In what ways and by how much is Neoliberalism hurting America and its citizens?

Thanks for the A2A Nicholas. Here is my take:

Neoliberalism is doing tremendous damage in the U.S.A., and has been for quite a while. Probably the most transparent illustration of this was escalation of the neoliberal agenda during the G.W.Bush administration at the hands of Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld et al. Here are some of the highly destructive fruits of that effort:

1. Disabling the EPA’s enforcement of environmental law for eight years (via direct executive order and more indirect hogtying of administrative processes) allowed runaway corporate pollution and untold environmental damage from business activities.

2. Weakening of NIOSH oversight across all industries resulted in a runaway increase of risk to worker health and safety - and consequent death, illness and disability of countless workers as regulations went unenforced.

3. Opening up of BLM lands to unchecked exploitation by industry resulted in horrific destruction and misuse of these public resources, with very little benefit to U.S. taxpayers (who collectively own those resources).

4. Initiating a war on false pretenses resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people - including thousands of U.S. military personnel; war profiteering of U.S. companies at the expense of U.S. taxpayers; creation of ISIS (under very similar circumstances through which Al-Qaeda was formed); destabilization of Middle East and radicalization of its populations; strengthening of the position and influence of enemy states (Iran); undermining of U.S. standing among allied governments and populace.

5. Increased financialization of U.S. economy (and encouragement of speculative risks using public funds) while loosening the regulatory reigns (SEC oversight, etc.), resulting in the most precipitous economic crash since 1929.
6. Orchestrating propaganda that encouraged some 50% of the U.S. electorate to vote against its own interests (i.e. cutting of federal spending in their geographic regions, increased income inequality, increased poverty, decreased economic mobility, decreased jobs, stagnant wages, decreased buying power, etc.).

7. As a classic consequence of crony capitalism, the largest jump in government spending (to 33% of GDP, with most of the increase benefitting big business and wealthy shareholders) since WWII.

8. The radical erosion of the provisions of the U.S. Constitution’s 4th Amendment and establishment of invasive, coercive, unjust, punitive and ideologically extreme expansions of a Police State.

9. The dismantling and distortion of U.S. democratic institutions, civilian protections and environmental protections through a targeted appointment of activist neoliberal judiciary that baldly favors corporate enrichment at the expense of everyone and everything else (Citizens United is just the tip of the iceberg).

10. The subsidizing of below-subsistance wage workers (Walmart) with taxpayer-funded welfare programs, once again enriching corporations at the expense of everyone else.

11. A general weakening of all capacities of government to serve its citizens, apparently with the deliberate aim of undermining the confidence those citizens have in their government and increase their willingness to vote for candidates who promise lower taxes and alternative “free market” solutions that enrich owner-shareholders.

To fully appreciate just how bad things can get under neoliberal ideology, read about Milton Friedman’s influence on other governments around the globe (a decent source for this is Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine) and the “structural adjustment” policies of the IMF and World Bank in developing countries. For more on all the fun stuff that happened under G.W.Bush, focus on pro-corporate SCOTUS rulings, expansion of A.L.E.C. legislative influence, the revolving door of government, regulatory capture, clientism, campaign finance corruption and the explosion of SuperPACs, corporate welfare, war profiteering, Red State government spending, origins of ISIS, coal mining safety violations, timber industry expansions into BLM, coopting of Tea Party by Koch brothers, impact of Patriot Act and Homeland Security on U.S. civil liberties, environmental destruction and exploitation, wealth disparity, FEMA failures (due to incompetent appointments), the USPS retirement prefunding fiasco of 2006, etc. It’s really rather incredible how much damage was done, and why upcoming presidential and congressional elections are much more important than naysayers from all corners of the political spectrum would have us believe.

I also have copious references for anything you might have questions about. Also, Noam Chomsky has some good lectures on YouTube about the deleterious course of neoliberalism in the U.S. You might also be interested in this post: T Collins Logan's answer to How is it that in the US the idea of Libertarianism become conflated or gobbled up by anarcho-capitalism and laissez-faire capitalism? (

My 2 cents.


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