In my recent interview with Tucker Carlson, he waited until nearly the end of a long conversation to drop a bomb: He might vote for Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2020. OK, there’s a “but” and an “if.” Carlson actually said that if Warren focuses on the economic populism ideas articulated in her 2004 book “The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents are Going Broke,” he would consider supporting her. It wasn’t a promise. From the point of view of Donald Trump and the Republican Party, it might be more like a threat.
This article first appeared in Salon.
We have to put Salon’s interview with Carlson, a top-rated prime-time host and commentator on Fox News, in the proper context. That context would be the Overton window, a concept developed at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy by Joseph P. Overton:
Imagine, if you will, a yardstick standing on end. On either end are the extreme policy actions for any political issue. Between the ends lie all gradations of policy from one extreme to the other. The yardstick represents the full political spectrum for a particular issue. The essence of the Overton window is that only a portion of this policy spectrum is within the realm of the politically possible at any time. Regardless of how vigorously a think tank or other group may campaign, only policy initiatives within this window of the politically possible will meet with success.
That doesn’t exactly describe my conversation with Carlson, but it provides a useful frame. In any society at a given time, certain political ideas are deemed to fall outside the realm of the acceptable. Sometimes that’s healthy, if it drives totalitarian ideologies to the margins, but it can be harmful when it stifles meaningful dialogue.
We seem to be in a moment when the Overton window for acceptable ideas is widening. On one hand, we have the overt white nationalism and xenophobia expressed by many of Donald Trump’s supporters, and some would argue by the president himself. On the other, we have the Medicare for All proposal brought into the mainstream by Bernie Sanders, and the increased marginal tax rates on the wealthy proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives.
Tucker Carlson, in his own way, is helping to open the Overton window. Carlson has openly and often enthusiastically supported Trump; on the evening prior to publication of this article, he hosted Trump adviser Roger Stone in the latter’s first TV appearance after his indictment in the DNC hacking scandal. He has also been accused (in Salon and elsewhere) of helping to mainstream noxious ideas from the white supremacist fringe. More recently, however, he has also espoused some surprising economic positions.
I reached out to Fox News for an interview after Carlson delivered an editorial monologue on his show earlier this month that offered a wide-ranging critique of many aspects of capitalism, including how the rich game the tax code and how poverty harms working-class families. These were unexpected positions for a commentator who has been a staple of Fox News for the last decade, and a voice of the conservative movement much longer than that.
They suggested that Carlson was open to a thoughtful discussion of the economic and political flaws in American society, even if such a discussion discomfited conservatives weaned on the ideas of Ronald Reagan. Maybe these ideas don’t put Carlson entirely outside the current Overton window, but they certainly came as a surprise to some conservatives — and were greeted with considerable skepticism by liberals.
Personally, I reacted with curiosity, a quality sometime undervalued in democracy. Even if we don’t agree with someone — or especially if we don’t — it behooves us to have a genuine interest in understanding what they think and why. Being curious about other people’s opinions can provide the foundation to build bridges where we didn’t think they were possible. Failing that, it allows us to better understand the ideas we oppose — and come up with better arguments against them. If free speech is the lifeblood of a viable democracy, then curiosity is the exercise that keeps it pumping through the system.
And let’s give Tucker Carlson credit: He was curious enough to respond in kind. Our lengthy conversation resulted in an ungainly transcript, which has been carefully edited to maximize clarity.
So I read your editorial, which was actually a monologue, but I read it as an editorial —
It was kind of an editorial, yeah. It kind of had an editorial lean, I would say.
Well, it reminded me of Abraham Lincoln’s 1861 State of the Union message. He actually said in that speech — are you familiar with it?
He denounced what he described as the effort “to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor in the structure of government.” Here’s another direct quote. He said, “Labor is prior to and independent of capital …
“Capital is only the fruit of labor and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration.”
Lincoln said that?
Hold on, I’m writing this down. I hadn’t read that. OK, first, God bless you for noticing that. You are like the only person noticing that part of the script, which to me was the essence. That’s the big question, tax rates. The piece got all this attention for sexism, or someone called it racist — I don’t even know what it had to do with race, but whatever.
But the hope for me, as the guy who wrote it — the thing that interested me the most, the thing that I was most upset about — was the tax differential between labor and capital, and you never hear that. I literally can’t remember the last time I heard someone even mention that fact.
It frustrates me because the whole point of saying it — I’m not in charge of anything, obviously. I can’t make legislation, I don’t seek to. All I wanted to do was start a conversation about things that I think are important.
