The business community has emerged virtually untouched from a confluence of crises that in previous eras would have resulted in profound redistributional changes. For this surprising development, the idea and influence infrastructures that conservative foundations and corporate America carefully created over a 35-year period can claim much of the credit.
...The weakening of what used to be the great American middle class cannot be understood without also considering the embrace free-market theology. By omitting this critical factor in the rise of inequality, Mr. Obama left unchallenged the argument, recited by business like a mantra, that regulation and economic expansion are inherently in tension.
Sadly, the crises resulting from deregulation will almost certainly continue until political forces realign themselves and a new social bargain is struck under which the business community’s economic freedoms are once again constrained by a government that is more willing to impose greater responsibilities on powerful economic actors and a legal system that is capable of holding them accountable for the harm that they cause. Until then, a crucial check on the seemingly inexorable advance of economic inequality will be missing.