"Freedom is not binary. Just because the state has taken away someone’s freedom in certain ways does not mean it has the right to subject people to inhumane conditions while they are incarcerated.
We will support a constitutional amendment to abolish the death penalty.
Black people comprise 42% of those currently awaiting execution, and 34% of total executions since 1976. Abolition is the only way to address the blatant prejudice in our application of the death penalty."
Source: Pete Buttigieg, "The Douglass Plan: A Comprehensive Investment in the Empowerment of Black America," peteforamerica.com (accessed Aug. 26, 2019)
"We will fight the profit motive in the criminal justice system, including by abolishing private federal prisons. Private prisons make more money when more people are incarcerated. This has contributed to a ballooning incarceration rate and has no place in our criminal justice system. We will abolish private federal prisons and significantly reduce the use of private contractors by incentivizing states to stop their services in areas such as health care, food services, communications, diversion, and supervision."
Source: Pete Buttigieg, "The Douglass Plan," peteforamerica.com (accessed Nov. 12, 2019)
Pro Should Universal Background Checks for Gun Purchases Be Made Law?
"Pete knows that America can protect gun rights and balance the Second Amendment with sensible gun laws. He understands that solving the gun violence epidemic requires a comprehensive approach, and that begins with universal background checks as the foundation for reducing gun violence. Pete also understands that solutions to gun violence are not an 'either-or' proposition, and universal background checks must be accompanied by a package of other reforms to reduce gun deaths nationwide — deaths caused by suicide, daily urban violence, school shootings, domestic violence, and accidents."
Source: Pete Buttigieg, "Issues," peteforamerica.com (accessed Aug. 27, 2019)
Pro Should Recreational Marijuana Be Legal Federally?
"We will, on the federal level, eliminate incarceration for drug possession, reduce sentences for other drug offenses and apply these reductions retroactively, legalize marijuana and expunge past convictions. Despite equal rates of use, Black Americans are nearly four times as likely to be arrested for using marijuana. Research shows that incarceration for drug offenses has no effect on drug misuse, drug arrests, or overdose deaths. In fact, some studies show that incarceration actually increases the rate of overdose deaths. We cannot incarcerate ourselves out of this public health problem."
Source: Pete Buttigieg, "The Douglass Plan," peteforamerica.com (accessed Oct. 15, 2019)
"I think we certainly need to consider a higher marginal tax rate for top income earners. Maybe it doesn’t have to be as high as it was historically, but we should at least admit that when it was higher, the American economy was growing pretty well. We should consider a wealth tax. I think it makes sense. I think one of the things that’s appealing about it is it’s not very distortionary compared to an income tax, and that’s important.
The least distortionary tax probably is the estate tax, because you’re dead. We should think about turning to a more equitable use of the estate tax, especially for the biggest and wealthiest estates. I’m interested also — if we could find the right way to implement it and the devil’s in the details — in a financial transactions tax. Because you see preposterous levels of wealth sometimes being created around these millisecond differences in financial transactions that nobody can explain to us whether it adds any actual real value to the economy."
Source: John Harwood, "2020 Candidate Pete Buttigieg on Taxing the Rich and the Future of American Capitalism," cnbc.com, Apr. 12, 2019
"Raise the minimum wage to $15 and ensure workers access to the predictable hours, wages, and support they deserve.
For too long, the typical worker’s wages have not kept up with expenses like health care, housing, and education. Pete wants to make sure that workers who are giving their all to an employer are getting paid fairly in return. By raising the minimum wage to $15, we can start taking steps to make sure that the economy is working for all workers."
Source: Pete Buttigieg, "Issues," peteforamerica.com (accessed July 29, 2019)
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should the US Implement a Universal Basic Income (UBI)?
"Our generation is likely to change careers more frequently than our parents changed job titles. And what we've got to do in that environment is make it less of a disruptive event in your entire life when those changes occur...
