Patrick J. Elder

Patrick J. Elder
  • Green
  • Age: 63
  • Residence: Lexington Park

About Patrick J. Elder

Education

Graduated from Calvert County High School in 1973; graduated with degree in Political Science from St. Mary’s College of MD, earned teacher certification and was editor of the student newspaper for two years; received MA degree in Government for the University of Maryland, 1986.

Background

(Some of these vocations overlap) - High school and middle school classroom teacher, 14 years; Owner, Southern Abstracts Real Estate Title Company, 20 years; Director, DC Antiwar Network, 10 years; Director, National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy, 10 years; For several years I have taught GED in the classroom and at the detention center; I’ve worked with the homeless.

Questionnaire

1
Trump record
How do you assess the Trump administration so far?
Elder: The Trump administration represents the flowering of a rotten American political system where the excesses of unregulated capitalism and the corrupting influence of money in the electoral process protect the interests of the ruling class. Trump is a disaster, but he is not much worse than what the Democrats have provided us. Trump has failed to address the looming climate catastrophe caused by the burning of fossil fuels. He has resisted attempts to provide Medicare for all, daycare for all, and subsidized college tuition, but the Democrats are not much better. President Trump has dangerously increased military spending to $717 B while continuing the policies of the Obama administration to indiscriminately bomb several countries around the world. Both parties receive hundreds of millions of dollars each election cycle from corporations that derive obscene profits at the expense of the American public. These are harsh words but they are true. We must not point our finger at the Trump administration with the idea that the Democrats are going to come in and fix our problems. Many of our European counterparts are able to provide health and educational services to their people because the corrupting influence of money in the political process is largely minimized. My Democratic opponent has already accepted $6.6 million from corporations that profit from gouging the public while he has thwarted attempts to create public financing of campaigns. Trump is a neo-fascist. Many Democrats are not far behind. I am crashing the party and I’m not alone.
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2
2017 Tax cuts
Do you support or oppose the federal tax cuts passed in 2017? What effect do you believe they will have on the economy?
Elder: The federal tax cuts passed last year favor the corporate masters behind the American political duopoly. The cuts are a disaster for the health and welfare of the vast majority of Americans. The CBO estimates that the Trump tax cuts will add $1.9 trillion to the nation’s deficit by 2028. Senator Bernie Sanders says this is “nothing more than the Republican Party very generously rewarding their wealthy campaign contributors.” The new tax scheme, which leaves a range of corporate loopholes and deductions intact, slashes the tax burden on corporations from 35% to 21%. We ought to immediately return the corporate tax rate to 35% and we should eliminate a host of loopholes and deductions that allow a corporation like Amazon to pay no tax in 2017. (And that was before the tax cuts!) Neither party is addressing the $100 billion in taxes that that are evaded by US corporations in overseas tax havens. It’s as simple as opening up a post office box in a place like the Cayman Islands. We must eliminate dozens of loopholes and tax subsidies that benefit coal, oil, and natural gas companies. After all, fossil fuels are killing us and helping to cause climatic catastrophe. We should use the additional revenues to fund tax credits for renewable energy firms. We must create a tax on Wall Street to significantly reduce speculation and high frequency trading. Finally, we ought to institute a 50% tax for those individuals who earn $2 million or more.
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3
National debt
Is the level of national debt a concern? What, if anything, should be done to reduce it or constrain its increase?
Elder: We should start to reduce the deficit by cutting the budget of the Department of Defense. Military spending is currently at $717 billion, about half of all discretionary spending. It is consuming too much of our national wealth. We must seek nonviolent multilateral solutions to international conflict. My Democratic opponent says deficits “are a serious long term problem that will require tough choices in the years ahead.” This reflects an irresponsible Democratic-corporate view of debt in general. The deficit and income disparity in this country are an acute crisis. Leaders in both parties call for reductions in federal spending as a way to address the nation’s mushrooming national debt. We live in a fantastically wealthy country, although many of us don’t see it. The wealthiest 1% of American households own 40% of the country’s wealth. Meanwhile, this 1% has more money than the bottom 90% combined. The Democratic and Republican leadership are in no hurry to change it. Tax the wealthy to balance the budget. It apparently hasn’t occurred to my opponent that we can increase tax revenues and spending while eliminating the deficit. There are a myriad of progressive accounting fixes that could fill the federal coffers. Start by eliminating the Social Security taxable minimum of $128,400. Tax Wall Street speculation. Hike the individual rate to 50% and higher above $2 million. Hike the corporate tax rate and remove many loopholes and deductions.
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4
Income inequality
Is the level of economic inequality in the United States a problem, and if so, what should the federal government do to address it?
