Every election is important. Doesnt matter if its for dog catcher or President, we need to compete and win. But 2016 is going to be more critical for a number of reasons. It is a key opportunity to change the direction and perception of Democrats for a generation.
I want to emphasize that this is not a pro or anti Hillary rant. I don't care if we elect a monkey as long as that monkey is a Democrat. Most of what I will cover is going to happen no matter what so even if Grumpy Cat is our nominee we need to win so we can reap the rewards.
Im going to talk about three things - education, health care and government and how controlling the last brings the rewards of the first two.
So click and go below the fold for more!
(TLDR - We need to win because the next 8 years are going to rock no matter who wins and we want credit)
As of last week we FINALLY returned to pre crash employment. It took 4 years to get back the 8.7 million jobs wiped out by the sub-prime crisis but we are finally there. Forget the fact that Republican idiocy kept the recovering from happening faster. Forget the fact that many of those jobs do not pay a living wage. We are finally there. What now? Ill tell you what now, now we get into real economic recovery powered by the education effect.
Education. The education effect is both simple and complex so I will stick with simple - When the economy is bad, people go to school or stay in school. Eventually they have to leave and when they do they add to the economy. They do this by starting businesses that are new ideas, going to companies and discovering new things or a combination of both. I is not an accident that the GI Bill drove the 50s economy. It is not an accident that the first internet boom followed the first Bush recession. It is not an accident that the Web 2.0 boom followed the internet bust. Education and training is what drives creation of new "stuff" in an economy and new "stuff" is critical to a high wage (relative) economy like the United States. In simple terms we have to keep creating new stuff and extracting the premium that new stuff generates until it is commoditized and made in low wage locations.
So now we are 6 years in to this jobs disaster. The first batch of students who decided to go straight into a Masters program are being told to leave campus. The ones that took refuge probably graduated a year or two ago. So how are they doing? Pretty well. While wage growth has been stagnant, college graduates pretty much have jobs with a 3.2% unemployment rate, almost half the overall unemployment rate.
More important than the unemployment rate, the productivity rate has fallen. In simple terms, businesses have squeezed just about every ounce of work out of their current workforce. if they want to continue to grow they are going to have to hire more people. Before that happens, some businesses are going to choose to hire "better" (as in educated) people. Competition for labor is already putting wage pressure on businesses - more companies going after the same people increases wages.
So because of education we are going to see growth in the economy. Growth equals jobs. Jobs that require education have higher wages. As educated people move out of under employment they free up entry level jobs for low education workers. Finally increases in minimum wage will bring some entry level jobs closer to living wage and reduce the burden on social services (federal spending).
Health Care. Most DK readers don't need to be told that the ACA will have a positive impact on people. The only people arguing against more people having health care have heath care…and are mean….and are Republican. But what about the impact on the economy? Well the CBO says that 2 million working people are going to quit their jobs because they don't want to work but feel like they have to to maintain their health care. Assuming those people are not worthless to their respective employers, they will have to be replaced. Thats almost 1/4 of all the jobs lost in the crash that will need to be filled. Given the already tightening job market (evidenced by wage pressure) those new hires may find their wages higher than they people they replace. Not only that, some of those 2 million are going to leave to start their own businesses, creating even more jobs. And of course there are benefits to the budget, to productivity and disposable income.
Government. Our Presidential elections have followed a pretty predictable path of parties trading the White House. We need to break that cycle. One of the most powerful impacts a President can make is through appointments. Appointees do two things - they allow the President to exercise some control over the federal bureaucracy and they build the bench. Elizabeth Warren went from professor to Senator through appointed positions. Kirsten Gillibrand had an appointed position at HUD late in the Clinton Administration. Sheldon Whitehouse was appointed as a US Attorney. Each of these appointees have the power to fill certain positions within their areas (Gillibrand worked for Andrew Cuomo). Thats thousands of jobs for like minded individuals. Thats thousands of people who will see government as a solution, not a problem. Not only that, when we replace one Democrat with another, we don't have to fight Burrowing. I cannot tell you how often I encounter a DoD "civil servant" who is in fact a Bush appointee who burrowed in. The damage they do is almost impossible to undo because they have all the protections of civil service - protections they often railed against as appointees. And almost as important, appointees and burrows are zero sum. If we hold the White House in '16 we will probably hold in in '20. if we do that we will have kept half a generation of Republicans from the benefits of being a US Attorney or Ambassador or Secretary of State. We will have prevented hundreds of Republicans from being able to burrow and fight us from the inside while putting hundreds of our own burrows in. And of course no one here needs to be told what the power to appoint Supreme Court judges means.
So the bottom line is who ever wins in 2016 is going to inherit a thriving economy that is just starting to get the benefits of the ACA. And they will have the power to make appointments to the Federal Government that build future leaders and impact the mechanics of the government. They will get the benefit of expanding services (ACA) and reducing deficit - the opposite of the normal Republican narrative. Combine that with the budge impacts of the tiny tax increase and we can put another nail in the trickle down coffin. We cannot afford to let a Republican get those public perception benefits especially considering how they fought the President tooth and nail to prevent those benefits.