An Emerging Democratic Agenda


I am just as personally embarrassed by President Donald Trump as most other people I know. He is rude towards other world leaders and especially our own allies.  His destructive behavior endangers even his own policy initiatives.  He was elected by blue-collar workers who feel left behind in today’s global economy.  But how can he possibly lead others in implementing policies to help even his most avid supporters?

What is the Democratic Party doing about this?  First of all, they are trying to stop acting so elitist toward the working class.  But more fundamentally a new progressive social agenda apparently is emerging, here and here.  It has many attractive features but there is one big thing missing, namely fiscal responsibility:

  • A “public apprenticeship” jobs program. The idea here is to maintain the employment rate for prime-age workers without a bachelor’s degree at the 2000 level of 79%. This would require the creation of 4.4 million jobs, ideally at a living wage of $15 per hour plus Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, and therefore at a wage of $36,000 per year. This would cost $158 billion per year.
  • A universal child allowance of $250 per month. This would cost $190 billion per year, although half could be offset by consolidating less-efficient existing programs. This would cut child poverty by 40%.
  • An expansion of the earned income tax credit. A family of four making $40,000 per year would get a tax credit of $6000 instead of the current credit of $2000. This would cost $1 trillion over ten years. The idea here is extra motivation to hold a job.


Conclusion. Who is opposed to creating millions of new living wage jobs to put the unemployed and underemployed back to work? Such a program would give our economy a huge boost.  Who is opposed to cutting child poverty in half (or doing even better)?  But how in the world would we make room for such new programs in the federal budget?  With $500 billion annual deficit spending already, we need to curtail federal spending, not increase it.

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2 thoughts on “An Emerging Democratic Agenda

  1. HIPPA was passed by Congress in 1996. If Congress failed defined its implementation in 7 years, it gave the Federal government the responsibilities to establish the regulatory provisions for the privacy and protection of personal data when this data was used, in any fashion, through electronic form. Since Congress did not act to produce the necessary regulations, the final details began to unfold in 2003, A somewhat similar sequence occurred the start date for ICD10 instead of ICD-9-CM coding system for the electronic claims form to be used by a healthcare provider to define a person’s disease. Congress also has a means eliminate military facilities that are no longer necessary as well as too costly to maintain. The Final act lists a group of closures, rather than one at a time, for “an up or down” vote.
    So, how about the IT-DOESN’T-ADD-UP Act of 2017? Establish a Commission of 9 members with 2 active Primary Physicians, 1 active Sub-specialist Physicians, 1 full-time Physician Medical School Executive, 1 Public Health Physician, 1 healthcare ethicist, 1 non-physician mental health practitioner, 1 healthcare economist and 1 ecologist/anthropologist with social sustainability expertise. The states and protectorates would be divided up in to 9 regions, each with @ 35 million residents. Each of the regions would be randomly assigned one of the 9 Membership position to give 3 nominees to the President within 30 days and the President would have another 30 days to select the final Member. Once selected, the Regions would be given 90 days to 1) produce a strategy to decrease the cost of healthcare spending from >18.0% to % in 5 years, to <15.0% in 10 years and <12% in 15 years. It would be approved by a vote of Congress, with House voting in the AM and the Senate voting in the Pm on the same day.

    • This sounds very attractive. But we also need political balance as well as professional and geographical balance. How about no more than five members of a single political party as well?

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