Nobody even mentioned what to me was the most significant point of all, which is the tax rate, which determines our behavior to a huge extent: You know, where you live, what you do, at what age you get married, where kids go to school. I mean, it is one of the three or four biggest factors in people’s lives and no one ever talks about it. Do you think that’s weird?
I think it’s intriguing. I think it says a great deal about how our political discourse has evolved, and it brings me to the question I want to ask about what you describe as the “finance based economy” and the examples which you say are mainstream in the Republican Party today. Some of the symptoms of the finance-based economy that you identify are mass layoffs, increased national debt and poverty, particularly for the elderly who lose their pensions. You also say that the goal seems to be to “make the world safe for banking.” Are there specific Republican policies that you would cite as contributing to this?
Well, I would say the whole orientation of the party. The last tax bill is a perfect example. It just sort of assumes that what’s good for finance is good for America. The piece was light on policy recommendations and there is a reason for that. I’m hardly a policy guy, I’m not an economist, and I’m not a think tank fellow.
My job is merely to note the things that we’re already talking about, the obvious contradictions in people’s arguments. The surface layer is what I deal with, so I’m not certain what the remedies are in a lot of cases, and I hope I never pretend that I am. I just wanted to reorient the conversation away from what I think or from the identity politics stuff, especially because it’s irresolvable.
I would never make the case that racism doesn’t exist, or it’s not a factor. Of course it does and it is. But in the end, our racial differences or sex differences are immutable differences that can’t be fixed. They can’t be changed. They’re set at birth, so it’s not only counterproductive, but in my opinion, it is an intentional diversion away from conversations about things that we could potentially change, like tax rates. Those could be changed today by an act of Congress, and they’re not changed, because the rest of us are having these fundamentally fruitless conversations — really at the direction of the people who are benefiting most from the status quo.
I hope I don’t sound like a conspiracy nut, because I’m not. I’m not claiming the moon landing was fake, but I do think it’s very interesting that 95 percent of our conversations are either about Trump’s temperament, or about race and gender, and those are the only topics you think about. Whatever side you’re on, on either side, they still can’t really be changed — so why isn’t there a robust debate about this on the left and right? I mean it seems to me by definition the left should be mad about this stuff. I mean one of the reasons I read Jacobin pretty consistently is because that’s one place — I don’t know, do you read that ever?
Yes, I do.
OK, so I really like it. I don’t agree with everything. I don’t agree with a lot. Actually I do agree with a lot, but not everything. But the point is, the reason I read it is because they have conversations about stuff like that. They’re asking more basic questions about the way things are organized, but I just — my intention in writing it was to remind the Republican Party that these are now issues of concern for you, because for a hundred years you represented capital over and against labor. I mean that’s kind of the purpose of the Republican Party. They used to represent the investor class, right? So the conventional criticisms of the Republicans as the party of management were 100 percent true, obviously.
What I wanted to remind Republican lawmakers was that it’s no longer true, that’s not your constituency anymore. You have a new constituency and it’s people who are primarily wage earners and primarily — not low income, but lower income.
Of the top 10 richest zip codes in the country, I think all 10 are now represented by Democrats. I think of the top 50, 42 are represented by Democrats. So there has been a huge realignment where the Republican Party is now the party that is supposedly representing the interests of wage earners and they’re not, because they are on autopilot from 30 years ago, from the Reagan era.
My only point — even leaving aside my own personal views, which are evolving pretty fast — but Reagan aside, I believe as an American that every big constituency ought to have representation in Congress and the government, right? Someone ought to be saying, “Yeah, those are my voters, I’m looking out for their interests.”
I think one of the reasons we’re having this really volatile moment is that neither side has accepted the electoral reality of the moment we’re living in, which is: These are Republican voters. That’s why at the end of the piece I said something like, “Right now this is something Republicans have to do.” Honestly, I know them better anyway. I’ve lived among them my whole life. I’ve been an intermittent Republican voter my whole life — sort of against my will a lot of the time, but whatever, right?
But I know the Republicans very well, and I wanted to say to them, we need to start rethinking your whole orientation, but much more broadly, yeah, we need to have a debate. Why is there never a debate about that really?
I remember so well in 2008 — no, it was 2012, when Mitt Romney won the nomination. In that campaign I happened to be physically standing right next to Newt Gingrich at some event in New Hampshire I was covering, when he brought up this question. I’ll never forget it as long as I live. He said, “Wait a second!” You know, Romney’s tax returns come out and he paid an effective rate of 14 percent or whatever, but it was way less than your average upper-middle-income wage earner pays, which is, you know, 40 percent.
