And speaking of new New Deals, as I did a couple of posts ago, Chicago Democratic Rep. Rahm Emanuel outlines in the Wall Street Journal a "new social contract" between government and workers in this age of globalization. It has four main parts:
1) Education. Force students to complete high school and at least one year of higher education or skills training. Expand the Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning tax credits. [Me: What is the penalty for dropouts? The same as the unspecified one for people who don't want healthcare insurance?]
2) Healthcare. Guarantee universal healthcare to kids and older Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 (who are not yet eligible for Medicare). "Helping older workers and employers manage the health costs of early retirees will make it possible for entire sectors of the U.S. economy to get back on their feet." [Me: Sounds like a way for government to bail out the auto industry. Better cars would help, too.]
3) Energy. Create the National Institutes of Energy, modeled after the National Institutes of Health. [Me: By my calculations, this is a $30 billion-a-year item.]
4) Savings. Create "universal savings accounts" to which employees would contribute 1 percent of their paychecks on a tax-deductible basis and workers could make additional contributions if they chose. [Me: So this would force companies to contribute. But what about Uncle Sam? Often these sorts of plans have a government component as well.]
My take: This plan underscores the unreal nature of the NAFTA-trade-globalization debate. Democratic leaders and their campaign contributors in Big Business and Big Money have no intention of creating a Fortress America on trade. If jobs leave, they leave—and government will help on the back end.