Sixteen for ’16

A Progressive Agenda for a Better America

Salvatore Babones

Sixteen for ’16
See a website for the book.

Salvatore Babones

Distributed for Bristol University Press

With a Foreword by John Cavanagh
128 pages | 20 color plates | 5 x 7 3/4 | © 2015
Paper $19.95 ISBN: 9781447324409 Published May 2015 For sale in North and South America only
The election of the next US president is upon us, and with established politicians such as Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush poised to be key players, the campaigns seem destined to be as contentious, as ugly, and as seemingly removed from the reality of American lives as ever. In Sixteen for ’16, Salvatore Babones takes the politics out of policy, bringing the debate back to the issues that matter in a new, unified agenda for the 2016 elections.

Decades of destructive social and economic policies have devastated poor, working, and middle-class American communities. It is now clear that harsh austerity does not bring prosperity, that the wealthy have no intention of seeing their wealth trickle down, and that each generation is no longer better off than the ones that came before. But what to do? In this progressive election field manual, Babones outlines sixteen core principles to combat these entrenched problems: America needs jobs, infrastructure, a rededication to public education, universal healthcare, higher taxes on higher incomes, a more secure Social Security, an end to the rule of the bankers, stronger unions, a living minimum wage, better working conditions, an end to the prison state, secure reproductive rights, voter equality, a more moral foreign policy, a more humane refugee policy, and action on global warming.

A clear, concise manifesto supported by hard data, Sixteen for ’16 makes a compelling case for each of these ambitious positions. And as ambitious as Babones’s suggested policies are, they represent a beginning, not an end. The progressive movement is on the march in America, and this accessible book charts a realistic path toward a destination all can believe in: a better tomorrow.

Create Jobs
Build America's Human Infrastructure
Support Public Education
Extend Medicare to Everyone
Raise Taxes on Top Incomes
Refinance Social Security
Make the Bankers Pay
Make It Easy to Join a Union
Set a Living Minimum Wage
Upgrade to 10-10-10
Put an End to the Prison State
Pass a National Abortion Law
Let People Vote
Stop Torturing, Stop Assassinating, and Close Down the NSA
Suffer the Refugee Children
Save the Earth

Review Quotes
Duncan Stewart, University of Iowa Libraries | Library Journal
“Babones has distilled the ocean of progressive policy ideas into specific proposals for a progressive agenda in the 2016 elections and beyond. Each essay highlights an area in which current policies are not working, girded by facts, footnotes, and surveys, then lays out a common-sense solution that has proven popular support. Topics range from the obvious: fund Social Security for all time by raising the cap on income taxed for this program to the heartbreaking: America’s shameful treatment of child refugees from Central America sent north to escape the dictatorships and drug lords created by American foreign policy. All of Babones’s essays offer proven results that are already popular, but such policies are very unlikely to be enacted by politicians beholden to large corporations and conservative billionaires. . . . Uplifting.”
Karl Helicher | Library Journal, "Pushing for POTUS | Collection Development: Political Campaigns"
“In this brief policy guide that will energize Bernie Sanders’s followers, Babones identifies 16 issues such as education, health care, voting rights, and environmentalism that progressives will advocate. Thorough background information is encapsulated in eight-page summaries of each topic. Regardless of Sanders’s campaign status, these concerns will resonate with his base and, to a varying extent, all Democrats.”
Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality
“We need . . . ‘sound government based on established social science, underpinned by a basic sense of human decency.’ And we could have that sound government if the US President elected in 2016 took to heart the wide-ranging ‘core policies’ that Babones lays out—with considerable pizzazz—in these enlightening pages. . . . All the policy ideas presented here, whatever their immediate focus, ‘reflect principles that no reasonable person of the future will question.’ And most all of these initiatives would find, in our here and now, a welcome reception among average American voters.”
Bill Knight | Canton Daily Ledger
“Babones’s book reminds us that hope and achievement sometimes overcome fear and failure. Sixteen for ’16 is an uplifting book stressing common-sense policy instead of candidate personality. Its proposals aren’t just no-nonsense, they’re no-brainers—and popular with most Americans, polls show.”
Paul Jay | Real News Network, “Reality Asserts Itself”
“At The Real News . . . we’re particularly interested in solutions, not just critiquing what there is, but what should people demand, and if you actually had a progressive government, if you actually had a government that was interested in governing in the interests of the majority of people, well, what would it actually do? Well, there’s a new book out which tries to deal with all of this. It’s called Sixteen for ’16, that is, 16 proposals: if someone running for president in the 2016 election actually wanted to solve the problems with effective public policy in the interest of the majority of people, well, here’s 16 things they could actually run on and maybe do.”
The Soapbox
“A strong, well-sourced little book with a lot of information in it laying out a common-sense, progressive platform that any candidate could run on and more than likely win with. Public polling consistently shows that strong majorities are in favor of the policies Babones details in this book.”
Eleanor J. Bader | Truthout
“So how to close the chasm between what the US corporatocracy has grabbed and what the majority of Americans—the so-called 99 percent—need and want? Enter Babones, whose agenda for progressive policy shifts offers a clear-eyed agenda for domestic policy reform. . . . What Babones has given us, in lieu of a comprehensive wish list, is a concise and heavily footnoted—270 end notes in 134 pages—roster of priorities that will, quite simply, make the world a better place, not just for us, but for the generations that follow. . . . The question, of course—not just for education but for all of the recommendations posited—is how best to push candidates to support the progressive agendas that Babones has put forward. There are no formulas. And as tempting as it is to completely avoid the morass of electoral politics, the bottom line is that elections matter. Whether we like it or not, it’s our job as voters to push for bigger, bolder, and better. After all, the clock is ticking; November 2016 is just 20 months away.”
Frances Fox Piven, former president of the American Sociological Association | City University of New York
“Yet another progressive agenda, you might well say. But this one is different. It is so sensible and straightforward that it actually dispels the cloudy and complicated debates that confuse us about our policy options.”
Dean Baker | codirector, Center for Economic and Policy Research
“Babones’s new book provides useful insights on many of the most important issues facing the country. The political picture will be far brighter if his list of priorities were at the top of the national agenda.”
Henry A. Giroux | McMaster University
“This book brilliantly critiques and offers concrete practices and policy suggestions about how to move from calls for empty reform to real change. A must read.”
Joe Feagin, former president of the American Sociological Association, coauthor of “Liberation Sociology" | Texas A&M University
“For a country regularly generating deadly crises for itself and the globe, savvy sociologist Salvatore Babones demonstrates the urgent necessity of sixteen progressive social reforms. Arguing from scientific evidence, he proffers an essential list of restructuring issues for this failed democracy.”
Steve Cobble | Institute for Policy Studies, Washington, DC
"If you can't bear the thought of still another Presidential election campaign that offers no real answers to the problems we face, read this book—and share it with your friends—and with your favorite Presidential candidate."
Bruce K. Friesen, president of Sociologists Without Borders-US | University of Tampa
“Babones powerfully illustrates how quality data fuels a progressive political agenda; an agenda insistently democratic and sociological in nature. Any of these sixteen initiatives would help the United States fulfill the dream of equality for all, by creating policies that maximize the best of collective human agency. ‘Government is not the problem,’ Babones observes. ‘We are the problem. Government is the solution.’ Direct. Insightful. Energizing.”
Judith Blau | University of North Carolina
“Reminds us of those times when Democrats, Republicans, Socialists, Green Party activists, and Independents could all be proud of America and proposes how we can relaunch a common vision for the future.”
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