Friday, February 2, 2024

[NJFAC] Clinton’s Presidency Was a Disaster for Labor --the late Judith Stein is co-author of book reviewed


Today Clinton's presidency wins little respect. Few liberals want to return to the Democratic Party of the 1990s because so many see his presidency as a betrayal of the progressivism that was once the hallmark of the New Deal and the Great Society. According to Lichtenstein and Stein, his presidency was merely an "accommodation to an ideology that privileged trade liberalization, financial deregulation, and privatization of government services, while tolerating the growth of class inequalities."

In addition to servicing longtime Democratic donors, at the heart of the presidency was a growing belief that America's high-tech "new economy" was unlike any other that the nation had witnessed. The Silicon Valley high-tech industry — sustained by four decades of large federal subsidies — would come into its own in the stock market during the 1990s. The economy grew for 116 months, with economic growth averaging 4 percent a year and twenty-two million private sector jobs being created.

But as Lichtenstein and Stein remind readers, much of this was impressive in numbers alone. Most of the job growth was in retail trade, hospitality, care work, and so on. These sorts of jobs — which Clinton had created as Arkansas governor — had no health benefits, pensions, or decent working conditions, and would soon morph into the "gig economy" work blighting the world today, with workers additionally subject to a growing culture of surveillance and workplace spying. The benefactors were companies such as Walmart, McDonald's, Amazon, and FedEx, not the software engineers and new technical specialists that many anticipated.....

June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Network

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