PPI: Republican Lite

In, Manufacturing Jobs Are Never Coming Back, FiveThirtyEight cites a report by the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI):

PPI is a centrist Democratic think tank that, while not formally affiliated with the Clinton campaign, is effectively an organ of the party establishment; it bills itself as “the original ‘idea mill’ for President Bill Clinton’s New Democrats.” Its new report was widely interpreted as a bid by centrists to show they could compete with Sanders on big economic ideas.

So what were those big ideas? In addition to free trade (including ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Sanders and now Clinton oppose), there was a grab bag of fairly familiar progressive policies: infrastructure spending, paid family leave, improved workforce training. …

But the PPI report, called Unleashing Innovation and Growth – A Progressive Alternative to Populism, also includes a lot of big ideas that would not be out of place in a Republican stump speech. Here are some snippets from their 72 page PDF:

In light of the economic and security benefits, Democrats can only lose credibility with the public by parroting green activists who exaggerate the dangers of fracking or demand that America’s shale windfall be kept “in the ground.”

So much for climate change. Drill, Baby, Drill.

U.S. leaders also should act to speed the development of a new generation of nuclear reactors.

Of course since no entrepreneur is ever going to put their own money in a proven money loser like nuclear power plants, it will have to be done with public money.

… we do working Americans no favor by promising to preserve or bring back labor-intensive production jobs that can be done cheaper by machines or low-paid foreign workers, especially if other countries retaliate and close their markets. America’s future lies in an open global knowledge economy that supports well-paying jobs in sectors where we enjoy comparative advantages—including digital innovation, sophisticated services, and additive and intelligent manufacturing enabled by the marriage of IT and the physical economy

We like our cheap Chinese running shoes and Korean flatscreen TVs, so the manufacturing jobs really aren’t coming back. Start watching The Big Bang Theory and taking notes.

Democrats, historically America’s free trade party, should be leery of aligning themselves with these voices of economic reaction. Around the country, a significant majority of the Democratic rank and file views trade and trade agreements as generally good for America.

Forget the campaign promises. We’ll be passing the TPP and TPIP after all.

Cut the top business tax rate to 15 percent

It only sounds like a Republican idea.

Open America’s infrastructure market to private capital

Again, it only sounds just exactly like a Republican idea.

… Progressives should champion a new model of school governance that enables more school autonomy and innovation, more customized learning, rigorous standards, and genuine accountability for results.
The ideologically-charged debate over whether charter schools perform better or worse than traditional schools has detracted attention from the most valuable lesson of the charter experience: governance matters. A new and better way to organize public education is rapidly evolving—a method that has come to be known as the portfolio strategy.
This approach has delivered dramatic results in portfolio cities with strong charter program authorizers, where more than a third of students attend charters or schools treated much like charters.

We’ll rename charter schools, and create more of them, cleaning up that pesky NEA union.

The hollowing-out of middle class jobs is no myth.

No, but since the jobs aren’t coming back their only answer is sending everyone to college. “Fight fiercely Harvard! Fight! Fight! Fight!”

How can progressives make college more affordable without creating costly new subsidies or entitlements? And how can we begin to reshape our post-secondary education system to reflect the reality that college graduates increasingly are going on to post-graduate and professional schools? …
Encourage U.S. colleges to offer three-year degrees based on achieving competency rather than paying for credit hours.

So you can only go into debt for 75% of what you couldn’t afford before, and still not find a job. We’ll call it the three quarters compromise.

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  1. PPI: Republican Lite – Once Upon a Paradigm - March 18, 2016
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