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The new progressivism.

Conservatives say they want to use choice (school vouchers, private accounts in Social Security) to shift power from government to individuals. We think that conservatives' real aim is to shift more risk onto individuals in order to cut government, and that only liberals can deliver a choice revolution in government that people would actually want (see "Bush's Ownership Society," page 14). But we also believe progressives should go a step further, with policies that shift power from corporations to individuals.

After all, protecting the little guy against corporate shenanigans (of which there is plenty today) is a traditional mission of progressivism. Yet for most of their history, progressives have sought to empower government agencies (think SEC and OSHA) to do the protecting. That's still a worthy and necessary impulse. But there's another, more populist strain of that tradition, one that has sought to use government to empower individuals to protect themselves (think Ralph Nader's 1960s consumer movement). We've been wondering if it might not be possible to update that sort of thinking. And so we asked the five writers whose work follows to come up with ways to strengthen the hand of the average American in the 21st-century marketplace.
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Publication:Washington Monthly
Date:Dec 1, 2005
Previous Article:Bush's ownership society: why no one's buying.
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