It's why the conversation about Medicare-for-all is so important. It's why we might even need to look at guaranteed income for working people as a policy that will help smooth the edges of that...
[W]e're at the outset of learning about what these policies could do on the ground. For example, there's an experiment going on right now in the city of Stockton with what's called universal basic income, where they're actually simply distributing payments to people to make sure that that income floor is lifted. The idea is there are too many Americans who couldn't find even $400 in an emergency to get them through that.
Now, I'm not yet sure that we know that that's the right way to go, but I do think it's the sort of bold policy we should contemplate, especially if we can construct it in a way that it's connected to work. But maybe we ought to broaden our definition of work. So, for example, if you are taking care of a parent or raising a child, isn't that work? And shouldn't we honor that, too?"
Source: CNN Transcripts, "Townhall with Mayor Pete Buttigieg, D-South Bend IN. Aired 9-10p ET," cnn.com, Mar. 10, 2019
"I strongly believe that the wealthy have an obligation to pay their fair, higher share. Raising taxes on the highest earning Americans is necessary to pay for the ambitious policy reforms that America needs, and this can be done without a return to the tax rates that were common a half century ago. I have discussed the need to substantially raise marginal tax rates on the highest earners. I have spoken about the need for a wealth tax and/or analogously high taxes on income from wealth — such as capital gains, dividends, and estate bequests — that raise large amounts of revenue by taxing capital gains and dividends of the wealthy, similar to how we tax their earned income.”
Source: Washington Post, "Do You Support a Tax on the Assets Held by the Wealthiest Americans?," washingtonpost.com, Nov. 20, 2019
[Editor's Note: During the Oct. 15, 2019 Democratic Debate, Buttigieg stated "I'm all for a wealth tax."
Source: The Fix, "Transcript: The November Democratic Debate," washingtonpost.com, Nov. 20, 2019]
Pro Should the Federal Funding to Historically Black Universities and Colleges (HBCUs) Be Increased?
"As president, I will increase funding for HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions by $50 billion. These resources will allow the consortium of black colleges and universities to make long term investments in faculty, facilities and student retention rates.
At the same time, we’ll ensure more young people have access to college, including public HBCUs, by providing free tuition to low- and middle-class students and making basic living expenses free for the lowest-income students."
Source: Pete Buttigieg, "Pete Buttigieg: As President, I Will Increase HBCU, Minority-Serving School Funding by $50 Billion," baltimoresun.com, Nov. 13, 2019
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should Student Loan Debt Be Forgiven?
Q: "Mayor Buttigieg, you've talked about how you and your husband are paying down six figures of student loan debt. Under Senator Sanders' proposal to cancel all student loan debt, yours would immediately be wiped away. Why wouldn't you support that?"
Buttigieg: "That would be great for us. And then the next day, there would be a student loan program and people would be out taking student loans wondering why they weren't lucky enough in timing to get theirs wiped away completely, too...
[F]or those of us who do have a lot of debt, we can make it more affordable and we can expand a public service loan forgiveness program, which is an excellent program that is almost impossible to actually get access to right now...
If we want to start wiping away student debt, here's where I would start. I would start with the for-profit colleges that took advantage of people, especially veterans, by the way."
Source: The Fix, "Transcript: The First Night of the Second Democratic Debate," washingtonpost.com, July 30, 2019
"For lower-income families, we must make public college truly debt-free. We can do this through a state-federal partnership that makes public tuition affordable for all and completely free at lower incomes — combined with a large increase in Pell Grants that provides for basic living expenses and keeps up with inflation. Middle-income families at public colleges will pay zero tuition."
Source: Pete Buttigieg, "Issues," peteforamerica.com (accessed July 29, 2019)
"A National Popular Vote to replace the Electoral College.
It’s simple: the candidate who gets the most votes should win. States don’t vote, people vote, and everyone’s vote should count exactly the same. The Electoral College has to go.
