Voting With Your Feet

Edward Glaeser's "Four Freedoms" Strategy for Revitalizing American Capitalism

The Harvard economist explains how to expand opportunity for the young by deregulating housing, labor, and education.

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Harvard economist Edward Glaeser is one of the world's leading experts on housing, urban development, and economic mobility. In a compelling recent article published in the City Journal, he lays out a "four freedoms" strategy for revitalizing American capitalism by expanding opportunity for the young. It's a must-read for anyone interested in these issues:

A February 2019 Harris poll found that roughly half of younger Americans would "prefer living in a socialist country." Millennials may not fully grasp the consequences of the government owning the means of production, but they certainly don't like how American capitalism is working for them. They have a point. Over the past 40 years, insiders have increasingly captured the American economy—from homeowners opposed to new housing construction near them to incumbent firms that benefit from the overregulation of employment to interest groups that have transformed the federal government into the equivalent of a pension system with a nuclear arsenal. The young are usually outsiders; the bill for the insiders' triumph has been laid in their laps….

What many young people today don't realize is that socialism is a machine for empowering insiders. Few insiders have ever been rewarded more assiduously than the nomenklatura of the Soviet Union. Few governments have been as gray—in every sense of the word—as the Brezhnev regime. A vast expansion of the American government, as imagined by today's Democratic Socialists, would create its own privileged elite….

These days, capitalism's advocates often focus more on defending the status quo than on promoting outsider opportunity. If capitalism is to win over the young, that must change—and a new freedom agenda can help make that happen. In January 1941, Franklin Roosevelt announced his four freedoms (of speech and worship, from want and fear) that helped frame his objectives for World War II, which the nation would enter before the end of that year. Our contemporary outsiders would benefit from a renewal of four key freedoms: to build, to work, to sell, and to learn. The young need fewer land-use restrictions that make it tough to provide affordable housing in productive areas. They need fewer employment rules that limit their ability to find work, as well as fewer business regulations that suppress entrepreneurial energies. And—even before these other important things—they need new educational options that liberate them from underperforming educational monopolies.

The rest of the article expands on the four freedoms in greater detail. In doing so, Glaeser builds on his earlier pathbreaking work on the harm caused by policies such as exclusionary zoning, which makes it difficult or impossible to build new housing in many , thereby shutting out millions of people (particularly, the young, the poor, and racial minorities), from valuable job opportunities. There is a similar story to be told about occupational licensing restrictions, which similarly protect insiders from competition, lower mobility, and make it difficult for the young and the poor to start new careers.

As Glaeser notes, his critique of public education is reinforced by its awful performance during the coronavirus pandemic, where numerous public schools have been shut down at the behest of politically powerful teachers' unions long past the point where evidence showed that schools do not pose a significant risk of spreading the disease, even as most private schools have remained open and continued to serve students with little or no added Covid spread, as a result. The obvious difference is one of incentives: private school administrators and teachers only get paid if they provide useful services to students and their families, while their public school counterparts can subsist off of taxpayer dollars even if they provide nothing but grossly inadequate "virtual" education.

Besides expanding opportunity for the young, the common theme between Glaeser's proposed reforms is that they all empower people to "vote with their feet" rather than remain hostage to the decisions of government officials, interest groups, and political majorities. Under Glaeser's "four freedoms" approach, many more people would be able to choose housing, job, and educational opportunities for themselves, regardless of regulatory dictates and majority public opinion. In this respect, his view is highly congruent with what I advocate in my recent book on foot voting, Free to Move. And I in fact owe a considerable debt to Glaeser's earlier work on these issues, particularly zoning.

I do disagree with Glaeser on a few of the points in his article. I fear he relies too much on an implicit model of politics where most voters are motivated by promoting their own narrow economic self-interest. Thus, he argues that young people have become more sympathetic to socialism because they think it will enable their own economic advancement, while the elderly and suburbanites have voted for policies that harm the young primarily because they benefit the old. In reality, extensive social science evidence suggests that there is only a weak connection between most voters' views and narrow economic self-interest. I summarize some of the relevant data in my book Democracy and Political Ignorance, and here is an earlier review by Bryan Caplan.

This is also true of many of the programs Glaeser criticizes for benefiting the elderly at the expense of the young. For example, public support for Social Security and Medicare differs very little by age. Similarly, it is far from clear that support for policies like occupational licensing and exclusionary zoning is correlated with age or other indicators of self-interest. It is likely that the persistence of these policies is due more to voter ignorance about their effects, than to self-interested calculations.

More generally, I think Glaeser somewhat overestimates the role of selfish voters and nefarious insiders in promoting dysfunctional policies in these areas, and understates the role of well-meaning but often ignorant voters and activists. Ironically, Glaeser has previously coauthored important work on how political divisions in the United States are often due to cultural and religious conflicts, rather than economic self-interest.

In his warnings about the dangers of millenial sympathy for socialism, Glaeser similarly  overemphasizes the role of insider favoritism for elites as a downside of socialist policies, and understates the much greater risks of total or near-total government control of the economy, such as large-scale poverty, oppression, and mass murder. Currently fashionable "democratic socialism" poses many of the same dangers as earlier explicitly authoritarian versions.

Public ignorance may make it more difficult to enact many of Glaeser's preferred reforms. But success in such efforts is far from impossible, as shown by the recent successes of efforts to combat exclusionary zoning and reform occupational licensing, in several states.

The cultural and religious dimensions of current political conflict also suggest that Glaeser's "four freedoms" may not dissipate millenial sympathy for socialism as much as he hopes. That said, it is hard to deny that economic stagnation contributes to sympathy for socialism on the left and statist nationalism on the right. Expanding opportunity and economic growth could help curb both of these dangerous trends.

More importantly, Glaeser's reforms are worth pursuing because they are right, whether or not they will also have beneficial effects on public opinion. Expanding freedom and opportunity for the young and the poor is a vital moral imperative. And a more dynamic and open economy will also provide important benefits for many who are neither young nor poor themselves—including those of us who want to see greater opportunity for our children.

 

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  1. Through decades of scaremongering young people have been told that social welfare is socialism. Now when they look at Nordic model countries it’s no surprise they conclude that “socialism” doesn’t look as bad as they were told it was.

    1. Scandinavia has turned against their Commie experiment. They are more capitalist than the US now. Keep up to date, please.

      1. No, the Scandinavians have not turned against their “Commie Experiment” They were never communists. Socialism as defined by Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and to an extent Germany, is in no way defined as governments owning the means of production. Those countries are capitalist through and through. And they are successful at it as well. Both for the individual and for the country at large. John Stuart Mills would say they have maximized overall happiness, leading to greater social cohesion without thwarting individual freedoms, which is exactly what you want in any system of government.

        1. Norway is the 7th largest producer of natural gas and has a population of 4 million. The other countries are also small and homogeneous. The US is the third largest country in the world and has the most diverse population. Comparing us with them is stupid and disingenuous.

          1. Norway, Denmark, Finland all with populations of ~5.5 million people, Sweden with 10 million, the Netherlands with 17 millions. All with a successful Nordic model of social welfare. Homogenous? Maybe but if you have been to Sweden or Denmark that is changing rapidly owing to immigration. Then there is the so-called continental model of social welfare including France (pop 63 million), Germany (population 83 million), Belgium, Austria etc. Not very homogenous again owing to immigration. Norway produces gas and oil. Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France produce a lot of manufactured products. The entire European Economic zone has a population of >300 million working under a social capitalist system. It does work. The salient choice of type of government should be overall societal stability and individual happiness.

      2. Sweden didn’t bailout Saab in in 2010 unlike what our govt did with GM and Chrysler. I’ll take a larger welfare state if govt doesn’t bailout failed enterprises, subsidize unprofitable firms and nukes the central bank….40% income/cap gains tax rate is fine if govt doesn’t run deficits and we get rid of property taxes

    2. There’s some truth to this. It’s very common for misguided millennials (my generation) to say “What about roads then, huh, or fire departments duh” and think that this is a knock-down response to anyone with any sort of objection to any sort of socialism.

