Jeffrey Sachs on A New Progressive Era in the New York Times

I’m a bit skeptical of Mr. Sachs optimism but I nonetheless find this compelling:

The young people in Zuccotti Park and more than 1,000 cities have started America on a path to renewal. The movement, still in its first days, will have to expand in several strategic ways. Activists are needed among shareholders, consumers and students to hold corporations and politicians to account. Shareholders, for example, should pressure companies to get out of politics. Consumers should take their money and purchasing power away from companies that confuse business and political power. The whole range of other actions — shareholder and consumer activism, policy formulation, and running of candidates — will not happen in the park.

The new movement also needs to build a public policy platform. The American people have it absolutely right on the three main points of a new agenda. To put it simply: tax the rich, end the wars and restore honest and effective government for all.

To me these aren’t even essentially “progressive” ideas but more like commonsense ways to preserve our democracy. It’s too bad that somehow the Republican Party successfully mixed corporate rights in with the rights of private ownership in the minds of so many Americans. I’m not sure why anyone would want the Koch brothers or George Soros for that matter deciding how our government should operate. But, alas, everyone seems to think that if it wasn’t for Big Gov everyone who worked hard enough would be a millionaire and thus enjoys the thought that millionaires and the great mass of non-millionaires enjoy similar rights and, just in case, we don’t wanna scale back their power in case we ourselves become them sometime down the road.

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