The Denver Post: A Better Deal? Yes, Pelosi and the Democrats are on the right track

Democrats have a clear vision for how they’d lead the country if in power, and the Republican president has been in office for less than eight months.

A Better Deal — the Democrats’ new economic development and job creation manifesto — was presented to us Wednesday by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a meeting at The Denver Post. It was developed with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The platform is a sharp contrast to Republicans’ plan to jump start our slow-growing economy with individual and corporate tax cuts.

Pelosi, a brilliant politician who has held command of Democrats in the House for 14 years and has historically produced unity in votes that the GOP must envy, makes a compelling argument for her plan.

But it’s important to note neither approach to job creation has a proven track record: tax cuts don’t always stimulate hiring; and subsidies for employers can be astronomically expensive per job and short lived.

Both will be an experiment.

Both have their merits.

The details of A Better Deal are hazy, but the crux appears to be tax credits for employers who engage in job training and create new long-lasting positions. Pelosi said it would amount to hundreds of millions of dollars to encourage businesses to invest in people the way the current tax code encourages businesses to invest in capital projects.

Other portions of the plan call for building public and private partnerships that create apprenticeship, career and technical programs in community colleges and public schools.

“There’s about 6 million jobs in the country that cannot be filled. Half of them could be filled by people without a college degree. The void that we see is one that is corrected by the tax credits we are talking about for training, and the additional investments in education,” Pelosi said. “Nothing brings more money to the treasury than investing in education.”

Democrats seem to be on the cusp of making promises that could excite those who have felt unmotivated to vote by a liberal agenda focused on other priorities. President Donald Trump has given Democrats a chance to turn the tide.

Pelosi is saying the right things at the moment to sound bipartisan, indicating she could get on board with Republican-proposed tax cuts under the right circumstances.

“We’ve always said we’re willing to lower the corporate tax rate, but you can’t take it down to a place where you don’t come close to having enough revenue,” Pelosi said. “What we’ve said is we want to work with you on this. Let’s do this in a bipartisan way — let’s do it in a way that is revenue neutral. You cannot increase the deficit with your tax cut.”

That’s a very reasonable position and we hope Republicans’ tax plan includes modest reductions in personal and corporate taxes that are paid for in large part by the elimination of loopholes, deductions, credits and other tax expenditures. Not to be hypocritical, we’d also hope that the Democrats’ Better Deal wouldn’t add to the deficit.

Pelosi also condemned in strong words those in her party who aren’t handling Trump’s off-color presidency with grace, showing her willingness to call out despicable behavior.

Pelosi said members of the anti-fascist movement — known as Antifa — are not Democrats, but are largely socialists and Marxists, and that their violence at rallies in California was unacceptable.

Democrats must take the high ground as they respond to Trump, stick to the facts and not fall into the minority-party trap of all criticism and no plan. A Better Deal is a step in that direction.

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