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Exceptional AmericaWhat Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other$
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Mugambi Jouet

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520293298

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520293298.001.0001

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Between Democracy and Plutocracy

Between Democracy and Plutocracy

Chapter:
(p.143) Five Between Democracy and Plutocracy
Source:
Exceptional America
Author(s):

Mugambi Jouet

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520293298.003.0006

Wealth inequality is much sharper in America than all other industrialized countries. The income of the richest 1% Americans has soared while the income of ordinary people either decreased or stagnated in recent decades. However, America used to be a rather middle-class society. It was not before the 1980s that the G.O.P.’s far-right branch grew more influential in challenging the oppression of “big government.” New Deal era policies were gradually abandoned and wealth inequality soared. Ronald Reagan claimed that “fascism was really the basis for the New Deal,” and his heirs followed suit in denouncing the federal government’s “tyranny.” Overall, the center of the U.S. political debate on economic issues is drastically more to the right than in Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The Democratic Party is far less devoted to the interests of the poor, the working-class, and the middle-class than other left-wing parties in the West. The G.O.P. tends to cater only to the richest of the rich, unlike virtually no other major conservative party in the modern Western world.

Keywords:   Wealth Inequality, Market Fundamentalism, Universal Health Care, Individualism, Libertarianism, Lobbying, Obamacare, New Deal, Reagan

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