Town Hall Seattle Civics Series
55min2022 MAY 19
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It’s sometimes easy to forget that the U.S. has reached its present state over decades and centuries of political decision-making, not just a handful of years. Every move builds on the last, doing and undoing the work of former leadership while facing new crises on top of the old. Is it possible to call out poor policy choices of the past, understand how things went awry, and take meaningful steps forward without partisan finger-pointing? In her new book,Left Behind, political historian Lily Geismer showed how the Democratic Party of the 80s and 90s — particularly during the height of the Clinton years — pushed policy ideas that centered on helping the poor without asking the rich to make sacrifices: doing well by doing good. Micro-lending became a big business, and private programs to promote democracy and equality abroad grew trendy. Geismer contended that as social programs in the private sector boomed, the structure of the government began to weaken, contributing to a crisis ...

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