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  1. Feb 2019
    1. The opposition of suburban whites to the welfare state (“entitlements”), beginning with the 1970s tax revolts (Burton rails at having to pay high school taxes and then see his son be forced to go to school in the inner city, and against “welfare freeloaders”), only intensified as the “hard-working” (white) “common man” in his orderly suburban family saw the New Deal dream evaporate. Burton declared in 1974: “I wanted to be somebody”, and in the economic environment symbolized by the oil price shock of that year, his identity became more and more at odds with the desire of the excluded in US society to also “be somebody”. By 1976, Burton had abandoned the Democratic party and the New Deal ethos, seeing in Ronald Reagan someone who could “deliver the nation out of its malaise”, with a reprise of Wallace’s “freshness, independence, backbone and scrappy spirit”. This is not a new story. It is rather a reflection of US history as a whole, where a frontier-spirit, classless liberalism is organically bound up with anti-democratic exclusion and an ethic of private responsibility. It is but one facet of American racialized, gendered neoliberalism.