Imagine, Imagine, You Can Imagine: What Would You Do If You Were In a Position To Exploit The “World Economic Crisis” To Ram Through A Specific Policy Agenda

Posted on July 23, 2009


It’s been a long time since I dropped a political post because the utter predicability of it all is both shocking and boring. Politics is bad theatre and I’d much rather spend my energy thinking and talking about good theatre.

Moreover, I know, because I’ve peaked behind the curtain, that policy — what really matters — is rarely handled by the politicians. They don’t drive public opinion on policy, they surf it, and the bureaucrats do the hard work of analyzing and implementing it. If you want to change policy, ignore the politicians, mobilize public opinion, and get a few senior bureaucrats on-side.

Last but not least, if you need a political fix, there is always The Daily Show. I can’t beat it. Ever. If any one has plans for the Canadian equivalent, sign me up. In the mean time, I’ve got more important things to think about.

I am, of course, still very interested in policy and am very curious to see if you folks have any particular policy concerns that you think should be addressed. The basic idea of the post is this: if you could implement any social policy or set of policies, what would it be?

I am going to offer my policy wish-list, as a point of departure for discussion. I am — as will soon be obvious — making no effort to justify these policies but they have all been defended by highly capable people. So don’t worry too much about elaborate defenses but, hopefully, be prepared to field a question or two. Of course, if you have a secret treatise you been dying to post, please do so. If you feel like free-associating on some issue, that’s also great.

Let’s shake up the policy snow globe and see what comes up!

Here goes:

  1. The free movement of all persons and peoples (e.g. open borders).
  2. A tax-free and indexed guaranteed income sufficient for a person to avoid absolute poverty.
  3. A shift from income, corporate, and payroll taxes to consumption and pollution taxes.
  4. Progressive tax rates (i.e. higher rates of consumption and pollution are taxed at higher rates).
  5. A 100% estate / inheritance tax (although I am open to a reduced rate to address concerns about double taxation).
  6. Eliminate all tax for persons living in (absolute) poverty.
  7. Working tax credits to address relative poverty.
  8. Tax credits to address child poverty.
  9. The elimination of all government subsidies.
  10. A universal health care system in which triage determines the allocation of the relevant resources.

Additions? Deletions? Questions? Comments?

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