The key to rebuilding Connecticut is by rebuilding the three pillars that made middle class life attainable: a fair tax structure to fund strong public services, an affordable healthcare system through the groundbreaking SustiNet platform, and real retirement security for all workers.
We all have a role in making this state happen. We need to strengthen the public structures, be they physical structures like our transportation system, organization structures like the courts, or social structures like public colleges. These public structures are the foundation of the middle class. We – as citizens – are the stewards of the future and determine the course of our shared fate.
First, we need to take a look at our state’s budget – this is our statement of common priorities, our vision of a shared future. Budgets and taxes are a system of forward exchange, our parents and grandparents created a system of public structures that give us safe roads, clean water, good schools… its now our responsibility to look towards the future and see what kind of state we want to be in ten years, fifteen years. We need to take preventative action now to rebuild those public structures that have slipped over the years because the costs of rebuilding them will be far greater later on.
One of the best preventative actions we can take is by stabilizing health care costs by investing in better medical outcomes and expanding the insurance pool. The groundbreaking SustiNet plan is a big plus for the state of Connecticut in that it gives more choice, more security, and more affordability. Improving upon the steps the federal government took in 2010, SustiNet can bring millions of federal dollars into the state and curb the cost curve that is bankrupting families and government. As a public option offered on the health insurance exchange in 2014, SustiNet will reform the marketplace to focus on keeping us healthy, not just treating illness.
And we need to secure retirement savings through a strengthened pension system. Middle-class retirements are meant to be based on a three-legged stool: Social Security, personal savings, and a pension. However, this economy has devastated personal savings and shown the inadequacies of the 401k-defined contribution type plan. Without a real retirement that we can rely on to be there when we are ready; older folks are unable to retire, young people have difficulty entering the labor market, bankruptcies of the elderly skyrocket along with health care costs. If we do not take steps now to repair the stool, we will see fundamental changes in how our job market functions.
Most importantly, we need to put values back in the economy. There’s something very wrong when people who are responsible and work hard still have to live paycheck to paycheck. We need an economy that makes economy security real for more workers and their families.