We live in a time when the “Left” is defined by the media, scholars, and liberals as a faction of the Democratic Party that still holds the New Deal as a standard of popular aspiration. The official Left is held together by hope for a return to happier days and despair that anything else is possible. The retrenchment of the Left’s declining aspirations is fueled by the pathological fear of the Right that pervades the liberal center. Indeed, we have had no significant social reform that was not mandated by the Supreme Court since the enactment of Medicare in 1966.

The liberals have, in general, submitted to neoliberal degradations of health care, jobs, public housing, and income guarantees for the long-term unemployed (let alone the rest of us). They have not even updated Richard Nixon’s proposal for guaranteed income or fought for a serious...

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