Krystal and Saagar on Restoring American Economic Confidence


4 years ago



Krystal Ball

3 appearances

Krystal Ball is a political commentator and host of the YouTube show and podcast "Breaking Points."

Sagar Enjeti

3 appearances

Saagar Enjeti is a political commentator and host of the YouTube show and podcast "Breaking Points."


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Same question to you. How do you fix this? So, I'll start with the riots because I think my view is clear. Reestablish law and order. I agree with you. You use that opportunity to seize upon, again, the 50 plus one things. What do we all learn through this pandemic? It's pretty stupid that our corporate elites and our political elites allowed many of our most critical jobs and industries in order to go over to China. That's an empirically stupid thing. Reshoring American supply chains makes us safer in the long run, both from an economic perspective, from national security perspective, health perspective, etc. The China thing is like a 90-10 issue. Right now, I want to make sure I call this out, which is that there are elements in the White House, more corporate friendly ones, who are trying to quash a Buy American order that was put forward within the Trump administration that doesn't even call for mandatory onshoring of medical supply chains, but just wants to use tax rebates and all that other stuff to encourage over 10 years. I think it's pretty unconscionable that something like that, 90-10 issue after something like this hasn't been passed. I think on trade, it's the same thing. This is a broader question of so much of what we have. It's not just China. I mean, it's an overwhelming thing in our trading relationship, but it's like a great nation makes things for itself. There's a great essay I read. It was like, Make America Autarkic again. And autarky is like making everything here. And I'm not saying that all the libertarians are going to get very upset about me and start sending me comparative advantage memes. But look, there is a real benefit to be able to make things in America. And that just because it's cheaper, the altar of globalization, the altar of cheap prices has made us make horrific political choices over the last four decades. And going on that and praying towards that altar has made it so that we are less safe, less robust, less, I mean, socially, you know, to live in a town and to have a factory which is producing something and to feel pride in your work and get paid a good wage and to know that at the explicit decision of Congress in order to let China join the WTO, restoring permanent normal trade relationship with China and watching that factory go away like this, you know why that went away. And people made that choice because they said, fuck you, you're better off. You have a cheaper TV. They said, not better off. GDP will go up. Yeah, and GDP did go up. Overall, and it did. And it was great for a few people. I think that you have to acknowledge that there's like a deeper rot in the society where the fundamental promise has been like, if you have cheaper stuff and you can buy more like cheap Chinese crap, you're going to be happy, right? That's going to be the key to happiness. And so everything has been used to justify those ends. And it hasn't made us happy. It hasn't made us satisfied. It hasn't brought us any sort of spiritual nourishment or community. And community is something that we have completely sort of dismissed with and dispatched with and devalued in the country as well. So some of this is not like easy, here's a law you can pass and you're good to go. But I think it does start with this fundamental idea, which comes back to kind of the core of our show, that human beings are worthy, that they have dignity, that they have rights that should be secured. And if you can take that kind of FDR economic rights model and actually implement it into place where people feel that they are valued and seen and heard and have agency and power in the society, then you are not going to have to call in the military to American cities. You're not going to end up with a situation like we see right now that's spiraling and spiraling and spiraling out of control. That's another thing in terms of what I would do. It's like we have to reorient our economic life and our economic policies in order to incentivize the building of communities and the building of institutions that exist outside of just a direct check from the government or a direct check from your workforce. Which needs to be about, I mean the way that America was, probably the most united we ever were was around like in the 1960s. Now look, I know there were terrible things that happened. They were exposed in the civil rights era and all that. But you know, broadly, what was it? It was like unions, it was about higher wages, and it was about the strength of the American family. And that's something that, I mean every data we see, lowest marriage rate on record in 2018. And what's the number one reason that people cited not being able to get married? I think it's tender. So I think. It's not though. I think it's too easy to get laid. No man, people still want to get married. It's just that they can't afford to. Marriage is a luxury good now. Are you sure? They'd be like, honey, I really wish we could. Yeah, just don't have it up in the bank account. I think we need to reorient our economic life in order to bolster the American family. And this is something very much part of like the New Right movement. There's this new organization called American Compass run by a friend of mine, Orrin Cass. He used to work for Mitt Romney. And now what he's trying to do is move the GOP on these issues towards centering economic life, restoring economic conservatism from economic libertarianism. And what I mean by that is free market fundamentalists, that the free market is always good. Look, the free market, is it a good thing, once again, that we couldn't make ventilators in our country when we thought we needed them? Is it a good thing that we couldn't manufacture our own medical supplies? And then broadly, like in terms of the immediacy, what I would do, it's this payroll plan. It's so critical that we restore Americans payroll and that we try to make it so that these businesses don't become failed distressed assets that get rolled up into these huge private equity conglomerates that buy them all off for cheap, that fucks over workers, it fucks businesses. Do you want to live in a world where there's no mom and pop businesses or no dive bars anymore? That's where we're headed right now. We have to make sure we prevent that. I think too, people will put up with a lot of shit and they will persist and they will invest in the community, they'll invest in their lives, they'll invest in a productive civil society. If they feel that they have, they believe that life will get better for themselves and their kids. And I really think that's kind of the core breakdown is that people no longer have that confidence that for their kids, they're going to be able to have it better than they had. And when you lose that sense of hope, that's when things go off the rails.