Nov. 9 marked exactly 30 years since the Berlin Wall that divided East from West fell. In commemoration of the triumph of American-led free economics and capitalism over communism, left-wing candidates who favor big government for America are steadily strengthening their footholds ahead of the election a year away.
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, of the opposition Democratic Party, are challenging President Donald Trump. They are radicals who both want universal insurance and free college, which will cost enormous sums. The tendency to despise policies that target the wealthy and corporations as a different kind of nightmare from Trump’s reelection is especially common among those connected to financial markets. America could, of course, become the source of a headache for foreign, including Japanese, businesspeople.
From the standpoint of an economic paper, I don’t intend to openly admire left-wing policies, but it isn’t wise to condemn their points as mere extremist blather and avert your eyes. The 2016 decision in Britain to leave the European Union and Trump’s election were, in retrospect, a major watershed. We need to look head-on at the cries of America’s resurgent left wing as the new reality of a superpower and the world.
Warren may leave an undependable, aloof impression, but in person you can understand her latent potential. This fall, I saw her at a gathering of Democratic presidential candidates in New Hampshire. When Warren’s name was called out, the audience all stood. The applause and cheering didn’t stop for three minutes, and she couldn’t start her speech.
“For two cents on the dollar, we can do universal child care for every baby, zero to five, universal pre-K, universal college, and knock back the student loan burden for 95% of our students.” These loose expressions are how she explains her plan for a 2% tax on the assets of the wealthy class with over $50 million. The talented American election analyst Charlie Cook is full of admiration for her. “She is the best candidate so far at connecting with her audience. … [S]he may be an opponent easy for Trump to attack, but if she whips up the Democratic base she could win.”*
In October, Sanders briefly paused his election activities due to a heart attack. I thought his support would unavoidably ebb, but in a Washington Post/ABC poll conducted shortly afterward, his support, at 17%, ran close behind the centrist Joe Biden’s (28%) and Warren’s (23%). Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – who at age 30 is young enough to be his granddaughter – also announced her support, and he absorbs the young people’s power.
“Trump is the worst kind of socialist,” Sanders wrote in an article in an American economic paper, hitting back against Trump for his claim that “America will never be a socialist country.” He says that the true face of Trump’s policies is “corporate socialism,” which uses the government’s power to favor corporations and the wealthy, while stealing opportunities for ordinary people with harsh market principles.
Combine the two liberal candidates’ rates of support and it reaches 40%. Their policies and ideology are not entirely identical, but at present radical liberalism is changing from a heresy to the mainstream of the Democratic Party.
This is an inconvenient reality for the Democrats. Forty-two percent say that Biden is the best candidate to defeat Trump in the presidential election. Even if Warren’s 17% and Sanders’s 16% are added, it still doesn’t come close. If a liberal candidate wins, there might be a crushing defeat. … There are many worried voices.
From a business standpoint, the policies emphasized by the liberal candidates have a large range of instability. Warren unveiled a grand plan on Nov. 1 to introduce universal insurance by returning the corporate tax rate to 35% and greatly increasing taxes on the upper class’s assets and possessions. “We don’t need to raise taxes on the middle class by one penny,” she says, while her list raises $20 trillion in taxes over 10 years. The Wall Street Journal derided the plan as “Elizabeth Warren’s Health-Care Hara-Kiri.”
“If [Warren] gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at an internal meeting. Giant information technology firms and financial institutions will frankly assume a combative posture if the government intervenes to try to fix their monopolies or oligopolies. There is a significant chance of an economy clouded by a kind of uncertainty different from Trump’s style of reckless tariffs.
But we need careful thought about whether these kinds of ideas based on business and political consensus really fit with the world of the 2020s and beyond.
When Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old environmental activist, scolded the world’s governments at the U.N. General Assembly in September for their inaction against global warming, the 73-year-old Trump teased her in a tweet. America formally declared that it was withdrawing from the Paris Agreement to halt global warming. I can’t say that the American administration, which dismisses climate change as a hoax, is fulfilling its responsibility for the future.
The wealth gap in America has expanded in one swoop because of Trump’s tax cuts. Some investors, such as George Soros, think that raising taxes on elites like themselves is necessary. The heads of 200 top companies announced that they would address the problem of oligopolies of giant corporations and business administration shaped by shareholder primacy; these sorts of instances herald an era of introspection.
Even in America, you can hear the footsteps of the population’s advancing age. Policies that only seek to improve conditions in the near future risk deepening the conflict between the youth, who have to pick up the tab later, and their elders. The Trump administration can’t get over its fixation with manufacturing and old-fashioned industries. Even the moderate faction in the Democratic Party lacks policies that can break through the problems piling up.
The liberal candidates’ points may become the basis for the world in 10 or 20 years. This is the time for those ideas to develop.
*Translator’s note: This quote, accurately translated from the original, could not be verified.