Elder: Economic inequality is a criminal American enterprise, brought to us by a political system that allows corporate dollars to call the tune. Many wealthy nations are able to provide universal health care, day care, and college to their citizens, but they have lawmakers who typically serve just one master — their constituents. Here, it’s another story. My opponent has raised $6.6 million from corporate donors so far this cycle. It’s the reason we don’t have single-payer health care, universal daycare and college. It is also the reason we do have several ongoing wars and looming climate disaster. My opponent’s contributions come from corporations who give tens of thousands of dollars and whose main focus is profit. They help shape policy. This nexus creates economic disparity. These companies may be grouped into four types: Health, Energy, Finance, and Military contractors. Most give in equal shares to both Democrats and Republicans: Health contributors: AFLAC, Abbott Laboratories, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Humana Inc, Medstar Health, Novo Nordisk, Bayer AG, Eli Lilly & Co, and UnitedHealth Group. Energy contributors: BP, Edison, Southern, Entergy, Exelon, P G & E, Sempra Finance contributors: Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway, Capital One, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Master Card, PricewaterhouseCoopers Military contractors: Blackrock, Gen Dynamics, BAE, Honeywell, Lockheed, Boeing, Northrup Grumman. Hospital visits may run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Forty million students owe an average of 40 thousand dollars in student debt. Daycare expenses make life unmanageable for millions. It doesn’t have to be this way!
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5
Gun laws
Should federal gun laws be changed, and if so, how?
Elder: Federal gun laws should be tightened, although this issue is primarily the domain of state governments. We have tens of millions of people who are gun owners in this country and the overwhelming majority of them obey the law. What works in Baltimore may not work in Wyoming. We must extend background checks to all private sales of firearms. For instance, individuals should not be allowed to meet through social media sites like Instagram to buy and sell military-grade weaponry without close monitoring by federal authorities. We must ban the sale of assault rifles, close the gun show loophole and ban bump stocks. Congress should go further by taking measures to reverse the pervasive gun culture in America. Congress must dismantle the Civilian Marksmanship Program, (CMP) a congressionally chartered private entity that sells discarded military firearms, including semi-automatic handguns to the public. The CMP works in the nation’s high schools through JROTC programs to teach marksmanship skills in high school firing ranges. The America’s Army video game is a violent, first-person shooter game that is rated Teen-Blood-Violence by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. The army uses the game to recruit teens. It’s shameful! Finally, we must begin to recognize our nation as one of the most highly militarized societies in human history. Gun violence is partly attributable to the massive size of our armed forces and the perpetual wars they’re engaged in. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a military reverence for weaponry conspire to create our gun culture.
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6
ACA
What should Congress do with respect to the Affordable Care Act? Should it be strengthened, and if so, how? Should it be scrapped? If so, what if anything should replace it?
Elder: The Affordable Care Act must be scrapped in favor of a publicly funded health system. I will be a co-sponsor of HR676, The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. People in the United States are entitled to comprehensive lifetime benefits, including dental, vision, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, medication coverage, and hospice and long-term care. We must expand and improve Medicare! Everyone will receive these lifetime benefits. It’s overdue. Where’s our indignation? Under improved Medicare for all, people will be able to choose from any healthcare provider in the United States, greatly increasing their choices and put decision-making into the hands of patients with their providers. Portability of coverage will be guaranteed regardless of geographical location or employment. There will be a much greater emphasis on providing free, universal, first-rate mental health services. The system will safeguard human dignity, respect individual autonomy, and protect informed consent. Fair and full reimbursement will be guaranteed to providers for their services. Because of these measures, the market will largely disappear for health insurance companies. Programs must be implemented to provide transitional services and retraining of their choice for employees in the health insurance industry.
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7
Urban policy
What role should the federal government play in helping cities like Baltimore?
Elder: Neither Maryland nor Baltimore have the available capital to repair the city’s crumbling roads, bridges, port, rail and transit networks. The state and the city are short of funds to adequately address Baltimore’s most pressing issues, like: poverty, deteriorating public health, crime, education, housing and criminal justice, to name a few. The federal government, with trillions in debt and a lack of committed, visionary leadership, has not responded to the city’s needs. Military spending, which consumes over half of all federal discretionary spending, is the elephant in the room. We must step outside of our insular selves to hear what the rest of the world is saying about us. We’re spending too much on the military and not enough on infrastructure. Multi-billionaire Chinese business magnate Jack Ma addressed the World Economic Forum last year and said the U.S. “has wasted over $14 trillion in fighting wars over the past 30 years rather than investing in infrastructure at home.” We can’t have it both ways. To provide a snapshot, the city’s fiscal 2018 capital plan totals just $1.1 billion, while Baltimore is able to eke out $1.3 billion for its schools. Meanwhile, city residents pay federal taxes to help fund $1.7 trillion to “modernize” the nation’s nuclear weapons program, while the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, one weapon program, will cost $1.5 trillion over its lifetime. We aren’t repairing the crumbling infrastructure and we aren’t providing a world-class educational system because we have our priorities all wrong.
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8
Opioids
What can Congress do to address the opioid epidemic?
