Robert Reich: Yes, Bernie Sanders’ Plan Can Get Us To 3.8% Unemployment

On February 25, 2016, Hugh Warton writes on U.S. Uncut:

Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich says an optimistic analysis of Bernie Sanders’ economic plan is perfectly sound.

Bernie Sanders’ domestic plans, including a Medicare-for-all plan and massive infrastructure spending increases, came under attack after an independent study praising the plan was widely shared. The study stated Sanders’ plans would raise the median income by $22,000 and bring unemployment down to 3.8%, among other eye-popping statistics.

However, it didn’t take long for some to rain on the parade, as four ex-chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers wrote a one-page open letter criticizing the Sanders campaign for proliferating the study, claiming it was “fantastical.” However, they did not provide any alternative numbers or explain how they reached their conclusions. Gerald Friedman’s study was 54 pages long, in contrast, and he says that no one that signed the letter ever reached out to him.

Paul Krugman went further, calling it “voodoo” and “embarrassing.” However, many other prominent economists seem to think the projections are perfectly reasonable.

“There’s nothing unrealistic about it,” Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, said. “One the biggest reasons for this kind of success coming out of the Sanders plan has to do with the magnitude of the plan.” Sanders’ plan would invest $14.5 over several years to boost GDP and productivity while cutting costs on expensive drug prices and other waste.

James Kenneth Galbraith, a renowned economist and professor at the University of Texas at Austin echoed these sentiments. “When you propose ambitious programs, when you propose to do something big, you can expect a reasonable economic analysis of it to show a big effect,” He believes Sanders’ plan and Friedman’s analysis of it came under an “unjustified and unfair attack.”

So what, exactly, is Krugman using to back up his critique? Outside of an aging population, he actually doesn’t cite any facts or numbers despite referring to himself as a “wonk,” nor can he pinpoint the error in the methodology.

In fact, a particularly damning statement against these critics came from William K. Black, an associate professor of law and economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. “The models [Friedman] was using are precisely the models that the [White House] Council of Economic Advisers uses and they are precisely the models Paul Krugman uses,” he said.

It should also be noted that the author, Gerald Friedman, is a public supporter of Hillary Clinton, not a partisan superfan of Bernie Sanders.

Sanders’ policy director, Warren Gunnels, vigorously defended the Medicare-for-all plan and Sanders’ other stimulus plans when the attacks first began. “Instead of attacking a fellow economist for coming up with his own estimates on the benefits of Sen. Sanders’ economic agenda, they should join us in fighting for a living wage, rebuilding our infrastructure, providing universal health care, and making college more affordable.”


Are We Witnessing The Death Of America's Political Establishment?


On February 25, 2016, Robert Reich writes on AlterNet:

Step back from the campaign fray for just a moment and consider the enormity of what’s already occurred.

A 74-year-old Jew from Vermont who describes himself as a democratic socialist, who wasn’t even a Democrat until recently, has come within a whisker of beating Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucus, routed her in the New Hampshire primary, and garnered over 47 percent of the caucus-goers in Nevada, of all places.

And a 69-year-old billionaire who has never held elective office or had anything to do with the Republican Party has taken a commanding lead in the Republican primaries.

Something very big has happened, and it’s not due to Bernie Sanders’ magnetism or Donald Trump’s likeability.

It’s a rebellion against the establishment.

The question is why the establishment has been so slow to see this. A year ago – which now seems like an eternity – it proclaimed Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush shoe-ins.

Both had all the advantages – deep bases of funders, well-established networks of political insiders, experienced political advisors, all the name recognition you could want.

But even now that Bush is out and Hillary is still leading but vulnerable, the establishment still doesn’t see what’s occurred. They explain everything by pointing to weaknesses: Bush, they now say, “never connected” and Hillary “has a trust problem.”

A respected political insider recently told me most Americans are largely content. “The economy is in good shape,” he said. “Most Americans are better off than they’ve been in years. The problem has been the major candidates themselves.”

I beg to differ.

Economic indicators may be up but they don’t reflect the economic insecurity most Americans still feel, nor the seeming arbitrariness and unfairness they experience.

Nor do the major indicators show the linkages Americans see between wealth and power, crony capitalism, declining real wages, soaring CEO pay, and a billionaire class that’s turning our democracy into an oligarchy.

