Which changes in economic policy are actually going to happen?

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt:

A second pattern from U.S. history is that the federal government generally likes to hand out benefits perceived as “free.” This dates at least as far back as the establishment of Social Security in the Great Depression, when the initial benefit recipients weren’t paying taxes into the system.

I therefore expect federal government action on subsidized child care, preschool programs and paid family leave, all financed by increases in budget deficits rather than higher taxes. Such policies would hand out goodies to millions of families, and appeal to women in particular.

Again, ask the basic questions. Is there “pro-family” rhetoric emanating from both left and right? Yes, whether it is the socialist proposals from Matt Bruenig or paid family leave bills introduced by congressional Republicans. Can you imagine members from both parties claiming these issues as their own? Yes. Is there the possibility of free goodies being handed out? Again, yes, as the national debt held by the public is now over $16 trillion.

I consider also tech regulation, trade issues, immigration, Medicare for All, and the Green New Deal, with only the first of those likely to see big changes.


Excellent TC article, as usual. Another "free" federal government handout was land, that's how the "west was won" (and the Native Americans displaced). Ironically many free marketeers come from the federally subsidized western states.

Where do you think the land on the East came from? It was "free" government land from Britain, Spain and France.

Well, Florida (Spain) and Canada (France) and certain parts west of the Appalachians (France) but you forgot the Dutch (Manhattan) who legally bought their land for $25 of wampum. Anyway, property rights were not that well developed among Native Americans at the time of the founding of Colonial America (East coast), so you can argue that taking their land didn't really count as exploitation, as they could move on, but later, during the Jacksonian era, I've seen it argued that the Indians were almost the same in social structure as the colonists, and hence their expulsion was a real crime (since they had bought into the individual ownership of property). Thanks for the history, Rat.

The Dutch had more of the New World than Manhattan but ceded their possessions on the eastern seaboard to the British in the Treaty of Breda in 1667. It was the policy of both the Stuarts and Cromwell to award colonial charters to individuals who then were authorized to subjugate the indigenous natives. A little like Pope Alexander VI dividing the New World in half between the Kingdom of Castile and the Portuguese in the Treaty of Tordesillas, signed at Tordesillas in Spain on June 7, 1494. Or Tsar Alexander's sale of Alaska to the US in 1867.

It isn't pro-family, that is just the front. It is simply old fashioned vote buying.

Millenials now vote in socialism because they can't balance their checkbooks and spent their money irresponsibly. Cry me a river. More goodies and freebies paid for by hardworking Americans. Nothing is free, kiddos. Put down your Starbucks and IPhones and realize that socialism is government approved theft.

What's a checkbook?

Well, checking account is considerably more accurate, but just like we all dial phones and listen to singles, a term that may have originated in a different context retains its basic function.

"Millenials now vote in socialism because they can't balance their checkbooks and spent their money irresponsibly"

When credit cards hit the Yuppie generation in the early 80's, their response was a mature approach to consumption spending.

He’s on your side and trolling.

Inference is not a strong suit of yours.

Yeah, and those dumb Millennial's don't even know what to do at the DOS prompt and where to insert the diskette, jeesh!

Most of the Millenials I know are smart enough to Google the info though.

Millennials have grown up in a system where we work harder, are more educated, and earn less than earlier generations. In the 60's you could be a baker's assistant, have four kids and a house and car. Good luck trying to do that today.

" Good luck trying to do that today."

Between, high amounts of low skilled immigration, automation and increasing global trade, there's not a chance of earning much more than minimum wage for that kind of job.

And get off my lawn! Crazy kids these days. Back in my day we didn't....

Long time reader, first time commenter.

Re tech regulation, I wrote a blog post about why I'm not surprised that the effort to pass federal privacy regulation has stalled out (that's not to say that I disagree with Tyler that federal regulation is inevitable in the long run--I don't know what I think about that). Maybe people here will think it's interesting. Here's the tl;dr:

"People have drastically different perspectives about privacy and, specifically, what hurts their privacy interests. Some folks believe that only those acts that cause some real-world negative consequences, like identity theft, are harmful, while others believe that all actions that cause them to feel surveilled, powerless, uneasy, or observed are harmful. Understanding these different perspectives helps explain why Congress’s efforts to pass a sweeping privacy bill have stalled."


