With Senate control on the line in two Georgia runoff elections next month, Republicans are claiming that President-elect Joe Biden and the Democrats are “socialists.” That’s their shorthand for government interference in the economy, corruption, failure to enforce the law, incompetence, and subsidizing people who should support themselves.

Let me suggest four areas where the incoming Biden administration, allied with serious conservatives, can fight “socialism” while upholding progressive values.

► Eliminate farm subsidies and farm support programs (which will cost $46 billion this year — up from $22 billion last year — and will account for about 40% of this…


As America’s second quarter GDP takes a record plunge, here are clues to the economy that awaits us on the other side of this COVID-19 nightmare.

More Americans have been killed by the COVID-19 pandemic than in the Korean, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined, and the carnage hasn’t ended. Corporate bankruptcies are increasing, the second quarter Gross Domestic Product just plunged a record 32.9% from the previous quarter, and resumption of normal activities is not on the immediate horizon for most people. So the recession will be with us until we have a vaccine and the pandemic ends — likely another year.

What will the economy look like on the other side of this veritable valley of death?

More industry concentration. Financially strong and well-positioned…


President Donald Trump wants to restart the economy by ending the lockdowns and getting people back to work. However, based on U.S. spending, employment and consumption data, the economy started crashing well before lockdowns began in mid-March. Demand for transportation and other services began to collapse in mid-February and early March due to COVID-19’s dangers, and isn’t likely to naturally return to pre-crash levels until the risk of the virus recedes.

In late February through early March, COVID-19 deaths in the United States were about 20 to 30 per day. The daily U.S. death toll is now 1,000 to to…


President Donald Trump was celebrating his recent deal (with Saudi Arabia, Russia and other oil-producing nations) to prop up oil prices — by reducing oil production — though so far his attempt at rigging the oil markets has been a spectacular failure. One of the few bits of good news from the coronavirus recession is the large drop in U.S. gasoline prices — due to falling oil prices, as demand for oil has collapsed. So why is Trump trying to reverse this trend?

The United States is now largely self-sufficient in oil production. If Trump’s deal finally does raise gasoline…


The party of limited government and fiscal prudence is suddenly in favor of a big bailout and stimulus package for the economy — now, immediately, no time to debate! But when Barack Obama was president and the economy was in free fall, when the unemployment rate was surging towards 10% (instead of today’s 3.5%, though it’s expected to rise rapidly), Republicans were in no hurry to pass a stimulus package.

They dragged their feet, the Tea Party protested in the streets, and the GOP worried oh-so-piously about the size of the federal budget deficit. Now that a Republican is president…


  1. Ensure that academically high-performing students from low-income homes get the education they need to be as productive as they can be.
  2. Import the world’s best scientists.
  3. Increased investment in research and development.

Growth in per capita income typically is a result of increases in productivity, which are often attributable to improvements in our workforce and technology. With that in mind, here are three proposals to make American society more productive and more equitable:

1. Ensure that high-performing students from low-income homes get the education they need. We’ve heard about free college for everyone, forgiveness of student loan debt, free college…


Remember the saying that only the arch anti-communist Richard Nixon could have gone to China? In this case, it has taken a self-made entrepreneurial billionaire to come up with the most effective plan to raise taxes on the rich.

“There’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years, and my class has won. We’re the ones that have gotten our tax rates reduced dramatically.” — Billionaire Warren Buffett, CNN, Sept. 30, 2011.

Former presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg’s proposals for increasing tax revenues — by getting the rich to pay more — are admirably straightforward, clear and practical.

►Bloomberg wants more resources for the IRS, so the government can collect the money it’s owed. …


Bloomberg’s record on climate, guns, jobs, health, immigration and much else has lots for progressives to like.

This isn’t a column on why Mike Bloomberg is the perfect candidate. I was a critic of Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk policy, pointing out that we didn’t treat bank CEOs (involved in the 2008 financial crisis) as harshly as innocent young black men on the streets of New York City. I was glad when Bloomberg admitted he was wrong and said he was sorry. I worked in the Bloomberg administration on economic development, and I never doubted for a minute Bloomberg’s intentions on stop-and-frisk were good, because he wanted to save lives — especially black lives — from shooting deaths.

Many progressives…


Russia is corrupt and autocratic. It ranks 138th out of 180 countries for corruption (where a higher ranking means more corrupt) and 149th for freedom of the press (where a higher ranking means less freedom). In Russia, government policies benefit the ruling party’s allies and punish its opponents.

America used to condemn countries like Russia. Now, President Donald Trump openly expresses his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and other corrupt autocrats. Even worse, Trump and the GOP want America to become more like Russia.

Consider the very Republican state of Wyoming (Trump got 68% of the vote there in…


Since the Reagan administration, Republicans have fervently claimed lower taxes will unleash the “ makers” — incentivizing them to work harder and invest more, thereby trickling down to benefit ordinary Americans. Moreover, they have consistently claimed that their tax cuts would create such dramatic economic growth that they’d literally pay for themselves. A rising tide lifts all boats! No hard choices to make — just cut taxes!

Instead, the national debt is at a record high, and the gap between the richest and the poorest U.S. households is now the largest it has been in the 52 years the Census…

Steven Strauss

Steven Strauss is a visiting professor at Princeton University. Follow him Twitter: @Steven_Strauss or join his mailing list at https://tinyletter.com/SSStrauss

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