What Americans Want on Both Sides

David Cay JohnstonThose turning out to hear Sanders and Trump may not understand the economics of aggregate demand and the government policies that prompt their anxiety. However, they do know that 35 years after Ronald Reagan won the presidency with promises that lower income tax rates and the handcuffing of government regulators would make America prosper, the results are dire: falling incomes, flat to falling wages except at the very tip top, a severe narrowing of asset ownership, slow job growth, and job insecurity — all while the rich get ever richer.

Thus while Sanders and Trump draw people with very different perspectives, in many ways their underlying appeal is similar. They both speak to anxieties about jobs, pay, and Social Security, even if they propose divergent solutions. Sanders, 73, promotes democratic socialism, under which government regulates business for the public benefit and provides education, more Social Security, and other services that reduce individual economic vulnerability. Trump, 69, promotes a government that would block offshoring jobs, round up undocumented immigrants in the US to open more jobs to Americans, and protect Social Security and Medicare benefits to reduce the individual economic vulnerability of citizens only.

Numerous polls show broad agreement across the political spectrum on economic issues that vex people. Vast majorities want to increase Social Security benefits, reduce offshoring of jobs, close corporate tax loopholes, and impose higher income taxes on those making more than $1 million annually (a position that even millionaires favor).

This broad agreement means that except for those in Congress who would block it, plenty of room exists to build a larger, more solid American economy.

—David Cay Johnston
The Antidote to Economic Anxiety Is Better Government

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *