Thursday, November 5, 2020

This Jobs Guarantee Policy Debate Got Me Thinking

Compare and contrast with the presidential debates this past cycle. Now, imagine Biden and Trump even trying to participate in this particular debate with anything like even one useful idea.

That's blog post; what follows is a super high-level pie-in-the-sky daydreaming I don't have time right now to flesh out with supporting links or anything to tether the dream to an actionable program.

It looks, as I write this, that Biden will win the election and Trump's legal challenges are baseless, so the threat to the outcome is primarily the fascist mobs trying to prevent the counting of ballots. Assuming our broken society can follow the process we can indulge ourselves by starting to look ahead to what a Biden administration will actually do when it owns the pandemic response and economic crisis. 

Knowing that the Biden response will be a disaster, I'd like to think about what I would do in his shoes. The immediate, pressing need is to stop the bleeding and address our economic woes and so the debate between Matt and Mark that heads this post, I think, is a useful starting point for deciding what big, bold policy we could be starting with straightaway. A robust unemployment benefits program is where I would start. Matt's proposal makes the most sense to me, though I appreciate some of Mark's points and may be suffering from some lingering Protestant work ethic brainwashing.

Universal basic housing, basic income, M4A, and food/water security is where I'd go from there. Free public education should be expanded from K-12 to pre-K - 16. A massive infrastructure program to phase out the fossil fuel industry and replace our energy grid with a Green alternative (Green New Deal, but better) would essentially fill the role of the JG, without being a JG, and would go hand-in-hand with a program to nationalize the utilities and the banks. 

Further, a set of initiatives to modernize and democratize our government by undoing Citizens United, addressing the EC, fixing our antiquated election system, and packing the SCOTUS to make it possible to start the larger process of undoing the damage done by the GOP over the last decades also have to start immediately. Much of what needs to be done involves amending the Constitution, but a piecemeal process of patching fixing seems inadequate, so we're talking about the laying the groundwork for a new Constitutional Convention to wholesale repeal and replace. 

Now these aren't goals that could be accomplished by a president alone, nor could they be done to completion in a single term. But, these are the needful things, as I see it, and every action I'd take as president would be to make progress on those fronts as the first priorities. (It goes without saying, I hope, that there's much more to be done, not the least of which is ending our wars, but also a complete overhaul of our foreign policy and addressing the legacies of American imperialism from Puerto Rico to Guam, and beyond, and reparations for slavery and the genocide of the First Nations ... )

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