Democratic Primary Makes Clear: A Populist Revolution is Coming

(COMMON DREAMS) Lauren McCauley, February 20, 2016 — The influential economist Thomas Piety is the most recent trans-Atlantic observer to note that the “incredible success of the ‘socialist’ Bernie Sanders” is indicative of a deeper, populist movement that’s brewing across the United States.

In a column published in the French newspaper Le Monde on Monday and translated on his website, Piketty argues that regardless of whether Sanders wins the Democratic nomination, “we are witnessing the end of the politico-ideological cycle opened by the victory of Ronald Reagan at the November 1980 elections.”

Putting Sanders’ rise within historical context, Piketty revisits the period between 1930 and 1980 when the U.S. “pursued an ambitious policy of reduction in social inequalities,” with economic policies that included progressive income and estate taxes, as well as the implementation of a federal minimum wage (which reached above 10 dollars per hour, in 2016 dollars, by the end of the 1960s).

“Half a century of steady fiscal progressivity” came to an abrupt end in 1980, when Ronald Reagan “surfed” into the presidency “on a program designed to reinstate a mythical capitalism said to have existed in the past,” propelled largely by the frustrations of “the financial elites.”

Source: Democratic Primary Makes Clear: A Populist Revolution is Coming | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community