By James Kwak
This American Life‘s forays into politics and economics are generally less satisfying than their ordinary storytelling fare. That’s especially true when they try to answer some specific question, like “What is wrong with the Democratic Party?”—the subject of a segment last month. The story did have some telling moments, however, most vividly when moderate Congresswoman Cheri Bustos was trying to pitch the party’s forgettable and already-forgotten “Better Deal” message (which she helped design) to a local newspaper. Here are a couple of excerpts. (The audio begins at 53:50, or you can read the transcript).
First, on jobs:
We want to be in a position to help create 10 million good-paying, full-time jobs. There are still people hurting, and I think we need to acknowledge that and say that we want to do something about that.
Right. Well, Donald Trump says that, too. … He says exactly the same thing. Too many people are still out of work. You know, we need to do something about bringing back jobs.
And on Democratic support for cutting corporate taxes:
And so as long as [the corporate tax rate is] highest in the world, we’re not going to have corporations who are going to bring that money home. So there’s got to be some incentive.
OK. I didn’t—see, I think, once again, I have no idea what the Democratic Party actually stands for anymore. I didn’t during the 2016 campaign, either, which is probably why it wasn’t the winning campaign.