The ‘center’ of American politics is on the left

Donald Trump, Fox News, and Republicans in Congress label proposals they disagree with “fringe,” “radical,” or “socialist.”

Well, let’s see where the American people actually stand:

On the economy,76 percent of Americans favor higher taxes on the super-rich, including over half of registered Republicans. Over 60 percent favor a wealth tax on fortunes of $50 million or more. Even Fox News polls confirm these trends.

What about health care? Well, 70 percent want Medicare for All, which most define as Medicare for anyone who wants it.  60 percent of Republicans support allowing anyone under 65 to buy into Medicare.

92 percent want lower prescription drug prices. Over 70 percent think we should be able to buy drugs imported from Canada.

On family issues, more than 80 percent  of Americans want paid maternity leave. 79  percent of voters want more affordable child care. And that includes 80 percent of Republicans.

60 percent of Americans support free college tuition for those who meet income requirements.

62% think climate change is man-made and needs addressing.

84 percent think money has too much influence in politics. 77 percent support limits on campaign spending. And that includes 71 percent of Republicans.

I could go on.

So why do the powerful call these policy ideas “fringe,” or “radical,” or “socialist?”

Money. Many of these initiatives would cost them – requiring either higher taxes on the rich (many could be achieved by repealing the giant Trump tax cut for the wealthy and corporations), or regulations that might cut into their corporate profits.

So you can bet that as these proposals become even more popular, the powerful are going to intensify their attacks.

But just remember: the “center” is not halfway between what most Americans want and what big corporations, Wall Street, and the super-wealthy want.

The “center” is what the vast majority of Americans want.

This post originally appeared at RobertReich.org.

Robert B. Reich is the chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley and former secretary of labor under the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the 10 most effective Cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. His film, Inequality for All, was released in 2013. Follow him on Twitter: @RBReich.

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