Newt goes, “Why is that? Why is that fair?” It just caught me in a certain way, and I was such a captive of libertarian economics at the time. I had just kind of transdermally absorbed all these assumptions. I thought I was a free thinker, and I really thought I was kind of breaking my own way intellectually, but I wasn’t at all. I was just a captive of the assumptions around me.
I don’t want to interrupt, but this reminds me of something else you said in your article. You wrote, “Yet, like the libertarians they claim to oppose, many social conservatives also consider markets sacrosanct. The idea that families are being crushed by market forces seems never to occur to them. They refuse to consider it. Questioning markets feels like apostasy.”
That seems like the point that you’re trying to make. My question then, is how do you convince people for whom free market economics has become essentially a religion that they need to challenge their god? How do you convince other conservatives to open their minds about this issue, as you did?
It’s really simple. Drive from Washington, D.C., to Pittsburgh, that’s all it takes. You stop four times for gas and something to eat, and open your eyes and what are you looking at? I mean, what are you looking at? You’re looking at a society that has collapsed…
I know you said you’re not trying to advocate specific policies, so let’s be a little more abstract. What type of society would you view as ideal, in terms of how a human being should be able to live from birth until death? What should the function of government should be in nurturing that human and protecting them from harm?
This is all a fairly delicate balance between freedom and coercion and central planning and organic growth. All the intentions that are inherent in life and certainly that are inherent in policy. OK, so there’s never any kind of bumper sticker that solves the problems. What I’m arguing for is a reorientation of the way we think about this stuff.
Formulation of policy needs to begin with a clear-sighted picture of what the goal is: What do we seek to achieve by doing this? What’s the final stage of awesomeness we’re hoping to get to? In the final stage, in my opinion, it is a society in which most families — which is to say married couples with children — can subsist and thrive to some extent on one income, because one thing that no one ever mentions, which is a defining factor in people’s lives, is raising your kids, and people kind of want to do that themselves.
There’s been a huge debate over how much money we should give people to hire someone else, usually from another country, to raise our kids. Without even weighing in on that debate. I would just make the obvious point, which is that we’re falling pretty far short of where most people would like to be, which is how can parents stay at home and raise the children? If you allowed people the freedom to do that, if you said, I’m going to give you enough money so that when you have kids, a parent can stay home and raise them while they’re little? My sense is that an awful lot of people will take advantage of that. An awful lot.
Like everything, it would be a trade-off. I mean, there are certain perks that you get from working that you don’t get from staying at home. I mean, I get it. OK, but I’m just saying if the average person has the choice, I sincerely believe that a very large number of people would take that option, and I think they should be allowed to. By the way, I’m with Elizabeth Warren on this. She wrote a whole fucking book about it. She wrote a whole book on this called “The Two-Income Trap,” and she made the case that when our society changed in such a way that it took two incomes to support a family, everybody got poorer and less happy. I agree with that.
So you went outside the Overton window in terms of mainstream Republican thought. What inspired you to do that? Do you foresee any possible backlash? You challenged the sacred cow of free market economics, and you’re on Fox News. Do you see where I’m going with this?
I do. I see my job as saying what I think it’s true. I’m not trying to dodge your question. I’m honestly being as direct as I can be. I see it as my job to say what’s true. I was hired to do that by Rupert Murdoch, who has given me unlimited — I’m sure there’s a limit to the freedom I have to say what I think, but no one at Fox has criticized me for what I said, or has tried to constrain anything I say ever.
Not one time has anybody ever told me what to say. I exist in this kind of ideal world where I can say, honestly, what I think is true. Sometimes I’m wrong, but it’s always here and in this case I said it because I really believe it, and because a new year was starting and I hope to sneak in an idea before we get caught up in Russia or whatever sideshow will come in any day now.
It’s designed to pull our attention away from the things that actually matter, like how you are living, and are your kids going to live more fruitful lives than you have or are they going to die at 40 of diabetes or poverty? Those are the actual points, and those the ones that are never debated by anybody. It actually and honestly drives me crazy. Not because I’m some deep intellectual, I’m certainly not, but because it’s just so obviously frivolous and stupid, and intentionally so.
Near the end you write, “For now those leaders will have to be Republicans. There’s no option at this point.” Your concern, and this is what you predict, is that we will wind up getting socialism. But the tenets of democratic socialism actually try to offer solutions to those problems. For instance, they talk about providing a universal basic income, free health care, free college. In terms of drug overdoses, they talk about providing rehab so that everybody, regardless of their income, can have access to rehabilitation, which is a form of health care.
