Michael Lind

Michael Lind is policy director of the Economic Growth Program at the New America Foundation. His most recent book is Parallel Lives: Poems.

Recent Articles

Share the Credit

Why extending income tax credits to payroll tax payers should be the next big idea in American politics -- politically unassailable, progressive economics on a grand scale.

Illustration by Jason Schneider
The Democrats are a potential majority party in need of a major idea with potential. The major idea that built a Republican majority starting with Ronald Reagan's election was simple: cutting income taxes, with or without cuts in spending. The Republicans reduced income tax rates and then they cut big holes in those rates by creating new or enlarged tax credits available only to Americans who pay income tax. Meanwhile payroll taxes have risen for working Americans who, because they pay little or no income tax, are ineligible for a range of tax breaks from the $1,000-a-year child tax credit to the home mortgage interest deduction. Some progressives hope to reverse a generation of Reaganism by repealing George W. Bush's income tax cuts in order to pay for major new spending programs. But the stigma attached to "tax-and-spend" liberalism by a generation of conservative propaganda remains. Equally dubious is the strategy proposed by neoliberal Democrats, whose slogan seems to be: "no pain...

The Alternative to Empire

In the October print issue of the Prospect , James Lindsay reviewed two new books offering alternative progressive foreign policy visions -- Michael Lind's The American Way of Strategy and Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman's Ethical Realism . Today, those books' authors reply to Lindsay. Lind's response is below. See Lieven and Hulsman's response here . --- James M. Lindsay thinks that George W. Bush's foreign policy may be as good as, or better than, the alternatives put forth by me and by Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman: “Both books catalogue the administration's missteps, and both would have the next president pursue a far less ambitious foreign policy. It is not clear, however, that it would be a better one ." (Emphasis added.) Really? It is not clear that the more modest foreign policy that I propose, one based on traditional liberal internationalism, policed by great-power concerts in which the United States would take a leading part, would be a better one than the foreign policy of...

Right to Nowhere

Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed The Reagan Legacy by Bruce Bartlett ( Doubleday, 310 pages, $26.00 ) Even before it was published, Bruce Bartlett's Impostor had a dramatic effect: It cost Bartlett his job as a policy analyst at a conservative think tank, the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), based in Dallas. Bartlett, a veteran of the Reagan White House and the elder Bush's Treasury Department, clearly has the courage of his convictions. But those convictions are so extreme that, far from damaging George W. Bush with his critique, Bartlett makes the president look like a moderate. Some of Bartlett's criticisms hit the mark. In a chapter titled “Is Enron a Metaphor for Bush's Economic Policy?” he argues that Bush-style conservatism is pro-business rather than pro-market: “In reality, the last thing most businessmen want is a truly free market, which would force them to compete and erode their profits. What they really want are subsidies,...


Is the Democratic Party becoming the New England party? In 2004, the candidates who dominated the Democratic presidential primaries, beginning with the one in New Hampshire, were Howard Dean of Vermont and John Kerry of Massachusetts. In 2004, as in 1988, the Democrats nominated a liberal Massachusetts politician to run against a conservative member of the Bush family from Texas. And each time, the Texan won a majority of the popular vote as well as the electoral vote. This time, the senator from Massachusetts lost in part because the decision by the state's Supreme Judicial Court to legalize gay marriage galvanized socially conservative voters across the nation, who turned out to pass 11 state referenda against gay marriage. Outside of selected cities, the core region of the Democratic Party is New England. The Democratic Party is also the minority party at all levels of government. These two facts are not unrelated. Throughout American history, national parties too closely...

Spheres of Affluence

The fantasy of free trade still commands broad allegiance despite mounting evidence that it's not optimal for either economic growth or national interest.

A short while ago, the end of the Cold War seemed to signal the advent of a borderless world economy. The collapse of Soviet communism suggested not only the superiority of a market economy over a command economy but also the superiority of the particular kind of market economy identified with Anglo-American liberal capitalism. Privatization and free trade agreements would be the order of the day. Whether radically free market or mildly social democratic, economic unions like the European Community and the North American Free Trade Agreement would ultimately converge into a single world market characterized by free movement of goods, capital, and labor. This new world order would be sponsored and policed by the United States, the sole remaining superpower, acting either alone or as the chief agent of a revitalized United Nations. Four years, several armed conflicts, and a global recession later, this perspective looks increasingly dated. The European project has stalled. NAFTA passed...