Saturday, March 02, 2024

A plan to address the affordability crisis

by Monica Tranel
| October 6, 2022 12:00 AM

In my campaign for Congress, I’ve traveled over 35,000 miles to connect with Montanans across the district. Montanans are most concerned about inflation and how to make ends meet. Prices are rising faster than wages, and people can’t keep up.

My opponent, Ryan Zinke, has tried to make political hay out of the distress of Montana families. Mostly that means a lot of indignation and blame casting, but no solutions. Zinke has given us no idea how he would make our lives more affordable. He has no plan for dealing with inflation.

Well, I do.

Number one is to rein in the monopoly power of corporations. Inflation has multiple causes, but it has been amplified by corporations taking advantage of the opportunity to gouge consumers and balloon profits. Prices have risen most where corporate competition is weakest. Corporate profits are at historic highs. And the concentration of market power is getting worse.

We can reverse that trend. As an attorney, I’ve taken on large corporations on behalf of Montana small businesses, workers and families. I won those battles and saved millions of dollars for Montana families. In Congress, I will carry on that fight.

Number two is we need to bring manufacturing back to America and Montana. Globalization has made us vulnerable to breaks in the supply chain, with empty store shelves and goods unavailable at any price. When we allow essential goods like computer chips to be produced abroad, we lose control of our economic destiny.

Bringing manufacturing back to America means we will create new jobs paying higher wages here in Montana. But just creating those opportunities is not enough - people need to be able to take advantage of them. They can’t do that if they can’t afford a home here, or care for their kids, or obtain the training required, or get the medicines needed to stay healthy. My plan addresses adequate funding of housing construction, child care, and post-secondary education, and control over prescription drug prices.

Number three is to rein in Federal spending and deficits. On the tax side, we need to make sure that everyone is paying their fair share. The Inflation Reduction Act that just passed Congress was a good start, but tax rates for super wealthy Americans will still be lower than the rate for the average Montana family. When it comes to spending, we need to make sure that funds are going to the people and programs in real need and not to lavish corporate welfare. To stop these undeserved tax breaks and corporate handouts, we need to end the corrupting influence of money in politics. Members of Congress should be responsive to their constituents and not to the corporate PACs and wealthy donors who fill their campaign war chests, or offer them cushy jobs when they leave office.

Finally, number four is to create a new renewable, reliable and affordable energy system. With its renewable resources, Montana is positioned to prosper in the new energy economy. I have worked with renewable energy producers across Montana, and I know how it’s done. But as much as building a new energy economy means opportunity for Montanans, it means securing the future of all Americans. By being truly energy independent, when we fill our cars or heat our homes we will no longer be under the thumb of autocrats in Riyadh and Moscow.

As an Olympian and a lawyer, I know success comes from planning and executing. I have a plan to build a thriving Montana, and I will work for working people.

Monica Tranel is the Democrat candidate for Montana's western district U.S. House seat. She lives in Missoula.

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