How the Clinton Administration Completed the Reagan Revolution
Michael Meeropol
Illuminates recent national economic policy and warns against the single-minded commitment to balance the federal budget. The paperback edition features a new preface and afterword


Michael Meeropol argues that the ballooning of the federal budget deficit was not a serious problem in the 1980s, nor were the successful recent efforts to get it under control the basis for the prosperous economy of the mid-1990s. In this controversial book, the author provides a close look at what actually happened to the American economy during the years of the "Reagan Revolution" and reveals that the huge deficits had no negative effect on the economy. It was the other policies of the Reagan years—high interest rates to fight inflation, supply-side tax cuts, reductions in regulation, increased advantages for investors and the wealthy, the unraveling of the safety net for the poor—that were unsuccessful in generating more rapid growth and other economic improvements.

Meeropol provides compelling evidence of the failure of the U.S. economy between 1990 and 1994 to generate rising incomes for most of the population or improvements in productivity. This caused, first, the electoral repudiation of President Bush in 1992, followed by a repudiation of President Clinton in the 1994 Congressional elections. The Clinton administration made a half-hearted attempt to reverse the Reagan Revolution in economic policy, but ultimately surrendered to the Republican Congressional majority in 1996 when Clinton promised to balance the budget by 2000 and signed the welfare reform bill. The rapid growth of the economy in 1997 caused surprisingly high government revenues, a dramatic fall in the federal budget deficit, and a brief euphoria evident in an almost uncontrollable stock market boom. Finally, Meeropol argues powerfully that the next recession, certain to come before the end of 1999, will turn the predicted path to budget balance and millennial prosperity into a painful joke on the hubris of public policymakers.

Accessibly written as a work of recent history and public policy as much as economics, this book is intended for all Americans interested in issues of economic policy, especially the budget deficit and the Clinton versus Congress debates. No specialized training in economics is needed.

Michael Meeropol is Chair and Professor of Economics, Western New England College.

Praise / Awards

  • "Michael Meeropol offers an intelligent and dismaying diagnosis of the turn American (and indeed global) economic orthodoxy and economic policy have made since the 1980s—and a compelling critique of how weak those who should be defending more humane economic policies have been in the face of the concerted efforts of determined and well-funded ideologues. Even those who disagree with some parts of his argument will profit from his challenging analysis of the powerful and calculated revival of free-market assumptions in both private and public life."
    —Alan Brinkley, Columbia University
  • "Surrender shows how antipeople, antiworker policy begun in the Reagan era continues to make the rich richer and ordinary Americans poorer and less secure. This is an important book."
    —Bernard Sanders, United States Representative, Vermont
  • "Michael Meeropol's Surrender is the intelligent citizen's guide to plutocracy, a didactic instruction in the ideology and praxis of national ripoff, the fateful story of Keynes being trumped by Volcker, of fiscal policy promoting full employment being supplanted by monetarism to buttress Wall Street, and of the Clinton Administration's New Age economics in which capital is unregulated and budgets are balanced on the backs of working people."
    —David Levering Lewis, Pulitzer-prize winning author of W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868---1919
  • "This book presents a compelling case that Clinton advanced the Reagan Revolution further than the Republicans could have gone by themselves. It will leave readers wondering what they voted for in the last election."
    —Dean Baker, Economic Policy Institute
  • "A wonderfully accessible discussion of contemporary American economic policy. Meeropol demonstrates that the Reagan-era policies of tax cuts and shredded safety nets, coupled with strident talk of balanced budgets, have been continued and even brought to fruition by the neo-liberal Clinton regime."
    —Frances Fox Piven, Graduate School, City University of New York
  • "Surrender is a fine history of the bleak continuity between Reagan and Clinton, two presidents whose expansions devalued the public sector and for that reason will not be sustained. Meeropol warns of the dangers now ahead, and reminds us all that surrender to an economics of inequity and stagnation is neither compulsory nor wise."
    —James K. Galbraith, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin
  • "An insightful, balanced, and well-documented analysis of two decades of economic policy. But there is a twist: Meeropol directs our attention to the eighty percent of the population conservative economics has harmed. Accessible and comprehensive, ideal for course use."
    —Juliet Schor, Harvard University, author of The Overworked American and The Overspent American
  • "Surrender is a top flight work. Here are all the gory details of the massive redistributive revolution of the Reagan-Bush-Clinton administrations. Meeropol explores the rhetoric that prepared the way, as well as the actual policies. It is a must read for anybody who wants to understand this painful period of our history."
    —Michael Perelman, California State University, Chico
  • "A brilliant economist's profound and provocative analysis of the Reagan Revolution, brimming with astonishing insights and appealing to anyone—scholar and general reader alike—who wants to understand the current state of the American economy."
    —Stephen B. Oates, University of Massachusetts
  • "Michael Meeropol digs expertly through 20 years of myth, propaganda and economic illusion to reveal what really happened to people, government, and the economy during the Reagan revolution. His clarifying examination deflates the economic dogma that captured both political parties."
    —William Greider, author of One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism and Secrets of the Temple
  • ". . . should definitely be on the reading list of you Rage Against the Machine types out there. It is an accessible radical argument: populist economics with a minimum of of charts."
    —Roger Gathman, Austin Chronicle, January 14, 2000
  • "Without apology, and with substantial and convincing documentation, Surrender makes the case that there is an alternative to the economics of Reagan and Clinton. Relying on the economic theories of Nobel Prize-winning economists and the moral and practical leads of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in the groundbreaking 'Economic Justice for All' letter, Meeropol argues that the ship of state can be turned."
    —John Nichols, Capital Times, Madinson, WI, July 23, 1999
  • "Michael Meeropol has provided a fine clinical study of the matters suggested by his book's title, but he provides considerably more than that. The book's greater merit and importance inheres in the analyses he provides that enable readers to perceive the nakedness of Emperor Economics and the policies it supports and, thus, to evaluate ongoing and upcoming developments. . . . None of us can do much about the squalid trail pursued by Reagan et al.; but for those seeking to do something better for the present and the future (including many badly taught young economists), this book will remain timely for years to come. . . . So for both would-be economists and seriously concerned citizen (and would that economists would all be seriously concerned citizens!), Meeropol has provided the means by which they can begin to get their heads screwed on straight."
    Review of Radical Political Economics
  • "Surrender makes an important addition to critical discussion, especially in that it responds well to the reigning technical economic arguments that the policies preceding the Reagan revolution were failures from the strictly economic point of view."
    —John McDermott, Science & Society, Summer 2000

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 400pp.
  • 35 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2000
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08676-4

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  • $26.95 U.S.

  • Open Access
  • 2017
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-90073-2

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