Median family income lower now than it was sixteen years ago, adjusted for inflation.

Most economic gains, meanwhile, have gone to top.

These gains have translated into political power to rig the system with bank bailouts, corporate subsidies, special tax loopholes, trade deals, and increasing market power – all of which have further pushed down wages pulled up profits.

Those at the very top of the top have rigged the system even more thoroughly. Since 1995, the average income tax rate for the 400 top-earning Americans has plummeted from 30 percent to 17 percent.

Wealth, power, and crony capitalism fit together. So far in the 2016 election, the richest 400 Americans have accounted for over a third of all campaign contributions.

Americans know a takeover has occurred and they blame the establishment for it.

There’s no official definition of the “establishment” but it presumably includes all of the people and institutions that have wielded significant power over the American political economy, and are therefore deemed complicit.

At its core are the major corporations, their top executives, and Washington lobbyists and trade associations; the biggest Wall Street banks, their top officers, traders, hedge-fund and private-equity managers, and their lackeys in Washington; the billionaires who invest directly in politics; and the political leaders of both parties, their political operatives, and fundraisers.

Arrayed around this core are the deniers and apologists – those who attribute what’s happened to “neutral market forces,” or say the system can’t be changed, or who urge that any reform be small and incremental.

Some Americans are rebelling against all this by supporting an authoritarian demagogue who wants to fortify America against foreigners as well as foreign-made goods. Others are rebelling by joining a so-called “political revolution.”

The establishment is having conniptions. They call Trump whacky and Sanders irresponsible. They charge that Trump’s isolationism and Bernie’s ambitious government programs will stymie economic growth.

The establishment doesn’t get that most Americans couldn’t care less about economic growth because for years they’ve got few of its benefits, while suffering most of its burdens in the forms of lost jobs and lower wages.

Most people are more concerned about economic security and a fair chance to make it.

The establishment doesn’t see what’s happening because it has cut itself off from the lives of most Americans. It also doesn’t wish to understand, because that would mean acknowledging its role in bringing all this on.

Yet regardless of the political fates of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, the rebellion against the establishment will continue.

Eventually, those with significant economic and political power in America will have to either commit to fundamental reform, or relinquish their power.

Yes, the system is rigged to ALWAYS enrich the already wealthy capital OWNERSHIP class.

The super rich wealthy capital asset OWNERSHIP class puta their money on the .1 percent Democratic candidates representing both Democratic and Republican parties, to secure favors and influence in legislative and policy decision-making.

As long as working people are limited by earning income solely through their labor worker wages, they will be left behind by the continued gravitation of economic bounty toward the top 1 percent of the people that the system is rigged to benefit. Working people and the middle class will continue to stagnate, resulting in a stagnated consumer economy. More troubling is that this continued stagnation will further dim the economic hopes of America’s youth, no matter what their education level. The result will have profound long-term consequences for the nation’s economic health and further limit equal earning opportunity and spread income inequality. As the need for labor decreases and the power and leverage of productive capital increases, the gap between labor workers and capital owners will increase, which will result in turmoil and upheaval, if not revolution. If we fail to reform the system to provide inclusive prosperity, inclusive opportunity and inclusive economic justice, as well as social justice, the result will be a society that may destroy itself through fear, hate and anger and the suffering that ensues.

The choice is either we start OWNING our Future and Economy or we will continue to be OWNED by the already wealthy ownership class who seeks to OWN the FUTURE economy and continue their master/economic slave relationship.

Own the Future or Be Owned!

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Mainstream Democratic Economists Join Effort To Discredit Bernie Sanders

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The Democratic establishment is sending out some big-name economists to discredit Bernie Sanders in his campaign versus Hillary Clinton, but so far the public hasn’t paid any attention to this campaign sideshow.

On February 19, 2016, Darrell Delamaide writes on Market Watch:

So now the economists are entering the political fray to give voters the benefit of their insightful analysis on the presidential candidates’ tax and spending plans.

Fortunately, the economics profession has so discredited itself with its failure to anticipate the financial crisis, to properly analyze or cope with the recession that followed, or to figure out a way to stimulate economic growth in its wake that their voices now are like that proverbial tree falling in an uninhabited forest — no one is listening.