      1. It’s actually true.

        For example: “free college” which if you listen to AOC means “free tuition”. In fact most college around the country used to be free tuition. Conservatives have to explain: why did that change?

        1. supply and demand?

  2. “Millennials may not fully grasp the consequences of the government owning the means of production, but they certainly don’t like how American capitalism is working for them. They have a point.”

    No, they don’t. I’d have agreed with that comment if it had said that they don’t like how the American “economy” was working for them, but the chief problem they’re facing is that our economy is increasingly NOT free market capitalism. Our economy has been less capitalistic over the last 20 years than just about any time in American history, outside of maybe the middle of WWII.

    In the 70’s, government spending was about 34% of the economy. By 2010, it was about 43%, and though it has declined a bit, is still running around 38%.

    It’s quite a PR trick, getting this generation to blame the effects of our becoming less capitalistic on capitalism.

    1. “It’s quite a PR trick, getting this generation to blame the effects of our becoming less capitalistic on capitalism.”

      It’s not a PR trick, it’s government run education. You can see why a bunch of unionized public employees in primary and secondary ed would do a poor job educating students on the benefits of capitalism.

      1. So instead you’d prefer to put crony capitalists in charge of explaining to people what capitalism is?

        1. Crony capitalists take advantage of mechanisms of government that are touted as a befit of the people, such as unrestricted regulation and “this town ain’t big enough for the both of us” considerations.

          When Uber disrupts the entrenched taxi services of a big city, who rides to the taxis’ rescue with rhetoric about the need for burdensome regulation?

        2. No, I’d prefer free market capitalism. To the extent crony ‘capitalism’ is crony, it isn’t what advocates of capitalism are referring to.

          Even socialism is trivially “capitalist” in the sense that rewards are deferred in order to invest in “capital” for increased future productivity. Socialists just have the government doing this, instead of private individuals and groups.

          Yet nobody thinks that, if you advocate “capitalism”, you’re advocating socialism.

          Well, if you’re advocating capitalism, you’re not advocating crony ‘capitalism’, where the government, not the market, picks the winners and losers. You’re advocating the free market.

          1. The only type of capitalism that has ever existed, or ever possibly could exist, is crony capitalism. Capitalists have always needed the state to protect their interests, enforce labor discipline, etc. The idea that “real” capitalism hasn’t been tried, or that some idealistic “free market” is feasible is as delusional as the thinking of any utopian socialist.

            1. When you start claiming that property rights are “crony capitalism”, you may not be participating in this discussion in good faith.

            2. All we have to do is prohibit government from initiating force.

      2. “It’s not a PR trick, it’s government run education. You can see why a bunch of unionized public employees in primary and secondary ed would do a poor job educating students on the benefits of capitalism.”

        I think you are giving teachers & professors too much credit — beyond the simplistic “Trump is the AntiChrist” rants, they really aren’t bright enough to understand economics in general — or is that what you meant?

        1. Are you claiming that you understand economics?

          Doubtful.

  3. We could turbocharge the economy with 4 policies in 2021–pay $1 trillion in reparations to descendants of American slaves, give everyone access to a $150k mortgage with no interest, give every baby $5k that is invested in a S&P index fund tax free for 65 years, and get rid of student loans and encourage private colleges to use endowment for tuition. In 2021 we know capitalism works and the stock market works and we have cities like St Louis and Cleveland that are affordable and have infrastructure for hundreds of thousands of more residents. So we have too much money that is invested in housing and college savings and retirement savings. So we need to get people spending money again and not worrying about buying an expensive house, saving for children’s college, and saving for retirement.

    1. None of those are particularly capitalist policies, although many are certainly better than the alternatives.

      -5k S&P index fund is probably the best of the proposals, and more capitalism-friendly than current government-mandated retirement programs. But it needs to replace social security, not be in addition to it. But it’s still not actually a capitalist program itself. (The ultimate problem here is making people responsible for their own retirement simply isn’t popular, because people are short-sighted).
      -Access to $150k mortgage exists right now, but you can’t live in San Francisco or New York (and you’ll be out in the suburbs in Chicago). No interest… i’m not sure why interest shouldn’t be part of it, it teaches responsibility and lets us get the government out of providing said mortgages. The real fix here is abolish most zoning laws and many laws which regulate what can be done with property you own.
      -Student loans were fine when you had to convince a bank to give you one. It’s government-backed student loans that are the problem. Get the government out of the loan business entirely. Only government involvement drove the price of college education through the roof.
      -But the first three are at least legit problems with pro-capitalism solutions. Slavery reparations are nonsense. If there’s a tangible government-caused harm suffered by individuals, by all means, award them cash damages for those specific harms. But no former slave is currently alive, and the problems faced by individuals descended from slaves today are not fairly traceable to slavery itself, and did not all suffer equally from policies in the time that followed. (Nor are all black people in this country descended from slaves). I’m not going to say everything is great today (it’s not), but solve *current problems*, don’t go charging at the ghosts of windmills long destroyed.

      1. The mortgage should have no interest because wealthy people get to deduct interest which does lower income people no good…so the government should just eat the cost because it allows people to own a home more easily by reducing monthly payments. Also encourage cities like St Louis and Cleveland to attempt to lure future tax payers with incentives like the they lure big companies to their cities. The key is reducing overhead costs so that people have more disposable income.

        With respect to the $5k I would tax it in such a way that it brings in $300 billion in today’s dollars every year beginning in 65 years AND it would allow higher Medicare premiums AND reducing SS payments. You will never be able to get rid of SS so you need a supplemental program that becomes more successful than SS.

        Trump has thrown billions at coal miners and farmers and steel magnates so both parties agree on how to solve problems—throw money at them. Descendants of slaves are no less deserving of having money thrown at them than the white coal miners Trump threw money at because they voted for him. Plus Trump was correct—throwing billions at them helped the depressed communities they lived in. So reparations are really about benefiting productive Americans just like Obamacare is about benefiting doctors and hospitals and food stamps are about benefiting farmers. And in order to eliminate the recent Black immigrants from getting reparations you just define the group as every Black American that had a citizen ancestor in 1960…Kamala and Obama wouldn’t qualify.

        1. Your policies consist of spend spend spend. Hell, if money grew on trees, if ramping up the printing presses had no downsides, it would be great.

          But all it really show sis your utter ignorance of economic reality.

          Money is nothing by itself. It represents resources. Handing everyone free college education, free mortgages, free this that and the other, does not provide those resources, it merely increases demand without increasing supply. Result: inflation.

          If you really can’t see that, then you must be in politics.

          1. The economic reality is that inflation isn’t a concern in 2021 and in fact nearly every economist believes we need policies that increase aggregate demand—paying reparations is literally tailor made to increase aggregate demand because pervasive and persistent racism has created a fairly large underclass that lives paycheck to paycheck…and that underclass just happens to be easily targeted. In 2021 racism could finally work to America’s advantage…but alas the racists in America will cut their nose off just to spite their face!

            1. Even if a trillion dollars were distributed in reparations, blacks would still be crying about systemic racism. So your trillion dollar handout does not solve any social problem. It could be distributed just like the first 2020 stimulus with just the same results.

              1. Who cares?? The issue in 2021 is aggregate demand!! But guess what?? We didn’t pay reparations when we should have and we are only paying reparations because it benefits productive Americans…so we will never give Blacks money out of the goodness of our hearts because we never have and never will even after paying reparations.

                1. Why do Blacks deserve reparations when indigenous American who have been f**ked over far more get zip.
                  As for your so-called economics assertions, the 2020 stimulus shows how wrong that you are. About your assertions, I must quote your rejoinder, “Who cares!”
                  As for the proposals concerning mortgages and free eduction, you only over up an expensive manner of providing perverse incentives. But again, in your own words, “Who cares!”

