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How Are You Going to Pay for That?

Smart Answers to the Dumbest Question in Politics

Ryan Cooper

St. Martin's Press

How Are You Going to Pay for That? Download image

ISBN10: 1250272343
ISBN13: 9781250272348


368 Pages



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Throughout America, structural problems are getting worse. Economic inequality is near Gilded Age heights, the healthcare system is a mess, and the climate crisis continues to grow. Yet most ambitious policy proposals that might fix these calamities are dismissed as wastefully expensive by default. From the kitchen table to Congress, debates are punctuated with a familiar refrain: “How are you going to pay for that?”

This question is designed to shut down policy pushes up front, minimizing any interference with the free market. It comes from neoliberalism, an economic ideology that has overtaken both parties. Proponents insist that markets are naturally-occurring and apolitical—and that too much manipulation of the economy will make our society fall apart. Ryan Cooper argues that our society already is falling apart, and the logically preposterous views of neoliberalism are to blame. Most progressives understand this instinctively, but many lack the background knowledge to make effective economic counterarguments.

How Are You Going To Pay For That? is filled with engaging discussions and detailed strategies that policymakers and citizens alike can use to assail even the most entrenched lines of neoliberal logic, and start to undo these long-held misconceptions. Equal parts economic theory, history, and political polemic, this is an essential roadmap for winning the key battles to come.


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About the author

Ryan Cooper

RYAN COOPER is a National Correspondent for The Week, and is widely considered one of the most thoughtful and clear-eyed leftist commentators in America. His work has appeared in The Washington Monthly, The Nation, Washington Post, Mother Jones, The New Republic, and others. He received his bachelor's in chemistry from Reed College in 2008, and served in the Peace Corps in South Africa from 2009-2011. He is a co-host and producer of the Left Anchor podcast. He lives in Philadelphia with his cat.

Elliott O'Donovan

Ryan Cooper

Official Links

Ryan Cooper's Articles at The Week