Fans of politicians who plainly outline their proposals should admire Bernie Sanders, even if they disagree with him. Sanders, the socialist senator from Vermont running for the Democratic presidential nomination, gave his first big speech of the campaign at a well-attended rally in Burlington Tuesday. And in 35 minutes of densely-packed policy proposals, Sanders laid out what was very nearly the distilled essence of progressivism as it exists going into the 2016 campaign — with one startling omission.
Calling income and wealth inequality the great moral issue of our time, Sanders laid out a sweeping, almost unimaginably expensive program to transfer wealth from the richest Americans to the poor and middle class. A $1 trillion public works program to create 13 million good-paying jobs. A $15-an-hour federal minimum wage. Pay equity for women. Paid sick leave and vacation for everyone. Higher taxes on the wealthy. Free tuition at all public colleges and universities. A Medicare-for-all single-payer health care system. Expanded Social Security benefits. Universal pre-K.