April 14, 2013

In what world does Fareed Zakaria live? Clearly, membership in the Council on Foreign Relations and participating at Davos comes with privileges that does not include recognizing an economy that only works for a minutely small percentage of people. Instead, Fareed Zakaria celebrates the elitism and growing income inequality that Thatcherism has wrought as 'vindication':

I grew up admiring Margaret Thatcher. It was obvious to many of us in India in the 1970s that socialist economics didn’t work and that Thatcher’s radical reforms were the right course, one we wished someone would advocate in India. (It took 12 years and a massive crisis for that to happen.) Her plans to cut taxes, privatize industry and deregulate have been vindicated by history, but that doesn’t tell us much about what to do today.

In fairness to Zakaria, he does admit that her solutions would not solve today's problems. But he glosses over completely the fact that her solutions--the same ones employed here by her economic soul mate Ronald Reagan--caused the economic woes we have now. Juan Cole:

In 1980 14% of the UK was in poverty. Today some 33% suffer multiple forms of financial insecurity.

  • “Over 30 million people (almost half the population) are suffering some degree of financial insecurity;
  • Almost 18 million people cannot afford adequate housing conditions;
  • Roughly 14 million cannot afford one or more essential household goods;
  • Almost 12 million people are too poor to engage in common social activities considered necessary by the majority of the population;
  • About 5.5 million adults go without essential clothing;
  • Around 4 million children and adults are not properly fed by today’s standards…
  • Around 1.5 million children live in households that cannot afford to heat their home.”
  • But in Zakaria's world a lower top marginal tax rate for the wealthiest and corporations is vindicated despite this dire situation. And yes, this is a situation exacerbated by liberal and conservative majorities alike, but unlike the elite Mr. Zakaria, let us never forget that this broken society started with Thatcher.

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