The Push for Populism

Simon Johnson has a post on “Responsible Populism” in which he argues that policies that get branded as populist in the U.S. are usually good ideas. Historically he points to the movements that led to the 16th and 17th amendments that brought us the income tax and the direct elections of senators, both policies that are generally supported today.

In the modern era he points toward increased financial regulation pushed by Sheila Bair and Elizabeth Warren (thank god for the 19th amendment). In my opinion he’s trying to put out the fire without removing the cause. Congress and the President are unlikely to enact the necessary regulations because they raise so much money from the financial industry. Even if they are acting in good faith, they talk to a lot more investment bankers than is healthy for anybody, giving them a skewed vision of the world.

We need to end the privileged access of money to our politicians by getting money out of politics and giving the investment banker the same amount of influence as a garbage collector: one vote.


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