                  1. Why did coal miners and farmers deserve the billions Trump threw at them?? Both parties are now in agreement—throw money at problems.

                    I said private colleges should use endowment to fund tuition…I didn’t say anything about free college. And currently wealthy people get to deduct mortgage interest…people need a place to live and cities like St Louis and Cleveland at one time were desirable places to live so I think in 2021 they can be desirable again.

                    1. Pure, simpleton whataboutism

                    2. Nope, it’s policy you supported when it benefited white Trump supporters.

          2. This is very wrong.

            First, 5K for every baby in a SP500 will drive up the price of these companies benefitting mainly current stockholders. Heck the price will go up once the policy is enacted before any baby buys any stock.

            1 Trillion to slave descendants is a recipe for resentment from recent immigrants like me towards the recipients of the largesse. This money will also have to come from somewhere.

            Forgiving student debt is basically a subsidy to higher education institutions. We need to increase supply of educational institutions to drive down costs , not subsidize buyers (same problem seen in healthcare )

            150K mortgage assistance will similarly drive up housing prices while tying people down to houses they own, instead of having the mobility benefit that renting confers.

            Either this post was sarcasm or you have very limited grasp of the unseen effects of economic policies.

            1. How can a $150k mortgage drive up housing prices when the median home price is $210k?? Plus you are coupling it with cities like St Louis and Cleveland actively participating in the program because they want to increase their tax base just like they try to recruit employers.

              The stock program is a $20 billion a year program! That is nothing in the grand scheme of things. And you can fund it by taxing publicly traded corporations.

              Once again, do you “resent” the coal miners and farmers that Trump threw billions at?? The notion descendants of slaves are worthy of having money thrown at them like other groups is absurd…especially when the goal is increasing aggregate demand in order to help productive Americans!!

              1. How can a $150k mortgage drive up housing prices when the median home price is $210k??

                How can it not?

                Say I’d like to buy a house. I’m willing to pay more for it than otherwise if I have a $150K interest-free mortgage available. Demand will increase, etc.

                The median home price has nothing to do with it.

                1. No it can’t, because the cities in which one can buy a house for $150k max will have incentive to get people into affordable housing and become future taxpayers. The houses would have to meet a minimum standard and the homeowners would have to live in the house for several years before they could sell it. So if you want to buy a $250k you wouldn’t get access to the interest free mortgage, but you still get to deduct interest.

        2. Throwing money at problems doesn’t work. It didn’t work for coal miners, and it won’t work for descendants of slaves. Consider coal miners – if you throw money at them because they (or their families) used to be coal miners, you establish an expectation that the government will bail them out later. It destroys incentives to find other actually useful employment which creates value.

          Self-sufficiency should be the goal of a capitalist society, and the proven way to *not get there* is government handouts.

          1. Let them eat dollars! It actually works in 2021!!

          2. Throwing money at problems doesn’t work.

            Sometimes it does.

            When I had a problem with my car not long ago I threw some money at it – more precisely at a mechanic – and the problem was solved.

            1. Money solves many problems which is why the racists in America have prevented paying reparations to descendants of American slaves because powerful people benefit from a permanent underclass. But thanks to wage stagnation the permanent underclass is now undermining wage growth for whites which is why we need to pay reparations in addition to offering all Americans access to a $150k mortgage. So paying reparations allows many low wage workers in expensive cities to move to low cost of living cities and provides breathing room once they move to the new city. The people that stay behind in the high cost of living cities will see rents fall and wages rise. How many people that live in LA and Miami and Denver take advantage of what makes those cities unique?? So in 2021 many people that live in LA would live exactly the same lifestyle if they lived in St Louis. Go on Zillow and check out what a crappy 3/1 in Inglewood costs compared to a renovated home in St Louis costs…and then think about how many people now work in low wage jobs in LA that exist solely to serve a population that could live anywhere??

              1. “why the racists in America have prevented paying reparations to descendants of American slaves because powerful people benefit from a permanent underclass”

                The usual false demagoguery.

                1. We need to increase aggregate demand in 2021, paying reparations does that better than any other program AND because you are a Trump supporter that means you support throwing money at groups that support Trump…so what is good for the goose is good for the gander! Blacks supported Biden so Democrats should throw money at Blacks in the form of reparations.

                  1. SC,
                    You’re clearly an arschenloch as I have never ever supported the Orange Clown. Your arguments are shot through with propagandistic holes of the most infantile nature. If your argument is that Biden has bought the Black vote, then you are even more simple. The black vote D because that is all 90% of them know how to vote.

      2. Student loans were fine when you had to convince a bank to give you one. It’s government-backed student loans that are the problem. Get the government out of the loan business entirely. Only government involvement drove the price of college education through the roof.

        And much of the increases go into sinecure positions at universities, positions unrelated to the mission of teaching directly.

        Congress could slam this to a halt by refusing to guarantee loans at any university that increased costs greater than the rate of inflation. Better yet, rate of inflation minus 0.5%, held for 20 years.

        1. As late as the 1990s many private colleges took pride in keeping tuition affordable…that must have changed in the 2000s as taking out student loans became more socially acceptable. People that take out student loans for undergraduate degrees should be scorned and expensive college degrees should be viewed with skepticism because all it means is one was dumb enough to take out student loans or one has wealthy parents. Now if endowment is used for tuition then having a degree from a private college means you are smart enough to get a degree from a college that accepts the brightest students and doesn’t consider whether they can pay tuition or not.

          1. “that must have changed in the 2000s as taking out student loans became more socially acceptable.”
            Another false, self-serving assumption.
            Tuitions have increase because of a large increase in size of university administrative staffs driven by rapid increases in compliance activities.
            Your blah-blah about endowments is similarly uninformed. The universities with the largest endowments have made strong efforts to make admissions affordable for those who could least afford paying full freight,

            1. I know the best universities use endowment for tuition…which is why it is stupid to take out student loans to go to a lesser college. So if Harvard and Yale and Stanford believe other top 100 private universities make America a better place then those universities should take the lead in raising money to fund more scholarships at lesser universities. Obviously University of Miami can’t fund the same % of scholarships as Harvard, but they can do a lot better because right now a degree from UMiami either means one’s parents are wealthy or one is a mor0n that took out student loans or wasted their parents’ retirement savings. So Harvard shouldn’t be adding to their endowment until more scholarships are created at the other top 100 private colleges.

              1. “So Harvard shouldn’t be adding to their endowment until…”
                a complete logical non sequitur. Tell us, what 5th tier college did you attend?

                1. Nope, wealthy people that donate to Harvard and Yale clearly believe a college education is important…and obviously every capable high achiever from a middle class family can’t attend Harvard and Yale. And where do professors come from that teach at other top colleges?? Harvard and Yale. So it makes sense for those institutions to take the lead in raising funds to get more scholarships for students from middle class families to attend other top 100 private universities because taking out student loans is stupid and middle class families shouldn’t stress about their child getting into a top 100 private university because it means wasting retirement funds on college tuition.

      3. Student loans were fine when you had to convince a bank to give you one. It’s government-backed student loans that are the problem. Get the government out of the loan business entirely. Only government involvement drove the price of college education through the roof.

        I don’t think there was ever a time when there were many private education loans available. That’s understandable, because lending an 18-year-old a lot of money in the hope that they will graduate from college and earn enough to repay it is a risky undertaking, hence rates would be high, and so on.

        That’s not to say that overly loose lending hasn’t contributed to unreasonable increases in college costs.

    2. Welcome to hyperinflation.

    3. And when the 1 Trillion is given out and you still don’t have the social outcomes that make you feel guilty today do we run up another $1T?

      1. I don’t care about “social outcomes”, I only care about increasing aggregate demand in 2021 in order to keep productive Americans in business. Reparations are merely a pretext to get money into the hands of Americans that live paycheck to paycheck.

        1. If that is what you case about then you should champion a $20K UBI for ALL US adults plus an elimination of all social benefits except for veterans benefits. That costs a gross$3T after all clawbacks.

