Lee, In a divided nation — really, who won?


Biden and Harris must strongly advocate for working people

by Thea M. Lee

Now that the 2020 presidential election is finally decided, working people can look forward to a moment of hope and opportunity. In January, Americans will have a president and vice president who have pledged to prioritize the needs of working families. Despite extraordinary and unconscionable efforts to silence voters, the democratic process has prevailed in the most important election of our lifetime.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris won on a platform that addresses the urgent needs of working people. EPI has long called for policies that would shift bargaining power back toward workers, curb accelerating income inequality, shore up the nation’s infrastructure and educational systems, protect and expand social insurance programs, and help close gender and racial wage gaps. We look forward to working closely with the incoming administration to systematically undo the harm caused by the Trump administration—and to build an economy that works for everyone in America, elevates the contributions of working people, and is committed to addressing and reversing systemic racism.

Many elections across the country demonstrated that progressive, pro-worker policies are not just good economics, but also can be electoral winners. By overwhelming margins, Florida residents voted to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, and Colorado residents voted for a 12-week paid family and medical leave program. As EPI’s work has shown, the progressive agenda is both popular and necessary for a robust and fair economic recovery at this precarious moment in history.

We encourage the incoming administration and Congress to focus on building worker power, fighting for racial justice, and making the transformational changes we need to invest in America, including through clean energy and other forms of climate crisis mitigation, public health, the care economy, the immigration system, and public education. This is not a time for timidity or austerity. This is a time for courage and ambition, and we are ready to work with Congress and the incoming administration to achieve the changes our country needs.

Thea M. Lee is president of the Economic Policy Institute.


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