A story by Jesse A. Myerson in Rolling Stone titled Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For has conservatives on Twitter flipping out.
Nick Gillespie at Reason.com has a breakdown of the conservative backlash, but if you actually read the article it’s really baffling trying to figure out why the piece is generating such controversy.
Myerson identifies five things that should be done, and admittedly, his titles for each idea sound provocative. They are:
1. Guaranteed Work for Everybody
2. Social Security for All
3. Take Back The Land
4. Make Everything Owned by Everybody
5. A Public Bank in Every State
A number of economists have argued that something like a jobs guarantee or a basic income for everyone — having the government literally give everyone money on a non-temporary basis — is a viable concept to explore as a way of addressing unemployment and the safety net. Milton Friedman favoured a negative income tax, so that if you were poor you got money from the government, and the conservative Charles Murray endorses the idea as well.
The idea to “Take Back The Land” sounds radical unless you read further that the main idea is more aggressive property tax and for the government to provide more affordable housing.
The “Make Everything Owned By Everybody” is again just a dramatic way of saying that there should be a U.S. sovereign wealth fund, as exists in many other countries. Think this idea is so radical? Here’s it being discussed in the conservative publication The National Review.
And as for a public bank in every state, there’s one of these in North Dakota, which seems to be doing fine. Basically it’s a publicly owned lending fund designed to subsidise certain projects.
You can disagree with all of these — all have various drawbacks and benefits — but the idea that this is some insane communist raving looks like an example of people just deciding to be outraged over something they didn’t actually read.
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