Amherst County Democratic Committee
Welcomes Andy Schmookler to our neighborhood!
On March 3, Andy Schmookler, Democratic candidate for the 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Amherst County, will be holding a Town Meeting in the Lynchburg Public Library Saturday, March 3, from 3 to 5:00 p.m. in the Main Library Auditorium (2315 Memorial Avenue).
Dr. Schmookler is an accomplished author, social thinker, commentator, consultant, speaker and professor. Come
and here what this engaging personality has to say!
Ned Kable, Secretary
Amherst County Democratic Committee
WHAT ANDY STANDS FOR:
• Government for the People, Not Just the Powerful Few
• Restoring Integrity to American Democracy
• Opportunity for All to Fulfill their God-given Potential
• “One Person, One Vote,” not “One Dollar, One Vote”
• Passing on to Our Children a Nation and Planet as Healthy as Was Given to Us
• Leadership that Brings Out the Best in the American People
• Seeking and Speaking the Truth
• Individual Liberty Combined with Wise and Constructive Government
Family Background -
Andy Schmookler was born in the spring of 1946 to parents who had grown up in poverty.
During the depression, Andy’s mother, Pauline, had to drop out of school at the age of 15 to support her ill mother and her two younger sisters. Decades later, though she never graduated from high school, she got her college and two masters degrees and became a high school teacher of literature.
His father, Jacob was able to go to college thanks to his own mother’s working 14-hour days at a sewing machine to make it possible. After World War II, Andy’s father earned his doctorate in economics and began an academic career.
By the time Andy was 10, his family had a secure footing in the American middle class.
His parents raised him and his brother, Ed. They taught their sons to have passion for justice, a deep commitment to honesty and integrity, and they instilled the value of hard work. For Andy’s father, the honest pursuit of the truth was a paramount value. He taught the discipline of reasoned inquiry. And for his mother, a key value was that human worth does not lie in rank or wealth, but in beauty of soul, and that gems can be found in every group and at every stratum.
A Record of Accomplishment -
Equipped with these values, and with a love of learning:
•Andy graduated Valedictorian in his high school class in the Twin Cities in Minnesota.
•He graduated with highest honors in the field of Social Relations from Harvard University.
•For his graduate studies he attended the University of Chicago in Social Thought and at Yale in American Studies.
•Andy earned his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union in a program specially created to accommodate his original theory to explain the way that human civilization has developed.
His doctoral work was published The Parable of the Tribes (University of California Press, 1984; second edition from SUNY Press, 1995), which was awarded the Erik H. Erikson prize by the International Society for Political Psychology.
This book led the way to a successful career as the author of many published books, most of them seeking to understand the forces that must be dealt with by our country, and by humankind generally, in order to create a good future for ourselves and for the generations to come. The books are entitled:
•Out of Weakness: Healing the Wounds that Drive Us to War (Bantam Books, 1988),
•Sowings and Reapings: The Cycling of Good and Evil in the Human System (Knowledge Systems, 1989).
•The Illusion of Choice: How the Market Economy Shapes Our Destiny (SUNY Press, 1993, with translationpublished subsequently in Japan and Korea)
•Fool’s Gold: The Fate of Values in a World of Goods (Harper Collins, 1993).
•Debating the Good Society: A Quest to Bridge America’s Moral Divide (M.I.T. Press, 1999).
Dr. Schmookler is an accomplished author, social thinker, commentator, consultant, speaker and professor. His career accomplishments include:
•Serving as an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He helped with the analysis of possible future challenges for American policy-makers.
•Spearheading a project with the Public Agenda Foundation, in which he interviewed the best minds in the country, in various related fields, on how the United States might best achieve security in an age of weapons of mass destruction.
•Being hired, in the 1990s, by the United States Army to help with a project on the prevention of biological terrorism.
•Teaching at both the college level (Prescott College, Georgetown University) and at the high school level (Albuquerque Academy).
•Speaking at forums across the country such as the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, the Washington Ethical Society, and as Presidential lecturer at the University of Montana.
•Publishing his commentaries in newspapers across the country for the past thirty-five years, and broadcasting them on radio stations nationwide.
•Serving as a consultant to one of America’s premier corporations.
A Sense of Calling -
But most of all, Andy Schmookler has followed a sense of calling. His first book was inspired by a visionary experience that proved life-changing. It led him to choose a life dedicated to service. For the great majority of the past forty years, Andy has done the work he senses he is supposed to do. Making money and getting ahead
have not dictated his life’s course.
For almost twenty years, Andy appeared regularly on WSVA radio out of Harrisonburg, Virginia in an entirely uncompensated role. He spoke with the people of the Shenandoah Valley about the issues of the day. He discussed questions of meaning and value that we all face in our day to day lives. Andy did this because he believes in the importance of meaningful dialogue in the search for truth and mutual understanding.
Beginning in 2004, Andy perceived something troubling about the dynamics operating within American politics. Believing that the nation was being damaged by a failure to confront the truth about the forces at work before our eyes, Andy devoted himself full-time –again without pay—to investigating and discussing the
moral crisis emerging in American society.
It is this same sense of calling, this same dedication to service, and this same sense of America being imperiled, that has led to Andy’s running for Congress in Virginia’s 6th District. He wants to rally his fellow citizens to uphold the ideals of our American democracy.
Devotion to Family -
Andy is a devoted husband and father.
He’s married to April Moore, a writer and lover of the earth, and between them they have three children:
Nathaniel, who just graduated from Harvard and wants to be a writer of fiction; Terra who lives in California and is a licensed
clinical psychologist happily engaged to be married; and Aaron, married and a teacher and creator of theater.
Andy is proud of his three children, all continuing the family tradition of working hard in service to the values they hold dear.