But that has never stopped an economist from talking.

So when a number of economic advisers from the Obama and Clinton administrations sent an open letter this week to Bernie Sanders dismissing his plans for single-payer health care and other economic policy measures as unrealistic, the public gave it the reception it deserved — they ignored it.

Four former chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers also directed their ire at an economics professor who ran numbers showing that Sanders’s policies would reduce unemployment to 3.8% (from about 5% now), raise median incomes an average $22,000, and boost gross domestic product growth to 5.3% a year (compared to 1.8% in 2015).

The intent of the unsupported and undocumented attacks on Sanders clearly is to reinforce the picture of a wild-eyed “democratic socialist” whose positions are unrealistic, making him unelectable.
These “extreme claims” by University of Massachusetts-Amherst Professor Gerald Friedman “cannot be supported by economic evidence,” wrote the former CEA chairs, including Alan Krueger, Austan Goolsbee and Christina Romer from the Obama administration and Laura Tyson from the Clinton administration.

“For many years, we have worked to make the Democratic Party the party of evidence-based economic policy,” these worthies sniffed in their letter. “Making such promises runs against our party’s best traditions of evidence-based policy making and undermines our reputation as the party of responsible arithmetic.”

A considered response to this objection might well be LMAO, but it is clearly another sign of the political establishment’s determination to marshal its resources against any insurgent candidate who defies the reigning conservative orthodoxy in economics.

It is true that the guns are out for Republican proposals as well. The Tax Policy Center — which bills itself as nonpartisan, but, who knows, may itself be “left-leaning” — blasted Ted Cruz’s flat tax plan, saying it would add $8.6 trillion to the federal deficit over 10 years while slashing taxes for the very wealthy.

But the three-paragraph letter to Sanders from the former CEA chairs ignores the supporting evidence in Friedman’s 53-page analysis — including 31 pages of appendices documenting his assumptions and sourcing his figures — and offers no proof for their claim beyond their bald assertion that Friedman is wrong.

Friedman, who obtained his undergraduate degree from Columbia and his doctorate from Harvard, joined the UMass faculty in 1984. He has told reporters he doesn’t work for the Sanders campaign and is supporting Hillary Clinton in the presidential contest.

But the cavalier dismissal of the Sanders plan without offering any evidence to support its rejection shows why the Vermont senator routinely directs his fury not only against “establishment politics,” but also against “establishment economics.”

And, as he sometimes adds on the campaign trail, the “establishment media.” The New York Times, for instance, which has editorially endorsed Clinton, ran an article this week headlined “Left-Leaning Economists Question Cost of Bernie Sanders’s Plans.”

The article, by reporter Jackie Calmes, consists largely of sweeping generalizations referring vaguely to “liberal-leaning economists,” “some experts,” and “progressive economists and business groups” without naming a whole lot of them.

Among the few named sources was, well, Austan Goolsbee, Barack Obama’s old buddy from the University of Chicago, who hitched his wagon to the Illinois senator’s star long enough to enjoy a whirlwind tour in Washington before returning to the groves of academe.

“The numbers don’t remotely add up,” Goolsbee told Calmes, though neither of them provided any evidence to support that assertion.

Other “left-leaning” economists named in the article are Jared Bernstein, who served as chief economist for Vice President Joe Biden and finds Friedman’s claims based on “wishful thinking,” and Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who has invested so much in defending Obamacare over the past couple of years that he is reluctant to accept the single-payer concept.

For what it’s worth, there are some left-leaning economists who support Sanders. Thomas Piketty, the French economist whose 2014 best-seller “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” galvanized the discussion of inequality in this country, sees Sanders as a harbinger of a transformational change in the U.S. even if he falls short in this year’s effort of beating “the Clinton machine.”

“Sanders’s success today shows that much of America is tired of rising inequality and these so-called political changes,” Piketty wrote in an op-ed in the Guardian, referring to the conservative shift ushered in by Ronald Reagan and little changed by Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, “and intends to revive both a progressive agenda and the American tradition of egalitarianism.”

Hillary Clinton, he adds, “who fought to the left of Barack Obama in 2008 on topics such as health insurance, appears today as if she is defending the status quo, just another heiress of the Reagan-Clinton-Obama political regime.”

