Free tuition, minimum wage hikes and “Medicare for all” are so 2016.
As Democrats look ahead to the midterms and the 2020 presidential race, lawmakers and candidates are pushing the agenda even further to the left — with bigger promises of sweeping government welfare programs ranging from guaranteed jobs to universal income.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the standard-bearer for the party’s left flank in 2016, once again is helping to lead the charge. He reportedly is set to announce a plan that will guarantee a $15-an-hour job — and health-care benefits — to every American “who wants or needs one.” The plan, first reported by The Washington Post, would fund hundreds of government projects such as “infrastructure, care giving, the environment, education and other goals.”
Sanders’ office said they have not yet done a cost estimate or devised how they would pay for the massive government commitment. A spokesman for Sanders did not respond to a request for more details from Fox News.
But while Sanders once represented a fringe on the Democratic Party’s left, his views are becoming more mainstream in the party, with at least two other presidential prospects adopting similar policy proposals that would make Roosevelt’s New Deal look like old hat.
“I think Senator Sanders’ performance during the presidential campaign was much better than other Democrats expected, and this has given him a higher profile and greater standing in the campaign,” Stan Veuger, economist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, told Fox News.
“Hillary [Clinton] losing to Trump has probably also convinced some people within the Democratic Party that a more populist platform would be electorally successful in general-election settings,” he said.
As the Democratic Party aims to win the House in November and has an eye on the 2020 presidential election, it is looking a lot more like Sanders’ party than it did in 2015, at least when it comes to economic policy.
Last week, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., tweeted support for a jobs guarantee plan, saying it would help “regular Americans who are unemployed and willing to work to better their local community.” She also called for “big, bold ideas to fix our economy.”
Now is the time for big, bold ideas to fix our economy and put power back in the hands of our workers and communities. We can’t tinker at the margins any longer. https://t.co/73BlBlfSjE
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) April 24, 2018
On Friday, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., announced the Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act, which would call for the Department of Labor to select up to 15 areas to institute a job guarantee. According to Vox, which first reported on Booker’s plan, those jobs would pay the higher of $15 per hour or the prevailing wage and offer paid family leave and health benefits.
“The federal jobs guarantee is…