Since he broke loose from the neoconservatives, there’s no stopping him. Francis Fukuyama, once one of the movement’s luminaries, just can’t seem to stop seeing the shortcomings of the positions that until recently he espoused.
In an article published in the latest edition of Newsweek – ominously titled The Fall of America, Inc – Fukuyama muses about the deteriorating state of “brand America”.
Brand America was in good shape when it managed to propagate around the globe two glossy ideas: a vision of capitalism based in market deregulation, and the notion that the US is a moral power, a “force for good” in the world.
Iraq took care of the latest. Now the ongoing economic meltdown is taking care of the former, and brand America is hurting like never before.
Now that his old pals aren’t watching over his shoulder, Fukuyama isn’t afraid to point the finger at the conservatives that got carried away with their Reaganite mantras as the ones to blame for the current state of affairs.
I mean, don’t get him wrong: Fukuyama still has a poster of Reagan in his bedroom closet. The thing is that he now looks at it with the same nostalgia that drove “Mamma Mia” to the top of the box office. It was fun back in the day, but who would dress like that now, right?
Reagan (as his across-the-pound counterpart, Thatcher) was “right for his time”. The problem is that “what were once fresh ideas have hardened into hoary dogmas”. And what would this dreadful hoary dogmas be? Why, nothing less than excessive market deregulation.
“What!? Market deregulation? Excessive!?”. You can almost hear his neocons pals howling at the concept. For them, “excessive deregulation” seems as absurd a concept as “excessive faith” would to a priest.
But wait, there’s more: this “Reagan-era article of faith—financial deregulation—was pushed by an unholy alliance of true believers and Wall Street firms”. Yeah, I guess you can easily imagine all those CEOs floating in the air with their heads spinning around, while sacrificing a goat over the effigy of the SEC’s chairman.
Now that he has grown allergic to that kind of rituals, all it was needed was for Fukuyama to start pushing for higher taxes and increased government spending – the dreadful “big government”. Impossible, you say?
Guess again. Fukuyama has the audacity to say that the American economy grew just as fast during the Clinton years (with tax increases that lead to a budget surplus of $127 billions when he left office) as it did during the Reagan years (with tax cuts that lead to a deficit of $152 billions and a national debt of $3 trillion when he left office).
Not happy with implying that it’s OK to raise taxes – itself a mortal sin among conservatives – Fukuyama is also calling for a revamp of public services, thus increasing government spending in such dull areas like health and education, and not in the cool and neocon-approved areas of military and, well, military.
According to Fukuyama, “the entire American public sector—underfunded, deprofessionalized and demoralized—needs to be rebuilt and be given a new sense of pride.” How about that?
And now for the grand finale: “there are certain jobs that only the government can fulfill.”
Doesn’t he sound just like Chomsky? No wonder he had to leave the American Enterprise Institute gatherings. They skin people for much less there.