Perspectives on Geopolitics, History, and Political Economy

Why Bernie’s Proposals Would Spur Economic Growth

By Robert Reich / RobertReich.org

A few days ago, Neel Kashkari – now president of the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, who was the senior Treasury Department official in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations helping to save the big Wall Street banks – said “I believe the biggest banks are still too big to fail and continue to pose a significant, ongoing risk to our economy,” and called for them to be broken up. “The question is whether we as a country have the courage to actually take action now.”

Robert Reich at the UT Liz Carpenter Lecture - By Danorton - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Robert Reich at the UT Liz Carpenter Lecture – By Danorton – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

That seems to me to be the question on a lot of fronts. Our health costs continue to rise and are about to soar as boomers need more health care. A single-payer system is necessary to restrain those costs and provide the care people need. Anyone who still harbors doubts should take a look at these studies: http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single-payer-system-cost .

It’s the same with widening inequality and structural discrimination.

Failure to take action on the biggest banks, a single-payer plan, widening inequality, and discrimination will almost certainly harm the economy. We can’t afford another near-meltdown of Wall Street. Health care costs continue to be a huge drain on the economy. Widening inequality is robbing the vast middle class of the purchasing power it needs to keep the economy growing. And structural discrimination is making it hard for many Americans to be successful and productive members of our society.

As Bernie Sanders has said, taking action on all these fronts would therefore spur growth, employment, and median incomes. (In this respect, I disagree with the views of four former chairs of the Council of Economic Advisors from the Clinton and Obama administrations.)

The question is whether we as a country have the courage to actually take action now.

Source: Robert Reich, 2016. All rights reserved. www.robertreich.org

Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is “Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few.” His website is www.robertreich.org.

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