From the Rolling Stones: Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For
First off, let’s hand it to a Millennial who is fired up and proposing changes to the system. We’ll need a lot more of that.
Let’s apply some Valerian Vision to Myerson’s recommendations:
1) “Unemployment blows. The easiest and most direct solution is for the government to guarantee that everyone who wants to contribute productively to society is able to earn a decent living in the public sector.”
Who would control your employment value as an employee of the public sector? Government officials? Do you know what kind of control over you this would grant to the government? Is that really what you want — less control over your labor value? Wouldn’t it be best if we passed laws that strengthened your right to control your own labor?
2) “Enter the jaw-droppingly simple idea of a universal basic income, in which the government would just add a sum sufficient for subsistence to everyone’s bank account every month.”
Not a bad idea really. How will it be paid for? Will you selectively take away the value from a minority (any minority) and transfer it to the majority? If so, then you don’t believe in equality, Sir. Targeting minorities is wrong and it makes us all less protected. If society equally paid for such a program then we’d all be paying for the gov’t to transfer money back to ourselves. That would be rather pointless. What would be much better is a program that society equally paid for, but that benefited the neediest in society. A cash transfer is the best way though, as it transfers the maximum amount of value to the beneficiary.
3) “The most mainstream way of flipping the script is a simple land-value tax. By targeting wealthy real estate owners and their free rides, we can fight inequality and poverty directly, make disastrous asset price bubbles impossible and curb Wall Street’s hideous bloat.”
Yes, yes, we’ve heard this one before. “If only we could break down the protections of a minority and seize their value, we’d all be better off!”
But really, who would control the seized value from this land? Another minority? Government officials? If landowners (humans) behave in a way that maximizes their own value, how does transferring value to government officials (humans) — that also want to control as much value as possible — solve our problem? What empirical evidence do you have that government officials controlling value are more benevolent than landlords?
Don’t get me wrong, Millennials are inheriting an “economic hellhole”, but it’s because of unequal protection. Stronger protection is the answer.
4) “Make Everything Owned by Everybody”
Um. Who would control what value? It’s…er…physically impossible for all of us to control everything. Control is exclusive. If someone else controls who sleeps in my bed, that means that I don’t. It’s like having 100 people control the same Facebook account. That’s not how controlling value works.
“Just buy up their stocks and bonds. When the government does that, it’s called a sovereign wealth fund.”
Oh, I see. “Owned by Everybody” is just a euphemism for transferring value and control to government officials. So, let me get this straight, you want to tear down the protections for some citizens (which really tears down protections for all citizens) and then transfer the pilfered value to an even smaller minority (government officials), in the hopes that government officials are a…genetically different species that is more benevolent? Sounds an awful lot like a recipe for a bad society:
Step 1) Take away protections from a powerful minority
Step 2) Transfer value to a different powerful minority
Step 3) Hope and pray that the new powerful minority a) is not like the old powerful minority and b) doesn’t notice all of the value that is newly unprotected.
There’s a reason why Communism is only a theoretical construct.
5) “A Public Bank in Every State”
“You know what else really blows? Wall Street… Let’s try to change that by allowing state governments into the banking game.”
What really blows about Wall Street is that we are not protected from their losses. If they have a bad year, they transfer the loss to the citizenry (in the form of bank bailouts, Fed purchases, nationalization, etc.). Who is their accomplice in this act? The government. Do you think they would act so recklessly if there were regulations in place that said, “Bad bet? Too bad. By law you own your loss.” Good regulations ensure that people are protected from the losses incurred by others.
The idea of State Banks is not a bad idea. The Founding Fathers envisioned each State as it’s own society. If you were unprotected in one society, you could just leave and join another where you were more protected. By having all of this bank collusion at the Federal level, we ensure that no citizen, anywhere, can escape paying for the reckless behavior of bankers with government connections.