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Uniting AmericaRestoring the Vital Center to American Democracy$
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Norton Garfinkle and Daniel Yankelovich

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780300108569

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300108569.001.0001

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Nurturing Economic Growth and the Values of American Democracy

Nurturing Economic Growth and the Values of American Democracy

(p.31) Chapter 2 Nurturing Economic Growth and the Values of American Democracy
Uniting America
Norton Garfinkle
Yale University Press

Economic growth and democratic values are intertwined. Economic life and the pursuit of wealth must complement the core values essential to maintaining a healthy civic society. However, this perspective appears to be taken for granted in the anti-tax ideology that has recently dominated economic policymaking in the United States. This chapter examines the middle-ground consensus that characterized U.S. economic policy through most of the period after World War II and argues that this long-standing centrist consensus has been discarded in recent economic policymaking. Such policies, particularly the steep tax cuts based on supply-side economics, may ultimately prevent the American middle class from fulfilling its twin role as the consumer engine of economic growth and a key component of democracy. The chapter suggests that current economic policy seems to be moving toward a “winner-take-all” society marked by ever-growing income inequality. It argues that we need to find a middle course, based on a more equitable approach to taxation in combination with effective non-bureaucratic government action, to sustain economic growth and the middle class.

Keywords:   economic policy, middle class, economic growth, democracy, income inequality, taxation, anti-tax ideology, supply-side economics, tax cuts, United States

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