The intent of the unsupported and undocumented attacks on Sanders clearly is to reinforce the picture of a wild-eyed “democratic socialist” whose positions are unrealistic, making him unelectable.

But voters, to the extent they pay any attention at all to this sideshow, may decide that Sanders makes more sense than those orthodox economists who have guided us into the current mess of inequality, underemployment and rampant poverty.

These conventional, establishment economist have and continue to fail the American populace, They have not put forth solutions to abate economic inequality and put us on a path of inclusive prosperity, inclusive opportunity and inclusive economic justice. Their minds are enslaved in one factor thinking, that is that human labor, while ignoring the non-human input factor of production, physical capital, which are wealth-creating, income-producing assets of the wealthy ownership class, who has rigged the system to ensure the ALL FUTURE capital asset project formation will be owned by them.

Why is this the reality in academia?

Economist John Maynard Keynes, whose Keynesian model is widely taught, falsely presumed that the only way to balance mass productive power with mass purchasing power is through a wage system – ignoring the possibility of democratizing future ownership of labor-displacing productive capital technologies and rising ownership incomes as a market-generated means of eliminating wage slavery, welfare slavery, debt slavery and charity slavery for the 99 percent of humanity.

Binary economist Louis Kelso argued that the Keynesian model fails to recognize that “when capital workers [owners] replace labor workers as the major suppliers of goods and services, labor employment alone becomes inadequate because labor’s share of the income arising from production cannot provide the progressively better standard of living that technology is making possible. Labor produces subsistence at best. Capital can produce affluence. To enjoy affluence, all households must engage to an increasing extent in capital work.”

Broadening personal productive capital asset ownership will allow EVERY citizen to contribute productive into the economy and to build personal wealth and earn a new source of income: dividends. This will create “customers with money” which will result in far greater demand for products and services, and thus grow the economy, benefiting ALL.

The how to accomplish this new paradigm is embodied in the Agenda of The Just Third Way Movement at,…/the-just-third-way-basic-principles-…/,…/…/2014/02/jtw-graphicoverview-2013.pdf and…/the-just-third-way-a-new-vision-for-…/.

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5 Reasons the Top Tax Rate Should Be 80%

Informed Americans understand that an economic war has been waged against the middle and lower classes.

On February 15, 2016, Paul Buchheit writes on Nation Of Change:

It came up in the Republican debate again, the curious notion that striving for less inequality is somehow a form of “class warfare.” The implication is that the richest people earned everything they have through their own initiative and hard work. But most of them have exploited an American financial system that has facilitated the transfer of our national wealth to the people who manage that wealth.

Informed Americans understand that an economic war has been waged against the middle and lower classes. As a result, there are at least five good reasons why the tax rate on the upper classes should be MUCH higher.

1. Massive Redistribution Has Occurred. Upward.

Total U.S. wealth increased by a stunning 60 percent since 2009, from $54 trillion to $86 trillion, but 3/4 of that massive increase went to the richest 10% of Americans. According to the New York Times, the wealthiest Americans have formed an “income defense industry” to shelter their riches, with, “a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists and anti-tax activists who exploit and defend a dizzying array of tax maneuvers, virtually none of them available to taxpayers of more modest means.” From 2003 to 2012 the average income tax rate paid by the richest 1% went down, while for the 99% it went up.

2. Subsidies to the Rich are SIX Times Greater Than Subsidies to the Poor

The cost of the entire Safety Net is only about ONE-SIXTH of the $2.2 trillion in tax expenditures, tax underpayments, tax havens, and corporate nonpayment, the great majority of which went to the richest Americans.

3. The Super-Rich are the Main Beneficiaries of Our Nation’s Prosperity

All the technology in our phones and computers started with government research at theDefense Department, the National Science Foundation, the Census Bureau, and publicuniversities. The Internet made possible the quadrillion-dollar trading capacity of the financial industry. Google is using some of its billions to buy technologies that were built by DARPA with our tax dollars. Pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t exist without money from the taxpayers, who have provided support for decades through the National Institutes of Health, and still pay over 80 percent of the cost of basic research for new drugs and vaccines. Big firms use intellectual property law (another gift from the taxpayers) to snatch up patents on any new money-making products, no matter how much government- and university-funded research went into it.

