5 Progressive Policies That Help Millennials Right Now

As an average millennial, there are at least 5 progressive policies that would make an immediate impact on my life. And luckily, many of them have rocketed into the mainstream. Largely, thanks to the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign, and groups like Justice Democrats who have delivered progressive gems like AOC, Rashida Talib, Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar. These are all young representatives who take progressive policies seriously.

Medicare For All

Healthcare shouldn’t be political fodder. Our lives literally depend on it. Unfortunately, the GOP and corporate-backed Democrats have put the greed of insurance and pharmaceutical companies over the health of constituents. Luckily, we have presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and even Kirsten Gillibrand now supporting the idea of a single-payer healthcare system.

Right now, my partner and I have over $6,000 in medical debt. This was acquired from an emergency surgery she needed or else she’d die. The bills showed up before the insurance company and the hospital and the doctor and the payer and everybody else had gotten their paperwork in order. And we’ve spent countless hours on the phone trying to get things straightened out with each. It’s a disaster of a system and we’re suffering because of it. Our broken health care system is stealing my time and a lot of my money. In addition to the $250/month I pay for my premium from the ACA marketplace, we will soon also be paying a few hundred more per month to pay off these debts. And that’s best case scenario (because they may decide to not pay for some of it).

Universal pre-k and childcare

We can’t afford to have a kid, and we won’t have one until we can. We hear horror stories about childcare costs. And the data proves the stories to be real indicators of what normal families are going through.

The average family pays between about $6,000 and $20,000 per year in childcare costs. This is an expense we simply cannot afford right now. And that isn’t just disappointing for us. The lack of baby-making by my generation may cause serious economic consequences for the US economy down the road. Not to mention, more kids in early education environments is always beneficial, especially for disadvantaged and low-income youth.

Guaranteed Paid Maternity and Paternity leave

It would be life changing if the US developed a single-payer system that paid for every aspect of pregnancy. And then after that to have high-quality childcare and early education options readily available for our potential baby. But we deserve to aim even higher for the future of American families, right?

Doctors say it’s important to be with your newborn and to form a bond. And Republicans think strong families are, “the bedrock of our nation”. So why the pushback on a policy almost every other country in the world has? Guaranteed paid maternity and paternity leave would make families stronger, happier and healthier. And simply put – there would be more of them which is good for the economy.

End student debt

Debt, even small, prevents people my age from saving or investing in our own businesses. It even prevents us from fully participating in the economy. The average college graduate carries $37,172 in student loan debt. I carry relatively little student debt and pay about $100 per month (I’m very lucky). My fiancee pays about $300 per month. That means we pay $400 total per month for schooling we completed six years ago. $400 is enough for a monthly loan payment on a nice new car, or a big chunk of a mortgage. Or maybe we would go out to eat occasionally without feeling guilty.

Ending student loan debt, like other progressive policies, would not only be good for citizens, it would be good for our economy. According to GirlBoss:

If you did a side by side comparison of the GOP tax cut vs cancelling student loan debt, cancelling student loan debt actually gives you better bang for your buck and twice the economic stimulation. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Trump signed will increase the deficit by $1 trillion over the next 10 years according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, and the Republican tax cuts recently went to the people who are arguably least likely to spend back into the economy.

https://www.girlboss.com/money/cancelling-student-loan-debt

Lift the cap on Social Security NOW

I don’t want to worry about my parents now or being a burden on my family and potential kids later. Millennials should be able to take risks now knowing we won’t be screwed when we’re 65. I want to start businesses and invest and go for it. Unfortunately, 80% of millennials have accepted that Social Security simply may not be there when our time comes to collect.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Right now, Social Security is only deducted on income below about $128,000/year. By simply raising that cap, or eliminating it entirely, we would not only save Social Security, but could expand it so that current retirees collecting it could live with dignity and without the fear that comes with barely scraping by. Furthermore, according to the CBPP:

Raising the cap would help mitigate the erosion of Social Security’s payroll tax base caused by rising wage inequality… Changes to the tax cap could close roughly a quarter to nearly nine-tenths of Social Security’s solvency gap, depending on how they were structured.

https://www.cbpp.org/research/social-security/increasing-payroll-taxes-would-strengthen-social-security

Millennials Must Lead Fight for Progressive Policies

The main uniting factor of all these progressive policies is how they would allow me to build a family and a career. Which are goals almost every American has.

And there are plenty of other progressive policies that would benefit millennials. Andrew Yang‘s Universal Basic Income proposal would be excellent for those of us in the gig economy. Additonally, the Green New Deal or an equivalent is a must-have to secure our country (and Earth’s) future. But this article is about issues that could positively affect my wallet immediately. Policies that could alter my life decisions right now.

In the end, it is clear to me that progressive policies are the country needs. If the USA wants millennials to have kids, be healthy, be independent later in life or to start businesses today, we must have progressive policies.

Ryan Black is a documentary filmmaker, political consultant, and digital media professional who writes about Progressive Politics.

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