losing employer-provided health coverage. A new, innovative economy can work if we provide the supports necessary for individuals to escape corporate hierarchies and experiment with new technologies, new methods, and a new vision for success."