As the Democratic candidates for president continue to roll out policy positions, many pundits are classifying them as centrists (such as former Vice President Joe Biden) and radicals (such as Senator Bernie Sanders and a few others). But let's not confuse semantics and substance. Voters want and need a different standard: Which candidates have the most pragmatic solutions to America's woes?
It is clear to most Americans that our country faces several challenges. According to a Gallup poll from May 2019, 63% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in our country. Trust in the government is also at a low, with only 17% saying that Washington will do what is right "just about always" or "most of the time."
"Sen. Bernie Sanders has been labeled a radical for advocating for a publicly-financed health care system. Yet other high-income countries finance their health care overwhelmingly through the public sector, with much lower costs and higher life expectancy than in the U.S."The US is now an outlier among high-income countries, and not in a good way. Compared to 25 peer countries, the US ranks poorly when it comes to life expectancy, maternal mortality, child poverty and income inequality. The situation is stark, especially for a country that prides itself on global leadership.
Yes, the US is relatively rich, with a GDP per capita that ranks fifth out of the 26 countries. However, the cumulative national income is heavily concentrated among the rich, and the US has the very highest income inequality out of the 26 countries.
On social indicators, the situation is dreadful. The US life expectancy is tied with the Czech Republic in the second to last slot of the 26 countries. The US has the highest maternal mortality rates of the 26 countries. Child poverty levels are the third worst among the countries with recent data. All other countries have paid family leave for those with newborns, as well as guaranteed paid vacation, while the US does not guarantee a single day for either.
In fact, repeated rounds of tax cuts for corporations and the rich have contributed to the soaring public debt and the US deficit relative to GDP is now the very highest of all 26 countries. If the US wants to provide social services, we will have to reverse some of the tax giveaways of past years.