After twenty-five years of marriage to April, he is more in love with her than ever.
It is urgent that we put people back to work in America.
This high unemployment hurts the people who want jobs but can’t find them. It hurts their families, trying to make ends meet, trying to hold onto their homes. It hurts our communities. It is holding our economy back from the strong recovery we need. It is a major cause of our federal deficit.
Wise government policy CAN get us out of this ditch.
American corporations have hired lots of people since the recession bottomed out. Unfortunately, they’ve done their hiring overseas. With the right policies, the government can change the incentives for these corporations so that American companies provide jobs to American workers.
Our infrastructure is in bad shape. A few years ago, our engineers gave it a grade of D. Now is the perfect time for governments to spend the money to give us an infrastructure suitable for a great country in the 21st century. The private sector is sitting on its capital and won’t be squeezed out of the credit markets by this investment in our infrastructure. And this investment will put people back to work and help revive the larger economy.
America will pay a high cost, over the long term, for allowing this high unemployment to damage the life-prospects of our youth, who should now be finding their place in the American workplace.
Three generations ago, during the Great Depression, the government stepped in with jobs programs that helped the youth of that era develop good work habits and feel part of the larger American enterprise while also contributing to the nation.
We can do that again, until the private sector is ready to hire them.
These are but some of the available solutions. But with our current politics, good ideas cannot get enacted.
The Republicans took over Congress in 2010 promising job creation. But since they’ve been in power, they’ve blocked every measure that would put people to work. Their ideology insists on the nonsensical notion that government cannot create jobs (though that’s who issues THEIR paychecks).
The American people have told pollsters that getting people back to work is their top priority, not the cuts that actually kill off more jobs.
America needs Democrats in Congress who will fight harder so that all Americans have the opportunity to fulfill their God-given potential and contribute their best to a prosperous American community.
I am running for Congress in Virginia’s 6th District to be one of those Democrats.
It’s time that the needs of the American people came first in the halls of Congress, not the wants of those who have the most.
-By Andy Schmookler
HEALTH CARE AND MEDICAL CARE -
Our American health care system clearly has problems. Americans pay almost twice as much for health care as any other similar country, but the U.S. ranks only 37th in health care outcomes. Every year, 45,000 people die from lack of health insurance. Reform is clearly necessary.
But for decades, Republicans have disregarded these problems and obstructed every attempt to solve them. And now, the GOP has voted to destroy Medicare, even though that system is more efficient than private insurance companies. They claim it’s too expensive, but that’s only because costs in the entire health care system are out of control. The Republican plan would increase costs, and shift them from government onto older Americans.
Rather than destroy Medicare, we would do better to extend to every American the opportunity to join in Medicare Plus—using the Medicare structure but, unlike seniors, paying their own way without government subsidy. If private insurers really are superior, then they have nothing to be afraid of. But if not, then we could gradually turn the public option into a single-payer system providing universal coverage to every American at lower costs.
The results are in: our health care system delivers less bang for more bucks. It’s time for a new approach that provides quality service, saves money and saves lives.
DEBT AND DEFICIT: WHEN TO DEAL WITH IT-
Despite what we hear, now is not the time to be focused on the deficit. Now is the time to be focusing on putting people back to work, and reviving America’s economy. Spending should be cut and revenues raised once the economy is strong again.
Here’s why the Republicans’ focus is dangerously counter productive: it not only distracts us from the urgent
task at hand, which is to get Americans back to work, but it also threatens to make that problem worse by damaging our still-fragile recovery.
DEBT AND DEFICIT: INCREASING REVENUES-
When the economy is healthy again, that will be the time to address the remaining deficit. Restoring prosperity is the crucial first stop toward closing the deficit. Part of the rest of the task of closing the
deficit involves increasing federal revenues. The Republican refusal to consider the revenue side of the equation has no justification, in view of the facts about how the American distribution of wealth and taxation has become unbalanced and unjust in favor of the richest.
Measures that should be taken include: 1) closing inappropriate tax loopholes for corporations; 2) raising taxes on the richest Americans back to the level in the prosperous 1990s; and 3) creating various tiers for the richest Americans, so that billionaires are taxed at a higher marginal rate than a couple making 5,000.
DEBT AND DEFICIT: CUTTING SPENDING-
To the extent that spending cuts are needed in the coming years, we should focus on areas different from those the Republicans have been targeting. Instead of gutting Social Security, Medicare, and other vital government programs, we can best reduce the deficit by bringing health care costs under control and by cutting our
excessive defense budget. Fiscal discipline need not dismantle the programs and institutions that make America a great and humane society, or be achieved at the expense of our country’s most vulnerable citizens.
97% of leading climate scientists agree that climate change is a serious, man-made problem that needs to be addressed. And yet, America is not taking action to deal with this challenge because one of our two major parties has embraced the skepticism of a tiny minority of scientists. It is not coincidence that the only place where American policy is ignoring an overwhelming scientific consensus is one where our richest corporations have a vested interest in our ignoring the science. And we cannot afford to gamble with the only planet we have, and with the future well-being of our children and grandchildren, because dishonesty has corrupted our discourse. As a candidate for Congress, one of my priorities is to bring honesty and responsibility to the politics of climate change.
There are problems that require urgent attention, but Social Security is not one of them.
The financing of Social Security needs only minor adjustments in the coming years. Nonetheless, the same forces that opposed the creation of Social Security are now trying to use our country’s economic woes as an excuse to dismantle one of America’s most popular and successful programs.
Social Security is a central part of what makes ours a humane and caring nation, one providing a degree of dignity and security to many millions of Americans in their older years. One of my priorities as a member of Congress will be to defend Social Security from those who cannot be trusted to deal with it honestly.