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How Bernie Sanders' proposals would spur economic growth

Bernie Sanders' proposals to break up the banks, introduce a single-payer health plan, and reduce structural inequality will kickstart teh economy, Robert Reich argues. 

Jae C. Hong/AP/File
Traffic moves along the Strip as members of the National Nurses United union hold LED signs to show their support for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, in Las Vegas.

A few days ago, Neel Kashkari – now president of the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, who was the senior Treasury Department official in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations helping to save the big Wall Street banks – said “I believe the biggest banks are still too big to fail and continue to pose a significant, ongoing risk to our economy,” and called for them to be broken up. “The question is whether we as a country have the courage to actually take action now.”

That seems to me to be the question on a lot of fronts. Our health costs continue to rise and are about to soar as boomers need more health care. A single-payer system is necessary to restrain those costs and provide the care people need. Anyone who still harbors doubts should take a look at these studies:http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single-payer-system-cost .

It’s the same with widening inequality and structural discrimination.

Failure to take action on the biggest banks, a single-payer plan, widening inequality, and discrimination will almost certainly harm the economy. We can’t afford another near-meltdown of Wall Street. Health care costs continue to be a huge drain on the economy. Widening inequality is robbing the vast middle class of the purchasing power it needs to keep the economy growing. And structural discrimination is making it hard for many Americans to be successful and productive members of our society. 

As Bernie Sanders has said, taking action on all these fronts would therefore spur growth, employment, and median incomes. (In this respect, I disagree with the views of four former chairs of the Council of Economic Advisors from the Clinton and Obama administrations.) 

The question is whether we as a country have the courage to actually take action now.

This post first appeared at robertreich.org.

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