          1. Nope, UBI is stupid because people would stop working. I want people to work but be able to buy quality food and lead a comfortable life. So during early part of the pandemic I realized low wage workers were risking their health to keep my family fed and safe…working Americans shouldn’t be living in squalor and shopping at dollar stores for beef stew made from Chinese stray dog meat!

    4. –pay $1 trillion in reparations to descendants of American slaves,

      Why not make it $10 trillion? If 1 is good, then 10 is obviously better.

      – give everyone access to a $150k mortgage with no interest

      Again not thinking big enough! That should be $1 Million. $150 thousand wouldn’t buy you squat these days.

      – give every baby $5k that is invested in a S&P index fund tax free for 65 years

      That’s nonsense. Give every baby $5K PER MONTH for 65 years. That’s a mere $60K per year. I know you’re trying to pretend this is capitalism, but this is no time for kabuki moves, we’ve got an economy to reset!

      – get rid of student loans and encourage private colleges to use endowment for tuition.

      Just outlaw private colleges. What possible service do they provide that a government couldn’t do SO much better? Profit motive is evil, amirite?

      /sarc

      1. So why did Trump only throw $10 billion at coal miners when $20 billion would have been twice as good?? Why didn’t Trump funnel more money to farmers that his asinine tariffs harmed?? Ipso facto, you think Trump is an imbecile.

  4. By far the biggest single reason why we’re seeing such concentration of wealth and inequality are the very rules put in place by the nanny government which we now expect to stand up to this sort of thing.

    1. The lowest 10th ile and the next lowest received 10% raises from the labor shortage caused by Trump. That is why Trump had to go. He was cutting into the enrichment of the tech billionaires that own the media and the Democrat Party.

    2. The fundamental reason we’re seeing a concentration of wealth, is that politicians find it beneficial.

      Progressive taxation means that the same amount of income spread evenly produces less revenue than if there’s income inequality. Further, while you can buy the votes of the poor cheaply, and harvest kickbacks and graft from the wealthy, the middle class are nothing but a waste of skin so far as politicians are concerned: Not wealthy enough to give your kid a no-show job, and not poor enough to feel grateful for handouts.

      1. Concentration of wealth levels started to jump quickly in 1971..I wonder what Nixon did to start the crony capitalist/financial sector explosion? Care to guess?

        1. What if discussions of present-day issues could happen without someone saying but 50 years ago…?

          1. Discussions of present-day issues would be pretty stupid if you weren’t allowed to discuss the past. How can you learn from the past if you’re not permitted to discuss it?

            Nixon, who let us recall was a left-wing Republican, imposed wage and price controls. A classic crony capitalism move.

            1. No one learns anything

            2. And Nixon was the president that enacted most of the Great Society programs that pro-union Democrats were skeptical of—union membership and manufacturing jobs both peaked in 1979. Btw, President Carter was right of center although Atlanta did have major auto manufacturing so he was acceptable to the UAW (Iirc Richard Russell was more pro-union than LBJ and Strom Thurmond).

  5. A lot of young adults went for Bernie Sanders because he promised them free money – loan repayment repudiation. Why is it that ‘populists’ are defined as right wing, when the left offers goodies to the people without comment?

    When former students pay back their loans, the money goes back into the pot to be lent to a new generation of students. So if this generation’s debt isn’t repaid, where will the money come from for more loans? Or rather, more free money?

    1. One proposal is to (a) pay off all existing loans and (b) never issue any more. Needless to say, Higher Ed doesn’t like that proposal.

      1. Proposing to pay off loans then never issue any more, is like proposing to amnesty illegals, and then enforce the borders. It’s a sucker proposal, the “never issue any more” part is incapable of commitment, and the “pay off the loans” part creates awful incentives.

    2. The issue with student debt like all our problems is govt distorting the market by subsidies and backstops. Colleges gorged themselves the last 30 years on student loans…the solution is to either get the govt out of college financing or make the college backstop 50% of the student’s loans. You would see a quick drop in tuition, focus on marketable degrees, and serious job placement. Why no one blames the woke colleges for screwing the kids (I have two with student loan debt and they blame everyone but the colleges that took their money and did a crappy job at helping them find a job that makes more than minimum wage).

      1. 40 years — and Bill Bennett said this would happen.

      2. Having spent a decade working in vocational education… you know, education that is specifically designed to improve employment opportunities… I can tell you that you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Start with correcting your misunderstanding about what universities do. Hint: Education is actually a side business, because research is the main business of a university (except for the ones whose main business is athletics).

        1. James, what you say is true of major research universities but not small 3rd tier universities and 4-year colleges.

    3. It was my understanding the loans wouldn’t be cancelled as much as the government pay it all off.

      This is why the current state is so insidious. Cheap loans allowed universities to increase costs well beyond inflation for 25 years. Politicians can bloviate about college educations while building ever bigger cohorts of unionized employees to vote for them, and protect them as a de facto brain trust to stroke the public rhetoric about how good the whole thing is.

      Lenders don’t care because government guarantees repayment.

      So the whole thing rockets off a cliff and straight down like Wile E. Coyote, everyone content. End goal: They are all now fully government employees with the power to tax, borrow really, to continue the increases.

      Government “forgiveness” of loans is just the early trial balloons for the end of this process.

      1. “When tuition prices rise, the government subsidizes the difference by increasing federal loans. But these easy loans, many of which are increasingly going to middle-class students, only increase the price ceiling that colleges can charge, thus completing, or starting, the cycle. “

        See: https://www.cnn.com/2012/12/06/opinion/bennett-student-debt/index.html

        It’s been happening for 50 years, and Bennett has been warning about it for 40.

      2. “It was my understanding that the loans wouldn’t be cancelled as much the government pays it all off.”

        since the government is now the lender, this is a distinction without a difference.

    4. “Why is it that ‘populists’ are defined as right wing”

      Because they aren’t. See. e.g. Eugene Debs.

  6. Excellent!

    We cannot count on liberals to expand freedom and capitalism, these are the people who are outraged that the Feds will not send everyone $2000 whether they need it or not.

    If Capitalism and Freedom (reference intended) is to succed reguled capitalism that combines free markets with sufficient protections is necessary, and Conservatives must be the ones to lead. Instead today we have Conservatives embracing policies like protection for business, a tax system that subsidizes wealth at the expense of income from compensation, a bloated and inefficient government, socialism for the rich, discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, age etec, and many other policies that cause the young adult population to turn to government control of the economy because it is not working for anyone but the technical class, the inherited wealth class and the professional class.

    Consider the modern university. It’s mission is to provide a comfortable and low requirement working environment for the tenured faculty. It secondardy mission is to provide enterainment for the masses with football and basketball. Undergraduate education is far down the list of goals, and no one cares if students leave with both a degree and massive debt. Liberals will not change this, heck they are the ones who benefit.

    Conservatives, like Mitch Daniels can lead the way here. He has shown it can be done, both at the state government level and at the university level. The Republican and Democratic parties both need to make a place for individuals like him.

  7. Go to YouTube. Watch teens dancing and doing parcour. Do you see that superiority in physical prowess over older people? Their brains are just as superior in function.

    For 10000 years of human civilization, adulthood started at 14. All the religions of the world have adulthood rituals around that age. Biology says, 14 is adulthood, when defined as the ability to reproduce. As to that lawyer lie about teens, that their brains are not fully myelinated until 25, myeilination is caused by the destruction of neurons. Teens have much lower rates of violent crime than people in their twenties. Their moral judgement is as superior as their physical prowess and mental ability.

    End the lawyer rent seeking scam of high school, and make 14 the age of full adulthood again. Apprentice at 12, hit the road at 14, start a career and a family. Stop wasting the most superior years of life. They should have full adult rights and responsibilities.

    The lawyer does not want these superior people taking the jobs of their inferior clients. However, this toxic lawyer scam is very expensive to our society.

