By Scott Sumner
Donald Trump once said. “I know words, I have the best words”. Interestingly, all of those words are one syllable. But I happen to know an eleven-syllable word, which is defined by Wikipedia:
Antiestablishmentarianism (or anti-establishmentarianism) is a political philosophy that views a nation’s or society’s power structure as corrupt, repressive, exploitative, or unjust.
That seems as good a way as any to describe how conservatives in the UK can be embracing Brexit while the Labour Party moves to the far left. In America, Trump is the closest analogy to Brexit, and now we see the Democratic Party also beginning to shift left (albeit not as far left as Labour.):
Of course, almost any proposal to increase the minimum wage — much less one to $15 an hour — is dead on arrival with Republicans in Congress and President Donald Trump in the White House. But Sanders and his team are applauding the Democratic Party’s leadership and for coalescing around the $15 an hour minimum wage — a position almost universally viewed as radically left-wing just a few months ago.
And it’s not just that issue:
Since Trump’s inauguration, Democrats in Congress have moved sharply left on a whole host of key policy issues.
In prior Congresses, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) could only find about 60 co-sponsors to back his single-payer, Medicare-for-All House health care proposal. That number is now already over 100 members just a few months into the new session. Similarly, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) has found 12 other House Democrats to co-sponsor her bill to eliminate tuition at public universities for those whose families make under $125,000 — one that only a handful of the most left wing Democrats previously supported.
Indeed even Obama now looks relatively right wing:
Added Terrence Wise, a McDonald’s worker and member of the Fight for $15 movement, in a statement: “Think back to five years ago: President Obama had yet to call for even a $9 an hour federal minimum wage, and the two members of Congress brave enough to call for $10.10 an hour were considered crazy. … We’ve gone from laughable to inevitable.”
Five years ago the minimum wage had recently been boosted by over 40% in just three years, and all that at a time of less than 2% inflation. No wonder President Obama didn’t think another increase was needed. Of course inflation has remained under 2%, but now the Dems favor a more than 100% increase on top of the previous 40% rise.
The idea may be “inevitable”, but it’s still just as “crazy” and “laughable” as it was back then. It would essentially make it illegal to hire any worker who’s productivity was below $15/hour. Why would you want to ban low productivity workers from working? And if it’s such a great idea, why do labor unions frequently ask to be exempted from the $15/hour minimum wage? What are they afraid of?
Both political parties are now embracing a fairly anti-intellectual agenda.
PS. I have a more negative view of a recent Ross Douthat post than Tyler Cowen. If Douthat’s description of Le Pen and her party were accurate, she would not be trailing by 20% in the polls. After all, everything is in her favor—the economic problems in France, the recent upsurge in Islamic terrorism, and more broadly the fact that the nearly 10% of the French population that is Muslim is having a much harder time assimilating than our (smaller) Muslim population.
My theory is that the French left won’t support her because of her perceived racism, and the French right is also skeptical because of her left wing economic views (which are completely at variance with what France needs right now.) Douthat mocks Macron, but at least he’s promising aggressive economic reforms to help business. At times, he seems to favor the Nordic version of neoliberalism. The French stock market soared after Macron did better than expected; I suspect the French people understand what a Le Pen victory would mean for their investments.
Of course if Le Pen wins this post will look silly.