“But what I know is this: Not only can we clear up the air and water in the Black and Brown communities where our pollution is concentrated, this is also the opportunity to create literally millions of middle-class union jobs, well-paid, across the United States of America.”
Tom Steyer is an American hedge fund manager, philanthropist, environmentalist, liberal activist and fundraiser.
Steyer is the founder and former co-senior managing partner of Farallon Capital and the co-founder of Onecalifornia Bank, which became (through merger) Beneficial State Bank, an Oakland–based community development bank. Farallon Capital manages $20 billion in capital for institutions and high-net-worth individuals. The firm’s institutional investors include college endowments and foundations. Since 1986, Steyer has been a partner and member of the executive committee at Hellman & Friedman, a San Francisco–based, $8 billion private equity firm.
In 2010, Steyer and his wife signed The Giving Pledge to donate half of their fortune to charity during their lifetime. In 2012, he sold his stake in and retired from Farallon Capital. Switching his focus to politics and the environment, he launched NextGen America, a nonprofit that supports progressive positions on climate change, immigration, healthcare and education.
Steyer served on the board of trustees at Stanford University from 2007 to 2017.
Steyer’s Policies, Plans & Commitments in His Own Words
Steyer has promised to take the following actions to address Americans’ concerns about affordable healthcare coverage, access to care, prescription drug costs and improvement of the current system.
To give Americans a real choice, my administration supports the creation of a public option. Every American should have the ability to choose the plan that best suits their healthcare needs.
- My public option will be administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which charges a far lower overhead than private insurers, but be fiscally separate from Medicare and Medicaid. It will enable the government to negotiate healthcare costs directly with medical groups and providers, just like Medicare does today.
- My plan will cap the percentage of income any enrollee spends on their care to make this system more equitable. Those making between 138-400% of the Federal Poverty Line would continue to receive subsidies on a sliding scale, and those making above 400% of the Federal Poverty Line would spend a maximum of 8.5% of their total income on their healthcare premiums.
- Individuals who receive their care through a large employer’s plan could opt into the public option if it is better for their needs. For businesses with greater than 50 employees, there would be a penalty payment to help defray the cost of that enrollee’s plan. The plan would also grow the Small Business Health Options Plan (SHOP) and allow businesses with fewer than 50 employees to opt into the public option or choose to offer the private plan. This combined suite of reforms will ensure near universal access to affordable coverage, costing approximately $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
Steyer said he would take the following steps to close the racial wealth gap and the pay gap for women and promote economic security for middle- and low-income Americans.
Black women are paid 39% less and Latinas are paid 47% less than white men. My People Over Profits Economic Agenda advances the economic and civic value of shared prosperity above the pursuit of monetary profit. When corporations threaten this value they and their executives must be held accountable by a government of the people. We must enact new laws and strictly enforce existing rules to hold corporate power in check. My People Over Profits Economic Agenda recognizes that American economic productivity and sustained economic growth is rooted in the health and welfare of its people. Unchecked capitalism takes away workers’ healthcare, dismantles pension programs, and curtails workplace protections — hard fought victories that must be built upon, not reversed. My plan will:
- Guarantee that Americans have five new constitutional rights — the right to healthcare, clean air and water, a livable wage, an equal vote, and a quality education. Government must work in partnership with all sectors of the economy to advance policies and programs that effectively, equitably, and efficiently deliver services that promote upward mobility and provide economic opportunity.
- Make our federal tax system more equitable. I will enact policies that ensure all corporations and all income classes will pay their fair share. I will repeal the Trump tax cuts and institute a wealth tax that will generate over $1.7 trillion for healthcare, education, environmental and criminal-justice programs.
Criminal Justice Reform/Gun Violence/Judiciary
Steyer would address criminal justice reforms, including over-policing, sentencing reforms and help with full and productive reentry into society by pursuing the following policies.
America’s criminal justice system perpetuates a system of mass incarceration and punishment, not rehabilitation and restorative justice. This system was built on — and still suffers from — rampant racism. We must reform our criminal justice system to reflect the rule of law for all, not just those powerless to defend themselves.
- I will work to end cash bail, reduce the prison population, stop the school to prison pipeline, end recidivism, eliminate private prisons, restructure parole and probation, promote better policing methods and training to reduce police brutality, exercise clemency powers where appropriate and increase resources for public defenders and community intervention programs.
- Spending time in the criminal justice system can haunt someone’s life long after they’ve served their time. My administration will fight for the rights of those re-entering society by supporting rehabilitation and access to support services like housing, job training and voting registration.
Steyer proposes to improve pre-K through 12 education and post-secondary education opportunities (including apprenticeships and trade training) through the following actions.
The United States spends more on public education than any other country, yet we do not rank at the top of student achievement or testing results, putting American children and our country’s future prosperity at risk. In a new American economy, we must lead the world in educational achievement, scientific research and technological innovation for the 21st century.