Social democracy makes progress in the U.S. only when the middle class thinks it has interests in common with the working class and the poor. On a substantive level, this is always the case: there is a lot of mobility across the generations, and middle-class parents are highly likely to have some poor children who need more than just a safety net. On a rhetorical level, however...: Jorge G. Castañeda: Is America Ready for a Welfare State? https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/democratic-presidential-candidates-support-welfare-state-by-jorge-g-castaneda-2019-05: 'Several leading Democratic candidates in the 2020 US presidential race favor introducing elements of a modern welfare state in health care, childcare, and education. Whether a Democrat wins or loses in 2020, social democracy has re-emerged in American politics for the first time since the 1930s.... America’s middle class swelled and prospered... effectively preventing the emergence of the sort of welfare state that other rich countries began to establish from the late nineteenth century onward. True, the US introduced a federal old-age pension (Social Security) in the 1930s, and established the government-funded Medicare and Medicaid health-insurance programs in the 1960s. But as long as middle-class Americans enjoyed full employment and relatively high wages, bolder ideas, such as universal government-funded health care and proper unemployment insurance, remained off the mainstream political agenda.... Several obstacles stand in the way of bringing these welfare-state proposals to fruition after 2020.... Nonetheless, leading Democratic candidates are advocating welfare-state policies that seemed almost unthinkable in America until recently. As these ideas gain traction among the country’s squeezed middle class, they are changing the terms of US political debate. For that reason alone, the 2020 presidential campaign already seems light years away from the bromides and vacuous invective of 2016...


#noted #2020-02-29

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