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The Reemergence of Economic Conservatism in America / By: Lucia Duffy

Entrepreneurship is the foundation of what America is all about,” says Vivek Ramaswamy, an up-and-coming politician gaining support in the Republican party. However, Ramaswamy’s prominence signals a changing tide in national politics, a shift back towards conservative economics. Conservative economic policy in the United States is typically classified as a set of policies or beliefs that “emphasize limited government intervention in the economy, lower taxes, reduced regulation, and free market principles” (Fiveable, 2023). While wildly popular over time in America, voters in the past year seem to be leaning away from liberal economic policies at an alarming rate.

Despite its recent exhibit into mainstream politics, booms of economic conservatism have been seen before, notably in the post-Great Society, Nixonian and Reagan eras where the “Silent Majority” took hold. Similarly to this era of economic policy, the recent wave of economic conservatism seems to correlate with dissatisfaction and lack of trust in the American economy. According to Pew Research, the trust that conservatives have in the American economy has diminished by 10% in the 2022-2023 fiscal year (Pew Research, 2023). 

However, Professor Joshua Jackson of the University of Chicago, when asked about why people with decreasing incomes turn toward private healthcare and services, argues that Republicans are turning more towards conservative economics because of “subjective wealth”. This means that people compare themselves to others around them, and when they see themselves as better off than the people around them, they will want to keep the policy. So, especially in an era of increased communication in social media and polarization in politics, many people will want to turn away from more liberal, redistribution-based economics. 

So, whether the phenomena of larger demographics aligning with conservative economics is caused by economic apathy or the valuing of subjective wealth, the United States is indubitably going through political changes, which manifest themselves in economic policy. As Walter Payton College Preparatory student Deana Fedulova aptly stated, “More and more people are complaining to me about taxes. The way they talk about [taxes], I understand some conservative votes.”




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