August 13, 2015


America has secured its greatest achievements in the midst of its greatest challenges. Our national ingenuity, compassion, and sheer grit in the face of adversity landed a man on the moon, healed the world after total war, chartered the best research universities, and built the strongest middle class the world had ever known.
Today, our country faces new challenges—among them a changing climate, a justice system in need of reform, and an economy in which 70 percent of us are making less today than we were 12 years ago. These new challenges require new solutions, bold ideas, and a real commitment to action. 
With that approach in mind, today Governor O’Malley is releasing 15 Goals to Rebuild the American Dream. They will serve as a guide, day in and day out, for an O’Malley Administration.
We know what our country should look like when the American Dream is alive and well. It’s a country where:
·      Wages rise—not fall—with productivity;
·      No child goes hungry;
·      No bank is too-big-to-fail or too-big-to-jail;
·      Students can graduate from college without crushing debt;
·      New Americans remain a source of ingenuity and growth;
·      Our criminal justice system actually provides equality under the law;
·      We rise to the climate challenge with a new American jobs agenda;
·      And after a life of hard work, every American can retire with dignity.
Governor O’Malley’s 15 Goals to Rebuild the American Dream provide a clear, measurable roadmap for overcoming these challenges. O’Malley has a long record of setting bold goals and actually achieving them—both as Mayor of Baltimore, where he pioneered the internationally-recognized CitiStat, and as Governor of Maryland, with StateStat. These programs measured the impact of government to make sure it was improving people’s lives.
We can use this smarter, more efficient way of governing to put our national interests ahead of powerful, wealthy special interests—and to make our federal government work to deliver real, measurable results for the people of the United States.

In the coming weeks and months, Governor O’Malley will continue to share his ideas for ways to create good-paying jobs and build an economy that works for everyone. Governor O’Malley strongly supports increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, raising the threshold for overtime pay to $1,000 a week, and strengthening employment protections and workers’ rights to collectively bargain. For young people, he advocates expanding national service opportunities as a pathway to opportunity. He has been clear about the need to expand Social Security—not cut it, privatize it, or otherwise undermine seniors’ benefits. And he has laid out an ambitious, comprehensive plan to combat climate change—and create millions of new jobs while doing so.
GOAL 1: Increase American families' median net worth by $25,000 in 10 years.
Today in America, families’ median net worth has fallen to levels not seen since the late 1980s. The wealthiest 10 percent of households have captured 76 percent of all wealth in America—a far-higher share than most other developed nations, and a far cry from decades past. African-American and Hispanic families own just a fraction of the wealth of white families.
·      Reach wage growth of 4 percent annually by 2018. Today in America, wages for most workers have been flat or falling for decades. In real terms, the average wage peaked in 1973. In addition, recent gains in wage growth have accrued to top earners: wages have risen almost 10 percent since 2000 for earners at the 90th percentile, while wages have fallen by nearly 4 percent for earners at the 10th percentile.

·      Increase the number of families with adequate retirement savings by 50 percent within 8 years. Today in America, a third of all Americans have no retirement savings or pension—meaning that millions of future retirees are unlikely to have sufficient resources to maintain their current standard of living in retirement. Roughly two-thirds of those close to retirement are projected to have inadequate resources when they retire.

·      Cut the pay gap between full-time men and women workers in half by 2025. Women represent half the workforce, but earn less than men in almost every occupation. Overall, women make just 78 cents for every dollar men make—a gender pay gap of 22 percent, and one that, at current rates of progress, will take almost 45 years to close. If we could close that gap today—through paycheck fairness laws, strong family leave policies, and expanded access to quality, affordable childcare, among other measures—half of working single moms would be lifted out of poverty.

GOAL 2: Generate 100% of American electricity with renewable energy by 2050.
Today in America, while fossil fuel pollution contributes to 200,000 deaths a year and a growing climate catastrophe, renewable energy technologies have not yet adequately scaled up, in part because of federal policies that still preference the fossil fuel industry. Governor O’Malley will tackle the climate crisis with a new American clean energy jobs agenda, comprised of detailed policies that will rapidly develop the renewable energy industry, create millions of new clean energy jobs, and end our reliance on fossil fuels.
GOAL 3: Cut the unemployment rate among young people in half within 3 years.
The unemployment rate for young people aged 16 to 24—only counting those who are actively looking for work—is above 14 percent, more than twice the overall unemployment rate. Roughly one in five African Americans in this age group is unemployed.
GOAL 4: Reach full employment for American veterans by 2020.
Today in America, more than 7 percent of veterans who have served on active duty since 2001, and more than 5 percent of all veterans, are unemployed. Fully 17.3 percent of male veterans aged 18-24, and more than 9 percent of women veterans aged 35-44, are jobless.
GOAL 5: Put 11 million New Americans on the pathway to citizenship through comprehensive immigration reform.
Comprehensive immigration reform will help all families—by lifting wages, creating new jobs, growing our economy, expanding our tax base, and improving standards for all workers. Conversely, in the absence of reform, millions of families that contribute to this country every day are one traffic stop away from being torn apart. Only a nimble, data-driven immigration system will meet our economic needs and safeguard all American workers. 
·      Immediately extend executive action to safeguard at least 9 million New Americans from deportation. New American families need immediate relief as they wait for Congress to act. Today in America, tens of thousands of parents are separated from their U.S.-born children, while one in five undocumented adults is at risk of being separated from their spouse. And undocumented immigrants face higher incidences of labor abuses such as wage theft, intimidation, and dangerous working conditions. 

