Terry McAuliffe Chides Fellow Dems For a Few 'Unrealistic Ideological Promises'

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Posted: Jan 04, 2019 9:38 AM
Terry McAuliffe Chides Fellow Dems For a Few 'Unrealistic Ideological Promises'

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe accused some fellow Democrats of misleading the American people with a few "too good to be true" policies related to economics and education. In his new op-ed for The Washington Post, published on Thursday, McAuliffe warned that their "unrealistic ideological promises" are no better than the "fantastical" pledges made by the president they are trying to oppose. He named a few: 

For example, some senators have started to discuss a "federal jobs guarantee" — a promise that, in certain formulations, means that anyone who wants could have a government job paying $15 an hour with great benefits. Sound too good to be true? It is. Proponents of a jobs guarantee are smart people with good motives, but they surely recognize that it is not a realistic policy.

Similarly, a promise of universal free college has an appealing ring, but it’s not a progressive prioritization of the educational needs of struggling families. We need to provide access to higher education, job training and student debt relief to families who need it. Spending limited taxpayer money on a free college education for the children of rich parents badly misses the mark for most families. (Washington Post)

He didn't name them, but it's clear McAuliffe was talking about the likes of Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who have all introduced legislation promoting the above policies.

Even Vox has noted that the federal jobs guarantee is pretty farfetched.

"But some labor economists, even left-leaning ones, are skeptical. None of the programs, they argue, have done enough work on the details. And those details are crucial to the eventual fate of such a policy," Dylan Matthews from Vox wrote. 

As for the free tuition scheme, analysts have explained that the proposed program isn't as free as it sounds.

These policies are pretty important to the former governor. McAuliffe placed a high priority on education because, as he explained in August 2017, a good school system is a good incentive to keep residents in the state.

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"We've got to keep people right here in this beautiful city," he said. "And that's their biggest challenge."

It's also not a good look to propose radical policies at a time when the U.S. economy is fairly strong. This fall the 3.7 percent unemployment rate was the lowest it's been in 50 years. On Friday that number rose slightly to 3.9 percent.

It's important Democrats, particularly the 2020 Democratic nominee, "resist dishonest populism." Instead, McAuliffe suggested they focus on "realistic goals of lowering the cost of health care, improving education and raising wages."