Against the Conventional Wisdom: A Primer for Current Economic Controversies and Proposals

By Douglas Dowd | Go to book overview

10
Needs and Possibilities

Toward a Square Deal

Echoing the New Deal of FDR and the Fair Deal of Harry S. Truman, Adlai Stevenson -- running for president against Eisenhower (and losing to him twice in the 1950s) -- saw Ike's first term as a "big deal" and the White House as staffed mostly by "used car dealers." After Nixon had been in office a while, his policies came to be dubbed the "raw deal." And that's what most Americans have had ever since from the wheelers and dealers who have increasingly dominated our social process.

Now the time is overdue for something very different from any of those "deals." We need a socioeconomic program that has the well-being of the overwhelming majority of our people and of the earth as its direct focus: a square deal -- no more trickle down, no more pie in the sky, no more jiggerypokery. Too many millions have been too badly damaged by the failed promises of those years; the society can't afford it any more -- if it ever could.

But we cannot become a just and sane society easily or quickly. There is too much debris to be cleared away, too much that is new to us to be constructed. The cleaning up and the new construction will not be done by those who have made it necessary. Those who hold economic, political, and social power will not change their ways; they must be dislodged -- a difficult job, but not without a modest precedent or two, as recently as the 1960s. After that brief period of minimal power sharing, the nation resumed its march toward a greater concentration of power. It should come as no surprise that the power has been used to the rising benefit of those who hold it, at the cost of an always higher percentage of Americans.

Put differently, it should be clear that substantial socioeconomic betterment for those outside the charmed circle of power must be wrought by them. That requires much more thought and political work than usual by the ordinary people of this society; it means much changing of the mind about

-142-

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Against the Conventional Wisdom: A Primer for Current Economic Controversies and Proposals
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface and Acknowledgments ix
  • 1 - Mouths and Realities of the Free Market 1
  • 2 - Fiscal Policy 15
  • 3 - International Production, Trade, and Finance 28
  • 4 - Jobs and Joblessness 42
  • 5 - Income and Wealth and Power and Poverty 55
  • 6 - Welfare and Social Securlty 73
  • 7 - Health, Education, and Housing 90
  • 8 - Environmental Deterioration 112
  • 9 - Expenditures on the Military and Crime 129
  • 10 - Needs and Possibilities 142
  • Notes 159
  • About the Book and Author 192
  • Index 193
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