Elder: I support legislation to hold opioid manufacturers accountable for their role in the epidemic and to force them to help pay for the crisis. We should ban marketing that falsely suggests an opioid does not have addictive qualities. I support the legalization of safe injection sites throughout the city and the state to provide a place for the consumption of pre-obtained drugs, to provide sterile needles, and to administer first aid as needed. Many courts still fail to understand that addiction is foremost a disease. Judges continue to send these pathetic souls to county detention facilities. I taught GED at a county detention center and I worked with men who were incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses. They are caught in an atrocious revolving door of arrest, incarceration, release, and re-arrest. They desperately need intensive drug therapy and job training. We must institute universal healthcare that includes addiction therapy and counseling. There is a clinical aspect to the crisis that calls for increased non-threatening contact between addicts and health and law enforcement officials. Drug therapies like Suboxone should be made available as free prescriptions to addicts. They reduce symptoms of opiate addiction and withdrawal. Twelve-step programs are a proven mechanism to aid in the recovery process, although patients must be willing to work the first step: “We admitted we were powerless over opioids — that our lives had become unmanageable.” This is the tough part. Recovery requires love, family, and a nurturing community — things in short supply.
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9
Immigration
What changes if any should Congress make to our immigration and deportation laws and policies?
Elder: Undocumented immigrants who are already residing and working in the United States, and their families, should be granted a legal status which includes the chance to become U.S. citizens. Persons should be excluded from this process only if they present a danger to other members of our society. All persons fleeing political, racial, religious, or other types of persecution must be welcomed and given permanent resident status. Although it shouldn’t have to be said, Permanent residency should not be denied based on political views, racial or national origin, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, or any other arbitrary basis. There are many countries in the world where the economic policies and military actions of the U.S. government or U.S. based corporations have caused extreme hardships. The peoples of these countries deserve special consideration if they wish to come to the U.S. to escape intolerable conditions created by our government or U.S. corporations. We must keep faith with our commitment to the United Nations, to assist in the resettlement, including to our own country, of refugees currently stranded in refugee camps in other parts of the world. I support measures to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses if they can prove their identity and pass the required tests. This will improve road safety and allow the undocumented who are driving in any case to obtain insurance. I oppose the militarization of our borders, using the National Guard as border police, and building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
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10
Free trade
Should the United States continue with the free trade policies it pursued for the last several decades, or should it enact restrictions in an attempt to help domestic industries?
Elder: The U.S. should call for replacing the WTO, IMF, and World Bank with new institutions that are democratic, transparent, and accountable to the citizens of all nations. International trade regimes should protect the labor, human rights, economy, environment and domestic industries of partner nations so that the growth of local industry and agriculture remains dominant over foreign corporate influence. We must re-structure the rules of performance of the IMF/WB to gradually end the debts of recipient nations, prohibit the use of IMF/WB loans to impose structural adjustment programs that emphasize debt service and export-led development at the expense of social needs, and to install strict standards in the IMF/WB that control the use of grants or loans to prevent fraud, misuse, and subversion of funds by recipient governments. We must re-write the rules for investment of corporate capital in projects operated under the IMF/WB to guarantee the rights of the citizens of the nations receiving the investment and their right to public ownership and control of their own resources. All international trade arrangements should protect labor’s right to organize, create unions and negotiate with management in all countries receiving U.S. investment. U.S. corporations that operate in other countries should adhere to the core labor standards established by the International Labor Organization (ILO) Declaration of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. We must prohibit U.S. corporations from evading payment of their taxes by banking abroad or locating their charters offshore.
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11
Iran
Do you support the Iran nuclear deal?
Elder: I support the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” signed in July, 2015 by Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States plus Germany, and the European Union, which confirms Iran’s status as a zone free of nuclear weapons. I condemn the Trump Administration for undermining this working protocol and I call on Israel, with more than 200 nuclear warheads, to dismantle its nuclear weapons program and sign on to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. I also call for the gradual but steady elimination of the American nuclear arsenal. After all, who are we to demand that Iran not develop nuclear weapons when we have to capacity to destroy all life on the planet many, many times over? The world is in desperate need for American leadership in this realm. It is possible to beat our swords into plowshares! We can use the savings from dismantling our nuclear weapons to help our friends and adversaries to do the same. The US has embarked on a $1.7 trillion nuclear “modernization” program, creating nuclear weapons that many be affixed to F-35’s using a “dial-a-yield” feature that effectively limits the extent of the nuclear reaction when the weapon detonates. The new B-61 nuclear bomb may produce an explosion just 2% of the size of Hiroshima or up to three times larger. This development makes nuclear war much more likely. We need to see things from the Iranian perspective. They feel threatened.
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12
North Korea
How should the United States address the rise of North Korea’s nuclear program?
Elder: See my response to the question regarding the Iran nuclear deal. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
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