Governor O’Malley believes that every student should have an equal opportunity to succeed within our education system. No matter who you are, or where you are born, a quality education should be available to each and every child in America—from universal access to pre-K; to a high school education that prepares students for college, an apprenticeship, or a good-paying job; to ensuring the option of debt-free college for all.
GOAL 6: Ensure that all higher education students have the option to graduate debt-free within 5 years.
Today in America, nearly 70 percent of U.S. students graduate with student debt, averaging more than $28,000. Almost all states have seen double- or even triple-digit percentage increases in tuition over the past decade. Governor O’Malley will give every student the opportunity to attend college without taking on debt through his detailed plan for restoring investment in higher education, reducing tuition rates, and making other progressive reforms.
GOAL 7: Improve college and career readiness, and increase college completion rates by 25 percentage points within 10 years.
Today in America, one-third of high school students are unprepared for entry-level college courses, and fewer than 40 percent of students of all ages graduate from four-year institutions within four years. Low-income students are the least likely to graduate, while achievement disparities between wealthy and poorer children in pre-K through 12th grade are more acute than at any time in the last 50 years.
GOAL 8: End childhood hunger in America by 2020.
Today in America, one in five—and by some measures, one in three—children live in poverty, without enough to eat. Our children cannot reach their potential in the classroom, or in life, if we tolerate the continued prevalence of childhood hunger in America.
Governor O’Malley believes there is no such thing as a spare American. That’s why he has put forward a plan to reform our immigration system that honors our legacy as a nation of immigrants. And that’s why he has proposed comprehensive criminal justice reform that would ensure fairness and equal treatment of all people at every step of the justice system. From fighting the epidemic of gun violence that cuts down too many of our young people in their prime, to supporting the rehabilitation of those who have fallen victim to drug use, we must ensure our policies value the dignity—and protect the potential—of every individual.
GOAL 9: Reform our criminal justice system to save and redeem lives.
Today in America, our justice system has reinforced our country’s cruel history of racism and economic inequality. Governor O’Malley has outlined a comprehensive criminal justice reform plan, including measures to build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, ensure fairness in sentencing, reduce recidivism through reentry, and address the discriminatory and punitive application of student discipline.

·      Reduce recidivism by 20 percentage points within 10 years. Today in America, the incarceration rate is triple what it was in 1980 and is six times the rate of that of most developed countries. According to the most recent data, three out of four incarcerated individuals are re-arrested within five years of leaving jail or prison—more than half of whom are re-arrested within a year.
GOAL 10: Cut deaths from gun violencehomicides, suicides, and accidentsin half by 2025.
Today in America, firearms kill more than 32,000 Americans each year. Each day, 31 people are murdered with guns, 55 people commit suicide with guns, and 46 are shot or killed on accident. Guns kill or injure roughly 10,000 children each year.

GOAL 11: Reduce deaths from drug overdoses by 25 percent by 2020.
Today in America, nearly 44,000 people die from drug overdoses each year, with more than half caused by prescription drug abuse. Deaths from drug overdoses have doubled over the last 15 years.
GOAL 12: Reduce infant mortality by 10 percent by 2020.
The U.S. ranks 56th worldwide in infant mortality, with more than 6 out of every 1,000 babies dying before their first birthday.
Governor O’Malley believes the American economy does best when it is truly competitive. He supports aggressive enforcement of our anti-trust laws to prevent the most powerful, well-connected corporations from using unfair advantages to smother local competition. He understands that flat wages result in fewer customers for our small businesses, and that credit is still difficult to access for those who want to start or grow their businesses. Governor O’Malley has also put forward a comprehensive Wall Street reform plan to make critical structural and accountability reforms to our financial industry so that it doesn’t have the power to take down the American economy again.
GOAL 13: Require banks to separate commercial and speculative banking within 5 years.
Today in America, megabanks with more than $100 billion in assets comprise almost 60 percent of the financial services market, compared to just 17 percent in 1995, before the repeal of Glass-Steagall. Over that same period, the market share of smaller community banks, which are critical for small businesses and local investment, has fallen from nearly half to only a quarter.
GOAL 14: Restore America’s competition and antitrust laws, directing the Justice Department to take action within one year in office.
Our nation’s antitrust laws were built to protect fair and competitive markets where small businesses, small farmers, and innovation could thrive. But the Reagan Administration reinterpreted those laws to protect “efficiency” instead, allowing bigger and bigger corporations to shut out competition in many once-vibrant areas of our economy. Today in America, a handful of companies now control the vast majority of the market in industries ranging from beef, seeds, and milk; to airlines, semiconductors, and defense contracting and procurementdepressing wages and employment and dampening innovation. A first step to reversing this consolidation is to direct the U.S. Department of Justice to issue new policies to aggressively enforce our antimonopoly laws.
GOAL 15: Implement public financing of congressional campaigns within 5 years.
In the five years since Citizens United, super PACs, corporations, and other outside groups have spent almost $2 billion targeting federal elections—about two-and-a-half times what they spent, in total, between 1990 and 2008. At the same time, for the first time in decades, the total number of small donors has begun to fall. In 2014, the top 100 donors to super PACs spent almost as much money as every single small-dollar donor combined. Our broken campaign finance system allows special interests to drown out the voices of everyday Americans and stymies policies that would benefit the middle class.


Lis Smith