Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ends of the Roads

My latest in Bloomberg View discusses the end of the liberal project to build a welfare state, and the end of the conservative project to cut taxes:
If you take a long view of U.S. politics, the current political moment comes down to just two facts.

First, President Barack Obama’s re-election means that most of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act will probably be permanent. It will be the largest expansion of health insurance in a half-century.

Second, the tax burden on middle-class Americans has been cut nearly in half since 1980. The fiscal-cliff deal made that almost entirely permanent. The average American now gives less of his income to the federal government than at any time since perhaps the 1940s or 1950s.

Both developments were among the top headlines of 2012. More important, though, they mark the culmination of two rivaling, decades-long U.S. political projects.

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