A True National Safety Net

by Glenn Parton

net

We need a New New Deal in America, bigger and better than the one enacted by FDR in the 30s (and even bigger than his visionary proposal for a Second Bill of Rights in the 40s). The basic components of it are Medicare-for-All, Living Wages, Affordable Housing, Federal jobs guarantee, free colleges and Universities, and BIG (Basic Income Guarantee of $1,000 per month per adult until income exceeds $ 100,000 per year). These elements, woven together, could and should provide a strong national safety net (NSN) for every American citizen and legal immigrant, effectively ending poverty in America, and preparing the ground for a qualitatively better society.

In the last election a number of working class people, including some union members, wanted to “shake things up.” They weren’t impressed by the establishment changes that Hillary Clinton represented because they were left behind by the economic prosperity of the last several decades, and they fell for Trump’s lies to make big improvements in their daily lives. These folks, together with the vulnerable, the unemployed, the insecure, and the forgotten everywhere could be persuaded, or are already on board, to vote for the specific, concrete programs and policies articulated in the National Safety Net [NSN]. The Democrats don’t get enough support from these people, not because the Party asks for too much change, but because the Party asks for too few major changes on their behalf. The simple truth is that the vast majority of people in this country desire and need financial help and cooperation from their government and the nation as a whole, so the Dems should offer it–not false promises a la Trump– but the real thing, spelled out and ready to go in the form of NSN. We fall short not when we aim too high but when we aim too low.

A better electoral strategy is not to appeal to Independents and moderate Republicans in order to tip the scale in favor of Democrats because that requires moving Center or Right, with a corresponding loss of substance (of policies and programs) in order to gain a relatively few votes, perhaps winning a battle here and there but losing the overall war on poverty and an improved quality of life for everyone. Rather, the Democrats should go Left because that’s where the biggest pool of likely voters for genuine progress or substantive issues are to be found, especially among the roughly 100 million people who don’t usually vote (but who are eligible to vote) because many of them have given up on politics that they believe doesn’t serve their vital self-interests (and they are largely correct about this). If the Democrats don’t offer a juicy sustenance to the common people (the red meat of a decent secure livelihood such as NSN) then the GOP will squeak out victories again and again. The sad truth is that the movement toward the Center from within the Democratic Party is being driven by a small group of elite-donors who are seriously retarding the evolution of the Party, and this managerial class needs to be removed from leadership. The victory by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represents the new direction that is needed.

We need a New New Deal in America, bigger and better than the one enacted by FDR in the 30s (and even bigger than his visionary proposal for a Second Bill of Rights in the 40s). The basic components of it are Medicare-for-All, Living Wages, Affordable Housing, Federal jobs guarantee, free colleges and Universities, and BIG (Basic Income Guarantee of $1,000 per month per adult until income exceeds $ 100,000 per year). These elements, woven together, could and should provide a strong national safety net (NSN) for every American citizen and legal immigrant, effectively ending poverty in America, and preparing the ground for a qualitatively better society.

Glenn Parton was the last student of Herbert Marcuse, and since then has been struggling to turn radical philosophy into socio/political reality. He lives in Arizona.
The full text of Glenn’s essay can be accessed at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1x4kYI3VocVPBvJpoa7V2qzN1lS8lvpS-tfcBCflPiHs/edit?usp=sharing

 

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