Smart Ideas: From Thatcherism to Corbynism

Plus: Trade war could mean boom times for counterfeiting.

President Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a welcoming ceremony for Thatcher on the White House lawn on Nov. 16
AP Photo/Scott Stewart
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March 14, 2019, 8 p.m.

The U.S. tends to follow Britain. Democrats should take lessons (and warnings) from Corbynism.

Andrew Sullivan, writing for New York Magazine

U.S. politics have a way of mirroring political movements in the U.K. Margaret Thatcher was an omen of Reaganism. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair rose in the same moment. And Brexit was a harbinger of Trump's win that same year. And now, we have Britain's lurch to the left, embodied by the unapologetic 70s socialist Jeremy Corbyn—"it's an English reboot of Clinton-Sanders, with Sanders winning, on a far more radical platform." Corbyn "gave leftists a way to wrest themselves free from the neoliberal constraints that the past 40 years had imposed, to make collectivism cool again." He's often short on policy specifics, but his goals speak to "the emergent needs and wants of this moment," delivered by a "leader who is sincere, unpackaged, real." The 2020 contenders could do worse than to adopt his formula, with one caveat: his party "has failed to rein in its bigots and haters and illiberal opportunists," which remains the major barrier to their retaking power.

Mothers need cash more than child care

The Editors, writing for The Economist

Elizabeth Warren’s universal-child-care plan “would be less efficient than simple cash transfers to poor families with children—and would give uncertain returns.” A similar program in Canada did not improve the life outcomes of children enrolled, and cost far more than the additional wealth it generated. Additionally, women who stay at home or rely on their families for child care—often poor women and women of color—would not necessarily benefit. In some places, the subsidized cost of care would exceed their annual incomes. All that money could be put to better use for other purposes, for instance, “to provide a basic monthly child allowance which could be spent on food, rent or formal child care.”

Trade wars could lead to more fakes

Jennifer Schlesinger and Andrea Day, writing for CNBC

The trade war between the U.S. and China could have an unintended consequence: an influx of counterfeit goods, which "cost the U.S. economy an estimated $600 billion a year, or 3 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.” And the problem may be growing; a new scheme on Amazon, for instance, has some criminals registering as brands to sell their goods under respected names. And while the uptick in counterfeits may relate as much to a rise in online shopping as to trade wars, “counterfeiting is potentially a way to circumvent any possible new rules.”


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