An American Social Democracy?

Joseph Stiglitz’s proposal of “progressive capitalism” as an exit from neoliberalism is a novel reflection on a global economy of social-democratic lineage.

“Social democracy has re-emerged in American politics for the first time since the 1930s,” writes Jorge G. Castañeda in a text about the agendas that will clash in the country’s presidential election next year (“Is America Ready for a Welfare State?”).

In the race for the Democratic candidacy, says Castañeda, there are proposals that depict a modern welfare state in fundamental areas, such as health, childcare and education.

Castañeda refers to proposals currently at the center of debate that would have been considered ridiculous leftist craziness just a few years ago.

Examples are Elizabeth Warren’s idea of a tax on the rich to finance a national daycare system, Bernie Sanders’s idea to publicly finance the costs of higher education and a tax on coal to generate clean energy.

Naturally, these and other proposals are already under fire from the Republican trenches as attempts to bring socialism to the United States and to turn the country into Venezuela.

(The inconsiderate stupidity of great swathes of opinion with respect to public affairs is not exclusive to less developed countries.)

What Castañeda points out is not that these and other proposals will triumph politically in the coming election but that they are already part of the discussion and the selection of a political party in the United States.

It is the other response, neither Trumpian nor neoliberal, to the greatest historical tragedy of that enormous country: the erosion of the wages, well-being and optimism of its once-thriving middle class – those who once embodied, in flesh and blood, the reality of the American dream.

Castañeda goes on to say that whether or not these new subjects of debate are won or lost, we can expect in 2020 not a repetition of the vulgarities of 2016 but a discussion of substance and transcendence, perhaps the beginning of a new, long-term, social-democratic tune in the country of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.

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About Patricia Simoni 172 Articles
I began contributing to Watching America in 2009 and continue to enjoy working with its dedicated translators and editors. Latin America, where I lived and worked for over four years, is of special interest to me. Presently a retiree, I live in Morgantown, West Virginia, where I enjoy the beauty of this rural state and traditional Appalachian fiddling with friends. Working toward the mission of WA, to help those in the U.S. see ourselves as others see us, gives me a sense of purpose.

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