You talk about diabetes and the obesity epidemic — I assume that’s where you assuming, where you were going with that — and that’s another thing that could be addressed by stronger government regulation. I guess my point is, there is an ideology out there that is directly confronting those issues and offering potential solutions. If you think those solutions are bad, then what is good?
Part of what you’re saying is true. Part of it is silly and simplistic, you know.
Well, I appreciate your candor.
Well, I’m always blunt. What’s true is that — and I agree with you completely — there are plenty of things that government can do to make people’s lives better. I am not a laissez-faire person. I’m not a libertarian. There are plenty of things that government can do. OK, I would shut down payday loan places like tomorrow. I probably shouldn’t have said, now that you raise it, “Only Republicans can do that,” because I don’t think that’s true. I think you’re right, it’s not true.
What I was trying to express, and did so inartfully, was that this is a conversation that Republicans need to take control of, and they need to get over the assumptions that have accumulated like barnacles over the last 30 years. That’s what I was thinking as I wrote that, and I don’t think I expressed it well.
My problem with democratic socialism — I have two problems. One, show me where it’s worked that would make me feel better. And I’m not talking utterly homogeneous countries with populations of six million people, but real countries. I’m not aware of any place that it has worked, OK? And then, when people say things like, “Well, we need more money for child care or rehab” — that’s a perfect example. Rehab doesn’t really work. I say that as someone who’s been sober for 17 years. I know a lot about this topic and lI ook at the cure rates, the 10-year relapse rates on rehab as it’s practiced now. They’re terrible. That’s one of the reason that so many people are dying of drug abuse. People get out of rehab and then use again and their tolerance is down, they OD.
Your average democratic socialists don’t bother to think about that and ask, you know, if it doesn’t work, why would we want more of it and maybe even more centralized?. Why are we having this in the first place? Why are 22-year olds doing a drug they know has no upside. There’s no upside to fentanyl, like none. Everybody knows that, but people are doing it anyway. Why is that happening?
If I may answer your question, actually.
I hope you will.
I actually have some people very close to me who have used very heavy drugs. It’s not an exaggeration to say they’ve broken my heart. These are people who I loved who have either died or ruined their lives. I think the answer — and this is where I agree with your editorial — it’s despair. Every single person I can think of came from a broken family and they felt nothing, and drugs provide them with an escape where they don’t feel pain anymore.
The second, and this goes into your discussion of marijuana. Here’s the thing about marijuana — I’m actually curious: Have you ever tried it?
I used to smoke it every day. I’m from California. Yes, I smoked it as a child every day. Yes, I know a lot about marijuana.
There are people who find it to be beneficial. There are people who will say that it helps them with mental health issues. The problem is, of course, when they experiment with heavier and heavier drugs which are not beneficial, opioids or things like that. What I found intriguing about your editorial is that you did challenge a lot of sacred cows on both sides. I think that’s important in our society. I think we need to be willing to have debate that isn’t confined by: If you’re a liberal, these are all your opinions. If you’re a conservative, these are all your opinions.
Exactly. Where did you grow up?
Pennsylvania. In the Lehigh Valley, and I’m proud of it.
That may account for your attitude. That’s interesting.
I’m curious why you say that. Are you familiar with this region?
Yeah, of course. Yeah, I’m familiar, all I have done is travel like my whole life. I think that one of the reasons our conversations are so narrow and stilted and stupid is, because there’s no diversity among the people having them, that’s what I mean.
I’m emphatically not talking about racial diversity. I’m talking about the kind that actually matters, which is diversity of experience at some point, and regional, geographic diversity, economic diversity. It’s not everybody, but a huge percentage of the people engaged in our policymaking and the commenting upon our policymaking are from a very tiny world.
They all have the same assumptions, and I feel like Lehigh Valley or the Mahoning Valley or any of those kind of post-industrial parts of the country, or the agricultural parts of the country, aren’t represented statistically at all in the schools that feed into Washington, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco. It’s like everybody from the same neighborhood having the same conversation and expecting to come to a positive result, it’s insane, it’s stupid. I find that the people I talk to tend to be from places that aren’t as commonly represented among the people in my world, because they have a slightly different view of things and I appreciate that.
