|Social Democratic Economist Michael Lind-|
Reading this report from the New America Foundation goes to highlight the two competing ideological factions in the Democratic Party today. And how we view what the role of government especially the Federal Government should play in the economy. The Progressive or as I tend to call them the Social Democratic faction of people like U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. The only self-identified Socialist in Congress. And the New Democratic or Liberal faction of the party that I come from. With people like John Kerry and Bill Clinton.
Today’s Progressives not only want to protect current social programs in the country, but to expand them and create new ones. And tax more and basically view the Federal Government as underfunded and too decentralized to take care of the entire country. And would like to create new programs and take more power way from the private sector to give to government to take care of us. Like nationalizing the retirement system, to use as an example as we see in this report.
Today’s Progressives would go much further than Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson perhaps ever even imagined. And would like to see a big centralized government that’s common in let’s say Europe especially in Scandinavia. That would be there to protect us and take care of everyone to prevent us from making mistakes with our own lives especially financially. The theory that once power is given to the states and individuals and things become decentralized, there’s less security in the system. And they are right about that, but you can have so much security to the point that individualism and creativity get’s stifled.
Social Democrats would like us to be dependent on the same source in this case the Federal Government to take care of us for us. And I do not want to see all the power in the hands of a central government or any government. Or all the power in the hands of organizations corporate or otherwise. But most if not all the power in the hands of an educated workforce and individuals. To be able to control and manage their own lives for themselves after getting the tools to be able to do that for themselves.
In this report from the New America Foundation and the link of it is on this blog, you see proposals to nationalize the retirement system and make Social Security the lone provider of pensions in this country. A proposal to nationalize the Unemployment Insurance system, to give the Federal Government complete control over it. Right now the states play a role helping their own unemployed workers and help them get back to work. A proposal to nationalize the Medicaid system so the Federal Government has complete control over the health insurance program for the poor.
We are a huge country with fifty states, we do not need a top-down approach when it comes to health insurance. And there are developed countries that are much smaller than us like Germany, that have a decentralized health insurance system including health insurance for their poor as well. And have universal health insurance for their entire country. And today’s Progressives would also like to go back to the old Welfare system pre-Welfare to Work of 1996. Where people on Welfare Insurance weren’t expected to go back to work.
Middle class Americans are not under-taxed especially if they are struggling right now. And if anything thanks to the expiring payroll tax cut they are probably overtaxed right now. We do not have an underfunded government with too little authority over our lives. We have underfunded workers with too little authority over their own lives. And I separate the social contract from the safety net and to have real economic security in this country. Not that it would ever be perfectly secure, no system could provide that, all developed countries have a certain level of low-income and struggling middle-class workers. But to have a real social contract that provides as much economic security as possible.
We need a social contract that empowers more Americans to be able to take care of themselves. And that get’s to things like a modern infrastructure system and actually rebuild this country. So we can all get around and move products around better, efficiently and affordably. And real universal access to quality education in America that’s life-long. That would also be there for the unemployed and low-income workers so they can get themselves better jobs.
The difference between a social contract and a safety-net, the safety net is a foundation that empowers Americans to be able to do for themselves what they need to take care of themselves. And live in freedom in America. The safety net is a social-insurance system that people collect from when they need it and have nowhere else to go. So they can take care of themselves in the short run as they are working themselves to becoming independent.
There are Americans who for the first time in their lives became economically free, because of assistance that they received from the safety net. And what New Democrats or Liberals want to do is build a real social contract in America. So we can all live in freedom. And what today’s Progressives are really talking about is creating a centralized welfare state run by the Federal Government. That would be there to take care of everyone. And this is main difference between the two factions in the Democratic Party on economic policy and where we want to take the country.