The following would be electoral blockbusters, along with being economically and morally the right things to do. Why progressives are so cowardly that they can’t even whisper these ideas, let alone promote them is simply baffling. And in every case where progressives actually presented themselves *as* progressives, they won! C’mon already. Get with the program, Dems.
So, third, hereâ€™s what the Democrats could have run on, on the condition that the voters delivered both Houses of Congress to them, with the Republican constituencies that likely would have been impacted.
â€” 50% increase in Social Security benefits; (people over 60, including old white guys like this author)
â€” Lowering the SS retirement age for full benefits to 65; (people over 60, including old white men and old married and single women)
â€” Change in the SS cost of living adjustment formula to incorporate the CPI-e (CPI for the elderly);
â€” A Federal Job Guarantee (JG) at a living wage, adjusted for variations in the CPI across America, with good fringe benefits for all people who want to work full or part-time; (All working age adults concerned about the insecurity attached to private sector employment including married white women)
â€” Extension of unemployment benefits to at least 52 weeks, with automatic extensions for another 52 weeks triggered by any recession; (All working age adults concerned about the insecurity attached to private sector employment, including married white women)
â€” Basic Income Guarantee for every American over 18, adjusted for variations in the CPI across America, set at 50% of the JG living wage; (All adults including married white women, who would be compensated even if they chose not to work)
â€” Enhanced Medicare for All; no co-pays, no deductibles, with no further tax burden on small businesses to pay for it; (small businesspeople would be relieved on any health insurance burden or taxes to fund it)
â€” Full Debt Jubilee for all Student Loan Debt, with debts assumed by the Government; (All students and all adult parents whose children have student loan debt)
â€” Free college education going forward, at State Public Institutions across the country with tuition and other fees paid for by a Federal education program replacing Pell Grants and other now redundant Federal aid; (All students and all adult parents having or anticipating the burden of college costs)
â€” Clear promise of investigations, prosecutions, indictments, and appropriate convictions of FIRE sector executives involved in mortgage-related and other frauds from the years 2004 to the present, and a clear promise to restore one rule of law for all in the United States (Most voters would respond to this, married white women who are worried about good government especially.
â€” Education reform, including greatly increased Federal funding of K-12 education, through State grants, aimed at making the US public school system world class, and providing a quality education for all students facilitating equality of opportunity. (All adults with school children or involved with children, and all adults concerned with the sorry state of public school education in the United States.)
None of this is rocket science, or unaffordable. We know how to do it, and we know it works, as demonstrated by other nations who already have world-class education, good social safety nets, and populations who are not drowning in debt. The student loan jubilee *alone* would revive the housing market, boost construction, and cause an immediate boost in employment and GDP. Lowering retirement age and boosting payments would put many long-term unemployed back in the demand stream, and eliminate the poverty caused by the loss of employment and unemployment benefits, while allowing millions of young people to move into the workforce properly. The Basic Income Guarantee would effectively end employer abuses of workers, while simultaneously lowering employers’ wage costs.
What’s not to like? The growth generated by full employment far outweighs the cost. Austerity is destroying our children’s futures by depriving them of education, health, homes and families, and is destroying the lives of millions unnecessarily, while producing the most unequal, unstable and dangerous economy we’ve ever seen. It’s time for Progressives to stand up and BE Progressive.