Vice President Joe Biden keeps using his favorite a two-word phrase, “basic bargain,” and it might find itself front and center in the months leading up to the election. Answering a question on CNN about Bernie Sanders’ enduring appeal, Biden said that Sanders relentlessly addresses the “basic bargain” that’s been broken. “There used to be a basic bargain,” Biden said, not for the first time. “If you contributed to the profitability of an enterprise, you got to share in the profit. That’s been broken.”
Focusing on income inequality as a bigger threat to the American way of life than terrorism and climate change combined, Sanders has run a single-issue campaign with singular focus. His focus has been the broken basic bargain. Hillary Clinton has been using “basic bargain”, too, since at least last year — but Biden told CNN that she doesn’t have the same history with the issue as Sanders. He clarified that Clinton has been busy with other things — she was Secretary of State, after all. But Sanders has been talking the same talk forever. “It was his drumbeat,” according to the Vice President. And if the basic bargain really is the most important issue, it could be problematic for Clinton. Biden’s broken “basic bargain” is most easily exemplified in the rise of CEO salaries far beyond employee salaries over 40 years, with top CEOs now making 300 times more than average workers.