There’s much more. The wealthiest individuals and corporations are the main beneficiaries of tax laws, tax breaks, property rights, zoning rules, patent and copyright provisions, trade pacts, antitrust legislation, and contract regulations. The largest companies benefit, despite their publicly voiced objections to regulatory agencies, from SBA and SEC guidelines that generally favor business, and from FDA and USDA quality control measures that minimize consumer complaints and product recalls. Businesses rely on roads and seaports and airports to ship their products, the FAA and TSA and Coast Guard and Department of Transportation to safeguard them, a nationwide energy grid to power their factories, communications towers and satellites to conduct online business, the Department of Commerce to promote and safeguard global markets, the U.S. Navy to monitor shipping lanes, and FEMA to clean up after them.

But instead of paying for all the taxpayer-funded benefits, S&P corporations have spent 95 percent of its profits on stock buybacks and dividend payouts to enrich their investors.

4. Progressive Taxes Actually Work

The prominent economic team of Piketty and Saez and Stantcheva determined that “the top tax rate could potentially be set as high as 83%” before the highest earners are discouraged from attempting to earn more. The National Bureau of Economic Researchgoes further, proposing a top marginal rate of 90%, and even some conservative analystsconcede that the optimal maximum may be at least 50%.

Since the 1970s libertarians and business leaders have rallied behind trickle-down theory. Thus a series of tax cuts for the rich. But evidence from numerous sources leads to the conclusion that there is no correlation between tax cuts and GDP growth, and that in fact the cuts cause governments (as common sense would dictate) to lose revenue.

5. Higher Taxes Won’t Make Rich People Leave

During the Republican debates Chris Christie claimed that higher taxes caused wealthy New Jersey residents to leave the state. It’s not true. A Stanford study found that lower-income residents left New Jersey at approximately the same rate. “Overall,” said the authors, “higher income earners show greater residential stability and geographic embeddedness than do low income earners.”

A Conclusion: The Washington Examiner referred to Bernie Sanders as an “elderly extremist.” Elderly, yes. But as Democratic debate moderators noted, over two-thirds of Americans favor increased taxes on people making over a million dollars. The desire to reduce inequality is not extreme at all.

In the short term of reforming the system, a progressive personal tax rate is necessary as an emergency measure, with the tax revenues used to upgrade government services and the nation’s infrastructure.

However, what is not discussed in this article is the tax rate on corporations, which should be significantly raised to at least 80 percent with all loopholes and subsidies eliminated.

To encourage corporations to pay out all earnings to their owners (shareholders own the corporation, and are entitled to the income generated by what they own), dividends should be tax deductible to the corporation. Thus, for those corporations fully paying out the earnings to their rightful owners, there would be no corporate tax. The dividends would be treated as ordinary income by the shareholder, who would pay the appropriate personal tax rate, depending on income earned from all sources.

Significantly, as part of the system reform, we must empower EVERY child, woman and man with the right to  purchase capital assets represented by newly issued shares of stock in financially sound corporations, with the full stream of income attributable to those shares paid out to the new shareholder, who first uses the dividends to pay for the shares, then — after the shares are paid for — to meet his or her living expenses. Dividend income should be treated as ordinary income by the shareholder, with a tax deferral if the dividends are used to make payments on the shares purchased.

Corporations would finance growth not by retaining earnings or borrowing on behalf of the present owners (both techniques concentrate capital asset ownership), but by issuing new equity shares, which would be purchased with insured, interest-free capital credit, repayable out of future earnings generated by the investments. Thus, past savings and equities would not be required to secure the new asset-based capital credit money used strictly for economic growth investment.

This new economic policy direction should be adopted by leaders committed to restructuring the legal and financial system to grow the economy at maximum rates with no inflation. This can be done in ways that build a Just Third Way version of economic democracy as the essential foundation for effective political democracy.

The proposed Capital Homestead Act offers for every citizen a private property, free market-oriented alternative for saving the Social Security System as a national retirement income security plan. At the same time, the Capital Homestead Act offers a new national policy to foster life-long  “capital self-sufficiency” as a means to achieve true economic independence for all Americans. If implemented, capital ownership would be systematically de-concentrated and made directly accessible to every person, without reducing property rights for anyone.

