What’s the difference between a Democrat who doesn’t defend the social safety net and a Republican? Nothing!!
The most frustrating part of the Great Recession is that history shows us the way out of this mess. The only problem is that those with the power to effect change are ignoring history. Or as Krugman calls it, Awesome Wrongness.
And here we are, with markets now deeply worried not by deficits but by stalling growth, fearing not fiscal profligacy but fiscal austerity, and with interest rates at historic lows.
Instead of turning into Greece, we’ve turned into Japan, except much worse. And policy is replaying 1937.
In the past, you could make excuses on the grounds of ignorance. In the 1930s they didn’t have basic macroeconomics. Even in Japan in the 1990s you could argue that it took a long time to realize that the liquidity trap was a real possibility in the modern world.
But we came into this crisis with a pretty good understanding of what was at stake and pretty good analysis of the policy options — yet policy makers and, I’m sorry to say, many economists just chose to ignore all that and go with their prejudices instead.
And the worst of it is that the people who got this so wrong have not and probably won’t admit to their awesome wrongness; on the contrary, they’ll dig in. And the Lesser Depression will go on and on and on.
Historian Rick Perlstein has an article in Time which shows the folly of Democrats current (losing) strategy of casting aside their natural advantage, How Democrats Win: Defending the Social Safety Net.
Here’s what LBJ knew that McGovern didn’t: There are few or no historical instances in which saying clearly what you are for and what you are against makes Americans less divided. But there is plenty of evidence that attacking the wealthy has not made them more divided. After all, the man who said of his own day’s plutocrats, “I welcome their hatred,” also assembled the most enduring political coalition in U.S. history.
The Republicans will call it class warfare. Let them. Done right, economic populism cools the political climate. Just knowing that the people in power are willing to lie down on the tracks for them can make the middle much less frantic. Which makes America a better place. And which, incidentally, makes Democrats win.
Which seems pretty logical. Because if we were to think about it, what would be the point of voting for a Democrat if they didn’t defend the social safety net? After all what’s the difference between a Democrat who doesnt’ defend the social safety net and a Republican? Nothing!! And voters know that.
Our country is a very unequal, unfair, and unjust economically and if left this way will become, if it hasn’t already, that way politically too. A political and economic system like the one we have now is not what Americans want or believe they currently have, “Land of the Free, Home of the Poor”.
Notice that it takes a Sweden (forced wealth redistribution) to produce the middle pie chart. In nature, money rains naturally into the pockets of the already rich and powerful. After all, what’s the point of power if you can’t use it to win every game you play?
Note also, by the way, that it takes media collusion to keep people this confused. Only the low-income workers knew the state of things in their own country.
Amazingly good use of graphics and animation. A must-watch, in my opinion.
Here’s the video:
There’s a way out of this economic mess, the only question left is do we have to descend into “Hoovervilles” again before we figure out that history is our guide? Let’s hope not, but if history repeats itself then it’s entirely likely. Here is a good place to start organizing, www.rebuildthedream.com.