Bloomberg: Middle-class Americans were "fleeced" by neoliberalism

And by the time they do get out, they go to younger millennials. And guess who gets to support the boomers, for the most part?


where some of them Genx’ers?

I voted for Clinton (both times) and remember vividly the situation back in the late 90’s that transpired to push the Democratic party rightward. Remember that Clinton had to deal with a hostile, Republican controlled Congress for most of his term and needed a centrist approach in order to get any agenda passed. The whole idea was the concept of triangulation in order to offer a fresh approach. It worked for a while politically but even then, Congress (led by Gingrich and the Republican Revolution) still crucified Bill at every turn.

So as a chicken vs. egg, I don’t think the political winds started blowing rightward at that time more than hostile politics started becoming normal and the Republicans started harnessing rightwing ideology as a strategy and began the recent era of scorched earth politics.

By almost all accounts, Bill Clinton should be regarded as one of our most popular presidents of all time - historic economic growth, low unemployment, middle class prosperity, technology boom, (relatively) low military engagements. Like Obama, Republicans hate Clinton for his success and vilify him at every opportunity.


Not proving your point. Being an “actual” neoliberal isn’t about measuring up to some unattainable standard of perfection (what the no-true-scotsman fallacy sets out to address, a form of circular argument), mostly it’s a list of negatives (things not to do), and then it allows for reasoned debate about the rest (they were surprisingly flexible when it came to the raising and spending taxes, and the kinds of government intervention that they could live with). The 80s and 90s did see a lot of genuine neoliberal policies put in place, thanks to the genuine influence of actual neoliberals, broadly these policies were beneficial (privatisation in particular), but not all worked, and there was a lot of pushback against them for internal political as well as vested-interest reasons (and I’m not talking about from the left here, but within the right, and the new centrist left). Ultimately the neoliberals did not win that struggle, and the people who did win went on to implement policies which were diametrically opposed to the ones the neoliberals were suggesting (see Thatcher’s fall from grace and the rise of Blairism), all of which had a big influence on the financial crisis of the 2000s.

Plenty of them. Using partisan affiliation as a very rough proxy it looks like about half.

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I’m still bitter that after all these years, marijuana legalization is finally happening not because people see the harm done by prohibition or came to the realization that it’s no one else’s damn business what I put in my body or grow on my property, but because of tax revenue. It’s rather disgusting. I’ll take it, the best shouldn’t be the enemy of the better, but it just adds to my general pessimism.

I suppose it works (at least it did for MJ), but economic arguments for ideals isn’t a good idea IMO because the economics can flip one way just as easily as the other. It’s a cheap victory that’s easily undone, and can just as easily lead to horror as good legislation.

It is my opinion that we (all sides) should be more idealistic in politics, not less. We need our best ideas (from any side) to get hashed out, not just a tactical scrum back and forth for naked power. Otherwise, any good done is entirely incidental and will just as easily be discarded next election.


To that point, regarding the death penalty in California, the death penalty supporters in 2016 said, “Oh, you think it’s too expensive? Well, then, we’ll just accelerate the process and limit the appeals.”

That passed.


Same here. Demographically we were screwed, and Reaganism settling in for the bulk of our adult lives really cemented it. Forewarned was forearmed, and unlike Boomers who’ve had the retirement rug pulled out from under them and Millenials who’ll never have it, many Gen Xers responded accordingly. If we weren’t going to be middle class many of us would be damned if we’d slave away for a corporation.

For a long time many participated indirectly, via pension plans and union benefits (Millenials and younger American might not be familar with these exotic terms). But yes, at this point the kind of middle class that used to enjoy the fruits of such programmes in retirement has contracted dramatically, and an ever-growing number of people are members of the precariat, living paycheque to paycheque with little to no (to negative) savings.

It’s accurate enough , in that it uses the core neoliberal principals of deregulation and corporate tax cuts and neoliberalism’s false promises as a jumping-off point for the other ills you mention, be it executive compensation (if you don’t like a regulation, it’s ok if you find a workaround) or easy credit. That the state was also increasingly used to socialise risk and acceded to regulatory capture as the unsustainability of the system became more and more apparent post-2000 was also justified to a certain extent by a twisted version of the neoliberal idea that, if we must have the state, its sole purpose should to defend property and keep the “free” market flowing.


Neither easy credit nor socialisation of risk are neoliberal ideas, neoliberals advocated raising interest rates, and warned against bailouts, bailouts are not a twisted version of neoliberalism, they are the exact opposite of neoliberalism.

