Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, not exactly a socialist firebrand, notes the following (boldface mine):
How is it that Democrats forgot about the joys Santa Claus can bring? How is it that Republicans managed to steal the Santa idea from the party of FDR and never let go?
…The senator [Sanders] from Vermont has little chance of defeating Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. But he is reminding his party of something it often forgets: Government was once popular because it provided tangible benefits to large numbers of Americans.
He has called for $1 trillion in infrastructure investment. He wants the federal government to mandate a minimum wage of at least $15 an hour and restrict the ability of employers to declare normal employees as “managers” and thus rob them of overtime pay.
He would replace our current health-care hodgepodge with a Medicare-for-all single-payer system. He thinks the government should provide free college education for all comers, arguing that the Scandinavian nations and Germany are “smart enough to understand that the future of their countries depends on the education their young people get.”
And far from cutting Social Security, he wants to expand benefits. Why? Because the decline in employer-guaranteed pensions is leaving many of today’s retirees (and will likely leave most of tomorrow’s) without the retirement security that was once far more common. He is also big on pre-kindergarten and paid sick leave…
Nothing could be better for politics than expanding our imaginations about what we might usefully do together to solve some big problems.
While Dionne is wrong about needing to raise taxes to ‘fund’ the federal government (raising taxes can help control inflation and reduce inequality, but, except when Republicans refuse to increase the debt ceiling, the federal government can’t run out of money), he is right when he argues that Democrats have to start delivering what people need–and it can’t be round-about or subtle.
In other words, people have to like this crap–they want and need things to be done and to function. So Dems, start proposing some good stuff (and don’t worry about deficits, because no one cares about them).