I want to go to the question about someone whose name you haven’t mentioned too much, President Donald Trump. You acknowledge that he is “a mercurial and divisive leader,” and then you describe it as an open question whether Trump recognizes the movement of economic populism that got him elected. That made me curious about two things. First, from your own observations, do you think he has an awareness of it? Because I know you’ve interacted with him. The second is, do you think there’s any way for liberals to find common ground with Trump?
In general I think that we talk too much and think too much about Trump, and that is again probably intentional, because it’s a way to wade past the actual conversations which are uncomfortable about who is getting rich and who is not.
In that script and on my show more generally, I really try to be like the one place where we don’t have to talk about Trump for an hour, not because it’s like some political decision I’ve made, it’s not, but because I just don’t think it’s that interesting.
I don’t know, you can judge for yourself. I don’t think the obvious lesson of the 2016 election was you hire Steve Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary, you know. I can’t just put it into one sentence. As I sort of read through the exit polling in November of 2016, my first thought was, “You know, they really should hire some more Goldman Sachs people to oversee our economy.” That didn’t flow naturally from the trends I was watching, but you know, I’m just an observer. Maybe America was crying out for more Goldman Sachs-infused economic policy. I mean, possibly.
I don’t know, but I also think it’s less relevant and less meaningful, the president of the United States. I’m not giving him a badge or whatever, I’m just saying it’s not the only question. The real question is what comes next.
I am a little bit surprised that liberals didn’t look at Trump’s election and say, “OK here’s a guy who’s running against more wars, who’s running against the Iraq war, who’s mad about the carried interest loophole, who’s taking swipes at private equity, and he’s at least talking about middle-class wage growth. These are things that we’ve said we’ve cared about for a long time. There are obviously things about Trump that we don’t like and we disagree with and we want more immigration, fine. But on those issues, I mean, we’re liberals, those are our issues.”
It’s a little bit surprising, honestly. It’s stunning to the degree where rather than engage with Trump on those issues and say, “Hey, you promised on the campaign trail to do something that we’ve been calling for over 30 years, let’s do it,” instead of that, they changed their own views.
After Trump became president, Sen. Bernie Sanders actually offered to work with him on those issues. But the problem is, his vice president is Mike Pence, his treasury secretary is Steven Mnuchin, his economic policy advisors tend to be traditional Republicans. He has pretty much surrounded himself with them. The only economic policy adviser he has who I wouldn’t consider to be a traditional Republican is [Peter] Navarro, but the rest of them are. His foreign policy advisers tend to be more traditional. If his rhetoric is saying one thing, but his personnel choices and his policies are indistinguishable from mainstream Republicanism, why would liberals want to join him?
Half of that is totally true. What you just said is totally true. That the staff choices were almost entirely conventional, and in that way, a betrayal of what he promised. You’re absolutely right. You’re absolutely right. That’s why I asked the question, does he understand the forces that he rode to victory? You know, I don’t know. I’m not a shrink, but I think it’s a fair question, and you just put it better than I could have.
I don’t think that changes the fact that he ran on these things. Again, not all of them liberals like, but some of them, the ones I listed, were longstanding policy goals of the Democratic Party, and then they changed their goals. So in other words, today, the voices calling most loudly for a continued American presence in the Syrian war, which is totally pointless and crazy, actually. in my opinion, are from the left. It’s all the chin-tuggers on CNN who are telling you it’s irresponsible to leave or we need to support NATO or pick a fight with Russia or defend Latvia against Putin. Like, what? It’s actually nuts, and it’s also non-liberal.
Anyway, you see the point. In other words, the effects of Trump getting elected have been a lot more confusing than I think anyone ever would have anticipated. Basically the parties switched sides. I’ve watched it in real time every night, and it’s been very distressing to watch. But it doesn’t change the fact that one way or another, all of this is going to end soon. Then we’re still going to have a country, and normal people on both sides are going to have to figure out what’s next.
The last thing I’ll say is, I find one of the groups that see this most clearly is the traditional left, the harder left, the ideological left. The anti-war people, for example, of Jacobin. I don’t agree with everything they say, but they tend to be less interested in Trump. They all assume that they have looked at him in many ways, whatever, they don’t care. But they’re fixated on ideas and principles and I find them much more satisfying to talk to.
I really get nothing out of conversations with lifestyle liberals. If I talk to another self-righteous rich kid about racism or the trans community, I mean, I’m just going to die of boredom. But if you talk to some of the people in the hard left, they’ve got something to say about how the world’s changing. What does it mean? I think this Yellow Vest thing in France is one of the most interesting things I’ve seen a long time, really a long time, and they have opinions about that and so anyway.