The Electoral College artificially dilutes the power of minority communities and due to projected demographic trends, this problem is likely to get worse over time. We need to abolish the Electoral College and replace it with a National Popular Vote so that every citizen has a say in electing our president. The best route to removing the Electoral College would be a constitutional amendment. Recognizing that this cannot be done overnight, Pete supports the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to ensure the president is chosen by the American people while we seek constitutional reform."
Source: Pete Buttigieg, "Issues," peteforamerica.com (accessed Sep. 26, 2019)
Con Should Voters Be Required to Show Photo Identification in Order to Vote?
"Weaponized voting laws and the discriminatory administration of elections cannot be allowed to continue disenfranchising Black voters. We need to authorize a new preclearance procedure under the Voting Rights Act to enable the federal government to block racist voting laws beforethey take effect. We need to create and enforce standards for voter roll maintenance to stop discriminatory voter purges, neutralize the effects of restrictive voter ID bills by allowing people to vote with a sworn written statement of identity, and increase and enforce criminal penalties for people who try to interfere with a person’s right to vote. And in the era of Facebook and unaccredited news sites, we need to work with tech companies and develop policies that limit the spread of false information online."
Source: Pete Buttigieg, "The Douglass Plan," peteforamerica.com (accessed Sep 26, 2019)
Pro Should the US Adopt a Climate Change Plan such as the Green New Deal?
"Security means protecting our environment and treating climate change and climate disruption like the national emergency it is.
Implement a Green New Deal with all available tools, including a carbon tax-and-dividend for Americans, and support major direct investment to build a 100% clean energy society.
Climate security is a life-and-death issue for our generation. Pete knows it is long overdue to take bold, decisive action to eliminate greenhouse gas pollution once and for all while creating new, high-paying jobs. We will rise to the challenge and do it in the American way–by building and innovating. We will work with communities to ensure the transition to clean energy is inclusive and fair for all. We will fight for the right to be healthy–to have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. And we will prepare our military and disaster response agencies for the security threats of climate change."
Source: Pete Buttigieg, "Issues," peteforamerica.com (accessed Sep. 9, 2019)
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should the US Expand Its Use of Nuclear Power?
"To me, our priority when it comes to energy has to be carbon. And nuclear has problems but it has the advantage that it does not create carbon emissions, so if we got to choose our pros and cons I think that nuclear certainly is preferable to anything like coal. And while it might not be the best solution for the very long term, and I certainly prefer in the short to medium term doing everything that we can with renewables, I definitely think by the end of the day what we’ve got to care about most is cutting CO2 emissions and, at least for now, nuclear is part of that."
Source: Boston Herald Editorial Staff, "Pete Buttigieg Likes Green New Deal, and Nuclear," bostonherald.com, Apr. 6, 2019
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should the Tariffs Imposed on China by President Trump Be Maintained?
"I would have a strategy that would include the tariffs as leverage, but it’s not about the tariffs. Look what’s going on right now is a president who has reduced the entire China challenge into a question of tariffs, when what we know is that the tariffs are coming down on us more than anybody else, and there’s a lack of a bigger strategy."
Pro Should the US Re-Enter a Nuclear Deal with Iran?
"I will rejoin our international partners and recommit the United States to the Iran nuclear deal. Whatever its imperfections, this was perhaps as close to a true “art of the deal” as it gets. As even this Administration repeatedly certified, it was preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It has helped constrain the military threat that Iran poses to Israel and Europe without leading us down a path to another Middle Eastern war. This agreement was concluded not to do Iran a favor, but because it is in our national security interest—just as a parallel policy of confronting Iran’s support for terrorism and abysmal human rights record reflects our values and security interests."
Source: Pete Buttigieg, "America and the World in 2054: Reimagining National Security for a New Era," peteforamerica.com (accessed Sep. 30, 2019)
Con Should the US Have Withdrawn Troops from Northern Syria in Oct. 2019?
