Engineers know that large gradients can be conducive to disastrous events. Shutting off a pipe too quickly can break the pipe. An airplane making a deep turn can break apart. President Obama came into office with a hope of turning the juggernaut that is the United States of America by continually nudging it.
For those who were not mesmerized by his rhetoric but listened to his words throughout the election and subsequently, it was evident his intent was never to use a cleaver but a scalpel to surgically reform America. He was not going to plant trees. He planted seeds.
Electing a black man named Barack Hussein Obama was a large gradient for America. He had no control over that particular change but it had to be mitigated. It made the hope he spoke about during the election that much harder. Irrespective of the blowback however, he planted seeds.
It is a formidable task to nudge the juggernaut leftward where there is both an uncompromising, obstructive, Right Wing Republican Party and a sect of the Democratic Party beholden to the plutocracy. It is even more difficult when the citizenry, the poor and the middle-class, have been so beaten down that they no longer feel their worth, they no longer feel they can make a difference.
Well, the President has done his part sans TPP and a few other missteps. The next president must be someone who will unabashedly effect liberal policies, progressive policies. Going forward it is time to ensure that the cleaver is used against the Plutocracy and it is time to ensure the planted seeds are fertilized and grows.
Obamacare must morph into Medicare for All (single payer). Social Security must be expanded by taxing all income, wages and capital gains equally. The federal minimum wage must be increased to what it would have been if it kept up with inflation with an earned productivity benefit added. The defense budget must be retooled away from a corrupt military industrial complex to serve our true defense needs. The entire American infrastructure must be rebuilt. Where the private sector is derelict in their maintenance and build out of critical infrastructure, the government must intervene (universal WiFi access, electrical grid, etc.).
Over the last thirty five plus years the American middle-class has been faltering. Why? Because we have been conducting the failed experiment of trickle-down economics.
Sometimes it takes someone to reiterate a truth every liberal knows. This truth continues to be bastardized by not only Right Wing media, but implicitly by all traditional mainstream media. Democratic strategist David Goodfriend provided an excellent rant a few years ago that still holds true today. He said the following.
David Goodfriend’s rant urging Democrats to re-adopt liberal policies
Conservative Republicans claim that their philosophy of cutting taxes and gutting regulations is good for business and the economy. And even some Democrats fall into the trap of repeating these falsehoods. When they want to look pro-business they point to all the tax cuts they support.The truth however is that progressivism is great for economic growth and business leaders know it. The values of fair competition, good wages, and government as a tool for getting important things done, in fact promotes economic growth better than Conservatives will admit.
For example Conservatives claim that all regulations harm business. That of course depends on which businesses you’re talking about. The satellite TV industry never would have taken off without a law written by Democrats Al Gore and Ed Markey. The law required cable companies that own channels to sell access to those channels to new competitors like satellite. Republicans fought it but the results speak for themselves.
Conservatives claim that the minimum wage and other worker protections raise costs and harm business but Walmart, the largest retailer has repeatedly called for an increase, an increase in the minimum wage. Why? So that Walmart customers who often earn minimum wage can afford to buy more.
Conservatives claim the government programs are a drain on business and that what we need is to you cut taxes and spending to free up businesses to grow. But pharmaceutical companies have stepped in repeatedly to oppose cuts to the National Institute of Health and this year even Newt Gingrich opposed house Republicans plans to cut and NIH funding. Big Pharma generally does not do basic scientific research. They look to the government, NIH to do that, so that pharma can take those discoveries and turn them into new medical treatments and make money. Which of course creates jobs and growth.
Now stock market trends support the progressive pro-growth effect. Bill Clinton raised taxes to balance a budget. But he also helped to usher in new competition in markets from telecommunications to energy. On the other hand George W Bush cut taxes, deregulated financial markets, and much of the economy. And what was the result?
Well Clinton presided over the longest economic expansion in American history with a budget surplus and over 22 million jobs created. President Bush on the other hand bloating the deficit and left office with the worst recession in post-war history.
So, do the math. Progressivism is the most pro-growth political philosophy around. Now I can’t get Republicans to change their tune. But I do wish that Democrats would stop trying to imitate Conservatives on economic issues. They instead should promote pro-growth progressivism.
When Americans are asked if they want Social Security they do not only say they want it, they want the wealthy to pay their fair share. This holds true for both Democrats and Republicans. Most Americans support Medicare and Medicaid uncut or expanding. A couple of years back the conservative site The Blaze detailed the distinct tilt of Americans toward Liberalism on most social issues in their piece “Bad News for Social Conservatives? Annual Survey Finds Americans Moving Closer Toward Social Liberalism.” It has gotten worse for conservatives as America is in fact becoming more liberal.
The reality is if you ignore asking about labels and ask about people’s wants and values, it is immediately apparent that America is a liberal country. When liberals go to the polls, liberals win. Bill Maher nailed it with this New Rules monologue and in his mention of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Liberal Contract with America.
During the 2016 Presidential election it is imperative that the sentiment articulated by Goodfriend is reflected in the policies of the winning candidate. It most go much further. The new President must understand that the middle-class theft that occurred over the last thirty five plus years, the theft that caused the income inequality and wealth disparity, must be repaid. It must not be paid for on the backs of those who rightfully earned said unrealized wealth and income. The new president must be the debt collector. The repayment of that debt must be used to effect the policies that will rebuild the middle-class.