This is the basis of the “Capital Homestead” concept proposed by the Center for Economic and Social Justice ( Briefly, the Capital Homestead Act is a comprehensive legislative program of tax, monetary, and fiscal reforms to make every citizen a shareholder in the technological frontier. It is designed to connect every child, woman, and man to the global economy as a fully empowered participant and owner of new technologies through private property, that is, direct ownership of all forms of wealth-creating, income-producing  productive capital.

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Capitalism Is The Economics Of Free People, And It Is The System Which Is Most “Socially Just.”

On July 29, 2012, Nick Sorrentino writes on

In the attached essay Charles Murray says that capitalists need to explain capitalism better. Capitalism has pulled most of the world out of horrible poverty. The system of voluntary exchange, the most fundamental component of capitalism, is just. Capitalism offers hope to the world for better things, for better lives, for most people.

Yet why do so many people hold capitalism in such disdain?

The answer is complicated and has many components, but Murray addresses a very important part of the answer, and that is he believes that fans of free markets have not been doing a good enough job of evangelizing. The case for economic liberty has not been made effectively as of late.

I agree to some extent. There could be more and better voices making the case for capitalism in the mainstream.

But the evangelists are out there. They are young. They are educated. They are motivated. And they might be the most important block in the coming election.

I’m talking about the followers of Ron Paul.

Dr. Paul has inspired legions of young people to read Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, Bastiat, Hazlitt, and other great free market economists. Legions, is no exaggeration.

I’ll bet there’s never been a time in this country when there were more young people fundamentally educated about the moral and just nature of capitalism.

So there is hope. But we need to step up our efforts, now.


“…it should be possible to revive a national consensus affirming that capitalism embraces the best and most essential things about American life; that freeing capitalism to do what it does best won’t just create national wealth and reduce poverty, but expand the ability of Americans to achieve earned success—to pursue happiness.”

Capitalism as a reality is a system in which the OWNERSHIP and CONTROL of non-human capital wealth assets is concentrated among a tiny class of wealthy capital OWNERS, who have rigged the system in which  the requirement to form new capital assets (economic growth) is PAST SAVINGS, which the vast majority of people do not have because they are not in a financial position to deny consumption in order to save. Thus, we end up with Hoggism.

The capitalism practiced today is what, for a long time, I have termed “Hoggism,” propelled by greed and the sheer love of power over others. “Hoggism” institutionalizes greed (creating concentrated capital ownership, monopolies, and special privileges). “Hoggism” is about the ability of greedy rich people to manipulate the lives of people who struggle with declining labor worker earnings and job opportunities, and then accumulate the bulk of the wealth through monopolized productive capital ownership. Our scientists, engineers, and executive managers who are not owners themselves, except for those in the highest employed positions, are encouraged to work to destroy employment by making the capital “worker” owner more productive. How much employment can be destroyed by substituting machines for people is a measure of their success––always focused on producing at the lowest cost. Only the people who already own productive capital are the beneficiaries of their work, as they systematically concentrate more and more capital ownership in their stationary 1 percent ranks. Yet the 1 percent are not the people who do the overwhelming consuming. The result is the consumer populous is not able to earn the money to buy the products and services produced as a result of substituting machines for people. And yet you can’t have mass production without mass human consumption made possible by “customers with money.” It is the exponential disassociation of production and consumption that is the problem in the United States economy, and the reason that ordinary citizens must gain access to productive capital ownership to improve their economic well being.

For an alternative based on personal OWNERSHIP of capital assets widely distributed and gained simultaneously with the FUTURE growth of the economy without taking from those who already OWN, see my article “Economic Democracy And Binary Economics: Solutions For A Troubled Nation and Economy” at

It Takes A Movement

In short, “the real world we’re living in” right now won’t allow fundamental change of the sort we need. It takes a movement.

On February 2, 2016, Robert Reich writes on Nation Of Change:

In 2008, when then-Senator Barack Obama promised progressive change if elected President, his primary opponent, then-Senator Hillary Clinton, derided him.

“The skies will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect,” she said, sarcastically, adding “I have no illusions about how hard this is going to be.

