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Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality 2019-09-10 21:22:56

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One problem here is that strongly progressive taxes, national health insurance, expanded social security, and universal basic income are the most effective remedies to inequality and insecurity, yet those who vote for modern-day neo-fascist poliicians vote for politicians who oppose such police, root and branch—maybe not in their rhetoric, but in committee and on the floor where the rubber hits the road. The dominant rhetorical mode is not "we need to help each other through our agency that is the government" but rather "we need to crush our enemies, and then everything will be okay". My view is that equitable growth policies are worth doing for their own sake, but do not expect them to have much purchase in preserving liberal democracy: Dani Rodrik: What’s Driving Populism?: "If...

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One problem here is that strongly progressive taxes, national health insurance, expanded social security, and universal basic income are the most effective remedies to inequality and insecurity, yet those who vote for modern-day neo-fascist poliicians vote for politicians who oppose such police, root and branch—maybe not in their rhetoric, but in committee and on the floor where the rubber hits the road. The dominant rhetorical mode is not "we need to help each other through our agency that is the government" but rather "we need to crush our enemies, and then everything will be okay". My view is that equitable growth policies are worth doing for their own sake, but do not expect them to have much purchase in preserving liberal democracy:

Dani Rodrik: What’s Driving Populism?: "If... [fascism] is rooted in... culture and values, however, there are fewer options. Liberal democracy may be doomed by its own internal dynamics and contradictions.... Racism in some form or another has been an enduring feature of US society and cannot tell us, on its own, why Trump’s manipulation of it has proved so popular.... Will Wilkinson... urbanization... creates thriving, multicultural, high-density areas where socially liberal values predominate. And it leaves behind rural areas and smaller urban centers that are increasingly uniform in terms of social conservatism and aversion to diversity. This process, moreover, is self-reinforcing.... The cultural trends... are of a long-term nature, they do not fully account for the timing of the populist backlash.... Those who advocate for the primacy of cultural explanations do not in fact dismiss the role of economic shocks. These shocks, they maintain, aggravated and exacerbated cultural divisions, giving... [fascists] the added push they needed..... The precise parsing of the causes... may be less important than the policy lessons.... There is little debate here. Economic remedies to inequality and insecurity are paramount...

Bradford DeLong
J. Bradford DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Administration, where he was heavily involved in budget and trade negotiations. His role in designing the bailout of Mexico during the 1994 peso crisis placed him at the forefront of Latin America’s transformation into a region of open economies, and cemented his stature as a leading voice in economic-policy debates.

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