Posted 156 days ago
I never really thought about Lemann's first sentence:
Traditionally, every new Democratic President starts out by passing a big economic package (and every new Republican President starts out by passing a tax cut).
That's very, very true, but the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, including the "first true guaranteed family-income program in the United States" is a pretty big deal. For a deeper dive into that guaranteed income, I found Matt Bruenig's article very helpful:
The defense for Obama's plan to bring America out of the Global Financial Crisis is always similar: it was necessary but he just didn't communicate it well enough. I don't think that's necessarily true, there was nothing like direct stimulus checks or really any help at all for working-class Americans. Sure, it might have saved the financial markets and prevented a horrifying depression that could have made it much, much worse for working Americans, but the help that he delivered was directly towards elite institutions. I don't think there is any way that he could have framed it differently because that's just the way it was. Here, the help is directly into people's pockets and we aren't concerted with austerity policies that we now know are more harmful than anything.
Although I like Lemann's enthusiasm, I don't agree 100% with his analysis that the Democratic leadership is changing. I'm holding out for a little longer to see what happens after the pandemic crisis, and to see if they fall back into old habits. I do agree with him though that more people are realizing that "half a century's effort to reorient the political economyu away from the state and toward the market may finally have run its course." On the Republican side, except for the starch conservatives or libertarians, almost everybody is realizing we need to invest in America's infrastructure on a grand scale to thrive in the 21st century.