In Conscience of a Liberal, Krugman describes how America transitioned from a phase of economical inequality before the World War II to a phase of economical equality after it. It transitioned from a “Gilded Age” where the “wealthy Elite” as he describes dominated the economy and politics of the country to a Great Depression around 1930. Krugman discusses how Roosevelt’s new policy, by taking away much from the “wealthy Elite” threw taxes, created the middle class and destroyed the “Gilded Age”:In 1921, the richest 0.
1% owned more than 20% of the nation’s wealth, while in 1950, they owned 10%.
The movement conservatism
After this period, a movement conservatism appeared by the Republican Party in order to recreate the economical inequality. Later on, Krugman discusses the “Great Compression” that indicates the period with the new distribution of the wealth. This compression was a result of the political changes that influences the economical situation, as Krugman stated. Therefore, the rich people lost most of their wealth, as for the middle class; there were increased employment and wages, new retirement and health care benefits.
In the 1950s, the progress in politics has lead to a welfare state, since that Democrat gained the right to vote for example.
The 1960s was a troubled prosperity, as Krugman describes it. Precisely, Krugman listed the civil rights movement, the expansion of crime, the backward wellbeing life, the sixties culture and Vietnam (he discussed that in reality movement conservatism killed Democrats, not Vietnam). But, despite all that people continued to have work benefits and an increased economical growth. William Buckley led the movement conservatism, since that white people were the majority, so their purpose was to continue with the disenfranchisement of Blacks.
In addition to that, the movement conservatism was helped by the fear of communism and supported by neoconservatives. The movement regained his place after Richard Nixon’s suppression phase. In addition to that, Krugman talks about a “Great Divergence” leading to a debate if Americans fared better since 1973. Krugman stated that Americans suffer financially worse than the 1973. Krugman illustrates that there were greater economic gain for the top 1% of earners since 1973 than it did during the postwar boom.
The climb in America’s average income
The top tenth of 1% of earners showed a fivefold increase in income, as for the top one hundredth of one % showed a sevenfold increase in earnings. Therefore, the climb in America’s average income was the result of the growth in the members of the highest wealthy classes. The politics of Inequality, as Krugman describes it because the Republicans gave their support to the wealthy people Republicans tended to eliminate the estate taxes), eliminated governance support and minimized the government responsibilities and followed the movement conservatism, racism and anticommunism.
Whereas, Democrats supported the government welfare projects, and supported the increased taxes for wealthy people. According to Krugman, many factors have changed voter support in favor of the GOP such as race, class, nationalistic belongings, the progression of neoconservatives Christians, legal and illegal immigrants, and blocked votes. Today, Movement Conservatism is going to an end in America as stated Krugman and voters are questioning the government and have vision on what’s going on.
Now, the racism doesn’t have the same impact as before (Obama is the first black president),and the immigrants are changing politics in a positive way. Than, Krugman talks about the reasons why healthcare systems should be guaranteed for all Americans? Because it will lead to prosperity in economy, productivity and it will improve American life styles. Since that inequality has negative sides on the society and politics, Krugman discusses the methods in order to reduce economic inequality.
The methods to reduce economic inequality
Increasing minimum wages (done in 2007) can help reducing inequality; in addition to an increase in union membership help reduce inequality. He writes that “If gains in productivity had been evenly shared across the work force, the typical worker’s income would be about 35 percent higher now than it was in 70s”. Krugman summarizes his book saying that Democrats are becoming conservative because they are trying to preserve history and protect Americans, while the Republicans are taking apart these institutions and leading to inequality.
Democrats have tried to expand Democracy by giving rights to people of the “War on Terror” whereas Republicans have tried to support Democracy without respecting American credibility Krugman invites us to be progressive and conservative at the same time, in other words to be liberal. He writes: “those of us who call ourselves liberal are conservative, while those who call themselves conservatives are deeply radical. Liberals want o restore the middle class society; those who call themselves conservative want to take us back to the Gilded Age, undoing a century of history. ”
Cite this essay
The Conscience of a Liberal Summary. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/the-conscience-of-a-liberal-summary-new-essay