The Liberals' Contract with America

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 29 2011 11:30 AM

The Liberals' Contract with America

When I sat in on a Rebuild the Dream house party, my group produced one of the thousands of idea sheets that would eventually make it into a Gingrichian liberal Contract. The Contract for the American Dream was finished a couple of weeks ago, and here it is. What do we have? A lot of verbiage -- standard for stuff like this -- and some actual ideas!

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

[W]e need national and state infrastructure banks.
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That's in progress; there's a National Infrastructure Bank that keeps getting punted and not getting votes. It didn't even get one under the Democratic raj of 2009-2010.

[R]emov[e] the cap on the Social Security tax, so that upper-income people pay into Social Security on all they make, just like the rest of us.

Also mooted by plenty of politicians. That was the idea that got Mitt Romney so irritated at a liberal questioner in Ames, where he accused her of having something against people who succeed.

End, once and for all, the Bush-era tax giveaways for the rich.

This is something of a compromise. My Rebuild group favored ending all Bush tax cuts, even the middle class ones, for the reason that no one else would say it.

A tiny fee of a twentieth of 1% on each Wall Street trade could raise tens of billions of dollars annually with little impact on actual investment.

That's been bubbling up from some liberal economists; if any politician has backed it, too, please flag me.

John at VerumSerum asks if any of this will take on life in Barack Obama's job speech. Rebuild and Van Jones are explicitly working outside the White House to provide pressure from the left, so he's not pounding the table in any White House meetings. The most impact this could have is mainstreaming the Wall Street tax idea.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.