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With Georgia going to Biden and North Carolina going to Trump, there is no longer any doubt about who won the election. Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States.

However, I am not optimistic about the next four years. He has prodigious challenges ahead from the fallout of America's bungled COVID response to its enormous loss of soft power internationally. But those are things that anyone who follows the news will be aware of. I'd like to try to give a new perspective.

Biden represents a continuation of neoliberal economics. What is uniquely American about this is that the democratic party is the 'left' party in America, and yet its economic policy is liberal. In just about every other country, liberal economics is the center-right or far-right position. It's why Suga's center-right party is called the Liberal Democratic Party. It's why Merkel's CDU is classified as a liberal-conservative party. Liberalism is the political stance that markets should be open, free, and only regulated so as far as to correct natural market failures.

American neoliberalism is just liberalism, but with more market controls. It tries to marketize government services. Instead of giving poor families money for food, America sends them coupons to exchange at supermarkets. Instead of providing healthcare, America subsidizes insurance companies. Instead of building prisons, America rents prison cells from private companies. This is an economic policy that started popularly with President Reagan, but was adopted by Clinton and has continued up through Obama. And every election, it attracts less support.

Biden will be making global warming and the environment a central issue of his presidency. This is because the Democrats do not have a fundamentally different economic policy than the Republicans. There is nothing about how the economy functions right now that Biden wants to fundamentally change. For example, Republicans wanted to give Americans $200 per month for COVID unemployment relief. Democrats wanted to give $800. They settled on $400. For comparison, Canada gave $2,000. The reason for that difference is that 90% of COVID relief in Canada went to individuals, while 80% of COVID relief in America went to businesses. Neither party in America was considering not giving the majority of funds to corporations. The Democrats just wanted to give closer to 70% than 90% to pretend they cared about the workers.

Biden's presidency will be a 'return to normal', but America's 'normal' is broken. Corporate interests have overtaken the public good. Real wages have stagnated since neoliberalism took hold in the late 1970's. Essential services such as healthcare and education are increasingly paid for out-of-pocket by the workers, and profited on by corporations. None of this will change until the neoliberals in the democratic party are kicked out of power by the progressive wing. And when that happens, it's likely that those neoliberals will join their allies in the Republican party and we'll continue to see the dominance of neoliberalism in America for another decade. Until then, the most we can hope for is that the Democrats govern responsibility and don't burn the country to the ground like the Republicans are set on doing.


先日書店に行った際に見つけたアルクの ENGLISH JOURNAL。

11月号は ”アメリカの「今」に迫る” でした。


11月号の ENGLISH JOURNAL をお持ちの方、