Economist Robert Pollin writing in The Nation takes on some heavy hitter critics of Bernie Sander’s economic policy. Among them: Nobel prize winner in economics and NYTimes columnist Paul Krugman*, something of a favourite of mine.
Pollin thinks Sanders might just make the American economy great again:
It is true that the overall share of GDP going to corporate profits and the rich will decline, and this will likely counteract to some degree the positive factors encouraging private investment and growth under Sanders. But even The Economist recently concluded that corporate profits in the United States are excessive, so much as to be damaging the economy’s overall performance. The entirely feasible challenge today is therefore to produce higher growth rates through creating more jobs, getting more money in people’s pockets, widening educational opportunities, and raising productivity rather than allowing the country to slip further into economic oligarchy.
In short, if something like a Sanders program is enacted in the United States, the critical point will not be whether GDP grows, on average, at 3 percent, 4 percent or 5.3 percent. A Sanders economy will be fully capable of growing at healthy rates. But more than just growing, a Sanders economy will also deliver standards of well-being for the overwhelming majority of Americans, as well as the environment, in ways that we have not experienced for generations.
I think that his argument makes sense. I’ve never been entirely convinced by Krugman’s line of argument here. But then, right at the top of my CV it says “not a Nobel laureate”.
What does convince me with Sanders, though, is that I have been to enough Scandinavian socialist utopias to know that they fundamentally work and that they are economically intense and fast-growing and far preferable in living conditions and the way the economy works for normal people instead of the other way around. I myself live in a country that spent the postwar years implementing parts of what is now the Bernie Sanders economic platform. It certainly isn’t perfect — but it’s a step in the right direction.
Nowhere in a social democracy does anyone have to work a second full-time job. It just doesn’t happen. If his economic policies do anything to move the US in that direction. It is inexplicable to me why someone would not want to live in such a country.
This is one of the reasons I think Bernie Sanders is the best choice. I wouldn’t be torn up about Hillary Clinton being president, but on economic policy she’s quite simply not anywhere near radical enough to deal with the fundamental problems of the American economy.
* Actually, folks, it’s the Albert Nobel Memorial Prize in the … oh, you don’t care either?