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Donald Trump, Fox News, and Republicans in Congress label proposals they disagree with “fringe,” “radical,” or “socialist.” Well, let’s see where the American people actually stand:
On the economy, 76 percent of Americans favor higher taxes on the super-rich, including over half of registered Republicans. Over 60 percent favor a wealth tax on fortunes of $50 million or more. Even Fox News polls confirm these trends.
What about health care? Well, 70 percent want Medicare for All, which most define as Medicare for anyone who wants it. 60 percent of Republicans support allowing anyone under 65 to buy into Medicare.
60 percent of Americans support free college tuition for those who meet income requirements.
I could go on.
So why do the powerful call these policy ideas “fringe,” or “radical,” or “socialist?”
Money. Many of these initiatives would cost them – requiring either higher taxes on the rich (many could be achieved by repealing the giant Trump tax cut for the wealthy and corporations), or regulations that might cut into their corporate profits.
So you can bet that as these proposals become even more popular, the powerful are going to intensify their attacks.
But just remember: the “center” is not halfway between what most Americans want and what big corporations, Wall Street, and the super-wealthy want.
The “center” is what the vast majority of Americans want.
Robert B. Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century.
Copyright 2019 Robert Reich