A New New Deal from the Bottom Up

great-depression-soup-lineAt The Living New Deal, we’ve long been tracking rumblings of a new New Deal in American political circles. So often, though, that conversation centers on the biographies and affiliations of major politicians. Over at The American Prospect, Christopher Faricy takes a bottom-up perspective in his article, “Is It Time for a New New Deal?” Maybe young people today don’t have the sentimental attachments to FDR that, say, Bill de Blasio has; but the socioeconomic realities they face have made New Deal policies an obvious solution—whether or not they invoke (or even know to invoke) Roosevelt.

 

Indeed, Faricy attributes Hillary Clinton’s “increasingly liberal tilt … not just in response to the Sanders insurgency, but to burgeoning demographic and economic trends that will last well beyond the 2016 presidential election.” The generation coming into adulthood today has grown up in an America “defined by privatization, deregulation, and devolution.” Along with people reacting against growing income inequality and the evaporation of worker protections, an increasingly diverse electorate also accounts for a population supporting social services and workers’ rights.

 

What would a new New deal look like? Faricy describes recent political promises of better health care coverage, increased access to college, universal basic income, and more. The middle-class would have to pay its share, along with the wealthy. But he also suggests that many Americans are ready to do so, so long as people in power “respond to their calls for economic equity, income security, and a more sustainable social safety net.”

 

Gabriel Milner is Project Manager for The Living New Deal. He is a trained cultural historian who teaches courses in U.S. History at the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University.

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