    1. All maturity comes from experience, none from age.

      1. So you’re extremely inexperienced, is what you’re saying.

        1. David. You are in a state of cult indoctrinated denial. Try to be more lawyerly. Try an argument of fact or of logic for a change of pace. I cannot respect you, based on your repetitive personal remarks.

          1. I would be far more worried if you did respect me.

      2. Yeah, no. High hormone levels are great for some things but considered thought is not one of them. You will of course not realize the truth of this until you’ve aged a bit further ;<)

        1. Sorry, but their 900 blood level is normal. Your 200 is a decrepitude disease state, as low insulin or thyroid are.

    2. In fairness, the GI Bill — the start of federal financial aid — was intended to keep the returning GIs out of the labor market so as to avoid a return to the pre-war depression.

      1. Paying reparations along with the $150k interest free mortgage would have a similar impact in 2021 because many of the people that receive reparations would move to a lower cost city.

        1. Some of us would sue to subrogate reparations.

          1. Some of you would be publicly ridiculed for doing so.

  8. I just can’t imagine the political ignorance that would lead a person to go all in for Joe Biden, then turn around and begin touting a bunch of conservative and libertarian ideas. None of these things is going to happen. Prof. Somin should find something productive to do with his time.

    1. It was pretty strange, his complaining about Trump’s spending, when most of it was from the House Democrats and he was just along for the ride. But it was really strange his backing Biden, with the sort of bizarre excuse that Biden might spend less.

      1. I wasn’t aware that the GOP-controlled Senate had anything to do with the House Democrats you allege to have spent all this money. You must only have one functional finger with which to point.

        Notably, Trump promised to eliminate the national debt in 8 years. Instead, he added nearly $8 trillion in four, going from almost $20 trillion to almost $27 trillion.

        https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/trumps-legacy-added-debt-one-term

        But hey, the wealthiest among us got even richer while the wealth gap increased at record pace. Yay for debunked ‘trickle-down’ economics.

        1. Wow non libertarians or “woke” ones like you need to learn a little economics. Both Dems and GOP’ers have long ago left classical macro economics which demands sound money, low to no public debt, and low regulation. Instead both sides have their “astrology” theories put forth by “economists” which justify running massive debts, printing money (and keeping rates artifically low), subsidizing “favored” industries which are overbuilt or not profitable…all to buy votes and fight wars. Think about it..keynsian or supply side is in the end the same thing…running deficits, keeping rates too low (distorting the natural cycle of savings versus consumption) and needing somewhere to offshore the inflation (China). If you think one or the other is superior you are mistaken.

          1. There’s a reason both parties run the government at a loss. They both like to spend money, because spending money is politically popular. They both hate to raise taxes to cover increased spending, because increasing taxes is politically unpopular.

            The government has made some good investments over the years: The Bonneville Power Administration, buying Alaska, hiring Nazi scientists after the war to run our rocketry program (this kept them from getting snapped up by other countries, some of whom would have used the rockets like the Nazis did. The US was spared having to worry about buzz-bombs, and could focus on watching the skies for Russian bombers and Martian spaceships.

        2. Obama also promised to run down the deficit. I’m sure Bushes did too.

          1. Trump added $8 trillion in 4 years. Obama added $9 trillion in 8 years.

            Not comparable. Your whataboutism fails.

            1. Plus,

              Obama was facing a recession caused by the financial crisis. he handed over a growing economy to Trump.

              1. The 2007 recession ended in June 2009. Mr Obama was in office a little longer than that.

                Anyone claiming that Trump was fiscally conservative – much less that any Congress in the past 20 years has been – is quite wrong, as the budgets and ‘continuing resolutions’ clearly show.

                1. The 2007 recession ended in June 2009.

                  And the stimulus had a good bit to do with that.
                  Mr Obama was in office a little longer than that

                  Yes, and the deficits he ran during his second term were much smaller than Trump’s 2017-2020 deficits. In fact, Trump’s 4-year total will be about 50% higher than Obama’s 2013-2016 total in constant dollars, and 25% higher as percentage of GDP. Data (Table 1.3)

                  1. A large part due to the covid collapse of the ecomony plus 3T in additional expenditures.
                    Now everyone should get off the partisan soapbox as that would have happens to a president of either party

                    1. “A large part due to the covid collapse of the ecomony plus 3T in additional expenditures.
                      Now everyone should get off the partisan soapbox as that would have happens to a president of either party”

                      Absolutely, the coronavirus would have collapsed the economy if a President of either party had settled on a policy of spreading the disease as fast and as far as possible as the method of dealing with it.

            2. Seems somebody doesn’t understand the implications of exponential growth. “Trump’s” debt piles up faster than “Obama’s” debt, because “Trump’s” debt includes servicing “Obama’s” debt, which Obama didn’t have to deal with.

              And, technically, Congress added $8 trillion in 4 years. (And, to be fair, $9 trillion in Obama’s 8 years.)

              Now, I’d have preferred that he symbolically veto all those appropriations bills, and let Congress over-ride, just for the clarity, but I can’t really blame him for spending his limited political capital on fights he might even win.

              1. You’ve an excuse for every Trump action. Unfortunately your math doesn’t add up.

                You know this, and just don’t care. Naked partisanship doesn’t make you any prettier.

              2. I’d have preferred that he symbolically veto all those appropriations bills, and let Congress over-ride, just for the clarity, but I can’t really blame him for spending his limited political capital on fights he might even win.

                So you imagine that Trump gives two shits about the deficit, and that he would have vetoed all those appropriations if he thought he could make it stick?

                You’re in deep.

                1. If he could’ve figured out a way to get a cut, he’d have signed off on any appropriations bill put in front of him.

              3. “technically, Congress added $8 trillion in 4 years”

                Which Congressperson submits the budget every year, again?

                1. James,
                  The budget that POTUS submits is DOA almost every year. Wake up to what actually happens in the budget process.

                  1. “Wake up to what actually happens in the budget process.”

                    People with enough wealth hire lobbyists to make sure the budget includes funding for their pet projects. Which is the party of the wealthy people, again?

          2. Also, we’re talking about the national debt, not the deficit. Perhaps you’re confused.

            1. There’s obviously no link between deficit and national debt, after all.

          3. “Obama also promised to run down the deficit. I’m sure Bushes did too.”

            Actually, the younger Bush publicly explained that paying down the debt was a bad plan, and that’s why a massive tax cut for rich people was a good idea. The W administration intentionally took the government out of surplus and returned it to deficit operation. They also floated the idea that a giant tax cut for wealthy people was what the economy needed in 2008, but at that point the party was no longer running Congress so that tax cut didn’t happen.

      2. “It was pretty strange, his complaining about Trump’s spending, when most of it was from the House Democrats and he was just along for the ride”
        Hold on. Who started whining that $600 wasn’t enough stimulus, and how disgraceful it was that it wasn’t $2K for each American? Yeah, the House went along, but claiming Trump was “along for the ride”.
        There’s also the fact that Trump declared an emergency because Mexico didn’t go along with “…and Mexico will pay for it!” As I recall, that involved a number with plenty of zeroes in it that wasn’t appropriated by Democrats in Congress, or the rest of Congress, or anyone in Congress.
        Don’t forget the payments the government had to make to keep the farmers quiet about Trump losing us a trade war, either.

  9. Trump is carrying the Republican Party off a fact-free cliff. Ilya can no longer say that political ignorance affects both sides. Or if it does exist on the left, it is so trivial and inconsequential that it does not merit mentioning.

    1. How so? Seriously? Do you honestly think the Dems care about anything else than buying votes and enriching themselves? Just like the GOP…

      1. Do Democrats believe in millions of fraudulent votes? Have they ever followed fantasy morons like Trump? Explain what Republicans are now doing in D.C. and tell us why it is based on facts.

