Hey, liberals: Stop kowtowing to the almighty market

What New Deal revisionism tells us about neo-liberalism

WPA
(Image credit: (AP Photo/Works Progress Administration))

Was the New Deal actually market-friendly, maybe even something Reagan would have done? New York's Jonathan Chait suggests so, in a revisionist account of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's signature array of depression-fighting policies.

It's actually a wonder it's taken so long for market-loving neoliberals to make the point. For two generations, neoliberals (and now their monstrous offspring, austerians) have been telling the nation that we cannot risk disrupting the sainted market, that all social policy must be mediated through market mechanisms, and that all direct economic controls are bound to fail. Long held as one of big government's shining moments, the New Deal was an invaluable counterpoint to such nonsense. Now, Chait says, the most successful parts of it were actually neoliberal all along.

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