Jeff Stein - May 3, 2017

Vox: Democrats say they need a better economic message. Ohio’s Sherrod Brown thinks he has one.

  • Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio is offering one corrective vision for what Democrats hoping to retake the Midwest should do. Brown, 64, is already being written about as a 2020 presidential contender. He’s widely regarded as one of the caucus’s most left-wing members, but also speaks with the credibility of having won multiple statewide elections in purple territory by big margins.
  • And earlier this congressional session, Brown released a detailed, 77-page plan detailing a suite of economic policy proposals that suggest what his “economic populism” would look like for Democrats. His ideas include greater bargaining rights for union workers, a $15 minimum wage, a crackdown on employers who treat full-time workers as independent contractors, and a “Benefits Bank” for workers whose employers don’t save for retirement.
  • None of these have any chance of being implemented with a Republican-controlled congress and White House. But in an interview on Tuesday, the Ohio senator detailed one of his most ambitious proposals — a “Corporate Freeloader Fee” that would penalize large corporations that pay their workers less than $24,000, while also giving tax breaks to those businesses that pay above a living wage and offer retirement and medical coverage.
  • “Corporations that pay good wages, take care of health benefits for their employees, those whose employees don’t have to rely on the social safety net — they should get a lower tax rate than those companies who are paying very low wages,” Brown said in an interview.

Read the story here.

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