I just saw a two-part interview on Tavis Smiley’s show where Naomi Klein talked about her new book, No Is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics. Naomi Klein spoke about resisting neoliberal politics (though she used President Trump as the source of bad politics and didn’t use the word “neoliberalism”). Klein abandoned an honest portrayal of neoliberal politics from the point that she adopted this position that Trump is the source of America’s political problems as though our problems are being caused by a personality instead of an ideology. That’s especially true because Naomi Klein also wrote The Shock Doctrine, which dealt more directly with neoliberalism as an ideology.
Klein sees President Trump as someone who would institute policies that would harm minorities, women, and the poor and benefit corporations and banks. This would be more neoliberalism (not progressivism). And if that’s all that Donald Trump is seeking to accomplish, he will of course eventually lose his base of support.
Unfortunately, society will be left with a bigger mess than the Obama Administration has already left us with (and though Klein didn’t say so, Obama behaved as a neoliberal). Klein and Smiley failed to mention any political problems caused by the Obama Administration during this interview. I was sorry to notice that the interview focused on party differences and failed to specifically identify neoliberalism in U.S. politics (although Klein mentioned TINA, Margaret Thatcher’s idea that there’s no alternative to neoliberalism). Focusing on party differences, as Klein and Smiley did simplifies arguments but in the end, just causes more political divisiveness which absolutely perpetuates more neoliberalism–government sponsored corporatism. Tavis Smiley and Naomi Klein said that there’s an alternative to our seductive political system of neoliberalism which is profitable to some and disastrous for others (they alluded to “neoliberalism” without specifically saying the word).
Klein noticed that the reason that President Trump continues with public support from his base is because people feel personally attacked when their new president that they voted for can’t act Presidential without conspiracists in the press attacking him (Fake News and the Russian Conspiracy Theories). Ordinary people continue to hope, despite the abundance (5 according to this interview) of Goldman Sachs ex-employees in his cabinet, that somehow Donald Trump means to rectify economic suffering in the grassroots of the country. They hope that these cabinet men have been empowered with a cabinet position in order to solve trade imbalances and restore employment because they have the know-how to do that. And because President Trump promised that he would use experts to help him achieve his political goals.
Trump voters think that Trump might help them if only the press and the Democrats would get out-of-the-way. Americans don’t yet recognise Trump as just another neoliberal because so much of his program is being blocked. That makes it really hard to tell whether Trump’s plan will be a neoliberal one. Besides blockages to Trump’s political plans there’s also the problem of few people understanding “neoliberalism.” Smiley and Klein think that there’s a lack of imagination in politics that would allow people to think of political alternatives to neoliberalism. They hope that’s beginning to change.
Klein and Smiley decried the lack of unity that identity politics have left us with where individual groups seeking political improvements focus on narrow group interests instead of creating a broader movement. They think that a broad movement is necessary to change everyday outcomes for most people in the United States.
Meanwhile, healthcare costs continue to inflate under an economy influenced by the Federal Reserve which wrongly claims that inflation is too low (because they ignore inflation wherever it appears–like in healthcare, housing, education, automobiles and food). And predatory healthcare bureaucracies continue undermining the doctor-patient relationship in favor of more billable testing as patients lose power over healthcare pricing and options. Healthcare failures have recently caused life expectancy in the U.S. to fall. Real estate markets aren’t healthy and prices are too high. Banks continue under a danger of insolvency. Political unrest continues across the nation. And job opportunities are terribly lacking for many groups. What a mess! Our political parties in Congress don’t know what to do other than fight each other and continue to block change. But Congress has the power not just to block change but also alternatively to institute changes that are needed. Congress just doesn’t want to change.
Tavis Smiley and Naomi Klein hope that people will eventually unite over interests they have in common. And they hope that a nascent social unity will undermine the destructive policies of neoliberalism. If you want to learn more about how neoliberalism got started in the United States, buy Political Catsup with Economy Fries: Liberalism, Pragmatism, Opportunism, available on Amazon.com .