Donald Trump, Fox News, and Republicans in Congress label proposals they disagree with “fringe,” “radical,” or “socialist.” Well, let’s see where the American people actually stand:
On the economy,76 percent of Americans favor higher taxes on the super-rich, including over half of registered Republicans. Over 60 percent favor a wealth tax on fortunes of $50 million or more. Even Fox News polls confirm these trends.
What about health care? Well, 70 percent want Medicare for All, which most define as Medicare for anyone who wants it. Sixty percent of Republicans support allowing anyone under 65 to buy into Medicare.
On family issues, more than 80 percent of Americans want paid maternity leave. Seventy-nine percent of voters want more affordable child care, including 80 percent of Republicans.
Meanwhile, 60 percent of Americans support free college tuition for those who meet income requirements.
Eighty-four percent think money has too much influence in politics. In that poll, 77 percent support limits on campaign spending, and that includes 71 percent of Republicans.
I could go on.
So why do the powerful call these policy ideas “fringe,” or “radical,” or “socialist”?
Money. Many of these initiatives would cost them—requiring either higher taxes on the rich (many could be achieved by repealing the giant Trump tax cut for the wealthy and corporations)—or regulations that might cut into their corporate profits.
So you can bet that as these proposals become even more popular, the powerful are going to intensify their attacks.
But just remember: the “center” is not halfway between what most Americans want and what big corporations, Wall Street, and the super-wealthy want.
The “center” is what the vast majority of Americans want.
Robert Reich, is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of Nations, Beyond Outrage and, Saving Capitalism. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, “Inequality For All.” Reich’s newest book is “The Common Good.” He’s co-creator of the Netflix original documentary “Saving Capitalism,” which is streaming now.
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