How Will the Spending Be Spun?

March 26, 2020 Media

American politics were rewired after the Great Recession. The current crisis could shake things up again.

During the Great Recession, with the economy in free fall, Congress rushed to pass the largest bailout and stimulus measures in American history. Those decisions helped stabilize the American economy but shook up the political landscape, birthing the conservative Tea Party movement and revitalizing progressive politics.

The $2 trillion economic stabilization package expected to be finalized this week makes the $700 billion Wall Street bailout in 2008 and the $800 billion stimulus bill in 2009 look like pocket change.

Like the Great Recession, this current national crisis could have political implications that reverberate far longer than the public health and economic impacts. Activists on both the right and the left say this mind-boggling amount of government spending could rewire our politics, perhaps in extraordinary ways.

“This crisis is exposing a lot of problems and vulnerabilities and injustices,” said Sarah Miller, head of the American Economic Liberties Project, a new organization dedicated to pushing government to confront corporate power. “Now, this bill is really laying them out into the sunshine for the public.”