People on the left and right agree; America’s criminal justice system is in need of repair. Too many families are being broken apart and children left without parents because of a one size fits all approach to crime and punishment. For those who are looking for re-entry, we have to remove government imposed obstacles to opportunities for ex- offenders. Everyone has a stake in the safety and security of our communities so it’s time for everyone to come to the table and start talking about solutions that ensure fairness and respect civil liberties for all Americans.The current judicial system disproportionately affects disadvantaged and minorities. Reaching America is working on ideas for a more just court system ensuring fair and equal treatment for all especially the least advantaged.
Energy is the lifeblood our society. It doesn’t just fuel our cars and power our homes, but it connects us to one another and makes our lives healthier, safer, and more fulfilling. However, recent policies are leading to rising energy costs – and African Americans are disproportionately hurt. Low income families pay a greater share of their income on utilities in some cases as much as 35%. The only thing low income families spend more on is housing. Since minorities are more likely to be low income than the general population regulations and other policies that drive up the costs of energy hit African Americans and other minorities especially hard.
Reaching America is committed to advancing policies that allow us to use our abundant, affordable, and reliable energy sources – and that allow consumer decisions and individual priorities to determine our energy mix. Instead of regulating away coal, oil, and natural gas, policymakers should be focused on allowing innovation and the free market to flourish with solutions that meet our energy demands.
In many states across the country, workers must obtain government permission to do their jobs. This is known as occupational licensing. Workers often have to show certain educational attainment and training then pay substantial sums of money to get licenses.
While in many cases it makes sense for government to ensure people in certain types of professions have the requisite training and education like pilots and doctors, there are many professions for which occupational licensing is unnecessary like a florists, interior decorators, cosmetologists and barbers.
The more time and money people spend having to get licenses and training for professions that are learned best by doing, the fewer people there are to do these jobs and the more expensive their services become for consumers.
Unfortunately, occupational licensing is often done not in the name of public health and safety, but for the benefit of people established in certain industries. Established businesses should not be able to lobby for occupational licensing standards that simply stand in the way of competitors entering the market. We need to remove outdated and antiquated barriers to opportunities. Reaching America opposes unnecessary occupational licensing and supports efforts that reduce the burden these licenses pose on Americans.
In the marketplace of goods and services, we are better off when there is more to choose from. The same applies to the marketplace of ideas, the more voices and opinions that are shared – the better. The efforts of some to silence those with opposing views is a disservice to everyone because ideas are not brought to the table.
The ability to express and debate diverse opinions is the foundation of a free society. Reaching America believes The more voices and views, the better.
However in some places like academic settings, the media, and public forums, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to speak their mind without fear of retribution. While of course being respectful of one another is important, people must always be safe to express their opinions.
Reaching America believes that college campuses and the public square must remain open for debate and discussion. When people lose the ability to express their views and convictions – no matter how controversial – they sacrifice a fundamental, constitutionally-protected right.