Why Bernie’s Proposals Would Spur Economic Growth

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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.”

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.

This article was originally posted on Robert Reich’s blog.

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Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fourteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "Saving Capitalism." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, co-founder of the nonprofit Inequality Media and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, Inequality for All.

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