Commentary

Counter Revolution from the Left: Corbyn, Sanders and Krugman


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What we call the Reagan Revolution was not just a US phenomenon. Beginning in the last quarter of the 20thcentury there was massive political change all over the world. Communism was dismantled almost everywhere, managing to hang on only in Cuba and North Korea. State ownership gave way to privatization; regulation gave way to freer markets; high marginal tax rates gave way to much flatter levies; and government sponsored social insurance began to be replaced by private pensions in more than 30 countries.

Then, within the last few years or so, we have seen a counter revolution: the re-emergence of the old left. Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, is leading Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary in New Hampshire and Iowa. Jeremy Corbyn has ousted Tony Blair-type moderates to become the leader of the Labour Party in Britain. Several countries, including Russian and Argentina, have re-nationalized private social security accounts. And Barack Obama has brought back to the White House leftist rhetoric that many of us thought was gone forever.

Let’s put this in perspective. The 20th century can be seen as one long debate over ideology. It was individualism versus collectivism. Capitalism versus socialism. The right to pursue your own happiness versus an obligation to live for the state. Generally speaking, the left lost that debate. After all the misery was tallied and all the bodies were counted, it was clear to almost everyone that the left was wrong about everything. They were wrong about communism. Wrong about socialism. Wrong about the welfare state.

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John C. Goodman is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, President of the Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research, and author of the widely acclaimed Independent books, A Better Choice: Healthcare Solutions for America, and the award-winning, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis. The Wall Street Journal and the National Journal, among other media, have called him the “Father of Health Savings Accounts.”


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