Jacob S. Hacker

Jacob S. Hacker is Stanley Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale University, is the author, with Paul Pierson, of Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer—and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class (2010) and American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper (2016).  

Recent Articles

Don't Dismantle Government—Fix It

Under assault from conservatives, government actually holds the key to American prosperity.

(Photo: AP/Carolyn Kaster)
(Photo: AP/Carolyn Kaster) Members of the media gather for a news conference at the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, on November 18, 2014, announcing the start of repairs in the Capitol Dome Restoration Project. Below is an excerpt from American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper , by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, published by Simon & Schuster on March 29. A t the beginning of The Book of Laughter and Forgetting , Milan Kundera’s narrator describes a snowy 1948 scene in Prague, with leading communists addressing a crowd. One, Vladimir Clementis, places his fur hat on the head of his bald companion, Klement Gottwald. When Clementis is later purged and executed, the Party’s propagandists erase him from the photograph. All that is left is his fur hat. The enabling role of government is like that fur hat. Today, we see only tiny reminders of a much bigger reality. We know government built a road or a school but too often fail to...

No Cost for Extremism

Why the GOP hasn't (yet) paid for its march to the right. 

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
According to the news media, 2014 was the year that the GOP “Establishment” finally pulled Republicans back from the right-wing brink. Pragmatism, it seemed, had finally triumphed over extremism in primary and general election contests that The New York Times called “proxy wars for the overall direction of the Republican Party.” There’s just one problem with this dominant narrative. It’s wrong. The GOP isn’t moving back to the center. The “proxy wars” of 2014 were mainly about tactics and packaging, not moderation. Consider three of the 2014 Senate victors—all touted as evidence of the GOP’s rediscovered maturity, and all backed in contested primaries by the Establishment’s heavy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: