So said an unidentified economist to Business Week in 1960. So said Milton Friedman in 1965 when J. M. Keynes made it to the cover of Time. And Richard Nixon in 1971, when he shocked the nation and the economy with a “New Economic Policy.”
In 1968, the squatters of the Quartier Latin called out “We are all German Jews” in solidarity with Daniel Cohn-Bendit who had been denied re-entry into France. Forty years later, we are all Joe the Plumber.
The form “we are all” repeats. From the economists it sounds like a declaration of identity armistice erasing difference. From the politicos it sounds a battle cry, since “we are all” assumes the exclusion in 1968 of the French establishment and in 2008 of the Democratic Party.
Economists play identity wars, but they prefer to do it privately, with reference to water salinity – freshwater vs saltwater. To assume a Keynesian identity in public has stood for compromise or pragmatism. To assume a Keynesian identity does not beg emotion. It is oddly grey and safe.