Increasingly ubiquitous data collection and broad and automatic integration produce a loss of privacy that's different not just in degree but in kind.

Its increasingly easy to envision a surveillance environment - whether run by Google/Facebook/etc. or the government - or both - that is aware of essentially everything you buy, everywhere you go, everything you read or say online, etc.

There are lots of people who will try to exploit this for their own commercial or political ends. One can already see this starting.

People seem to ignore the likelihood that the benevolent and sacred government that now dispenses largesse upon its citizens is unlikely to endure forever. Just as the states of classical Greece, republican Rome, imperial France and Soviet Russia passed out of existence, so to will that of the US. Whatever system takes its place may not be as charitable as the current one but they will have access to an immense amount of information about the people that can be put to use for purposes that the citizens may not desire. This will not end well.

Interesting. In this general context, what are the perspective of the abandon of the electoral college for a national vote for presidential elections?

1. It is free.

2 . Is it, or can be become bipartisan?
As it is a zero-sum game (in each election), it can't be bi-partisan if the actors are rationals. But that's not the case.

Democrats seem to think that abandoning the electoral college would be advantageous to them, based on the evidence that they lost recently two elections with the electoral college despite having more national votes.
This is of course a spurious reasoning : they have no idea what would have happened to the votes on those elections if there were no electoral college then.

In fact, it seems likely that removing the electoral college (without changing election finance laws) will advantage candidates with support from big money, thus, more often, Republicans (may be not Trump, but the like of the Bushes and Romney). If enough Republicans believe this, they may also support abandoning the electoral college, and the measure could pass swiftly, for example trough the "interstate compact".

Do you see a chance of this (abandon of the electoral college) happening?

Trading a system that works for them in votes for one that maybe allows them an advertising advantage if they can get more corporate money (and they don't actually, particularly) doesn't seem very sensible for Rs.

If it did happen, expect the perception of having government imposed on them by the coasts to increase in the interior.

Yep. The Reps have lost the popular vote in 6 of the last 7 presidential elections. They won't be scrapping the EC.

If Texas becomes a blue state, the electoral college will become very lopsided. You only need the 10 biggest states to win the White House.


Texas turns blue, the Midwest turns red.

Our system of voting leads inexorably to a two party system. The idea that a party can have a forever advantage is mistaken.

"The idea that a party can have a forever advantage is mistaken."

+1. There is quite a bit of empirical evidence for this view.

What exactly defines lopsided here? Just suppose the US worked on a congressional district system based on population. What would be the arguments for changing the system away from population and towards giving randomly drawn squares lopsided voting power? How diverse were the 13 colonies in terms of population compared to the states today?

One could argue that the system is causing a death spiral as the GOP clings to power by trying to consolidate the senile older white vote all the way down the demographic drain.

You don't have to ditch the electoral college, just move away from winner takes all to portion of the vote. Doing so would actually increase the voice of many red states (it would matter, for example, if you lose Texas by getting only 20% of the votes or lost it getting 45%). It would also incentivize the GOP to actually try appealing to the majority of the country since you needn't win NY or CA to get value from increasing your votes there.

I don't think the current system does much to eliminate money or big money from politics so changing it is unlikely to make it worse. A competitive race where the winning votes in big population centers matters would, I suspect, draw more money into races but that by itself is not a bad thing if your concern is the concentration of money in races.

'what are the perspective of the abandon of the electoral college for a national vote for presidential elections?'

Lower than the chance that the ERA will pass - amending the Constitution is not easy.

that is why the local meme zombies
are doing a end run around the constitution

So, they are creating a new way to disenfranchise voters to replace the existing system because it "disenfranchises" voters.

disenfranchise def- deprive (someone) of the right to vote
actually neither way disenfranchises voters
but the national popular vote compact probly not constitutional
not that it matters much any more

"actually neither way disenfranchises voters" Yes, you are correct, I was using the "popular" slang.

for a minute there
thought u wer a toxic sociologist changeling

Not on Fridays.

