Surrender: How the Clinton Administration Completed the Reagan Revolution

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9780472109524: Surrender: How the Clinton Administration Completed the Reagan Revolution

Michael Meeropol argues that the ballooning of the federal budget deficit was not a serious problem in the 1980s, nor were the successful recent efforts to get it under control the basis for the prosperous economy of the mid-1990s. In this controversial book, the author provides a close look at what actually happened to the American economy during the years of the "Reagan Revolution" and reveals that the huge deficits had no negative effect on the economy. It was the other policies of the Reagan years--high interest rates to fight inflation, supply-side tax cuts, reductions in regulation, increased advantages for investors and the wealthy, the unraveling of the safety net for the poor--that were unsuccessful in generating more rapid growth and other economic improvements.
Meeropol provides compelling evidence of the failure of the U.S. economy between 1990 and 1994 to generate rising incomes for most of the population or improvements in productivity. This caused, first, the electoral repudiation of President Bush in 1992, followed by a repudiation of President Clinton in the 1994 Congressional elections. The Clinton administration made a half-hearted attempt to reverse the Reagan Revolution in economic policy, but ultimately surrendered to the Republican Congressional majority in 1996 when Clinton promised to balance the budget by 2000 and signed the welfare reform bill. The rapid growth of the economy in 1997 caused surprisingly high government revenues, a dramatic fall in the federal budget deficit, and a brief euphoria evident in an almost uncontrollable stock market boom. Finally, Meeropol argues powerfully that the next recession, certain to come before the end of 1999, will turn the predicted path to budget balance and millennial prosperity into a painful joke on the hubris of public policymakers.
Accessibly written as a work of recent history and public policy as much as economics, this book is intended for all Americans interested in issues of economic policy, especially the budget deficit and the Clinton versus Congress debates. No specialized training in economics is needed.
"A wonderfully accessible discussion of contemporary American economic policy. Meeropol demonstrates that the Reagan-era policies of tax cuts and shredded safety nets, coupled with strident talk of balanced budgets, have been continued and even brought to fruition by the neo-liberal Clinton regime." --Frances Fox Piven, Graduate School, City University of New York
Michael Meeropol is Chair and Professor of Economics, Western New England College.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Despite tough talk about Republican "extremism" in his bid for reelection, President Clinton surrendered to the Reagan Revolution by signing the Welfare Reform Bill of 1996, thus ending a government commitment to the poor dating back to the Great Depression. So argues Meeropol, chair and professor of economics at Western New England College, in this academic treatise. He reports that the durable right-wing revolution actually began in 1979 when, under the leadership of Paul Volcker, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve system instituted a stringent anti-inflation policy that continued through the 1990s. The rest of Meeropol's often turgidly written tome is less about the Clinton administration than it is a recounting of economic policy over two decades that has led, he claims, to a conservative agenda benefiting only 20% of the population. "The Clinton administration came into office promising 'People First,'" Meeropol writes. "Instead it has [as] its legacy an abject surrender to an unelected group of people who represent the financial sector of the economy." Believing that the revolution is now complete, Meeropol is not optimistic about the next cycle: "If history is any guide, the majority of people in the United States will benefit even less than they did during the Reagan era." Unfortunately, while the sentiment is laudable, the dry academic tone of this economic treatise is unlikely to appeal to "the majority of people." (Sept.) FYI: One of the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg's two sons, Meeropol previously has written two books on the subject: The Rosenberg Letters and We Are Your Sons.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review:

"Michael Meeropol digs expertly through twenty years of myth, propaganda, and economic illusion to reveal what really happened to people, government, and the economy during the Reagan revolution. His clarifying examination deflates the economic dogma that captured both political parties."

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Meeropol, Michael Allen
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Michael Allen Meeropol
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