Ten Things Dems Could Do to Win | The Nation


Ten Things Dems Could Do to Win

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4.Put in a usury cap of 16 percent.
Again, aside from doing something for our base, it meets the other three FDR-type rules.

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Thomas Geoghegan
Thomas Geoghegan, a Chicago-based labor lawyer, has contributed articles on politics and the labor movement since 2000...

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Bringing back a strong and healthy labor movement is everybody’s job—but to do it, we’ll have to change our corporate and political models as well.

The GOP declares Keynesianism dead, but it hasn’t really been tried. The great economist would have us do much more than “prime the pump” to pull the country out of this morass.

First, it's simple. Unlike the Dodd-Frank Act, this is easy to explain.

Second, it's universal—who can live without a Visa or MasterCard?

Third, it fits into a bigger plan—to shrink the big returns of a financial sector that's drained so much of the investment that used to go into the "real economy." After all, our plan has to be to make the country globally competitive, to bring down the trade deficit. And we can't do that until we put limits on the returns of a financial sector that is in danger of sucking up all the invested capital that used to go into manufacturing.

Well, at any rate, it's simple.

5.Set up small government banks like the German Sparkasse.

Ironically, in this time of bailouts, the failure of so many small banks has reduced the lending the country needs. In Illinois alone, thirty-seven banks have failed since the Wall Street crack-up. The big ones like Citibank, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase are not just "too big to fail" but too big to lend.

How to fix that?

Set up small, government-run banks all over the country, like the little Sparkasse banks one sees all over Germany.

It would do something for our base. It's simple to understand. It fits into a plan—to make the country more competitive so we can bring down the trade deficit. In Germany the Sparkasse banks are especially designed to help small manufacturers compete—the kind of small but high-value-added firms that the big banks like Deutsche Bank ignore but that play an important role in racking up a favorable trade balance for Germany.

And if all that is too abstract, think about this: the Sparkasse hand out credit cards with low interest rates.

Isn't that the ultimate "public option"? A government credit card, at a lower than Bank of America rate.

Yes, it's simple. It's universal—everyone can use a credit card. And it adds up to a plan, to create a fair and just economy that can lift the middle class by increasing sales abroad.

6.Give everyone the right to six days of vacation—six consecutive paid working days.

Why six consecutive days? Well, we need five so we can connect the two weekends. And we need a sixth so we have something to trade away in the Senate.

I'm kidding. Let them filibuster. What could be better for the Democrats?

It does something for our base. It's simple. And it fits into a plan, to make us more competitive.

If we had more vacation time, as the Europeans have, we might even visit and get to know these countries we have to compete with. If we had time off to go around the world, we might be more competitive.

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