One of the biggest issues with the national popular vote compact: it's not legally enforceable. Let's say a state signs on to this, votes 54-45-1 Democrat/Republican/Third Party, but the Republican wins the popular votes by roughly one percent, while the Democrats could win the electoral college with that state. Who is going to enforce that the electors have to cast their votes for the Republican? The federal courts wouldn't, because it's a political question, the state in question wouldn't consent to suit in another state's court, and there is no one with standing in that state to enforce the electors just giving their votes to the Dems (which the majority of voters would demand), plus it would be suicide for a state judge to determine who the electors must core for. This isn't like the other interstate compacts, which deal with taxes and economic issues: this is a corrective political issue with federal implications.

*core political, not corrective

How is this an 'end run around the constitution'? The constitution simply assigns electoral votes to the states based on their congressional representation. They don't require the states to assign their electors on a winner take all system.

Funny how people who make a fetish out of lecturing people about following the Constitution seem to rarely have actually bothered to know what it says.

The constitutional issue starts with enforcability. That is, it's safe to assume the states will ignore the compact anytime it matters. Then what happens? Trying to enforce it in court is likely to be unconstitutional on several grounds.


The first set of issues is mostly silly. For example:
"Voters supporting the candidate who receives the majority of votes in
their state want their state's electors to support their choice"

Yea I suppose if candidate A gets 60% and B gets 40% those voting for A would like 100% of support to go to A. But A didn't get 100% of the vote so why should they get 100% of their states' weight?

"That is, it's safe to assume the states will ignore the compact anytime it matters. "

In theory a state could quickly pass a law declaring that they will void an election and set electors by decreee. I could imagine some state with a Republican legislature whose voters vote Democratic in the Presidential election trying such a thing in the near future. But in reality such a feat is not easy to pull off. States would have to wait until election night and then rewrite their election law to change the rules after the fact.

Unlikely and a stupid idea. It's an institution that helps to maintain the eroding principle of federalism in the face of the slide towards an increasingly unitary, centralized system.

That's unfortunately exactly why I expect it'll happen sooner or later...

That pro-family rhetoric clashes with young workaholics. Lots of young people think their problems are because they're not working efficiently or harder. It will be hard for them to see there are some structural problems.

The part I'm missing is why childcare, preschool or paid family leave have to be federal programs. States can do experiments too. People expects too much of the federal government.

Most states have balanced budget requirements, which makes it more difficult to dole out "free" goodies by running deficits.

The balanced budget requirements does not stop states from having subsides programs. For example, film cash grants. The industry is still based in California, no one is relocating a production company in spite of cash grants. Go to fly-over zone for 3-4 months, film, grab the cash and leave.

Perhaps I dream, but I think a local program would be less wasteful and more accountable to the population.

"For example, film cash grants. The industry is still based in California"

If no one films outside of California, then cash grants other states have for filming cost the taxpayer nothing.

More difficult does not mean stop entirely. As crazy lefty as California's legislature is, the balanced budget requirement has nonetheless made it more difficult to enact their wish list, especially programs that commit the state to spending large sums of money long term. E.g., Gov. Newsom is only proposing to expand government funding of early education for one year rather than the universal plan that the crazy lefties in the legislature want because he knows that funding will have to be cut again once the next recession hits.

The charts tell me it is tax and sequester time. There is a possibility that no March agreement is possible on the budget and we do another three years of tax and sequester.

Indeed, I'm a big fan of the 2013 sequester. Let's do another.

It's almost too bad, because, whatever else he is, Trump is a non-ideological deal maker, but he's also Satan to the Dems, who are internally-riven right now anyway, so no deal.

Bring on the gridlock.

As for the antitrust point, very little of antitrust law still exists because of the efforts of some judges (Posner, Easterbrook, others) who knew a little bit about economics and showed that the law made no sense because it reduced rather than increased consumer welfare. It is always possible in the US legal system where there is no cost shifting to bring cases against anyone for anything. But the US legal system also moves very slowly so by the time any case would be resolved the world will have moved on and whatever was in dispute will be irrelevant -- witness the big and ultimately pointless antitrust cases against IBM and Microsoft. More recently the ATT acquisition.

Yawn. By defining benefits, subsidies, an legal protections as "goodies" you merely display your mood affiliation.

Tyler Cowan has been reduced over the last decade to dotard. No of this is worth reading.

Also did anyone catch Tyler lying about Social Security? The first recipient paid in to the system before cashing out:

The old dotard relies on obvious lies to make an argument?

And your rants are almost as predictable and tedious as prior's.

