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Matt Bruenig hopes to launch the next Leftist policy du jour with his new paper proposing a sovereign wealth fund. But unlike Medicare For All or a Federal Job Guarantee, the American Solidarity Fund would be beholden to, rather than fundamentally challenge, the current economic paradigm.
Regardless of your impression of his contentious online presence, Matt Bruenig has managed to carve out a space for himself as the voice of pragmatism and empiricism on the U.S. Left. That sort of irreverence for accepted tenets appears from the start of his new paper, “Social Wealth Fund For America,” with an excoriation of the starry eyed nostalgia for the so-called Golden Years of Capitalism. This kind of frank evaluation is something I try to practice myself. I would guess that straightforward approach is a large part of Bruenig’s appeal and why so many were interested in what his paper on a sovereign wealth fund had to say.
Dr. Charles Murray, identified correctly by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a white nationalist, published an article on right wing propaganda machine The Wall Street Journal making the Social Darwinian argument for what he calls a guaranteed income. He follows in the footstep of similarly dystopian libertarian “thinker” Milton Friedman in this respect and some progressive and liberal supporters of universal income believe this support shows that it could be achieved by a bipartisan effort. It is a similar neoliberal agenda as the bipartisan prison reform movement which Truthout did an excellent job exposing. Bipartisanship in general shows the utter haplessness of the Democratic Party, resigned or even enthusiastic about always making rightward shifts in order to placate their bigoted misanthropic Republican counterparts. Knowing however that well-meaning progressives and even some Leftists have been swept up in the temptation of a false pragmatism, I want to briefly outline the differences between the conservative version (which I’ll refer to as guaranteed income) versus the Leftist version (which I’ll refer to as universal income) to demonstrate that there is not even a pittance of some meeting of the minds necessary to form a coalition. Rather, in order to benefit the working class rather than harm it, universal income must be promoted singularly as a progressive goal rather than a conservative one. Apologia for the conservative aim to slaughter public investment in the working class should be classified as exactly what it is: Austrian school mythology with no purpose other than maintaining the socio-economic hierarchy.