The Middle Out: The Rise of Progressive Economics and a Return to Shared Prosperity

Doubleday. Sept. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9780385547161. $28. ECON
Tomasky (If We Can Keep It) convincingly argues that by embracing the essential role of the government in addressing the common good, the policies of the Biden Administration constitute a frontal assault on neoliberalism, the dominant paradigm influencing federal economic policy since the early 1980s. Neoliberalism deifies the “free” market, defames government, and is obsessed with economic growth. The result has been rising inequality, the reemergence of monopolies, hobbled public education, weakened freedoms, and the marginalization of shared humanity. Over the last few decades, however, a small number of economists have challenged the neoliberal orthodoxy by rejecting the myth of economic rationality, attending to race and gender, and substituting evidence-based analysis for economic theory and mathematical models. Their efforts have been amplified by grassroots activism, liberal foundations, the election of progressive politicians, and Biden’s response to the pandemic. Deftly weaving together policy history and political analysis, Tomasky makes a strong case urging the Democratic Party to embed economic policy in the core American values of freedom and democracy.
VERDICT A thoughtful reflection on rebalancing democracy with capitalism to bring about a more compassionate United States; deserving of wide readership.
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