"I therefore expect federal government action on subsidized child care, preschool programs and paid family leave, all financed by increases in budget deficits rather than higher taxes. Such policies would hand out goodies to millions of families, and appeal to women in particular."

So get out there now, as rational economists, and recommend higher taxes. It was mild criticism of GOP tax cuts, sotto voce, from people who should have known better that put us here.

"A panelist is currently getting booed vigorously at CPAC for mentioning that Trump’s tax cuts in fact added to the deficit." tweet

And that is your conservative status quo right there.

Note also that there is a "positive ROI" argument for some of these "goodies" that rational economists could be advancing.

Income tax receipts are at an all time record high ...

"The Treasury Department reported this week that individual income tax collections for FY 2018 totaled $1.7 trillion. That's up $14 billion from fiscal 2017, and an all-time high. And that's despite the fact that individual income tax rates got a significant cut this year as part of President Donald Trump's tax reform plan.

Overall, federal revenues came in slightly higher in FY 2018 — up 0.5%.

Spending, on the other hand, was $127 billion higher in fiscal 2018. As a result, deficits for 2018 climbed $113 billion."


lol, like an "engineer" saying "how could the the house fall down, this specific beam meets specifications!"

You need a full system model, buddy. Not one of cherry picked "performing" parts.

According to the Monthly Treasury Statement for fiscal 2018, the year that just ended Sept. 30, the deficit was $779 billion — a $113 billion, 17 percent increase over the $666 billion deficit recorded last year.

This was the biggest one-year increase in the deficit since 2009, when the Great Recession wreaked havoc on federal finances. At 3.9 percent, it was the largest deficit compared with gross domestic product since 2013.

Using Facts and Data to rebut anonymous is pointless. He just hand waves it all away.

If you actually honestly believe you have facts here, you are in worse shape than I thought you were.

And it isn't just you, right? This is the classic problem of the moment for conservatives. You used to pretend that "it's not a tax problem, it's a spending problem." Then you got control of the whole government, and could set *both* tax and spending, and what did you do?

You blew right through fiscal responsibility, expanding the deficit, while still pretending it was someone else's problem. You drove a *greater* wedge between tax and spending.

And "conservative economists" stood carefully at the back of the room, and whispered very quietly "I oppose this policy."

But not so anyone could hear, of course!

Oh hun, you’re sundowning so early today. Someone take grandpas cell phone away.

Simple fact: The Republican government 2017-2019 reduced, and did not improve fiscal responsibility.

Lots of people who acted as balanced budget stalwarts 2008-2016 went silent at the same time. Or as I say, whispered their concerns. That's a fact too.

So now Tyler begins what, a new preparation to (pretend to) be the party of fiscal responsibility 2020-onward?

Probably, and yes that triggers some rather desperate handwaving.

But not from anyone who was steadily fiscally responsible right on through.

Dear, Tyler has never been a Republican. You’re arguing with partisan ghosts in your head again.

Do you really think splitting hairs will balance the books?

If you are a real, bright, honest to goodness economist, you know what a value network is, and you know how conservative value networks (of which Tyler is certainly a part) were complicit to the deficit expansion of 2018.

I mean, what is your whole schtick here, that you are fresh off the boat and the ballooning debt of 2018 has nothing to do with you?

I know you could do more hairsplitting and deficit ignoring here, but if you are for real here's the challenge:

Who was responsible for the exploding deficit of 2018, and do you support it?

And if you follow that logic you get what Tyler is really saying, "oh no, Democrats will continue this page from the Republican book, that spending is now a separate issue from tax."

Oh no, if only we could have seen it coming (sarc.)

....hand waving....

"I therefore expect federal government action on subsidized child care, preschool programs and paid family leave, all financed by increases in budget deficits rather than higher taxes. "

Hypothetical here:
Economy A has a gov't that spends $2T and taxes $1T with a $1T deficit.

Economy B has a gov't that spends & taxes $2T so no deficit.

Economy C has a gov't that spends $1T and has no taxes and hence a $1T deficit.

Which is better, why? The traditional argument is that B is the best economy because they are not incurring any debt. But what do you make of C with it's lower spending and leaving $1T more in taxpayers hands? Or even A which spends as much as B but leaves $1T in taxpayers hands? If the debt is an issue what's wrong with taxing that $1T in the future rather than today? Won't taxpayers have opportunities with the $1T to grow and invest that would make it easier for them to pay $1T in added taxes tomorrow?

