Matt Ygesias is on vacation, but he left us a present before he left. His five point plan to Save Us. Pretty interesting, as salvation plans go. Outside the box! Everybody says they like outside the box thinking, but they rarely deliver. His plan definitely does slice the cake differently, and sheds light. Box, cake, light, a mixed metaphor that sounds like an easy-bake oven project.
He writes on these points a lot, but it was nice of him to summarize for us. I won’t analyze them in detail, that’s your job. I’ll just touch on his points in order to move the ball forward a bit. Box, cake, light, ball forward. Are we there yet? Anyway, here’s his cake, still fresh from last week!
1.Jobs. No I can’t properly assess his mechanism, but he puts jobs back at the top of the national agenda. How jobs became an issue of largely casual national indifference is astounding.
2.Taxes. Here is some refreshing thinking, with a clear objective. Stop tinkering with the old formulas. Shift taxes away from labor. Discuss. Personally, I’d like to target held wealth, at the transfer point of inheritance by the didn’t-earn-it princelings.
3.Upzoning, largely (wholly?) for the purpose of jobs. He at least is clear where his focus is, jobs! (Okay, I think he prefers the retail amenities of greater density too)
4.Immigration. This is the one I’m inclined to disagree with. Our immigration laws are a mess and need fixing for sure, but the model of growth through higher population is old old thinking. Higher population has too many environmental costs, and fails to account for the impact of the smart-robot revolution, which we ought to be talking about all the time, and directly. We will not NEED more population.
5.Prizes. This is a nice idea, but small beer, as he would call it. The real question is how larger scale monopolization, the traditional kind and all sorts of effective equivalents, is driving a lot of the income-inequality death vortex, and some prizes aren’t going to fix that.
But plenty to think about for one day!