Fast forward eight years. “I wish that we could elect a Democratic president who could wave a magic wand and say, ‘We shall do this, and we shall do that,’” Clinton said recently in response to Bernie Sanders’s proposals.  “That ain’t the real world we’re living in.“

So what’s possible in “the real world we’re living in?”

There are two dominant views about how presidents accomplish fundamental change.

The first might be called the “deal-maker-in-chief,” by which presidents threaten or buy off powerful opponents.

Barack Obama got the Affordable Care Act this way – gaining the support of the pharmaceutical industry, for example, by promising them far more business and guaranteeing that Medicare wouldn’t use its vast bargaining power to negotiate lower drug prices.

But such deals can be expensive to the public (the tab for the pharmaceutical exemption is about $16 billion a year), and they don’t really change the allocation of power. They just allow powerful interests to cash in.

The costs of such deals in “the world we’re living in” are likely to be even higher now. Powerful interests are more powerful than ever thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2010Citizens United decision opening the floodgates to big money.

Which takes us to the second view about how presidents accomplish big things that powerful interests don’t want: by mobilizing the public to demand them and penalize politicians who don’t heed those demands.

Teddy Roosevelt got a progressive income tax, limits on corporate campaign contributions, regulation of foods and drugs, and the dissolution of giant trusts – not because he was a great dealmaker but because he added fuel to growing public demands for such changes.

It was at a point in American history similar to our own. Giant corporations and a handful of wealthy people dominated American democracy. The lackeys of the “robber barons” literally placed sacks of cash on the desks of pliant legislators.

The American public was angry and frustrated. Roosevelt channeled that anger and frustration into support of initiatives that altered the structure of power in America. He used the office of the president – his “bully pulpit,” as he called it – to galvanize political action.

Could Hillary Clinton do the same? Could Bernie Sanders?

Clinton fashions her prospective presidency as a continuation of Obama’s. Surely Obama understood the importance of mobilizing the public against the moneyed interests. After all, he had once been a community organizer.

After the 2008 election, he even turned his election campaign into a new organization called “Organizing for America” (now dubbed “Organizing for Action”), explicitly designed to harness his grassroots support.

So why did Obama end up relying more on deal-making than public mobilization? Because he thought he needed big money for his 2012 campaign.

Despite OFA’s public claims (in mailings, it promised to secure the “future of the progressive movement”), it morphed into a top-down campaign organization to raise big money.

In the interim, Citizens United had freed “independent” groups like OFA to raise almost unlimited funds, but retained limits on the size of contributions to formal political parties.

That’s the heart of problem. No candidate or president can mobilize the public against the dominance of the moneyed interests while being dependent on their money. And no candidate or president can hope to break the connection between wealth and power without mobilizing the public.

(A personal note: A few years ago OFA wanted to screen around America the movie Jake Kornbluth and I did about widening inequality, called “Inequality for All” – but only on condition we delete two minutes identifying big Democratic donors.  We refused. They wouldn’t show it.)

In short, “the real world we’re living in” right now won’t allow fundamental change of the sort we need. It takes a movement.

Such a movement is at the heart of the Sanders campaign. The passion that’s fueling it isn’t really about Bernie Sanders. Had Elizabeth Warren run, the same passion would be there for her.

It’s about standing up to the moneyed interests and restoring our democracy.

This article was originally published on Robert Reich’s blog.

I advocate for embracing mobilizing the public to demand that the President lead a transformative political revolution focused on system reform that penalizes politicians who don’t heed those demands by voting them out of office.

The President must use the national media stage to put forth the issues and present solution options for consideration and debate. The President must provide an open forum for soliciting solutions and for debating solutions in order to open the process and not be restricted to solutions put forth by special interests, academia, and political insiders. In other words, there must be an open dialogue where every proposed solution is respectfully considered and debated, on a national basis with public participation.

Of course, for this environment to occur, there must no longer be big, special interest money supporting politicians. In the context of our current election for the Presidency in 2016, unlike Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders has no Super Packs of big, special interest money propelling his campaign, but instead the Sanders campaign is fueled by millions of passionate real Americans with names and who on average contribute $27 each. As a result, Bernie Sanders can act completely independent and exert the desired leadership role of the Presidency to achieve a transformative political revolution focused on system reform that will put us on the path to inclusive prosperity, inclusive opportunity, and inclusive economic justice.