Jun 25, 2021

Heads they win, tails the government pays the tab

Bob Pollin and Econ4’s Jerry Epstein dissect free-market hypocrisy to show how bailouts backstop the wealthy and the powerful:

The most basic tenet undergirding neoliberal economics is that free market capitalism—or at least some close approximation to it—is the only effective framework for delivering widely shared economic well-being….

In reality neoliberalism has depended on huge levels of government support for its entire existence. The global neoliberal economic order could easily have collapsed into a 1930s-level Great Depression multiple times over in the absence of massive government interventions…. Bailouts have not only repeatedly rescued neoliberal capitalism during periods of crisis, but they have also, as a result, reinforced neoliberalism’s most malignant tendencies. In 1978, just prior to neoliberalism’s rise, the CEOs of the largest 350 U.S. corporations earned $1.7 million, 33 times the $51,200 earned by the average private-sector non-supervisory worker. As of 2019 the CEOs were earning 366 times more than the average worker, $21.3 million versus $58,200

This curious conjunction—theoretical disdain for government alongside practical reliance on it—has amounted to champagne socialism for big corporations, Wall Street, and the rich and “let-them-eat-cake” capitalism for most everyone else.

Read more here.