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Yeah, you got, what 5 1/4 on a savings account? Anyone who could stash some cash away every week could get some of that compounded interest action. We need to bring that back, along with strict regulation of banks. I shall now hold my breath.


How the very fuck is Thatcher’s demise a ‘fall from grace’? And how is Blair (essentially a Tory wet, hampered by the left of the party somewhat) not a neoliberal? Thatcher was a loon and Blair was no more left wing than Tories of Heath’s era.


Agreed. That’s why I said neoliberalism was a jumping-off point, its principals used by those who fleeced and ultimately decimated the middle class. Deregulation allowed the financial services industry to offer easy credit to those who would have been denied before the neoliberal consensus took hold. And socialisation of risk was permitted by a twisted interpretation of the only acceptable role for the state in the eyes of neoliberals. That the outcomes are both opposites of neoliberal ideals is beside the point to the businesspeople (and their conservative politician pets) who constantly use them as justifications.

For all that easy credit and bailouts were against the ideals promoted by Hayek, Mises, Schumpeter, and Friedman, those ideals and names have been cited again and again over the past 40 years by those who defend the practises (Fox News, Cato Institute, bascially the whole American wingnut welfare apparatus).


The unpleasant bit is that, because of how things evolve in practice, it doesn’t really matter much that principled neoliberals are formally opposed to crony capitalism and regulatory capture and the like.

It’s not false; but they only get invited to speak when it is deregulation season, and are then generally neglected when the agenda turns to people who have wealth investing in state policy favorable to them.

Some console themselves with the notion that we can cut the state to the point where it has no influence left to buy; but that mostly just makes them more helpful at deregulation while not keeping them from being shoved off once their purpose has been served.

If the position you advocate isn’t stable, and reliably degenerates into a quite different one, you can please tragic naivete once or twice; but once a pattern becomes clear you are, de facto, an advocate of whatever the decay product is, not the desirable but unstable ideal.

(Edit: just in case this isn’t clear; the same thing applies to anyone who thumps the virtues of a state known to be unstable and have more stable, and much less pleasant, decay states; indeed, the college communist who really thinks that this time won’t end in gulags and economic collapse is the usual poster child; but it tends to bite the acolytes of grand universal theories heavy on first principles and light on human agents the hardest. Those are the ones who can’t, don’t, or explicitly claim that their proposal will remove the need to, ask “So, what will this look like after N rounds of mixed users with imperfect information poking at it?” People who are largely without grand theoretical foundations, while they don’t make for very inspiring reading, tend to already be the product of N rounds of mixed users with imperfect information poking at it, so their visions are seldom so crisp and succinct; but their failure modes tend not to be as ugly.)


These attitudes are severely lacking in our “leadership.”

Which is neoliberalism plus religious zealotry.

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Yeah, about that…


Enough debt was secured to make the population just comfortable enough to ignore the New Deal and social contract ( that their parents and grands fought so hard for ) being disassembled around them. It gave the boomer generation the subjective illusion of prosperity, because they had newer junk than the Joneses, sometimes, while objectively funneling any real wealth upwards(to banks, investors, and builders of things that want more growth than wages could ever keep up with) only growing wealth disparity.

The need for this illusion is coming to an end, American society is less prepared for that than ever.


Thatcher ‘fell from grace’ because her own party, which she had previously been untouchable in, turned on her (she was always a bit of an outsider though, it was never going to end well, and all political careers end in failure anyway). She certainly wasn’t a loon either, she saved the country from bankruptcy and the potential takeover by militant leftists who were keen to align the country with the Soviet Union (this was a very real threat at the time). She wasn’t perfect (e.g. the poll tax, milk thievery, and while monetarism worked initially she didn’t react quickly enough to its failings), but broadly speaking had a net positive impact on the UK.

Blair was not in any way a Neoliberal (government spending ballooned massively under his leadership), he wasn’t a full-on socialist obviously, but he was a big state social democrat who adopted some pro-business policies to gain wider support, he was also fundamentally illiberal civically and socially (more reasons why he wasn’t a neoliberal, he wasn’t much of any kind of liberal really).

Millions being cut from healthcare combined with a financial bubble bursting (mortgages or student loans, or both ), while republicans would never bail out the consumers, only the lenders, could turn ugly really, really fast.


So why not point out that those people either don’t understand the ideas or are just directly in opposition to them? Undercut their attempted justifications. Instead people seem willing to score cheap points through intellectual dishonesty rather than trying to honestly address an argument.