One of the most remarkable developments of the pandemic, was how fast the political consensus moved on what government could do in the economy. All concern for deficits vanished. The feds started handing out money to people, to businesses, to local and state governments. Unemployment benefits massively increased in both amount and in the number of people they reached. The government started restricting the power of landlords to evict renters, the power of banks to foreclose of homes. And a whole lot of this happened under an incredibly reactionary Republican administration. You could call it a return to what economists call Keynesianism — a set of tools and principles for managing the economy named after someone who wouldn’t necessarily look kindly on everything that’s been done in his name.
Zachary Carter, writer in residence with the Reimagining Capitalism initiative at the Omidyar Network. His most recent book is The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the life of John Maynard Keynes