A Top Obama-Biden Aide Slams Trump for Missing the Moment for “Economic Dignity”
May 18, 2020
photo above: Susan Walsh/AP
WN: This is lovely to hear. Everyone on the Planet yearns for “economic dignity”. Of course, this is the very essence of “democratic socialism”.
Gene Sperling was a top economic adviser to both President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama. In those positions, he was deeply involved in many of the key economic policy battles of the past few decades. During the Clinton years, he helped bring about an expansion of the earned income tax credit—a major anti-poverty measure—and the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. In the Obama White House, he worked closely with the president and vice president to rescue the economy after the crash of 2008, and he battled fiercely with congressional Republicans over budgets, taxes, health care, and the debt ceiling.
Sperling has long been known in Washington as a leading economic policy wonk. Such people tend to be seen as men and women who focus on numbers and who argue about theories the rest of us can barely understand. But in his new book, out this month, Economic Dignity, Sperling challenges that stereotype. In a well-written and accessible style, Sperling argues that the main goal of economic policy should not focus on measurements such as the the Gross Domestic Product or the unemployment rate. These are just means to an end, he insists. The ultimate aim for economic policy, he says, ought to be developing and strengthening a society in which people live worthwhile lives, enjoying family, pursuing purpose and happiness, feeling important and autonomous.
This is not how the average economist talks. Has Sperling goner soft? In a conversation with him about his new book, I ask Sperling how he defines “economic dignity” and how Donald Trump’s response to the economic calamity caused by the coronavirus pandemic measures up to this standard. His definition is basic: “I talk about three pillars. One, the capacity to care for family and be there for life’s most precious moments, happy or sad. Two, do each of us have a first and second chance to pursue potential purpose and meaning? And, three, very important, do we have the power and protections to contribute to the economy with respect and not [be victims of] domination and humiliation.” Noting that the coronavirus crisis has highlighted the importance of low-wage worker, Sperling remarks, ” I do believe this is our economic dignity moment.” And, no surprise, Trump is not meeting the challenge.
Sperling explains in this clip:
Please click on: Economic Dignity