Populist Economics – A Fair Deal

The Western world’s punditry weeps for the state of democracy. There is something foul sweeping through the nations of Europe and even into the very heart of the current global order, America. It is populism. The media snipes at the ordinary people not listening to them and voting incorrectly. Voting is an expression of tastes and desires. Currently a sizable chunk of the citizens seek new answers. The clerisy is disconnected from the elite as goals and values are not aligned. Part of the problem is that the elite have created a sealed chamber of ideas.

This needs to be fixed. There are ideas out there that can play into this populist moment. There are ideas that can address the concerns of the ordinary and reorient our entire economy for the current crisis and future problems. This is also about addressing the concerns individuals have about sovereignty both of their nations and their own lives. This is needed now because the insurgent campaigns of Senator Sanders and President Trump were left and right wing expressions of the same concerns, hopes and fears. If unaddressed, the movements and spirits will only grow strong and wilder.

Both parties are at fault and both are bereft of ideas how to address it. A major problem plaguing both right and left is that crony capitalism and corruption have ripped to shreds many of the differences between the two parties’ policy programs. The GOP has a voter base made up of the great middle yet still serves corporations and the highest tax brackets. The Democrats have long sold out their working class to be subservient to large corporations, pairing unlimited economic growth for the high to feed welfare and government sinecure programs intended to serve their lower class voters. The GOP does not have a solution that goes beyond tax cut due to ideological purity and adherence to an economic dogma that they fail to enforce on the other side for government spending. The Democrats continue to roll out the same package of warmed over socialism that continues to fail wherever tried.

This is a generation in the making as the seeds for it were planted before any Millenial was born. The political and economic game that Reaganomics and our orientation towards a finance based economy birthed is coming to a close. The tack to the right engineered in the 1990s by the Clinton team, most significantly its banker contingent, caused a convergence between the two parties’ economic policies. Unfortunately for the system that generated near copy cats Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton in 2016 as the establishment approved candidates, the promises of a rentier economy have not materialized. The fun and expansion has turned into stagnation and debt.

There is opportunity. The GOP currently has an outsider as the face of its party and occupying the White House. The Democrats face a crisis within as the fight between the socialist populists and the neoliberal centrists ramps up in primaries. Realignment? Whether possible or not, there is no party line. There is no orthodoxy besides us vs. them. Even solutions put forth by the experts do not disrupt the status quo because they are caught in the credibility trap of being part of the system. There are no arrows in the quiver or discussed on television that solve the very economic problems that pushed Senator Sanders and President Trump in 2016. The Democrats are blinkered into thinking the economic pie is a set size and must be redistributed while the Republicans focus on growing the pie without acknowledging that most gains have gone to very few individuals.

What I intend to do here is identify problems, identify solutions, address the core problems that gunk up our economic engine, discuss how the economic feeds into the social problems facing America, point out how these solutions also address the social problems facing Americans, and how either party can use these ideas. Problems voiced by right wing and left wing voters will be addressed with a focus on giving individuals greater control of their lives and freedom. Populism needs a set of ideas and policies to implement or else it will just be shouting into the void. President Roosevelt had a New Deal. That contract worked for the America of that time and moment before being subverted by new arrangements for which no American voted. It is time for a Fair Deal.

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