Joe Biden Extends An Elbow To Bernie Sanders Supporters
The prevailing argument in 2016 for why Sen. Bernie Sanders supporters should've backed Hillary Clinton is that even if she wasn't your candidate, you could still advocate for the policies important to you if she's president. Clinton would listen to you, whereas Donald Trump would ignore your pleas and just give you coronavirus.
Well, in fairness to third party voters, no one expected an economy-wrecking global pandemic. Now, we're soaking it in like Palmolive as we scrub our hands furiously. We should all understand what's at stake in this upcoming election, and if we're still too dense to realize it, at least Joe Biden isn't. He's already making an effort to unite the party's two wings, both alike in dignity.
Thursday, Biden announced two new Sanders-friendly policy proposals that aren't full of malarkey. The first lowers the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 60. There were several proposals for this out there, with age minimums as low as 55, but Biden hadn't supported them until now. He's linked his change in position to the coronavirus crisis, because even when life returns to some semblance of normality, Biden concedes that "older Americans are likely to find it harder to secure jobs." Fast fact, as Beakman would say: Workers over the age of 55 made up 49 percent of all new jobs in 2018. They were also a sizable percentage of employees in the temporarily (we hope) devastated restaurant industry.
Sanders and Biden tussled over Biden's record on Social Security. We won't get into that here, but it's definitely important that the Democratic nominee lead with a senior-friendly economic plan, especially post-coronavirus.
Biden's second proposal is student debt forgiveness. Considering how long it takes to pay off most college loans, this is also a senior-friendly plan. He'd remove the yoke of debt for low-and middle-income borrowers who attended public colleges or private historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and private, underfunded minority-serving institutions (MSIs). It's like he's gone
commie on us.
BIDEN: Under this plan, I propose to forgive all undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from two- and four-year public colleges and universities for debt-holders earning up to $125,000, with appropriate phase-outs to avoid a cliff. The federal government would pay the monthly payment in lieu of the borrower until the forgivable portion of the loan was paid off. This benefit would also apply to individuals holding federal student loans for tuition from private HBCUs and MSIs.
As for how he'd pay for this, Biden would repeal the "excess business losses" tax cut in the CARES Act, which he believes "overwhelmingly benefits" rich people.
Biden has already embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren's plan to immediately cancel $10,000 of student loan debt for every American in response to COVID. He gave a shoutout to Warren on Twitter in support of her plan, and he's openly credited Sanders and his supporters for his current policy proposals.
BIDEN: Senator Sanders and his supporters can take pride in their work in laying the groundwork for these ideas, and I'm proud to adopt them as part of my campaign at this critical moment in responding to the coronavirus crisis.
The Sanders team has stated that it believes Biden is “operating with good intent," as do we. It's clear Biden is responding to this unique moment and understands bold ideas are necessary to help the country not just survive post-corona but once again prosper. Now let's all roll up our sleeves and take out the current White House garbage. We won't forget to wash our hands afterward.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).