Mainstream progressives tell us that the New Deal was a victory for the working class and the public interest. But New Deal corporate welfare programs like the Ex-Im Bank and the Raisin Administrative Committee certainly don’t benefit the general public.
Instead, these corporate welfare programs illustrate the findings of leftist historian Gabriel Kolko. He argued that “progressive” reforms, including the New Deal, “embodied the principle that government sanctions are used to back private power in specific industries, meaning generally the biggest firms in the industries involved.” To Kolko, progressive reforms were not victories for the working class or for idealistic reformers, but for big business interests.
Today, those business interests aggressively defend the privileges they’ve secured through state power. For example, the Chamber of Commerce praises the Ex-Im Bank, arguing that export subsidies “create U.S. jobs and grow the American economy.”
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