Vox: How Congress Learned To Stop Worrying and Start Handing Out Cash

I hope so.

VOX:

“The Biden administration and its allies in Congress are pushing for a new round of $1,400 checks to all but the richest Americans. If you’ve been following the ins and outs of Covid-19 relief politics in recent weeks, this isn’t surprising news.

But consider what a dramatic transformation of American politics this represents. The first $1,200 checks that were sent out as part of a massive relief package in early 2020 were genuinely unprecedented in American history. The US has issued refunds for taxes paid in the past, and those refunds sometimes looked a bit like unconditional checks, as in 2001 …

Whatever the final figure ends up being, it’s worth stepping back to appreciate just how much the politics of giving people money has shifted in the past year. Sending cash is hugely popular and has become the subject of mass public attention in a way that’s rare for legislative proposals. In late December, Google search interest in the $2,000 checks exceeded interest in the Kardashians or Taylor Swift.

Cash’s bipartisan popularity, and its ability to muster large-scale public interest and support, suggests that the future might involve a lot more policies like checks — even when the pandemic has passed. Covid-19, in other words, may have done what years of basic income advocacy could not do on its own: convinced our political class that handing out cash is a good, popular, economically effective policy. …

If Republicans arrive at check politics as a replacement for tax cut politics, it will be good for their political prospects — but also incredibly good for the country. What made tax cuts politics somewhat deceitful was the idea that to help the middle class, you needed to help the rich even more. …

The net effect of the 2020 stimulus debate may be to transform the Republican Santa Claus — a huge elitist throwing big stacks of bills at the rich plus a little bit for the plebes to keep them at bay — into an egalitarian handing out checks to the bottom half of the income ladder.

That would be a huge win. Republicans have always run on returning your tax dollars to you; this would simply be settling on a much more equal way of doing so. …”

The politics of wealth redistribution is rapidly solidifying the populist Center. True Conservatism still holds institutional power, but is steadily retreating inside the Republican Party due to demographic change. The old gang has grown radically out of touch with their own working class voters.

I can see the old 1930s style populism coming back: anti-oligarchy, anti-elite, anti-woke, pro-wealth redistribution, socially conservative, isolationism, mixed up with nationalism.

About Hunter Wallace 11401 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent

9 Comments

  1. In other words, white millennials and zoomers and demographic change mostly due to immigration is undoing what Reagan and conservatives did to the GOP and the nation at large. Got to love the irony.
    The GI and Silent generations are fading, boomers are retiring, and Gen X needs to step aside so we can fix things.

    • A generation that poops its pants over Star Wars remakes and racial epithets isn’t going to fix anything. The Zoomers have the most misguided sense of self-righteousness I’ve ever seen.

      Where the hell did this idea that Zoomers were a tsunami of conservative values emerge? Has anyone who pushes this counterfactual meme ever looked at opinion polls regarding what Zoomers actually think? Hint: They hate “racism” AND religion.

  2. Biden’s not a populist though.

    The reality is that excessive austerity and inequality is NOT actually good for the long term stability of neo-liberalism.

    The more forward thinking neo-liberals already support UBI and a wider application of “dem programs”, as a means to stabilize and perpetuate neoliberalism.

    People living hand to mouth in favelas are not actually the ideal consumers, they may end up having to focus on concrete, pragmatic, real world survival issues. See for example the kind of practical politics that occurs in… actual favelas.

    The ideal consumer is the suburbanite bugman who has some disposable income and some leisure time… but no real power or agency in the traditional sense. He can’t make any important decisions about society, but he can decide between Marvel comics and DC comics, Nintendo vs X-Box… and he’s quite content with that. (Sad!)

    Smarter neo-liberals are starting to recognize that they may need to subsidize and prop up that kind of lifestyle.

    Note that in the UBI Utopia, the oligarchs still control the means of production, they just give people [s]money[/s] Amazon gift cards to improve their living conditions.

  3. hey will spend the money to live on, the same as they would if they had jobs. If Republicans don’t like giving handouts, they shouldn’t have shipped all the good jobs overseas starting in the 1980s.

  4. It’s better this way. We bypass the banks, pay them no interest, and spend the money right into the economy without all the financial grifters getting their cut first. Works for me

  5. Either all the Republican obsessing over debt all these years was wrong to begin with, or it’s taken a lot longer to reach some sort of crisis level than many people supposed.

    Just because it hasn’t happened, I’m not completely convinced it won’t.

  6. I could be fine with basic bitch Nationalism. But I want something more radical and revolutionary. I have my issues with isolationism, as there will always be one who rules. But sure, it has its advantages when a society is plagued with issues and is neglected. It allows one to turn inwards and get its own house in order. Nationalism is the natural response due to Conservative/Liberal Governance on the Right plagued by foreign wars that have done nothing.

    We need redistribution and bread- people can’t be dying. But we still need something more. Nationalism still is heavily ingrained with Liberalism.

  7. Any Populism widely embraced in this country will only be allowable if it is an anti-White populism.

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