Policy recommendation for the candidates

I am an economist by formation and at heart if not by trade and I am appalled by the terrible quality of the economic policy recommendations from essentially all candidates from both parties.

The time has come for a new paradigm where we ditch ideology in favor of focusing on how best to achieve the socio economic outcomes we seek. With the economic tools now at our disposal there need not be a tradeoff between efficiency and equality. We can preserve incentives and opportunities for growth while providing equality of opportunity and help for the needy – in essentially all domains including health care and education.

Two specific gripes: taxation and health care. Taxes are a means for the government to collect funds to spend in line with its policy objectives. Taxes should not be used as a policy tool. It is much more effective to create specific policies to help the needy than to burden the tax code with exemptions and deductions.

With regards to health care there are a number of ways to reach the outcomes both parties claim they seek. For instance, individuals could have to buy market provided mandatory health care insurance, focusing on preventive care and catastrophic care paid directly by the individual for those who can afford it with partial or full payments by the government for those who cannot afford it.

And so this is my recommendation for the candidates: ditch populism for effectiveness because leadership is not telling people what you think they want to hear, but telling them what is right!

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  • The time has come for a new paradigm where we ditch ideology in favor of focusing on how best to achieve the socio economic outcomes we seek.
    I’m afraid I’ll have to “call bullshit” for the first time ever here. 🙂

    The socio-economic outcomes sought are very much coloured by your underlying ideological assumptions and leanings: what outcomes do you want? Equal outcomes for everyone? Equal opportunities? Something else? Even within equal outcomes or opportunities there are various ideological nuances, for instance for “equal opportunities”, does it mean equal financial opportunities for higher education, or “merely” equal negative rights to be free from government intervention and coercion in becoming what you want?

    Even if economy was perfected as a scientific discipline to the level of say physics (which it is far from) ideology would still form a big part of shaping economic policy simply because different people want different outcomes (as a frenchman you should know that some people prefer equal poverty over unequal prosperity 😉 ).

  • Looking forward to it. You do have one very important point though: ideology often takes the frontseat over actual, measurable results in comparison to desired outcomes. That is a great problem, but probably not one politicians care a great deal about – reelection is more important to most of them.

  • I agree that taxes should not be used as a policy tool. But where would you draw the line? For example, what do you think about traffic tickets?

  • “And so this is my recommendation for the candidates: ditch populism for effectiveness because leadership is not telling people what you think they want to hear, but telling them what is right!”

    I may be too cynical, but I am afraid there will not be many cases where a politician will be elected if he follows your advice. Maybe it could work for getting reelected once you have proof that your policies work.

    BTW, the word “formation” does not have the same meaning in English and French. The word you were looking for is “education” or “training”.

  • I suggest since YOU want to make it mandatory to buy health insurance that you expend the 80 million you got from Zingy FIRST before coming to me and FORCING yet another government mandate up my behind. Then when you have finished expending your resources I’ll be much more convinced how important you think health care is…..All the time these New York Libs keep coming back and telling me what I gotta do! ……damn……not a one of them expends all their resources before asking either ! Makes you feel good about yourself to talk about health care. Oh you’re a real man of the people if you do. This is an ageless slight of hand the rich use when wanting the plebes to fork over the cash. I’m tired of it and am praying th internet and its libertarian nature makes it energetically favorable to do away with this hogwash with the passage of time.

  • Fabrice,

    You come off as terribly naive.

    The time has come for a new paradigm where we ditch ideology in favor of focusing on how best to achieve the socio economic outcomes we seek.

    First off, never use the word ‘paradigm’. It makes you sound like a know-nothing McKinsey consultant. Oh wait…

    No one, either on the Right or the Left, think of themselves as ideologues; ‘how best to achieve’ and ‘the socio economic outcomes we seek’ are highly subjective.

    With regards to health care there are a number of ways to reach the outcomes both parties claim they seek. For instance, individuals could have to buy market provided mandatory health care insurance, focusing on preventive care and catastrophic care paid directly by the individual for those who can afford it with partial or full payments by the government for those who cannot afford it.

    You’re kidding me, right? What about us non-ideologues who don’t want to be forced to do anything, be it purchase healthcare or whathaveyou?

    How do you define those who ‘can’ and those who ‘cannot’ afford it? What is ‘healthcare, in terms, of what is provided and who rations it? The market or the govt.? Ultimately, the healthy subsidize the unhealthy – as they do now – see any moral hazard here?