ends and beginnings


Last year, I published a book describing how right-wing economics had come to dominate American politics. Whenever you write a book about something bad that’s happening, you get asked for the solution. I’d shrug and admit that I didn’t have one. The questioner would usually look slightly disappointed, so I’d add that nothing lasts forever, and eventually something will come along to change things. The financial crisis might be that something.

When liberals talk about turning economic lemons into political lemonade, the usual model is the New Deal. The free market failed, government swept in, and the political landscape was transformed. Of course, the economy has recessions all the time, and most of them fail to result in a New Deal. In 1982 and 1992, to name a couple of examples, lousy economic conditions led to major Democratic victories. But neither led to any major transformation, and each was followed, in 1984 and 1994, by blowout Republican wins.

more from TNR here.