The destruction of the middle class is destroying democracies and paving the way for authoritarian rule. In 2016, Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk published a paper in the Journal of Democracy showing how, in the era since Reagan led America out of classical economic policy and into neoliberalism (aka "trickle-down" and "supply-side" economics), many Americans have ceased to value democracy. "In the United States," they write, "among all age cohorts, the share of citizens who believe that it would be better to have a 'strong leader' who does not have to 'bother with parliament and elections' has also risen over time: In 1995, 24 percent of respondents held this view; by 2011, that figure had increased to 32 percent." By the time the paper came out in 2016, fully 49 percent of Americans thought elites should make decisions, rather than "government." And the growing disillusionment with democracy as a way to protect the interests of average voters doesn't just push them toward solutions hatched by the Heritage Foundation or the Cato Institute; increasingly, Americans would even consider a military junta ruling America, something that would shock the founders.
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