The Radical Left
Listening to republican coverage of the 2020 election is to be bombarded with threats of socialism and fear of the Radical Left. Healthcare for all? Extremist. Gun control? Unconstitutional. Free public college? kRaZy.
The policy vision of the collective “Left” — to the extent that there is one — can only seem radical if you accept the current American status quo as unradical. A quick review of the state of our union in key 2020 policy areas paints a more accurate picture of the American status quo, and why a Radical Left agenda is desperately needed.
- Currently, an estimated 530,000 families go bankrupt every year due to medical bills, despite 91.2% of Americans having health insurance.
- 66.5% of all bankruptcies are tied to medical debt and it is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States.
- The U.S. spends around $3.5 billion on healthcare annually — more than double what other developed countries spend — with middling outcomes.
- The average cost of a bachelor’s degree has increased 116% since 1985. The price of attending college has risen 8 times faster than wages since 1989.
- Student loan debt has topped $1.5 trillion, depressing millennial homeownership rates and leading economists to call older millennials “the lost generation.”
- The U.S. held 69,550 migrant children in custody in 2019 and separated 5,460 children from their parents/adult sponsor(s) at the border since 2017. There are more children held in custody apart from their parents in the U.S. than any other country in the world.
- 24 immigrants have died in ICE custody since 2017, including 7 children, many due to inadequate medical care. Thousands of migrant children have reported sexual abuse in CBP facilities, whose conditions are infamously squalid.
- Some 36,000 people are killed by firearms annually in the U.S., around 100 per day.
- There were 417 mass shootings in 2019.
- Firearms are the second leading cause of death among U.S. children.
- 400 of the largest U.S. corporations paid an average effective tax rate of 11.5% in 2018, almost half of the previous year, following the Trump tax cuts.
- 91 Fortune 500 companies paid $0 in federal income taxes last year, while making a combined $101 billion in profits. Amazon, for example, got a $129 million rebate on $10.8 billion in profits.
- The top six American banks saved $32 billion last year thanks to GOP tax cuts, while shrinking their workforce by thousands of people and announcing plans to increase stockholder payouts by $21.5 million.
- Income inequality is the highest it’s ever been since the Census Bureau started tracking it 50 years ago.
- The richest 0.1% of Americans take home 188 times more than the bottom 90% of Americans.
- The planet is literally burning up. Trump and the GOP refuse to believe in science.
- Changes in the global temperature will cause sudden, catastrophic weather events, extreme droughts, floods, wildfires, water shortages, wildlife loss, and eventually our own global extinction.
- Black wealth is about 7% that of white wealth in the United States. Black families headed by a college graduate have 33% less wealth than white families headed by a high school dropout.
- One out of every three black boys born today can expect to go to prison in his lifetime. One out of every six Latino boys can expect to go to prison in his lifetime, compared to one out of every 17 white boys.
- 65% of Americans say it has been more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views since Trump became president.
- LGBTQ+ Americans have no constitutional protection. Their sexual orientation can cause them to be fired, refused a job, denied services like adoption or foster care, with full support from the Department of Justice under Trump.
- One in four LGBTQ+ people report experiencing discrimination.
- Forty percent of transgender adults in the U.S. have attempted suicide. At least 22 transgender and gender non-conforming Americans were killed in 2019, with black trans women especially at risk.
This is the status quo Republicans want to preserve — or worse, advance — and what progressive policies attempt to redress. By comparison, the Radical Left agenda — Medicare for All, debt-free college, protections for marginalized groups, gun control — isn’t just unradical, it’s downright necessary. This is not how other advanced nations live; many of these problems are uniquely American.
An interesting piece by Sahil Chinoy of the New York Times documents just how far to the right America’s Republican Party has deviated from the West’s political center, outflanking many Canadian and European conservative parties, and approaching closer alignment with right-wing fringe groups. The GOP’s embrace of white nationalism, imperialism, failed supply-side economic theories, and religious fanaticism has made republican politicians radicals among their international conservative peers. By contrast, the U.S. Democratic Party is much nearer to the center.
Don’t believe the right-wing hysteria, the Fox propaganda attempting to frighten you into believing the myth of a Radical Left agenda. Rest assured, Americans already live in radical times.