The failure of progressive ideas in America

August 27, 2011 | By | 2 Replies More

At Slate, Mandy Van Deven offers this explanation for why the ideas of the left aren’t taking root in modern America:

The left’s success in the 1930s was based on a lot of preparation that went back to the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era when corporations were seen as malefactors of great wealth. When the Great Depression hit there was immediate support for ideas that people on the left had been talking about, like that corporations are selfish and exploit their workers or that the wealth should be more evenly spread out. For the past 35 years, conservative notions about Big Government rather than liberal ones about Big Business have been dominant. When the economic crisis hit in the 2008, Americans were already primed to believe the government couldn’t do anything right because it hasn’t been doing anything right for years. Ironically, the conservatives were proved right when the stimulus didn’t do what the Obama administration hoped it would do, and clearly the Tea Party has been able to grow on that policy mistake. The reaction depends on what people think when an economic crisis hits, not what people say to make their case after it has happened.


Category: Political Science

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. Tim Hogan says:

    “[S]timulus didn’t do what it was supposed to do…” Sorry, another myth from the fascist corporatits which is uncritically mouthed by people which claim to know better.

    It is generally agreed that the stimulus kept the economy from going over the edge from the Great Recesssion to another Great Depression.

    I’m sick of people uncritically regurgitating the Faux News and GOP propaganda talking points to support unfounded conclusions and make a name for themselves. SHADDAP!

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    In the wake of Barack Obama’s decision to overrule the EPA regarding proposed smog regulations, this comment at Huffpo regarding a Keith Olbermann video captures my frustration.

    Wasting a vote, sir or madame, is what I did when I voted for Obama.


    a. On debt and fair taxes: Washington Post-ABC poll Washington Post-ABC poll, Spring 2011: 72 percent supported raising taxes on the rich including 68 percent of Independen­ts and 54 percent of Republican­s. Obama did not and would not support the American people.

    b. On TARP & Financial Bailout: Over 70% of us opposed the bailout. Perry made no religious Right, Tea Party or Libertaria­n objections as the financial institutio­ns took all the tax payers’ money. Obama accelerate­d Buhs bailouts with Geithner and Bernanke – both Bush carryovers embraced by Obama. Obama did not and would not support the American people on the issue.

    c. On Health Care: 72% of us supported “a government administer­ed insurance plan – something like Medicare for those under 65—that would compete for customers with private insurers.” Obama sat passively as a 60-plus year Democratic policy goal was sacrificed to a Republican Governor’s plan (earlier proposed by the Heritage Foundation­). Obama would not and did not support the American people.

    d. On Afghanista­n: 64% of us opposed expanding the war in Afghanista­n and wanted to disentangl­e from Bush-era ‘War on Terror’ and ‘preventiv­e war’ policies. Today, still over 65% of Americans oppose the war. Obama continues and expands Dick Cheney’s and George Bush’s “War on Terror”. Obama has not supported the American people.

    I will not waste my vote on Obama again.

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