With that in mind what exactly is happening if you're paying for childcare and family leave? You're parking economic growth into the future. Hence why would deficit financing of such a thing be a mistake?

In the best of all possible worlds, the choice between plan b and plan c would not be a top level one. It would be the culmination of a series of bottom-up analyses based on need.

Which is better, an X public sector or a 2X public sector?

Well, tell me if this is your best possible world:

"More than 42 percent of the 9.5 million people diagnosed with cancer from 2000 to 2012 drained their life’s assets within two years."

And then work backwards to tax rate.

Non-responsive. I have no idea what types of policies economies A, B and C have to help those diagnosed with cancer preserve their assets. Assume it's the same set of policies, good, bad, generous, stingy, whatever. Then address the question I presented.

You can lead a horse to water.

My point is that choice b and choice c have no meaning without being grounded in the specific needs and opportunities of the moment.

But yes, non-pragmatic partisans want to skip all that and just argue for "more" or "less"

To help you along, though, consider that economy B may have 2 times as much spending but also 2 times the taxes. The life assets of cancer patients may have 2 times the protection BUT how many assets those cancer patients have on the day they get diagnosed would be impacted by the higher taxes along the way.

Stop trying to make MMT happen. It’s not going to happen.

It already happened.

No, hun. It didn’t.

Now go play with your economic illiterate friends in the backyard. This is an economics blog.

Notice how the fake economist passes up the opportunity to discuss theory and instead resort to using name calling as an argument.

I noticed "conservative" twitter having fun the other day with this NY Times article from the 70s:


All the brainiacs are wondering whether the scatterbrained pretty young thing is really a socialist, and what that will mean, while failing to notice that Communism won the most important skirmish, the battle for the preeminence of the State over the family.

"the battle for the preeminence of the State over the family."

No such skirmish ever took place. The state provides day care for families for the same reason it builds roads to connect the businesses downtown. Because that's what is needed in the time.

As was noted in the first comment on this list, century plus ago the gov't was handing out free land to families. That was 'daycare' in a time when agricultural productivity was much lower.

During the height of the Cold War it was common for comparisons to be made between virtues of the capitalist west and the faults of the godless Commies, one of which was universal day care in Russia and family nurture in the US. Tomislav Sunic explores this phenomenon in his Homo Americanus: Child of the Postmodern Age

"Free land to families" was hardly comparable to daycare. It was a methodology for occupying land taken from its conquered inhabitants with immigrants that also provided markets for railroads, steamboats and other businesses.

The reason railroads were being built was to take the products being grown by all those homesteads to larger centralized markets.

This is just virtue signalling. Commies had 'daycare' so daycare is communist but we had public schools and that's...err....well capitalism. The USSR also had chess and ballet, checkers and breakdancing didn't bring down the Berlin Wall.

""Free land to families" was hardly comparable to daycare. It was a methodology for occupying land taken from its conquered inhabitants with immigrants that also provided markets for railroads, steamboats and other businesses."

A counterfactual history would have still had lots of people moving into the west and establishing homesteads. The comparison to daycare was to consider the needs families had at the time. In an earlier age land was what was needed to provide for your family, that's what the gov't provided. High minded ideology about limited gov't was ignored until the political philosophers could invent some backwards rationale to retcon a justification in place. You're mixing up the ends and the means. Sure in retrospect providing land to homesteaders could have been done in a much more ethical manner than it was.

The US population in 1830 was roughly 13 million. The population of the original 13 states today is about 103 million. Somehow, 90 million more people were shoehorned into the already over-populated eastern seaboard in the years since the Jackson administration. It wasn't like there was no place for them to go except Nebraska.

If they wanted to provide financial support for daycare they could write everyone with age appropriate kids a check. Then they could spend it on daycare, or small scale home-care by and individual, or as financial support if they decide to remain home themselves.

Instead the whole point is to get the children in state run daycares to separate them from their parents. That's why these things only pay out to institutional daycare arrangements.

I strongly suspect any Federal Daycare project would end up in the form of a check or voucher and not, say, all the post offices opening up "baby drop/pickup" centers.

