This 72 year old grandmother has always been a moderate, voting both for Republicans and Democrats alike, depending on who was currently the least loony; I even voted for Reagan once, I’m sorry to say. I liked being a moderate; it had a nice aura of calmness and rationality about it. But that’s all over now. I have no idea what’s going on with today’s crop of moderate Democrats. So help me understand.
Like them or not, Progressives have clear cut positions. What about you? What policies do you support? What are you in favor of? We all know what you’re against — anything “too big,” and anything with the faintest whiff of socialism about it, no matter how useful or popular it is. But what are you for? We sent you to Washington to legislate. We’d like to keep Democrats in power, but that means you have to stand for something, and use the levers of power we’ve placed in your hands.
Being a moderate today seems a lot like being that ship designer at the start of the last century who put a “moderate” number of lifeboats on the Titanic rather than the number that were actually needed. The ship looked sleek, the lifeboats didn’t get in the way of the passengers strolling the decks, and the numbers weren’t “too big.” And then it sank and over 1,500 people unnecessarily died. For the sake of my children and grandchildren, I hope you do not do the same.
So help me understand your positions, especially in light of the state of the country today: its eye-popping income inequality; the millions without health care; its childhood poverty; its poor-paying jobs; its lack of affordable health care and housing; its increasingly severe weather disasters, fires, floods, and droughts.
Tell me what you support. For example, do you support the government negotiating Medicare drug prices? Or is there a moderate number of senior citizen bankruptcies and deaths you think is tolerable due to unaffordable life-saving drugs?
And what’s a moderate number of millennial economic futures quashed by student debt? Or a moderate number of working families kept in poverty through low wages and lack of child care? What’s a moderate number of hungry kids? Looking to the future, what’s a moderate number of wildfires and floods, toxic chemicals in the air and water, and lead in kid’s brains?
There are times in our nation when the scale of the problem is such that moderation is not good enough—when the scale of the solution must match the scale of the problem, regardless of bigness. We are in one of those times. We need to do big things, and government is the only place with the wherewithal to scale solutions to the size of the problems.
It is clear from the history of the past forty years that the very wealthy have already received the lion’s share of the benefits from the amazing growth and productivity the nation has experienced; just look at income inequality. Per the RAND Corporation’s report Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018, if we had the same income gap between us and the very rich today that we had in 1975, the total annual income of Americans earning below the 90th percentile would have been $2.5 Trillion more a year on average than it is now, for every single year since 1974. That works out to over a thousand dollars a month for over 40 years, or $50 Trillion dollars. This is money that did not reach the pockets of ordinary people but did reach the pockets of the millionaire class.
How did they do it? As Mark Twain said, they stole it fair and square. Doing what? Assimilating members of Congress via lobbyists, who conveyed to such members of Congress the wishes of corporations and the wealthy how the tax code should be changed to benefit them. The same was true with other rights, regulations, and laws of the land. That is the current status quo, and that is what needs to change, and that is what you, moderate Democrats, need to do if you wish to be re-elected.
I will tell you something. We all remember how after the crash of 2008 the Democrats bailed out the banks but did nothing for ordinary homeowners crushed by that catastrophe. Joe Biden won on a platform full of promises. If you want the votes of the working and middle class going forward, stop worrying about being called socialists and pass the legislation you need to pass to fulfill those promises. This includes the Build Back Better plan, legislation to secure voting rights, and all the other initiatives Joe Biden ran on.
That is why we elected you, so do your jobs.