We’re on the verge of a new American era, and this election is a defining moment for our nation. Rapid developments in technology are making changes to our lives that we could have never imagined just a few years ago. We face a climate emergency that threatens communities across America. How we manage the changes coming our way will define not just the next four years, but the next century.
Pete has seen how politicians in Washington have let these problems get worse and worse, and knows that we need a fundamentally new and different approach to fix our broken political and economic system. We need an economy where everyone has a role and everyone can succeed. We need a society where everyone feels they belong, where our differences make us stronger and move us forward, even in the face of a party and a president that are taking us backward. And we need a President who embraces the seriousness of the moment, but is free of the bad habits and outdated thinking that got us here.
As the economy transforms, we need policies that can adapt to the changing environment and give workers a fair chance.
Decades ago, we were promised a rising tide of economic growth that would lift all boats. We got the rising tide–GDP went up, productivity went up–but our paychecks didn’t show it. Working class wages have stagnated since 1980.This statistic refers to the all-in pay and benefits (including employer-provided health care) of the bottom half of U.S. earners. See: Piketty, Thomas, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman. “Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States.” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 133(2), 2018, 553-609. Also, for more on the divergence between productivity and the wages of the typical worker, see: Bivens, Josh and Lawrence Mishel. “Understanding the Historic Divergence Between Productivity and a Typical Worker’s Pay: Why It Matters and Why It’s Real.” Economic Policy Institute Briefing Paper #406, September 2015. The need for new skills in a changing economy is one piece of the puzzle. But the hard truth is that while the economy changed, workers’ voices were systematically silenced. Our economy has been tilted towards the wealthy and away from the middle and working class because the people in power designed our laws and policies that way. That’s especially true when it comes to workers of color and women, who have historically been undervalued and excluded in the workplace. To ensure every American has a fair shot, that has to change. As we enter a new American era, it’s time we restored fairness and balance to our economy, so that every American can share in our country’s growth. And it’s time to help our nation’s workforce become more resilient, inclusive, and flexible, and more easily adapt to our dynamic, ever-changing economy.