Ike the Communist

omb-blog-income.JPGThinking about the conservative fear and loathing directed towards this graph based on the research of Thomas Picketty and Emmanuel Saez. An extract appears in this Obama administration budgetary statement (pdf)  and a more detailed version of the graph is on the blog of Obama’s director of Management & Budget. As the more detailed version shows the great leveler of the American income distribution was not the New Deal but the war, the share of national income secured by the top 1% of income earners almost halved from the late 1930s to the mid 1940s and this income equalization was maintained through the 1950s. Perhaps the war did see a political comeback by American business, a state at war needs capitalists, but this comeback did not prevent a leftward shift in policy outcomes (fans of the Power Elite, of which I am one, should take note). What is puzzling is that conservatives must thus believe that the 1950s were a nightmare of leveling collectivism, it is Ike not FDR that must be the villain. Those conservatives who accepted German aid to campaign against FDR in 1940 perhaps recognised the revolutionary impact that American entry into the war would have have. In Australia much attention has been devoted to Menzies’ appeal to the ‘forgotten people‘, but Menzies’ factional base in the UAP during the war was the ‘National Service Group’ which vehemently opposed the leveling impact of war. Small ‘l’ liberal fans of Menzies should take note.

2 thoughts on “Ike the Communist

  1. [...] rather than the New Deal was the American social-democratic moment (see for example trends in income equality). An interesting interview with him in Minnesota [...]

  2. [...] Many on the left hope that economic crises will radicalize voters to the left. Doug Henwood and Paul Krugman disagree. There is evidence from American history in their support, the first American presidential election at which the Democrats were clearly to the left of the Republicans on economic issues was 1896, but at this election the Democrats were soundly defeated, and one factor that contributed to their defeat was that many workers feared that the democrat’s populist economic policies would affect the viability of their employers. The Great Depression impelled the American left to power but it as I have said: [...]

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