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The Essential Ellen Willis$
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Ellen Willis and Nona Willis Aronowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816681204

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816681204.001.0001

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Selections from “Decade of Denial”

Selections from “Decade of Denial”

(p.311) Selections from “Decade of Denial”
The Essential Ellen Willis

Nona Willis Aronowitz

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter discusses the naïveté of American optimism regarding the economy and the left and right’s competing visions of the good society as well as their views about the nation’s ills and their proposed strategies for tackling them. For the past few years, everybody has been aware that America is enjoying terrific economic growth, even if the current growth rate depends on an unstable mountain of debt. By now, the so-called conservative center knows better than to lecture people about tightening their belts when they’re already doing so. Instead Robert J. Samuelson offers economic determinism: prosperity made us do it. With regards to Americans’ frustrations over such problems as economic insecurity, low wages, crime, disintegrating public services, racial and ethnic tension, and familial instability, the right put these grievances in the context of its own vision and offered an analysis, a set of principles, a program. In contrast, the left mainly directed moral appeals for justice and compassion to a Clinton administration and a Democratic Party that paid little attention.

Keywords:   economy, left, right, America, economic growth, conservative center, Robert J. Samuelson, economic determinism, justice, Democratic Party

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