As news of the complete devastation across the island of Puerto Rico is released, I find myself incessantly hitting refresh on my Internet browser. With each click, my emotions and tears overwhelm me. A deep feeling of desperation follows. This has become an unintentional daily ritual since “natural disaster" Hurricane Maria struck the island.
I know I am not alone.
-Eroc Arroyo-MontanoRead more
Federalism- the division of decision-making power between different levels of government- is one of the foundational features of American government.
The United States Constitution provides state governments with significant political power. States are considered to be “closer” to the people than the federal government and are therefore better suited to customize policies that meet local needs. But Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis made another argument in his dissent to New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann that: “It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”
Many of us have come across the term "neoliberal," or "neoliberalism" before, but for all its use, few have ever taken the chance to actually explain what it is. An inadequate popular definition has allowed the term to be abused and misrepresented in a variety of ways. Despite these misrepresentations, however, "neoliberalism" is a concept that is very useful for understanding the world we live in today.
In simple terms, neoliberalism is a broad ideology that became popular in political, economic, and governmental circles in the 1970’s and reached its peak in global popularity in the 1980’s. Neoliberalism describes the political paradigm we are in right now, the political conditions of modern society. As the name suggests, it calls for a revitalization of the classical liberal view of economic policy. It's important to understand that "classical liberal" here refers to an older understanding of the word liberal than the one it has in modern America- it is referencing the liberalism of the Enlightenment era, represented by thinkers like Adam Smith and John Locke, not modern social liberalism as embodied by Barack Obama and much of the rest of the Democratic Party. In concrete policy terms, neoliberalism means free trade, low taxes, deregulation, privatization, and balanced budgets.
Neoliberalism represents a shift in the way we look at the world: it entails seeing every aspect of society, even those typically considered civic or community affairs, in the terms of the market economy.