Financial TimesFinancial Times

Forget identity politics: economics is what matters now

By Simon Kuper

15 Apr 2021 · 3 min read

If you find yourself overexcited about Meghan Markle versus the royals, Churchill’s statue or the withdrawal of six Dr Seuss titles, then you probably remain trapped in the global shouting match about identity encouraged by a defunct US president. The transformative issue worldwide is now, in the immortal words of former Democratic political consultant James Carville, “the economy, stupid”.

This is most visible in the US. Joe Biden has passed a fiscal stimulus package worth $1.9tn. He hopes to add another longer-term investment package — mostly for infrastructure — of $3tn. Put together, this amounts to approaching a quarter of gross domestic product, far more than Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” programmes and military spending in the 1960s. As Republican senator Ted Cruz has observed, Biden’s newfound radicalism is partly obscured by his personal dullness.

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