April 23, 2018
By Robert Kuttner | May 24, 2018
Make America Great Again—Progressive Variant. So let’s take Trump at his word and make America great again. A good place to start would be by repealing the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for the rich and investing that money in America. Like in a serious infrastructure program.
That would provide tangible benefits that would help real people. It would create lots of good jobs, modernize public systems that have been under-funded for decades. And it would be a pretty good down payment on a green transition.
An Invest in America program would produce real investment, 100 cents on the dollar, as opposed to tax cuts that go into corporate stock buybacks and don’t add a penny to investment. And it would demonstrate that true public investment is often more efficient than private.
Topping up that $1.5 trillion with infrastructure bonds would help, too. If the Federal Reserve can buy over $3 trillion in sketchy financial paper to bail out underwater banks, maybe even the Fed can invest in America.
A progressive Invest in America program is also the right answer to panic about robots and artificial intelligence taking away human jobs. These automation scares come along every generation or so. In 1940, when the unemployment rate seemed stuck around 14 percent, many economists of that era believed that it just couldn’t go any lower—all those machines.
Then came World War II, with its massive public investment, and unemployment melted to under 2 percent. We need a World War II-scale build up—without the war. Let’s make America great again. How about it, Dems?