By the way, you’ve been very generous with your time and I want to thank you for that.
I want to thank you because you gave me Lincoln’s State of the Union message. I plan to look that up immediately. Where did you go to college? Did you go to college?
I got my BA at Bard College, my MA at Rutgers University Newark and I am now in the PhD Program at Lehigh University. In history.
I love history too. It’s all that matters. It’s where if you want to understand people … I read this piece the other day, it got me distressed so completely that I had to stop reading it, but it basically said that history as a discipline, is a field of study is disappearing. Did you read this? Look this up if you want to have a shitty day.
I didn’t read the piece, but as somebody who’s spent most of his life studying history, I’m well aware of the problem. There are a number of complicated reasons for it. I would say simply that people don’t see the value in history, because to me history is the synthesis of every other discipline. Every other discipline, whether it’s science, art, politics, philosophy, religion — everything ultimately traces back to the sum totality of human knowledge that has been recorded, which is history.
Exactly, exactly. It’s all that matters. I did all four of my case studies, it’s what I studied. It’s the only thing that tells you what’s going to happen. It’s the only way you can make wise decisions about your own life. The only way you can understand what’s going on, and it’s also so satisfying and just thrilling. I’ve read history my whole life. That’s what I’m reading now. It’s what I read every day.
Well, my final question will be about history. What would you like to believe this moment in history will be? Because your editorial warns about what you’re afraid it will turn into, but if you put on your hopeful cap, what opportunities do you think exist? Because for every historical moment that has been a crisis, there has also been an opportunity.
I hope this will end, like the Progressive Era ended, with peace. One thing I’m certain of from reading history is that prolonged periods of political volatility wind up as violence. I believe that. I don’t want to believe that, but precedent suggest that’s what happens. What you don’t want to do is enter into a prolonged cycle of over-correction, wild swings, because things get crazy, and the bitterness becomes generational, and things really — your civil society collapses. You have to calm things down and the way to calm things down is to protect people from economic forces that are disrupting their lives so completely that they’re dying, which is what’s happening now.
The thing that our moment has in common with the Progressive Era — really mirrors the Progressive Era, as you know — is that this entirely new technology is appended to the economic system and the society itself. In 1900, it was the effects of the steam engine, with industrialization. The move from the farms to the factories created this like crazy political environment where there were bombings and then half the world obviously became Marxist and you had totalitarian states. What do I think half the world’s population lived that way for 70 years?
What happened was that the leaders of those countries, primarily Russia and China, refused to protect their own populations from this new economic system in the West. And most impressively in America you had progressive leaders — Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt — who understood that if you don’t make it possible for average people to live in a secure environment, there will be dramatic and disruptive political consequences.
I hope at some point soon we get leaders who are wise enough to moderate these economic forces unleashed by the digital economy, moderate them enough that ordinary people — and I mean literally ordinary, IQ of 100 — can live in a tertiary city. People you pick right out of the phone book. Those people without any obvious advantages can live stable lives. If you don’t make that possible, you’re going to get something really, really ugly.
The socialism that I was referring to is not the socialism of universal health care. I’m talking about the kind of Nicolás Maduro, burn-it-down socialism that you don’t want. Nobody wants that. Normal people don’t want that, but we’re going to get it unless you can figure out how to temper the excesses of the digital economy.
I would say at the very least, even if you don’t agree with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and the others on the left, they are offering a solution and the Republican Party seems to be avoiding even acknowledging that those questions exist.
I agree with you. I agree with you. I think that’s the total of what you just said is true. Absolutely true. If you haven’t taken a look at the book that Warren wrote, I think it may have been in 2004, with her daughter, I believe it’s called “The Two-Income Trap.” It is so interesting. I don’t agree with all of it, but just imagine living in a world where people can say that out loud. The goal is the society where parents can stay home with their kids if they choose on one income.
If there was a Democrat in 2020 in this election who made that primary plank in the platform, I would vote for that person. That’s how important I think it is. If Elizabeth Warren came out and said, “I wrote a whole book on this and I want our economy to support parents on one income, families on one income, not so we can hire some person from the Third World to work at minimum wage and raise your kids, but so that you can have an intact family. You can live in a way that we all know is better.”
In rich neighborhoods in America, there’s a parent raising those kids overwhelmingly. I live in one, so I know. There’s a parent raising those kids. Why shouldn’t everybody have that chance? If she ran on that, I would vote for Elizabeth Warren, and I would say so in public. That’s what I’m calling for, and I don’t care who provides it. Why would I?