    2. The Green New Deal has facts? Pray do tell.

      1. It has a few facts:
        1) Fossil fuels are available in limited supply. Some are under the United States, but some are under other peoples’ countries.
        2) We need to develop effective substitutes for fossil fuels before the supply runs out.
        3) It would be good (very good) for us if the United States were to be the dominant force in developing those alternatives.

    3. No one believes for one second that you care about the Republican Party.

      (Why do Dems keep posting this crap? 100% of everyone reading it knows it’s bullshit trolling. 0% of everyone care or take it seriously.)

      1. whine some more.

    4. Democrats have been fact free on economics my entire lifetime.

      A pox on both parties. Too bad some idiot from one of them is going to get elected again. And again. And again.

      1. “Democrats have been fact free on economics my entire lifetime.”

        They correctly pointed out that “trickle-on economics” wouldn’t work.

  10. Hey Ilya, housing in Massachusetts wouldn’t be so damn expensive if there weren’t so many illegal aliens here…

    1. The illegal problem in Mass is nothing close to what states like Texas, AZ, NM and CA deal with. Having lived in both places I think the biggest problem with Mass housing is the lack of land to build on. The housing stock is old. Most places you buy need to be rebuilt, expanded or torn down and rebuilt entirely. In AZ, where I live now, there is plenty of open land to build entire developments of 2 and 3 BR houses and also available housing that is only a generation old. Updating does not require a total redesign. Mass is also more regulatory, more union controlled and heavier handed with Gov. AZ if pretty well run, cost of living, including housing, is affordable with a couple of $40K jobs or one higher paying gig. Mass, at least $120k per year to afford housing near the city (employment) and live comfortably.

      1. A big factor in housing cost is how close the available housing is to the jobs the people living in it will be working. In most of the west, the freeway system was built before a bunch of the housing went in, and the land that isn’t being used yet is cheap, so you can afford to build new freeways to join your new development to your old development. In the east, particularly the northeast, the cost to build new freeways is higher, because they’d be built on more valuable land. This limits the construction of more freeways, which in turn raises the value of the existing housing that is already close to the jobs.

  11. I don’t have a firm grasp of economics. I never studied it in college or graduate school. But, like Socrates, I know that I know nothing. While I cannot opine on macroeconomics, I hear too many (like young twenty-somethings) talk about how our economy is corrupt and broken, yet offer inane suggestions for how to fix it (e.g., make it like Denmark). I applaud Mr. Glaeser’s work and others like him. I just wish more people would sit down to study the problem and engage in reasoned debate instead of chanting foolish slogans.

    1. “What many young people today don’t realize is that socialism is a machine for empowering insiders. Few insiders have ever been rewarded more assiduously than the nomenklatura of the Soviet Union. Few governments have been as gray—in every sense of the word—as the Brezhnev regime.”

      !!

      Glaeser is so ignorant, of history, the world, and of the distinction between socialism and Communism, that I’d take the opinion of any twenty-something over his.

      1. And yes, you do indeed take the opinions of AOC, Bernie, Lizzie, and others over facts and knowledge.

        1. Well, those twenty-somethings like Bernie are quite persuasive.

      2. Communism is (a form of) socialism.

        Socialism. n. Government ownership of the means of production.

        If you were to draw a Venn Diagram, Communism would entirely lie within Socialism’s circle. It’s simply a type of socialism with a (vanguard) one-party state and an internationalist focus.

        1. Squirrelloid, a problem with your little taxonomy is that it doesn’t apply in the U.S. Almost nobody calling for what they call Democratic Socialism, is calling for state ownership of the means of production. They are calling for state intervention in the economy, with policies chosen to broaden wealth distribution, regardless of who owns the means of production.

          Before you condemn that as socialism, give some thought to the fact that it’s only a call for the reverse of policies the nation followed for decades—policies to narrow wealth distribution. If broadening wealth distribution by policy is socialism, then so is narrowing wealth distribution by policy.

          The fights seem not to be about economic principles, but about who benefits. What have you got against Millennials? Millennials are getting screwed big-time. Look for some political push-back pretty soon.

          1. Massively greater state control over the distribution of wealth.

            Nope, doesn’t shine like a supernova of all hearts’ desires for the kickback-receiving class who goes into government for the purpose of blocking things until money comes in and they get back out of the way.

            “Oh, look Henry. My wife turned out to be a genius at picking stocks, too!”

            1. “the kickback-receiving class who goes into government for the purposes of blocking things until money comes in and they get back out of the way”

              Take that, Mr. McConnell! And behave or there’ll be another!

          2. “Almost nobody calling for what they call Democratic Socialism, is calling for state ownership of the means of production. They are calling for state intervention in the economy,”

            Right. Technically, what they’re calling for is “fascism”. The communists favored state ownership of the means of production, while the fascists let the private owners retain nominal ownership so long as they did everything they were told to do with it.

            You know, like the ACA did with the health insurance industry? Classic fascism.

            This had the advantage over communism of not transferring control of day to day operations to people who were clueless, but it still wasn’t free market capitalism.

            1. The difference between Communism and fascism is that in Communism, the government owns all the businesses. In fascism, the businesses own the government.

              1. Yeah, I suppose communists would like people to believe that. The truth is that, under fascism, business owners became little more than conscripts, allowed to continue to ‘own’ their businesses so long as they followed orders.

                In both systems, the guys with the guns were calling all the shots.

                1. So we’re going to be run by the Texans?

          3. “They are calling for state intervention in the economy, with policies chosen to broaden wealth distribution, regardless of who owns the means of production.”

            Stephen, your description is that of the Corporate State of Italian and German Fascism.

        2. “If you were to draw a Venn Diagram, Communism would entirely lie within Socialism’s circle. ”

          If one were simple, and liked oversimplified drawings. Communes and communal living arrangements can (and do!) exist in all sorts of societies.

  12. Ok the real solutions:

    1. End the Fed…we don’t need a central bank. Killing it will help end deficit spending, allow rates to settle at the natural supply/demand for capital. This will allow profitable enterprises to grow and unprofitable ones to be shut down. It will also end the empire and stop all this foreign interventions. With blockchain banks are obsolete anyway.

    2. Shut down all Federal Agencies created after 1960. Fredde/Fannie, HUD, HHS, and so on. End all subsidizes for homes, school and so on.

    3. Do not run deficits at the Federal Level. Either raise taxes or cut spending.

    4. Tie the money supply to good old gold

    Do these things and we will again be a humble prosperous republic..

    4

    1. 1960? Not early enough. Try ~1915.

    2. The last time I recall a balanced budget amendment being seriously considered in the Senate, Robert Byrd (KKK, Democrat, W. Va.) stood there on the floor arguing against it, because it “thwarted the will of the majority”. Skip for the moment the idiocy of defending the Will of the Majority as some high principle, against the Will of the Supermajority to reign itself in.

      He literally started crying with sadness, a tear rolling down his eye. I can only presume he was sad for the potential loss of his famous W. Va gravy train.

      1. A balanced budget amendment would be absurd.

        1. Indeed, Bernard. Given the size of servicing the debt, it is virually impossible.

          1. The only plausible balanced budget ‘amendment’ at this point is our currency crashing, followed by the budget being balanced because nobody will loan it money anymore.

            We went over the fiscal cliff in 2007, but to be fair, we were headed towards it too fast to stop in time as early as the 1990’s.

            1. “We went over the fiscal cliff in 2007, but to be fair, we were headed towards it too fast to stop in time as early as the 1990’s”

              In the late 1990’s the federal government was operating at a surplus. But your good buddies, the Republicans, didn’t like that so as soon as they got control of Congress and the White House, they put a stop to it.

      2. Krayt, here’s a suggestion for you. A balanced budget amendment sounds like a pretty big change, maybe not even possible to comply with. So find out. Before casting it into constitutional iron, balance a few budgets, and see what happens. Let the party which advocates balanced budgets be the party to take on the challenge. Win some elections, balance some budgets, show that it works, then propose an amendment.

