And The Road To Utopia was pulled from theaters some time in 1946. But, as Michael Barone writes, all of the “Progressive” economic plans of the incoming Democrat-controlled Congress head Back To The Future. Whether the final destination is Europe of the 1970s, or the American “Rust Belt” economy of Ike and Truman’s years is what’s being debated.
But as Barone writes, there is a Third Way (to coin a phrase) available to them:
One interesting proposal by [Clinton aide Gene Sperling] is for a “universal 401(k),” which would give all workers tax-sheltered savings accounts, funded by employers and employees. One option is to give low earners tax credits, perhaps even refundable tax credits, for their contributions to the accounts. Over time, this would increase low earners’ wealth accumulation — progressive redistribution. But it would also tend to transfer funds from the federal treasury to individuals, from the public sector to the private sector — not the direction Democrats usually want to go.
It’s a proposal that looks a lot like the Social Security individual investment accounts George W. Bush called for, and Democrats scorned. It would be ironic if this turns out to be the major progressive achievement of this Democratic Congress.
And it may just be the most viable.
Update: Rowan Callick explores how the election is playing overseas.