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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Center Moves Far to the Right

Remember the good old days, when the center was closer to the center?:

G.O.P. Shift Moves Center Far to Right, by Eduardo Porter, NY Times: To hear Republicans on the campaign trail, the United States could not have elected a more left-wing president than Barack Obama, one more hostile to business or more eager to expand government power. Left-wing Democrats, I'm sure, would disagree. If they had their druthers, they would probably make a more liberal, more pro-big government choice. Somebody, perhaps, like Richard Nixon.

That's right. The Nixon administration not only supported the Clean Air Act and affirmative action, it also gave us the Environmental Protection Agency, one of the agencies the business community most detests, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to police working conditions. Herbert Stein, chief economic adviser during the administrations of Nixon and Gerald Ford, once remarked: "Probably more new regulation was imposed on the economy during the Nixon administration than in any other presidency since the New Deal."

Nixon bolstered Social Security benefits. He introduced a minimum tax on the wealthy and championed a guaranteed minimum income for the poor. He even proposed health reform that would require employers to buy health insurance for all their employees and subsidize those who couldn't afford it. That failed because of Democratic opposition. Today, Republicans would probably shoot it down.

Historians might protest that it is crazy to brand Nixon a lefty. ... Still, Nixon's initiatives would never pass muster in the Republican Party of today...

    Posted by on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 05:37 PM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (24)


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