By Alan Minsky, Truthdig, 11/8/14, excerpts:
…the Congressional Progressive Caucus is larger now than the Tea Party Caucus ever has been—yet given its relative influence on the national discourse, the CPC’s anonymity is no surprise. The progressive caucus is simply not as aggressive or as focused a political force as the tea party.
This has to change, and if it does, progressives will go into the next election cycle holding a winning hand. All they have to do is boldly introduce themselves to the public, establish very clearly what they stand for and present themselves as a unified front in 2016. Even if they just hold on to the seats they currently hold, the results will have the appearance of a national victory for a unified insurgent movement.
This might seem like petty gamesmanship, but it’s not. The GOP has been running on economic populism, claiming to represent the interests of working people, and winning elections. To date, the Democrats have failed pathetically to expose this lie—and only leftist progressives can really make the case.
Furthermore, as issues such as the Keystone XL pipeline, attacks on the EPA, Social Security reform or the Trans-Pacific Partnership take center stage in the next year, leftist progressives have to fight back as fiercely as the tea party did in Obama’s first year and a half….
if you list the components of what a leftist progressive platform might look like, it’s clear that many of the policies would have majority support:
– Social Security funded for the next century (with the possibility of expanding it) by raising the cap on income levels contributing into the system, while maintaining a cap on payments
– A single payer (Medicare for all) health system
– Free public education through college
– A sharp increase in the national minimum wage and two weeks of paid vacation for all workers
– Rapid citizenship for immigrant workers and their families
– Ending the war on drugs and decriminalization
– Ending government spying
– Sane gun laws
– Support for a woman’s right to choose and equal pay legislation
– Reform of the justice system so that it applies equally to all people
– Invest in green energy and take the lead in combating global warming globally
– Shift foreign policy to support people and not every region’s 1 percent
– As for funding fiscal policy, there’s no need for making income tax levels more progressive (since the change in Social Security achieves that already)—but, in accordance with “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” author Thomas Piketty, raise the rate on capital gains. Also bring corporate taxes back in to line with pre-Reagan era levels by both closing loopholes and raising the tax rate on profits.
– And finally, …an employer of last resort (ELR) program, like Roosevelt’s CCC….
– If the tax increases on the wealthy and corporations aren’t enough to cover the costs, there’s a bloated military budget to shrink. …
read the whole post at Truthdig