Progressive Contract with America Aims to 'Rewrite the Rules' in Favor of 99%
October 10, 2020 | News | No Comments
Adding one more pillar beneath an increasingly solid progressive movement platform, New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio unveiled on Tuesday a new “Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality,” calling for universal pre-kindergarten, a higher minimum wage, paid family leave, and higher taxes on the wealthy.
The 13-point agenda has been presented as “the left’s answer to the Contract with America, which helped propel Newt Gingrich and the Republican revolution of 1994,” according to Politico, which first reported on DeBlasio’s plan last week.
The planks of the newly launched platform are in line with a new report on the root causes of—and proposed fixes for—the current wealth gap, authored by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and also published Tuesday by the Roosevelt Institute, a progressive think tank.
DeBlasio and Sen. Elizabeth Warren both spoke at an event earlier on Tuesday touting the release of the Stiglitz report, leading Bloomberg to dub the DeBlasio-Warren-Stiglitz trio “inequality avengers.”
Titled (pdf), the 115-page manifesto argues that “inequality is not inevitable,” and is in fact the result of rules and the regulatory frameworks—favored by corporations and put in place by elected officials—that form the backbone of the U.S. economy.
“Over the last 35 years, America’s policy choices have been grounded in false assumptions, and the result is a weakened economy in which most Americans struggle to achieve or maintain a middle-class lifestyle while a small percentage enjoy an increasingly large share of the nation’s wealth,” it reads.
Those choices, according to Stiglitz and his co-authors, have entrenched in the U.S.: “a tax system that raises insufficient revenue and encourages the pursuit of short-term gains over long-term investment; weak and unenforced regulation of corporations; a de facto public safety net for too-big-to-fail financial institutions; a dwindling support system for workers and families; and a reorientation of monetary and fiscal policy to promote wealth rather than full employment.”
In short, “The problems we face today are in large part the result of economic decisions we made—or failed to make—beginning in the late 1970s,” the report declares. In turn, “[t]he policies of today are ‘baking in’ the America of 2050: unless we change course, we will be a country with slower growth, ever more inequality, and ever less equality of opportunity. Inequality has been a choice, and it is within our power to reverse it.”
Writing at the Washington Post‘s Wonkblog, reporter Jim Tankersley described the plan as “seemingly designed to rally liberals, enrage free-market economists and push a certain presumptive presidential nominee to the left.”
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