Radical Right Will Inspire Left Wing Populism

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Ben Cohen
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By Ben Cohen

The continuing concentration of wealth amongst the very few has the potential to inspire serious and radical reform in the U.S. With unprecedented rates of inequality, the pledges by the right to cut corporate and capital gains taxes are now falling on deaf ears. And for good reason: No one really believes they work.

Here is Naomi Klein on how the radical right wing economic agenda is rotting from the inside and unintentionally inspiring a movement that could rid us of the economic system she calls 'Disaster Capitalism'.


Why The Right Loves A Disaster

By Naomi Klein

Moody’s, the credit-rating agency, claims the key to solving the ’
economic woes is slashing spending on Social Security. The National
Assn. of Manufacturers says the fix is for the federal government to
adopt the organization’s wish-list of new tax cuts. For Investor’s
Business Daily, it is oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge, “perhaps the most important stimulus of all.”

But
of all the cynical scrambles to package pro-business cash grabs as
“economic stimulus,” the prize has to go to Lawrence B. Lindsey,
formerly President Bush’s assistant for economic policy and his advisor
during the 2001 recession. Lindsey’s plan is to solve a crisis set off
by bad lending by extending lots more questionable credit. “One of the
easiest things to do would be to allow manufacturers and retailers” —
notably Wal-Mart — “to open their own financial institutions, through
which they could borrow and lend money,” he wrote recently in the Wall
Street Journal.

Never
mind that that an increasing number of Americans are defaulting on
their credit card payments, raiding their 401(k) accounts and losing
their homes. If Lindsey had his way, Wal-Mart, rather than lose sales,
could just loan out money to keep its customers shopping, effectively
turning the big-box chain into an old-style company store to which
Americans can owe their souls.

If
this kind of crisis opportunism feels familiar, it’s because it is.
Over the last four years, I have been researching a little-explored
area of economic history: the way that crises have paved the way for
the march of the right-wing economic revolution across the globe. A
crisis hits, panic spreads and the ideologues fill the breach, rapidly
reengineering societies in the interests of large corporate players.
It’s a maneuver I call “disaster capitalism.”

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