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View Diary: Book review: Michael Lind's 'Land of Promise' (94 comments)

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  •  I was a "liberal Democrat" in th 1970s and 1980s (22+ / 0-)

    ...and I don't remember it as Lind does.

    To the applause of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans alike, the New Deal system of regulation was dismantled in one sector of the economy after another in the late 1970s and 1980s.
    I remember--and it was my position, too--that the wholesale attempts a deregulation of sectors of the economy would not bring the blessings which were predicted.

    A case in point was deregulation of the airline industry, which was touted as being the way to encourage competition and reduce ticket prices.  As predicted by those less entranced by this "New Deal, Undone" plan, airlines merged and went and of business and the cost of travel to the consumer rose at a rate not seen prior to this undoing.

    "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

    by rfall on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 01:39:11 PM PDT

    •  The deregulation of the airline industry also left (19+ / 0-)

      untold communities cut off as airline companies no longer had to service the routes that had been mandated in the past.

      We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

      by Susan Grigsby on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 01:42:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which a pure free-market economist would see as (14+ / 0-)

        ...a good thing, I suppose.

        The deregulation of the airline industry also left untold communities cut off as airline companies no longer had to service the routes that had been mandated in the past.
        The essence of an unfettered free market is that it is left to its own devices to find the optimal solution to the "problem".

        The "problem", of course, being maximization of profits.

        As a society, we deserve better.

        "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

        by rfall on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 01:48:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Pure free markets often end in abusive monopolies, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          boom and bust cycles, and other distortions. Without government regulation, the "free market" usually does itself in within fairly short order.  

          Glass-Steagall repealed 1999.
          Global economic collapse 2008-9.
          Who could have foreseen....?

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:42:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Which a huge federal investment in passenger rail (6+ / 0-)

        would have made to a large extent moot, but we know how that played out. Even though this has been known since the 30's and in many ways a century before that, the past 40 years have shown us that left alone markets always fail, either entirely, or at least for most of the public (and what's the point of a market that serves only the rich from the point of view of government?).

        We really do need to kill this neoliberal beast, not just in theory where it's essentially dead, but in practice. Or it will kill us.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 03:11:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You know, this would make a pretty good book (5+ / 0-)

      examining the real effects of deregulation on our economy.

      A case in point was deregulation of the airline industry, which was touted as being the way to encourage competition and reduce ticket prices.  As predicted by those less entranced by this "New Deal, Undone" plan, airlines merged and went and of business and the cost of travel to the consumer rose at a rate not seen prior to this undoing.
      It doesn't have the blood of the miserable failure of the fertilizer industries, but it is one of the best examples of how regulations actually strengthened an industry and benefited a population.

      We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

      by Susan Grigsby on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 02:02:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed. But deregulation came after 1970's oil (8+ / 0-)

      crisis shocks to the system. Which came after the US left the gold-dollar international financing system.  (I'm not a gold-bug.)

      President Nixon ended the direct convertibility of the dollar to gold on August 15, 1971. US oil production peaked in 1971. On October 16, 1973, OPEC announced a decision to raise the posted price of oil by 70%. And in 1979 the Iranian crisis drove oil prices higher.

      The point here is that govt and businesses were flailing about looking for ways to compensate for dramatically higher energy costs. "Efficiency" thru "deregulation" and "the magic of the market" was the magical thinking then and now.  To talk about Carter embracing business deregulation without the energy crisis leaves out important context.
      The fact that the GOP pols and the US Chamber of Commerce used the crisis to their advantage beginning with Reagan and carrying forward until today was clever on their part.  

      So, no, liberal Dems didn't embrace Carter's deregulation.  Just the opposite.  But the govt may have felt literally "over a barrel."

    •  Surely by "liberal" he must have meant (5+ / 0-)

      that word in its original, classic, 19th century sense, which is now known as neoliberalism, and not its New Deal 20th century sense. Because you can't be both, at least not in any way that makes much sense. I think that some like Clinton and Obama try to thread that needle, but they look ridiculous in the process, and enact policies that only hurt the middle class and poor.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 03:07:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  'Airline deregulation' was a parting of company... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      ...with Carter's deregulation regime, and promises.

      I remember thinking at the time that deregulation, combined with the merger mania that began under Reagan, would result in three-, maybe four, giant carriers, and saying so at a dinner party in 1984.  This was when the media was still touting the "low fares are good for consumers" bullshit -- a predatory price war by monopoly companies has been  de riguer since long before John Rockefeller.

      I was just hoping, at the time, that the Justice Department would take its head out of its ass before we were reduced to only two mega-carriers.

      Now, I'm not so sure they will.  And I'm not sure that {shudder} even consumer retail will escape with a "balkanized" competitive market.

    •  "Democrat in the '70s and '80s"...unlike Lind? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kaliope

      Hey, rfall, turns out Lind wasn't there, really, to tell us what "liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans alike" were applauding back in 1976-80.  

      Michael Lind was born April 23, 1962, and so was fighting acne rather than manning the political barricades when all this went down.

      OK, maybe he had painfully hip parents and was seated at the adult table at Thanksgiving, and so has a special insight as to what debates and feelings were among Liberal Democrats on the macroeconomic issues of Carter's day ... but somehow I doubt that even that give him special insight into the hearts of people -- people here -- that remember those dinner parties because they had an invite.  Much less has standing to paint us with that broad brush.

      As I remember it, Carter was pretty much booted out of Washington DC's salons and probably was a one term President because he didn't have the support of the Liberal Democrats (anyone remember Teddy Kennedy?) with his economic ideology.

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