You're often glib, strikingly so ... but I think Homestead Act = free childcare works about as well as slavery = free room and board.

"The needs of the state" would have been a fine comment all by itself.

""The needs of the state" would have been a fine comment all by itself."

Perhaps, no one here said anything about the needs of the states. Please reply to actual comments here rather than phantom ones in your imagination.

"The state provides day care for families for the same reason it builds roads to connect the businesses downtown. Because that's what is needed in the time." Who better than the state to say what is needed, passive voice?

But if you're doubling down, I'll concede that the pioneer experience offers some free funtivities that could be useful in the universal childcare world (because, speaking from experience, it is *hard* to figure out how to continually "enrich" a small child's life largely spent within 4 walls, 7 AM to 6 PM: I mean, at some point pretty early in the afternoon, the kids are having none of it, and snacks are all that avails - I sometimes wondered if their dinner wasn't spoiled with all that cracker-eating - but then maybe dinner wasn't on the table until 8:30 or so). That fun time popped into my head, when she was receiving government-funded free childcare in Montana, I believe, little Privileged White Settler Laura's family was starving and freezing and the train didn't come in until like June, and a super funtivity was to go in the unheated lean-to and twist hay into sticks that you could burn. You needed an awful lot of sticks, so you'd never run short of fun.

Errr I wrote "that is what is needed" you read that as 'needed by the state'. Errr no the state doesn't need daycare nor did it need land in the 1800's. That's what people needed and they demanded the state act to facilitate that. Why do you think Jefferson opted to go with the Louisiana Purchase despite being a Constitutional minimalist & there being no clear provision for such power in the Constitution? Because the Federal gov't was running out of room for its buildings?

Hey, don't be so hard on me. I went to public school. I didn't know TJ was providing for a felt need among the people for childcare. Hell, I thought he snapped it up because Napoleon offered it at a great price, and "we'll figure out what to do with it later."

You presented your idea so just go with it. What are these 'needs of the state' you think are so important here. If the state needed more land under Jefferson why did it suddenly not need more land once we got to our 50 states? If you think daycare is meeting some need of the state, exactly what state need is that and why did it suddenly come about now rather than 100 years ago?

"we'll figure out what to do with it later." - Well he actually had more than few ideas. A passage to the Pacific Ocean, esp. a water based one, would have facilitated a huge amount of trade. His idea Yeoman farmers does imply large areas of land. Also note he was actually elected to be President so it's not like none of these ideas had no resonance with the people.

I'd call it "wants" myself, rather than needs, but I'd have supposed it was pretty implicit in my first post, that I think the "needs" of the state for such a thing as universal daycare from birth are pretty much unchanged in their translation from Soviet Russia to present-day United States: the need to weaken an institution like the family, to make of us better "tools," in our case for the paired advancement of statism and individualism, in Patrick Deneen's convenient thumbnail formula.

But so many people obviously think otherwise, that it does seem like it must be right, that it's in our nature to turn over our babies to others. Maybe so: I mean, childcare (and "home work" generally) is sufficiently tiring, especially in the first few years, that if you only give it a short trial, knowing there's an out (something rather new in history), you miss out on what rewards there are in the longer run - on which incomplete information generations could certainly conclude that the best thing for a higher status woman (or man, of course! of course) to do is unload her kids on an unrelated lower status woman (or, uh, man).

Oddly, people seem largely to still be taking care of their own dogs, not giving that up to strangers (though the people who lived next door paid a service to come and let their dogs out to do their business twice daily). Maybe it's because a pet's lifespan is just a dozen years or so: you experience all of it in that short time frame, and that there will be joy and heartache and hassle altogether, is well-known to everyone.

Yawn, the family does not weaken when it gets what it wants.

"But so many people obviously think otherwise, that it does seem like it must be right, that it's in our nature to turn over our babies to others."

Not really seeing how this has anything to do with 'the state' wanting anything. Families want to make ends meet. better wages, paid family leave, and yes day care help all that come together.

By your reasoning higher wages would be a bad thing. After all, if wages go up then that increases the incentive to put in more hours at work! By this logic Detroit should be the family capital of the world. After all it replaced lots of $25+hr industrial jobs with $7 Wal-Mart jobs. How do families do there?

After all, if wages go up then that increases the incentive to put in more hours at work!

