16.5.17

DON'T CHANGE A THING.

John Atcheson has a great wallow in a mythical past.
Government – once the champion of the working man, the author of the New Deal, and the architect of the longest sustained and broadly share period of prosperity in US history has become the enemy. Meanwhile, the free market, which exploited workers, defiled the environment, and operated outside of any moral framework, is now believed to be the font of all things good, delivered by pure serendipity. As a result, broad sections of society – including much of the press, the establishment wing the Democratic Party, much of academia and the public policy infrastructure, and of course Republicans -- believe taxes are bad, regulations are bad, small government is good; public programs are bad, and the markets (i.e. the Oligarchy) will automatically provide great things if we just get government out of the way. This is the camouflage under which such nonsense as laissez-faire, trickle-down and supply-side economics keep getting resurrected, no matter how often it fails.
Yes, keep misinterpreting the victory dividend resource curse as evidence, somehow, that the Best and the Brightest once made these things possible, and a cabal of rent-seekers somehow deconstructed the Bright Future made possible through Governance by Wise Experts.  Really.
The reason Republicans win as a minority Party is because Democrats have embraced neoliberalism and rejected true progressivism and the New Deal. As a result, turnouts at election time are typically low, and it’s the Democrats and disaffected Independents who don’t turn out. The difference between the “trickle-down, supply-side” con of the Republican Party and the Democrats’ embrace of the free market, deregulation, lower taxes, markets-know-best agenda that Bill Clinton brought to the Party with the Democratic Leadership Council is simply too small to excite the people.

If Democrats want to win again, they will need to embrace real progressive values, restore a measure of diversity to the press and media by restoring regulations that allowed the FCC to bust monopolies, and invest in the needed infrastructure – foundations, think tanks, academic chairs, etc, to carry a populist message and to reveal the treachery of the Republican’s economic con game.
Oh, please. That infrastructure exists:  Ford, Sloan, MacArthur; Brookings; pick any editor of any highly-regarded academic journal and you're likely to find a prelate of those progressive values.  It's the values that turn voters off, and the absence of trade-tested betterments in parts of the world where markets are treated as criminal per se, that hurt your message.  That's why there was a Democratic Leadership Council in the first place.

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