        I suppose you can tell I intend this more as a taunt than as actual advice. I’m not usually a fan of the, “Get an amendment,” taunt. Just thought I would try it out here, to see why it’s so popular.

      3. He was a Democrat and therefore could be trusted.

        For 50 years, every Republican President has set record deficits (breaking the record set by the previous Republican President), and every Democratic President has brought the deficit down, in two cases (LBJ and Clinton) actually ending with surpluses. This is true whatever the affiliation of the houses of Congress. It’s practically an iron rule of American politics by now.

        1. Clinton had a Republican Congress.

          1. The deficit, which hit a record HWBush’s last fiscal year (breaking Reagan’s record), was almost down to zero by the time the Republican Congress got their hands on things. And they actively worked against deficit reduction, finally ending up arguing that surpluses were unhealthy.

            1. Only the “primary”, (Which is to say, calculated ignoring the cost of carrying the existing debt.) ever got close to zero during the Clinton administration, and it took a financial bubble increasing revenues faster than they could agree on how to spend the money, to accomplish it.

              A “primary” surplus is what private sector accountants call a “deficit”.

              1. “A “primary” surplus is what private sector accountants call a “deficit”.”

                Not the good ones. A lack of a surplus is what private sector accountants call a “loss”

        2. Until Obama broke Bush’s record.

          But seriously it was Bush’s colossal blunder of the Iraq war that destroyed Clinton’s fiscally sound budget. As for Biden, he has not a prayer of balancing the budget. The same will be true for whomever succeeds him.

          1. Cutting taxes on the rich (two years in a row) was what did it. GWBush broke his dad’s deficit record in 2003, before the Iraq War started.

          2. “But seriously it was Bush’s colossal blunder of the Iraq war that destroyed Clinton’s fiscally sound budget. ”

            How can you tell? They didn’t put any Iraq war expenditures in the budget. Justifying tax cuts for wealthy people is what cut federal revenues enough to break the federal budget.

          3. “Until Obama broke Bush’s record.”

            cleaning up the mess that W left for him.

    3. “2. […]”

      Alas, poor Space Force. We barely knew ye…

      “3. […]”
      Sure. Which party’s plan do we pursue… cutting the spending that benefits poor folks (AKA the Republican plan) or increasing the taxing on the wealthy folks (AKA the Democratic plan)?

  13. It is always worth noting that Glaeser “voted with his feet” by moving from Cambridge, MA with the denser city zoning he claims to support to Weston, MA, a wealthy town with possibly the most exclusionary zoning in that state. Actions vs. words…

    1. And?

      he wants everyone to be able to have that freedom too. I believe he is also a tenured professor that wants to do away with tenure, a recipient of employment and government benefits that wants them reduced, and employed at a university that gives preference to legacy applicants but wants the legacy system removed.

      1. Pretty weak. Objecting to systems that you have no choice but to take part in if you want to be in higher education isn’t hypocrisy. If he was objecting to legacy admissions while actively taking advantage of it might be hypocrisy, but he isn’t. (Side note: down the river from Glaeser’s school, MIT either did away with legacy admissions long ago or never had them.)

        But going on about housing and zoning while at the same time moving to one of the (and arguably the) most land-restrictive town in a state with hundreds of cities and towns to choose from brings his authenticity into question. There are a bunch similarly nice, wealthy towns nearby with less restrictive zoning. Or maybe he could write a paper on the amazing zoning proposals he has brought before his municipal legislature. If the town officials disagree with his brilliance, it would only take 10 signatures to bypass all the town boards and send it to a vote.

  14. Unfortunately I think we are down to the last box of freedom. Let’s see what happens here in a few short days…

    1. Yes, for Louie Ghomert to say what he did — I met him 8 years ago and for him, of all people, to say that — wow…

      1. Liberals would be wise to invest a few hours to read how the revolutions of the early 20th century came about (and how those works out for those in power…)

        1. Or even 1776, which came about for largely similar reasons and also didn’t work out so well for a lot of those in power, including a few of my forebears.

          One of whom is *still* supposed to be “executed without benefit of clergy” should he ever set foot back in Massachusetts. Yep, that’s still on the books…

          Likewise, leftists (who are not liberal) tend to forget that Lynch Law was originally Lynch’s Law with Mr. Lynch being a real man who didn’t like Tories.

        2. Jimmy, folks calling for uprisings would be wise to invest a few minutes—all the time it takes—to discover what Jefferson actually meant when he famously said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure,”

          Jefferson referred, of course, to Shay’s Rebellion. Jefferson was a guy who took rebellion philosophically—someone who shortly thereafter proved capable of viewing the French Terror with equanimity.

          The “blood of patriots” he mentioned in that quote was of course intended to refer to the blood of the rebels themselves—blood which he himself would not have hesitated to shed, had he been in charge. Jefferson’s message to posterity was paradoxical—that popular rebellions were okay, and so was their bloody suppression—all to the good, all useful to give the right tone to government—firm, but not too confident.

          Permit me to suggest that among would-be rebels, wisdom and confidence are about as paradoxical as Jefferson’s maxim.

          By the way, as for the fates of those in power during early-20th century revolutions: In the mid-1960s I was afforded a chance to chat briefly with Aleksander Kerensky, who was then living in New York, and doing okay.

          1. Stephen, do you have any idea how close Daniel Shays came to winning? He almost captured the Springfield Armory…

            1. Which would have substantially increased the body count of the rebellion, which is not the same thing as “winning”.

      2. Gohmert is in the running for stupidest man in the USA.

        What does he think, that the VP gets to just disregard election results and name the next President?

        Unbelievable.

        1. Fraudulent election results should be disregarded.

          1. W won. We know because the person who ran his campaign in Florida was also in charge of counting the votes. Let it go.

            1. James, the NYT looked into you bogus claims after the fact. W won in FL because he received more votes, just as applies to Biden now.

              1. “James, the NYT looked into you bogus claims after the fact.”

                Are you referring to my bogus claim that W won?

                1. … or to the fact that the person in charge of counting the votes in Florida was also running W’s Florida campaign?

  15. I like his list as things that are at least partially politically palatable at the federal level.

    I think a simpler and more effective solution to secondary education is to pay students for passing tests. Then let the students use that money to pay for education. A lot of students would end up with a huge pile of cash ($8000 per year times four is $32,000) and a high school degree with only one year of “schooling.” That would pay for a large pprtion of college educations and allow them to partially fund a small business or make a down payment on a house.

    1. I much prefer school vouchers — which could be used at public schools if desired.

      1. Nah, let’s just give them loans to pay for school, and saddle them with debt just as they become economically valuable. THAT’LL keep ’em working hard!

  16. Partly because they haven’t seen wages or salaries increase much for a very long time. An overabundant influx of cheap unskilled labor and cheap educated labor is part of the reason. People at the top keep importing lower-paid individuals instead of having to pay a scarcity premium or actually do anything to educate Americans for jobs.

    The education cartel uses that to their advantage. Schools for children aren’t forced to reform partly because foreign schools without all the US school pathologies continue to supply college-ready students. The university environment is actively hostile to male students from the US, but universities aren’t forced to reform either because they can fill all the openings with foreign students.

    So company executives keep doing better and better, and average Americans see they can never get ahead. The political and professional classes hide behind gates in rich neighborhoods with good schools and don’t lift a finger to help poor or middle class kids get ahead, or even get by. Instead of helping anyone, they put signs in their yards announcing their progressive virtue — you’ve undoubtedly seen those signs.

    So yeah, they respond to their environment. If you care, you could help. Or at least stop making things worse.

    There was an anti–socialist running for President in 2020. You supported his opponent.

    1. Trump was just another kind of socialist. Protectionist tariffs and generally believing he had the power to mandate private businesses do things is not anti-socialism.

      Nationalists are a kind of socialist. They’re only ‘right’ politically in the sense that communists are even farther left.

