On July 6, just two days after Americans celebrated the nation’s 244th birthday, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said, “We have an incredible opportunity to not just dig out of this crisis, but to fundamentally transform the country.”
Two days later, Biden released his plan to transform America in the form of a 110-page document titled “Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations.” Shortly after the document was released, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said Joe Biden would be “the most progressive president since FDR.” That is quite a statement.
The Biden-Sanders Recommendations, with vast input from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and others, addresses six policy areas. Below is a brief summary.
“Combating the Climate Crisis and Pursuing Environmental Justice”: This section is basically a rehash of the Green New Deal.
Provisions include the elimination of fossil fuels and the building of more than 500 million solar panels and 60,00 wind turbines. It also calls for the creation of “millions of family-supporting and union jobs in clean energy generation, energy efficiency, clean transportation, advanced manufacturing, and sustainable agriculture across America.”
And, in an ode to social justice, it states, “Democrats will work with affected frontline communities to develop a screening and mapping tool to ensure racial and socioeconomic equity in federal climate, energy, and infrastructure programs.”
“Protecting Communities by Reforming Our Criminal Justice System”: Here is the headline, “Democrats believe we need to overhaul the criminal justice system from top to bottom.”
To accomplish their goal of overhauling the system, the task force says, “We must start by preventing people from entering the criminal justice system in the first place.” In other words, we should stop arresting criminals.
This section also advises that we must “reimagine policing.” As stated, this reimagination would also include severe cuts to police departments, which parallels the ridiculous “Defund the Police” movement. And, it states that “Democrats support eliminating the use of cash bail and believe no one should be imprisoned merely for failing to pay fines or fees.” That has not worked out very well in New York, where cash bail was eliminated earlier this year and crime is sky-rocketing.
As if that is not bad enough, the task force also recommends “establishing an independent clemency board to ensure an appropriate, effective process for using clemency, especially to address systemic racism and other priorities.”
So, don’t arrest criminals. If arrested, let them out of detention immediately, sans bail requirements. And empty the prisons and cut police forces. Sounds like a great idea—Not!
“Building A Stronger, Fairer Economy”: This section could easily be mistaken for The Communist Manifesto.
“Democrats commit to forging a new social and economic contract with the American people—a contract that invests in the people and promotes shared prosperity, not one that benefits only big corporations and the wealthiest few.”
And what would this new social and economic contract include? For starters, free housing, universal health care, a $15 federal minimum wage, “guaranteeing a secure and dignified retirement,” “closing the racial wealth gap,” and “leveling the economic playing field.”
In their own words, they want to implement a “new social and economic compact that at last grapples honestly with America’s long and ongoing history of racism and disenfranchisement, of segregation and discrimination, of economic exclusion and political suppression, and invests instead in building equity and mobility for the communities of color and Native American communities who have been left out and left behind for generations.”
“Providing A World-Class Education in Every Zip Code”: This section begins with, “The United States today is beset by multiple, overlapping crises, including runaway income and wealth inequality, the worst global pandemic in a century, and the scourge of anti-Black racism. The members of the Unity Task Force on Education believe we must meet this moment by making vital investments that will enable our children and future generations to thrive and achieve their full human potential.”
By vital investments they mean, give teachers unions more money. There is not one mention of school choice in the entire document, except for eliminating vouchers and other education choice initiatives. The entire education plan is predicated on more money to public schools, even though the United States already spends more pupil than any other country.
In short, the task force is not concerned with providing a world-class education in every Zip Code whatsoever. They are concerned with funneling billions of dollars to one of their most significant constituencies, teachers unions.
Oh, and they want to rewrite the curriculum to focus on social-emotional learning. As a former high school teacher, this is a farce.
“Health Care Unity Task Force Recommendations”: In a nutshell, “The Task Force recommends Democrats meet this moment by guaranteeing free or low-cost health care coverage for every American, including by expanding Medicaid, subsidizing employer health insurance for people who lose their jobs, and offering a high-quality low or no cost public option available without a deductible and with automatic enrollment for those who qualify throughout the COVID-19 crisis.”
And, “The Task Force recommends in the strongest possible terms that Democrats commit to ending health inequities by race, ethnicity, gender, and geography through a sustained, federal effort, led by President Biden, that engages the whole of the government to solve health inequities that have long plagued us, including those that emerge from social determinants of health like inadequate housing, hunger, mass incarceration, and gun violence.”
Although the task force does not formally endorse Bernie’s Medicare for All plan, it basically does. “As a Task Force and as Democrats, we fundamentally believe health care is a right for all, not a privilege for the few. That is why we will also remove barriers to allow states to access federal funds to implement models that move toward universal health care.”
“Immigration Unity Task Force Recommendations”: Last but not least, the task force recommends, “We will work with Congress to reform our immigration system to provide a roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented, prioritize family unity, provide a fair and just system that helps grow and enhance our economy, safeguard our security, and restore our cherished values.”
Keep in mind, this is a very brief summary of a 110-page document that goes into extreme detail on all six of the policy areas listed above. Of course, many Americans will probably agree with some of the policy prescriptions recommended by the task force. However, based on polling, the vast majority are more than likely to disagree with most, if not all, of the major policies recommended by the task force.
To date, Joe Biden has endorsed the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations in full. As he said recently, Joe Biden wants to “fundamentally transform” America. Judging by his unwavering support of the policies in this document, he certainly means it.
Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is an editor at The Heartland Institute.