1In a January 2011 article in
magazine, author William Greider bemoans thedeath of New Deal liberalism. “When the party of activist government, faced with anepic crisis, will not use government's extensive powers to reverse the economic disordersand heal deepening social deterioration,” Greider writes, “then it must be the end of theline for the governing ideology inherited from Roosevelt, Truman and Johnson.”
Greider is not the only observer to note the end of the New Deal and the relatedunwillingness of liberals to fight efforts by members of both parties to roll-back the sizeof government. “[T]he public is being sold a big lie — that our problems owe to unionsand the size of government and not to fraud and deregulation and vast concentration of wealth,” former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich told the
New York Times
. “Obama’sfailure is that he won’t challenge this Republican narrative, and give people a story thathelps them connect the dots and understand where we’re going.”
President Herbert Hoover said of the New Deal that it was an attempt to crossbreedSocialism, Fascism and Free Enterprise, part of a collectivist revolution led by FDR andcarried within the Trojan horse of economic emergency.
The New Deal was also a wayfor the Democrats to finally end decades of largely unbroken Republican rule inWashington. FDR had, after all, nominated Al Smith three times as Democraticpresidential nominee. The former New York governor had lost each election. FDR andthe New Deal not only enabled the growth of government, but also of the private andpublic unions that came to underpin the finances of the Democratic Party after WWII.Today the debate among and between liberals as to how the government should respondto the latest financial crisis is function not so much about ideology but of shrinkingrevenue and burgeoning obligations. The New Deal Model of defined benefits has beenreplaced with defined contributions or, more recently in the auto industry, profit sharing.Whereas after WWII the U.S. seemingly had the resources and borrowing capacity toaddress any national want or need via government fiat, today constraints on resourcesseems to be the dominant theme. This fundamental lack of growth and revenue,particularly in the private sector economy, is leading to a dearth of job opportunities -- a