On the surface, the big business program for the 1970s is much easier to understand than its acceptance by much of mainstream liberalism and the public at large. From the early ’70s onward, such corporate-connected strategists as John Connolly, William Simon, David Rockefeller, and even Charles Schultze have argued, in effect, a simple position: wealth should be redistributed upward. The specifics of the corporate agenda have similarly been voiced again and again: cutbacks in “big government” (i.e., social-service spending); easing of environmental and consumer controls on corporate behavior; new tax incentives and forms of subsidy for business; and toleration for relatively high levels of unemployment. The large corporations have sought—in the astonishingly candid language of a Business Week editorial of October 12, 1974—to “sell” the public, through a wide-ranging advertising blitz, on the “idea of doing with less so that ...
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