Bob Rubin is known as a free trading Wall Street deficit fighter, Jared Bernstein is an economist at the EPI, and known for his work on the wage squeeze, aka the stagnation tax. They’ve authored an Op-Ed together, which is clearly aimed, not only at the incoming administration, but at the Democratic movement, not just party, as a whole. The message is in favor of a genuine centrism, rather than false choices and false capitulationism.
What is the summary? We need stimulus now, real wages need to rise in line with productivity, the benefits of trade must be used to offset the costs of trade – particularly to workers. But most importantly, and something that should have been obvious earlier: that the Wall Street and Main Street wings of the Democratic Party have the same interests. Wall Street provides liquidity and scale to Main Street, but ultimately Wall Street exists only if Main Street is better off with it than without it.
They close with
Public policy in all these areas ”” and a host of others ”” has been seriously deficient in recent years. It has led to a great increase in federal debt, inadequate regulatory protection against systemic risk and underinvestment in our people and infrastructure. Regressive tax policies have increased market-driven inequalities that could have been offset through progressive taxation.
False choices, grounded in ideology, have kept us from effectively addressing all these issues. The next president must do his utmost to avoid being drawn into these Potemkin battles. At this critical juncture, we face both the most significant economic upheaval since the Depression and the long-term challenge of successfully competing in the global economy. We have no choice but to move beyond such false dichotomies and toward a balanced pragmatism whose goal is broadly shared prosperity and increased economic security.
Many of the false choices we have been given have come from a time when there was a relentless Republican squeeze on government and the economy. People took stances that protected their interests first, as is often the case when it seems when they are being ground down. However, there is a short moment of nearly infinite possibility, that will close very shortly. The pressure from some will be to do little to nothing, however, the window to act will close quickly, and will not soon come again.
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