In the recent election, Democrats stood on a platform to make our government more representative – more women and people of color with their fingers on the buttons of power – and programs to reduce economic inequality.
Voters fired President Donald Trump for botching the pandemic and for only so much of his narcissism for voters to deal with. The electorate is more moderate and not nearly as inclined to radical solutions as the progressives suggest – the defunding of the police proved an albatross for the Minnesota Democrats and the restoration of the failed positive action in California.
In the CNN poll, 38% of voters said they were conservative and only 24% said they were liberal. Republicans won in Texas and Florida by attracting Latino voters, getting about 10 seats in the House of Representatives, and holding legislatures critical of redistribution.
When markets don't deliver
Still, the North Carolina and Georgia Democrats have switched House seats and the $ 15 an hour minimum wage has been passed in decidedly anti-socialist Florida.
Even if Republicans control more state houses, 30 states have passed minimum wages higher than federal standards, and many are trying to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions in case the Supreme Court knocks down affordable care law.
Voters may be reflected by politicians who opponents refer to as socialists, but are willing to sacrifice free market principles if the facts on the ground convince them that markets are not working well enough.
President-elect Joe Biden is more in the position of George W. Bush, who met stiff opposition in Congress but made big gains in his first mid-Congress when Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama came up with the ideas that were then considered to be were considered radical and were suppressed in their midst.
Cooperate with Biden
In order to assert themselves in the medium term, the Republicans should better focus on several of the above questions and offer to work with Biden.
When the federal minimum wage was set at $ 7.25 an hour in 2009, it was 33% of the average for all hourly workers. An update to 40% would raise the federal minimum to $ 12 and help Republicans address the fairness of most Americans, and especially black and Latin American voters.
The House Democrats have proposed legislation to link US drug prices to those in other high-income countries. Trump recently passed an ordinance to move Medicare outpatient drug purchases (Prescription Drugs Part B) in that direction.
Americans pay 50% more for health care than the Germans and Dutch, who have similar insurance systems, but drug prices are only part of the problem of health care costs. If Biden proposes increasing the number of Americans with health insurance by increasing the subsidy, Republicans should insist on comparing drug prices, medical services, and hospital fees with German and Dutch norms. Their governments regulate prices, but are hardly considered socialist.
The gas tax was last levied in 1993. Adjusting for inflation and charging a kilometer fee for electric vehicles could raise about $ 50 billion annually – just a down payment for an adequate infrastructure program. Bottlenecks and congestion cost more than $ 400 billion in lost production, however, and the taxes gained by fixing could help reduce the extra debt needed.
Investments that pay off
That requires bigger deficits – an horror for many Republican senators. But if credit to help modernize and increase the sales of private businesses is good business, so is improving the roads, rails, and wires that businesses would use to move goods and increase incomes.
The federal government guarantees 90% of student debt, but the most fundamental problems are too many young people going to college and getting out of hand.
About half of new college students never complete four years of study or pursue a major that does not lead to a decent paid career. You don't earn more than the average high school graduate, but you have a lot of debt. And simple student loans have enabled universities to raise tuition fees.
Student debt relief should be conditional on linking universities 'access to student loans with lowering tuition fees and paying off their students' debts, as well as a major expansion of the Department of Labor's successful apprenticeship programs. These cover a wide range of professions, and graduates earn more than the average new college graduate.
Republicans need to treat the economy and voters as they find them, not as conservative ideologies suggest. The professors' models for perfect competition are fine for Econ 101, but the real world is much more chaotic.
Peter Morici is an economist and professor emeritus at the University of Maryland and a national columnist.
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