It's late, but Happy Birthday. The 50th was a big one for me - it was the one where I realized that I was fully grown and was all I was going to be. So, you should be real proud at your 50th: you are on the brink of some very big things and millions of people love you.
It’s time for some more real talk about economic policy in this informal forum. Be happy to expand any or all of the themes at your request.
So, Barry, we gotta be real clear here: traditional economics will NOT help us. Even Goolsbee said in an interview that the profession has to undertake some serious examination of its theories and policies. We need to acknowledge that the problem is inadequate domestic demand. It's not taxes or monetary policy.
So, we have to follow policies which increase demand. The policies we have used for the last 100 years WILL NOT WORK.
Here are some things we can do which will create jobs by increasing domestic demand:
- Pass laws which make it easier for unions to organize workers, this will increase demand by raising wages.
- At the same time, we need to hire more Justice Department regulators so we can prosecute companies which break laws which encourage workers to form unions.
- Enforce all anti-monopoly laws and pass more. The goal is to break up big companies so that smaller companies can be formed and hire more people. Some economists will holler about losing 'efficiency' from some duplication, but the goal is more jobs and not cheaper stuff.
- Hire more regulators to enforce existing anti-monopoly laws.
- If there are some industries which are essential and which benefit from economies of scale and for which breaking up monopolies is too costly, then make those industries public utilities with a Public Utility Commission to oversee them. Industries like oil, electricity, natural gas, telephone companies and internet service providers will qualify. To those people who complain about socialism, this is not socialism since the businesses are owned by private capital; this model has worked well in our past and today as well.
- Free Trade agreements destroy American jobs; do not approve any more such agreements. And, leave the WTO, NAFTA and other agreements.
- Create a national industrial policy which identifies those industries we want in the future and then encourages those industries with tariffs, subsidies and government contracts.
- Tax away the great fortunes. Nobody needs more than $100 million and the great fortunes are bad for the country. Our system is based on the public deciding which priorities our wealth should pursue - not some billionaire pursuing a better name in the history books.
- Tax away the great incomes - we need the money for our citizens and those with huge incomes do not have any incentives to promote the common welfare.
- Restore Glass-Stegal so that commercial banks can NOT buy assets.
- Keep Social Security and Medicare as high as possible so that we do not reduce demand among the elderly and handicapped. Besides, it's the right thing to do.
- Manage our debt so that we borrow when we need stimulus and pay down when we don't need it. I am pretty sure this will require a serious political revolution, but the alternative is simply not acceptable.
Well, Barry, that's a start.
Now I know that all of these will be political dynamite.
But, ideas like these are our only alternative.
If we don't do all of these and more, the future is bleak.