Viewing entries tagged
Governance for a Better Tomorrow

American Conservatives Could Use Some Fresh Ideas: A Few Suggestions

There is no reason conservatives can’t embrace goals like universal healthcare, affordable housing, elimination of poverty, or increased social mobility. With the above safeguards in place, they may go forth and advance bold policy initiatives without violating their core principles.

Which is More? What Profit Takes or What Profit Gives Back?

Of course, the spill-over effects of capitalist greed are not all conducive to the common good. And so the government must step in and tame the wild beast without killing its spirit. Not an easy task but a task made easier by a clear understanding of how capitalism works its magic in specific cases. It’s one thing to say a free market lifts all boats and quite another to appreciate how this happens on the ground (or in the water).

Reconciling the Politics of Responsibility and the Politics of Conviction

As an imaginary politician, I care deeply about the environment, affordable housing, universal healthcare, maintaining a robust economy, the value of work, and the “American Project”: the idea of unity in diversity as we work together for the common good. Then I chill the passion to develop specific policy goals and proposals. And I make sure my proposed policies do not become an end in themselves but are easily scaled back, revised or reversed if they don’t work.

How to Pay for The Adult Student Basic Income

Poverty, income volatility, job instability, and lack of social mobility are real problems in the US. While most Americans manage to climb the socioeconomic ladder to achieve a decent version of the American Dream, some get stuck on the lower rungs. They need help.

What To Do With Extra Tax Revenue: Some Suggestions

This post is not about tax rates. Higher tax rates don’t necessarily translate into additional tax revenue, because tax rates interact with economic behavior in complicated ways. That discussion is for another post. This post is about how to use the gift of extra tax revenue.

Cross-Country Comparisons, Part I: Economic Freedom Rankings

Note that economic freedom and government regulations are perfectly compatible, as long as the regulations are “necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself”. Of course, that wording invites a whole slew of questions, such as…

Crime, Punishment, and Rich People

Leniency is called for when an individual is at low-risk for reoffending and there is no need to “make an example” of the person to deter others from engaging in the same criminal behavior.

Designing a Society for Human Flourishing: A Framework

In its original Founding-Father sense, happiness was akin to felicity, a kind of well-being that comes from living a purposeful and productive life.  Today we would call that sense of well-being flourishing. …So what does a government need to do to create conditions conducive to flourishing?  Put differently, what does a government need to do to increase the sense of control and self-efficacy of its citizens, allowing them to pursue purposeful and productive lives?

What's Happening at the Southwest Border? Making Sense of the Numbers

The net effect of all these asylum applications is system overwhelm. Over a year ago, the USCIS had already declared a huge backlog of asylum cases. To quote a January 31, 2018 USCIS news release:

“The agency currently faces a crisis-level backlog of 311,000 pending asylum cases as of Jan. 21, 2018, making the asylum system increasingly vulnerable to fraud and abuse. This backlog has grown by more than 1750 percent over the last five years, and the rate of new asylum applications has more than tripled.”

How Much Does Political Spending Translate Into Political Influence? Part I

I’ll start with political spending by “business interests”, a convenient category that includes rich people, corporations, non-corporate businesses, business associations, and industry groups. If spending by business interests influenced US elections and legislation in a major way, one would expect the US to do well in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings. And it does okay - but not as well as Denmark and Norway.

Neither Left Nor Right - Nor in The Boring Middle

…support for strong border controls does not imply traditional marriage values, just as support for universal health care does not imply hostility to large corporations. That certain political opinions tend to go together is mostly a product of American history - an artifact of our two-party system and the dynamics of coalition politics.

The Republican Party will have to Reinvent Itself after Trump

After Trump, what? We need a second political party to counter the Democrats, not because the Democrats are bad but because the competition of ideas is good. As John Stuart Mill said, "prevailing opinion and feeling" is a kind of tyranny to be resisted - or at least questioned. You can't think outside the box when the box is all you know.

Who Are The One Percent? (Updated)

Who are the one percent? Technically, households with an adjusted gross income of at least $465,626. But who are those people? Many work in occupations that pay so well they have plenty of money available to get richer still through profitable investments. Many work in the following occupations...