Really? That must mean that corporate officers never go to sleep.

That would seem to be the case with Elon Musk.

In the absence of cultural disapproval of (particularly) women staying home (barefoot, pregnant, and chained to the stove) instead of going off to a desk job, why would wages going up necessarily incentivize both parents to go to work instead of one to stay home? I am missing your point, obviously.

So your theory here is culture pushes women to work, even though it doesn't really make sense economically. But we shouldn't have a daycare program because women would respond to the incentive to work more.

Let's just say, there is an ideological fervor observable even in the headlines of articles about women's participation in the workforce, that makes me only certain that we will never be allowed to know if it did "make sense economically" or otherwise. As to *your* second assertion, I see no reason why the state should privilege work outside of the home over work in the home. Work is work.

I think we could probably come together on a UBI like program for those who have either children or disabled people they care for in their home. They could take that an use it to finance one partner staying home, both partners working part time or employing a daycare or caregiver.

Your idea regarding headlines implies an amazing theory. That people in mass will ignore economic incentives and instead follow whatever mass culture is promoting....which is strange since mass culture comes from the purchases and consumption habits of the masses (no one decided that, say, Working Girl was going to be a hit movie in the 80's, for example.)

Considering that people have been found reverse engineering the sales retail stores do to save pennies (see 'extreme couponing), I would say your hypothesis is so unlikely that we can dismiss it as false unless YOU produce some serious evidence to show it merits at least consideration.

I would frame this the opposite way. Communism didn't win so much as Capitalism lost. State run daycare is a marker of low quality of life, which is how America used to compare itself to the Soviet Union. They have breadlines and daycare. Now look at America. Sad! And sad that conservatives think this is a talking point that helps them.

"They have breadlines and daycare. Now look at America."

Yes, now look at America. More prosperous than it's ever been. Record low unemployment, good economic growth and one of the biggest problems America is facing ... is obesity.

The challenge of food being too available and cheap is one that the Soviet Union managed to avoid.

Bosh! America's prosperity is a house of cards built on debt. Student loans, credit cards, and the ever expanding deficits papering over a temporary respite from high unemployment. Just look at the record low birth rate. Sad!

Subsidized child care is not a family policy, it's an anti-family policy. Child care is outsourcing the care of your children so you can give your life energy to a corporation or small business. Most likely scenario is one parent barely/doesn't make enough to offset just staying home with the kid.

The justification you usually see (I'm following my passion/my job is fulfilling) makes it clear why this isn't a family policy.

Would a child leave policy plus Medicare 4 all cover being able to stay home with your kid more rather than less? To focus on day care seems to be missing the point. The economy is based, still, on most labor being done outside the home. The institutions of the economy should support that.

More directly, doing nothing for working families today doesn't bring back Little House on the Prairie. It just makes family survival in today's world more difficult and stressful.

Fears about China are bipartisan, and with his quest for a market-boosting trade agreement with China, Trump is turning out to be a trade dove, relatively speaking.

Why should there be a fear of China? Is there a concern that the US can't compete with the yellow horde in economic terms because their population are virtual slaves? We keep hearing that slavery was and is an inefficient basis for an economy, don't we? In a military context the Chinese navy supposedly has one aircraft carrier, the US has 11 carrier groups. The US has the most extensive military ever seen on earth and yet its citizens are to fear the primitive Chinese? And the even less developed NorKs? What is the purpose of the US Ohio-class subs if not to atomize divisions of Asiatic invaders? The US has evidently spent zillions of dollars of the following generations' money on a defense structure that can't alleviate a fear of poor people on the other side of the world. This is grimly funny.

Misunderstanding the new voter. The kids will suddenly stop when their nominal federal interest payments hit 3.5% of real GDP. That is the sequester point, the point at which government cannot guarantee smooth interest payments, shutdown time.

Why would we suddenly think the kids are all progressive? They voted against Obamacare taxes in four elections since 2010, and voted against Trump because of rising mortgage rates.

Now, suddenly AOC is making waves, but she will change her tone quickly when her young constituents get the interest bill. The records proves my case, we always get to sequester and tax, did so under Reagan, Clinton and Obama. Even this quarter, GDP growth is down to less than 1%, likely a mild downturn. That is bailout time, not new program time.

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