In simplistic, Lexus-and-Olive-Tree terms, the neoliberal economic argument goes like this: Tariff-free trade policies are great because they increase commerce, and we can mitigate those policies' negative effects on the blue-collar job market by upgrading our education system to cultivate more science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) specialists for the white-collar sector.
Known as the bipartisan Washington Consensus, this deceptive theory projects the illusion of logic. After all, if the domestic economy's future is in STEM-driven innovation, then it stands to reason that trade policies shedding "low-tech" work and education policies promoting high-tech skills could guarantee success.
Of course, 30 years into the neoliberal experiment, the Great Recession is exposing the flaws of the Washington Consensus.
David's concerned about the latest neoliberal scam - that the unemplopyment situation can be fixed if we just reeducate and retrain "yesterday's workers for today's jobs" or some shit - but while it's important not to fall for yet another BD excuse for keeping everything as tilted toward their rich friends and Republican soulmates (and their rich friends), wehat's cranking my case is the Orwellian notion that there's anything liberal about neoliberalism.
Let's take David's precis of the "neoliberal economic argument". What's the actual, practical difference between that and the standard free market conservative argument?
The biggest problem with the labor market right now is that wages are too high. As Washington again turns to government spending as a cure for unemployment, some against-the-grain thinking is in order.
Economics teaches that full employment would be reached if wages adjust downward, to a level that better reflects current circumstances. At lower wages, employers would desire more workers. Labor markets generate persistent unemployment only if wages are sticky, failing to fall as demand declines.
There isn't one. The "neoliberal" approach is to train us for lower paying jobs so we can "survive" the "new economic reality". The conservatives' Wall Street mouthpiece approach is to insist that we have to take lower paying jobs (or lower pay for the jobs we already do) to survive the "new econmomic reality". In neither case is anyone suggesting that the rich have become insufferably greedy or have been systematically looting the country or even that workers have a right to a living wage. What exactly is "liberal" about this?
If Mark sees red when people think there's anything genuinely conservative about today's right-wing crackwhores, I get the same way when the word "liberal" gets attached to ancient - and outmoded - conservative shibboleths, hopelessly wrongheaded recipes for economic disaster.
[W]e may get a chance to find out just dreadful it is to have a worldwide depression, followed by three new wars in the mideast led by President Palin, followed by an even greater depression. If we're lucky we might also get an Early Christmas global warming catastrophe somewhere in the process.
I have to admit, I may have once again underestimated the ability of the Democratic Party to make the world a much, much worse place.
How could it do anything else when the neoliberal Blue Dog leadership is following the very same old conservative prescriptions that have landed us in the soup time and again while making fat cats fatter and their puppets meaner? Neoliberalism is nothing but old conservatism in a less venal-looking shirt. Nothing about it relates to traditional liberalism is any way; everything about it is a shadow of traditional consevative dogma.
Though the confusion might well explain why "liberal" has become a dirty word.