Magazine December 8, 2014, Issue

Crony Consumerism

How bad policy fuels unwise consumption and asset bubbles

Everyone loves to hate crony capitalism. But crony consumerism, its evil twin, is just as dangerous, yet is barely known.  

In the wake of the Great Society’s efforts to mandate equality for the poor and overcome a legacy of racial discrimination, activists demanded equal access to credit. With political support for a massive welfare state receding after Lyndon Johnson’s high tide, consumer-credit expansion seemed to offer an indirect, on-the-cheap way to reduce poverty: The poor would borrow money, which the government assumed they would pay back. In theory, the houses, higher education, and consumer durables they acquired would enable a

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

The IQ Cult

Running for president in 1952, Democrat Adlai Stevenson had, so goes the lore, one of the wittier ripostes in modern American political history: “You will have the vote of every ...
Politics & Policy

Branded by Google

In September, the Washington Post received an unusual request: Would it remove a music review from the Internet? The request came from Dejan Lazić, a Croatian-born pianist. Not hearing from ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Crony Consumerism

Everyone loves to hate crony capitalism. But crony consumerism, its evil twin, is just as dangerous, yet is barely known.   In the wake of the Great Society’s efforts to mandate ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Sections

The Long View

From: jgruber@mit.edu

TO: verygiftedpotus@hotmail.com FROM: jgruber@mit.edu SUBJ: Mega apologies Dear Sir: I’m taking the liberty of writing to you at your private e-mail address, the one you give out to close and dear friends. I just ...
Athwart

One Small Outrage

If you haven’t heard the news by now, the European Space Agency landed a probe on a comet, and that was cause for hoorahs for about three minutes. Unfortunately one ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

ANGELICO’S CRUCIFIXION Tempera and gold on wood, circa 1445 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue Here is faith’s erotic life, Prayer’s unfallen touch, whose brushstrokes hold Strange virtues even now to halt And hush our ...
Politics & Policy

Letters

Remember the Alamo In his piece “Forget the Alamo” (October 20), Henry Olsen discredits the fierce battle of 1836, contending that Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is overly enamored of a ...
The Week

The Week

‐ It is our fond hope that Democrats win another landslide among non-voters next time. ‐ Comparisons are odious. But on a night of GOP wins, pride of place belonged to ...

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