Wednesday, May 2, 2018

We Already Know How to Solve Most Problems. Why Don't We Do It?

We've already a head start with Social Security (expand it!), Medicare and VA healthcare system (expand it to everyone, who doesn't deserve it?), and the general aspects of unemployment insurance, food stamps, TANF, and child tax credits (expand them all or fold into a guaranteed minimum income equal to a combination of the components). Why don't we? If everyone paid what they could afford, then everyone would be okay, right? Oh, I get it: Conservatives will have none of it.

Danish fathers still don't take enough advantage of paid paternity leave, study says.
But the Danish system beats the hell out of the U.S., where we have none.

It's always confounded me that Americans don't seem to want what's in front of their faces, and that's more of the social programs already proven to work.

But Paul Krugman knows. He's generally on point on most socio-political economic questions. We don't need new ideas:
I’m not saying that politicians shouldn’t be open to new thinking and evidence about policy. But a political party isn’t like Apple, which needs to keep coming up with glitzier products to stay ahead of Android. There are huge problems with U.S. policy on many fronts, but very few of these problems come from lack of good new ideas. They come, instead, from failure to act on what we already know – and, for the most part, have known for a long time.

Let me give two big examples: access to health care and environmental protection.

On health care, we know perfectly well how to provide more or less universal access, because every other advanced country does it.

How can a nation provide universal access to health care? There are actually three ways. You can have direct provision by a government health system, like Britain’s NHS; you can have a single-payer system of government health insurance, like Canada (or Medicare here); or you can use a combination of regulation, mandates, and subsidies to prod the private sector into covering everyone, like Switzerland.

And all three systems work! True, you can have trouble if the funding is inadequate or the rules aren’t effectively enforced, but that’s true of any policy. Universal health care is a solved problem. We don’t need new ideas to achieve that goal here – in fact, we got about halfway there under Obama, and all we need to finish the job is a progressive president and a progressive majority in Congress.

What about protecting the environment? I guess you can make the case that there were important new ideas in the 1980s. Until then, environmental policy consisted almost entirely of top-down regulation. Economists had known for generations that there was a case for exploiting market forces via things like emission taxes or tradable emission permits, but these first made it into the world of political reality with the Bush-era emissions-trading scheme used to control acid rain.
That's exactly right. We know how to do these basic things, and we only need the correct political environment in which to accomplish them and expand upon them.

A commenter on his article puts it all together so very well:
Moving past the two Republican crimes against American humanity of the greatest 'free-market' healthcare rip-off in the world at an obscene 17% of GDP and the Trump-Pruitt Environmental Pollution Agency, let's give full credit to the primary Republican crime against American humanity: the branding, marketing and force-feeding of 'supply-side' economics strychnine to 320 million.

This incredible economic fraud and Big Lie is simply a form of economic torture and sadism, an enshrined misanthropic assault on virtually every building block of this democratic republic that has decimated the election process, destroyed national infrastructure, trashed public education, made a Reverse Robin souffle of the tax code, and pervertedly turned public goods like national defense, prisons, healthcare, and the the environment into private profit centers for vulture capitalists.

Supply-side economics is a Republican fraud.

Demand-side economics is what powers healthy economies; Keynesian economics is what works well, not right-wing cuckoo Robber Baron economics.

Higher worker wages, strong worker unions, high consumer spending and increased government spending leads to business expansion resulting in greater employment opportunities.

Higher wages and higher levels of employment create a multiplier effect that further stimulates aggregate demand leading to greater economic growth.

Bring back Keynesian economics.
And dump Republican Reverse Robin Hood national-train-robbery economics.
About right.

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