"This president's shameful decision on Syria [to withdraw troops] is the latest example of chaos masquerading as foreign policy. It goes against all military advice. It harms our national interests, emboldens our adversaries, and it will cost lives. The world urgently needs real American leadership."
"A woman should have the freedom to make medical decisions on her own or with the counsel of her doctor, family, and faith leaders — those whom she chooses and she trusts. The government’s role should be to make sure all women have access to comprehensive affordable care, and that includes preventive care, contraceptive services, prenatal and postpartum care, and safe and legal abortion."
Source: Pete Buttigieg, "Issues: Freedom," peteforamerica.com (accessed Aug. 7, 2019)
Pro Should the US Switch to a Medicare-for-All Healthcare System?
"'Medicare for All Who Want It' as a pathway to Medicare for All...
Pete supports achieving Medicare for All through a pathway that helps improve people’s lives along the way while allowing the economy to adjust. He calls this “Medicare for All Who Want It.” This plan makes a Medicare-type public option available on the exchange and invites people to buy into it: if corporate insurers don’t lower costs to deliver something dramatically better than what is available today, competition will create the glide path toward Medicare for All."
Source: Pete Buttigieg, "Issues," peteforamerica.com (accessed Aug. 7, 2019)
Con Should the US Continue to Build a Border Wall at the US/Mexico Border?
"Everybody wants a secure southern border... What makes you think border security is as simple as putting up a wall from sea to shining sea? Look, the reality is the wall is never going to get built. Everybody knows that. The President knows that. I think a lot of his supporters even know that. It's a symbol. But the very real walls that are being built by this President and by this moment are around us and between us and each other. And those walls are getting worse."
Source: WMUR-TV, "'Conversation with the Candidate' with Pete Buttigieg: Online Exclusive," youtube.com, Mar. 14, 2019
Con Should the US End the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Policy?
"We're talking about kids who, a lot of times, this is the only country they know. Often English is the only language that they speak. And they have done nothing wrong. They're growing up in our community. We estimate over 1,200 residents in the South Bend region who are in this category. And most of them, they just want a chance to go to school. Some of them serve in the military. They want to pay taxes, do a job, and contribute. I think we've got to do everything we can to make sure there's a path to citizenship for these members of our community and not act to tear them out from their families. And so, I'm still holding out hope that the [Trump] administration will do the right thing. And, if they don't, I hope that Congress will step in and create a path."
Source: WSBT 22, "South Bend Mayor Talks DACA," wsbt.com, Sep. 5, 2017
Pro Should the US Decriminalize Illegal Border Crossings?
"Dana Bash: Mayor Buttigieg, you’re in favor of getting rid of the law that makes it a crime to come across the US border illegally. Why won’t that just encourage more illegal immigration?
Pete Buttigieg: When I’m President, illegally crossing the border will still be illegal. We can argue over the finer points of which parts of this ought to be handled by civil law and which parts ought to be handled by criminal law, but we’ve got a crisis on our hands. And it’s not just a crisis of immigration. It’s a crisis of cruelty and incompetence that has created a humanitarian disaster on our southern border. It is a stain on the United States of America."
Source: Rev, "Transcript of July Democratic Debate 2nd Round Night 1: Full Transcript July 30, 2019," rev.com, July 30, 2019
Pro Should LGBTQ+ People Have Protection from Being Fired for Being LGBTQ+?
"All Americans should have the freedom to live and work without discrimination. Today, the Supreme Court will hear three cases that challenge that basic right for LGBTQ+ people [including one on workplace protection]. We deserve a Court that sees everyone and rules in favor of equality—for our generation and the next."
Pro Should Transgender People Be Allowed to Serve in the US Military?
"The transgender military ban is an outrage. Service members who are willing to put their lives on the line for our country are having their careers threatened by a president who avoided serving when it was his turn."
Source: Pete Buttigieg, Twitter.com, Oct. 10, 2019