      1. People like you can never be even a tiny bit satisfied by anything.

        1. And what can people like you be even a tiny bit satisfied by?

    2. “Partly because they haven’t seen wages or salaries increase much for a very long time. An overabundant influx of cheap unskilled labor and cheap educated labor is part of the reason. People at the top keep importing lower-paid individuals instead of having to pay a scarcity premium or actually do anything to educate Americans for jobs.”

      More accurately, American businesses found it profitable to send the jobs to where the cost of labor was lower.

    3. “There was an anti–socialist running for President in 2020.”

      Apparently he or she didn’t make it past the primaries.

    4. ” The university environment is actively hostile to male students from the US”

      I haven’t had a problem, and I was male each and every time I was a student.

  17. Someone should go through all of Ilya’s 2020 posts looking and count all the times he advocated for Americans versus the times he advocated for foreign nationals.

    Then they could divide the Americans list into advocacy for haves (property owners, for example) versus have-nots.

    I can’t believe these people we mostly ignore (at best) are looking at other choices from people who don’t ignore their needs. Huh. It’s a complete mystery.

  18. The right calls all social programs socialist, so of course the majority of people think socialism is good.

    Iti shte ignoranc eof the right that created that quirk

  19. It is the ignorance of…..

  20. If young people want to live in a socialist country, they con go to…well…there isn’t really one.

    1. This news will come as a surprise to most Europeans. Or it would, I guess, if they existed…

  21. “how American capitalism is working for them. They have a point. Over the past 40 years, insiders have increasingly captured the American economy—from homeowners opposed to new housing construction near them to incumbent firms that benefit from the overregulation of employment to interest groups that have transformed the federal government into the equivalent of a pension system with a nuclear arsenal”

    None of those things are capitalism, though, they are government problems. I think the better trick is getting younger people to realize that.

    1. “I hate capitalism!”, Johnny angrily thumbed into his iPhone and pressed send. Feeling good about his wokeness of deep understanding of the world, he grabbed a cheap, spotless banana in the middle of winter and took a bite.

      1. Why would you want to eat a spotless banana? That means an unripe banana. They get freckles as they ripen.

        1. “Unbruised”?

  22. I might agree on those changes to make things better for young people. But all this language about capitalism turns me off.

    Capitalism is just a synonym for freedom or liberty. The choice of words has a power influence in debates.

    The debate should be whether we should choose proposed changes, not whether we should give up the right to choose.

    1. Capitalism is just a synonym for freedom or liberty.

      No. It’s not.

      It’s perfectly possible to have a capitalist economy in a dictatorship, or monarchy.

      1. “possible to have a capitalist economy in a dictatorship”

        Tell that to Jack Ma.

        Arbitrary power and a free enterprise system do not mix.

        1. Well the Chinese have been doing it for 30 years and they are cleaning our clock.

          1. Prior to the Wuhan Covid, China had real economic problems.

            What the Chinese have been doing over the past 30 years is buying our politicians and stealing our secrets, neither of which should be legal…

            1. “Prior to the Wuhan Covid, China had real economic problems.”

              Prior to the American experience with COVID, so did we.

              1. No we didn’t…

                1. Are you having success keeping reality at bay?

        2. Not all capitalism is free market capitalism. Basically all societies except primitive tribes in the Amazon are capitalist today, it was a fundamental economic transition, like the transition from hunter-gatherer to agriculture.

          The difference between free market capitalism and other forms, is that in the free market model, your capitalists don’t have coercion available to save them if they screw up, so they’re forced to be efficient or go under.

          1. The main problem is that most people get a basic introduction to economics, where they get taught how things would work in an ideal market, and then never learn the ways that reality differs from ideal.

      2. It’s perfectly possible to have freedom in a dictatorship or monarchy too.

        If it weren’t for people making dumb academic points about worlds that are theoretically possible but aren’t like the reality we know then discussions would be more productive.

        1. “It’s perfectly possible to have freedom in a dictatorship or monarchy too. ”

          Absolutely, if one is the dictator/monarch.

            1. Why, yes, I AM right again. Thank you so much for pointing it out for everybody.

                1. You don’t have to keep agreeing that I was right.

          1. You, like Bernarnd, are confusing liberty with democracy. It’s a common mistake of lefties.

        2. I guess you would have told Einstein while black holes are theoretically possible we shouldn’t talk about them because they are beyond the reality we know.

      3. Of course it is, because neither a dictatorship nor a monarchy involve the absence of liberty, but of democracy.

        1. Tell us more about your theory that people who live under a dictatorship are free. The people who lived in East Germany were free to leave any time they wanted, if they didn’t mind being shot while doing it.

    2. “But all this language about capitalism turns me off.”

      Its because we use a Marxist word now. Its true name is “free enterprise”.

    3. “Capitalism is just a synonym for freedom or liberty. The choice of words has a power influence in debates.”

      No, it really isn’t. Capitalism works best in a free society, but left unregulated it quickly destroys free society. The problem is that money is power, and people with power don’t like to give it up.

      1. Since capitalism prohibits the initiatory use of force how could anyone have power over others? Before you say you could be threatened with job termination just know that in a capitalist society there’s more work than workers and retaining them would be the highest priority.

        1. “Since capitalism prohibits the initiatory use of force”

          If you start by postulating a false premise, you can attach any conclusion you’d like. But then, you already know that, don’t you?

  23. How about an American proposal that would be very capitalistic, yet solve many of the problems that young socialists are talking about? I would call it the minimum welfare state.

    The government will guarantee everybody
    1. Minimum food, (we already pretty much have this as food stamps)
    2. Minimum housing, that is the lowest standard housing that is still livable. Perhaps trailer parks, and single people will have to accept roommates in the trailers. Also, they won’t get to choose their trailer.
    3. Minimum healthcare. Government run clinics and hospitals with the lowest standard of technology in the developed world and long wait times. Find the cheapest hospitals in the poorest areas of UK, France, Denmark or wherever and copy what they are doing. Government run pharmacies with very limited formularies.

    Of course private charity will be able to step in and add additional subsidies to all of these to their hearts content.

    This way, we preserve the capitalist system, where people have an incentive to work hard, while providing a minimum floor for those who can’t or aren’t motivated. People will have an incentive to work so that they have normal housing rather than the government run trailer parks. They will be motivated to get health insurance to avoid the subpar, long-wait-time government clinics. But those who can’t or won’t work at least won’t die on the streets. I feel like this is the perfect balance between American capitalism and the welfare state that so many pine for.

    1. Yes, dislucky, you like it because it’s punitive. That notion, that government ought to assist capitalists by imposing punitive measures on workers—to make them available at low wages—has a long provenance. It remains in widespread use. Both Democratic and Republican administrations in this nation use it. For instance, that explains why unemployment benefits are stringently limited to pay only a small fraction of already-inadequate wages, and those to only a small fraction of potentially eligible claimants. Punitive. Frightening, and deliberately so.

      What goes unexplained—and remains a bit of a mystery—is why the sovereign People put up with being systematically punished by a government which is theirs to control. Probably, it has much to do with the fact that the folks most conspicuously punished have long been black people. Never underestimate the decisive political power which an enduring bloc of racial hatred among the voters can supply after it has been deliberately mobilized. Apparently, with that condition satisfied, punishment for a fraction of others also passes political muster. The notion of using terror, by example, to inflict docility, is a practiced tool of tyrants of every political persuasion, including our own nation’s capitalists.

      Presently, we may see a political test whether that kind of government abuse of members of the nation’s joint sovereignty will continue. The signs point toward such a test. It could be a protracted political upheaval, but a sharp one, beginning not later than 2024, and largely completed by 2030, by my reckoning. See if I’m right.

      1. Not punitive, Stephen! Giving free stuff is not punitive! Plus, it’s an improvement over what we have now!

        1. Not familiar with the works of Dickens?

          “please, sir, I want some more!”

        2. It is against the people forced to pay for it because nothing is free.

          1. Depends on your worldview. One approach is that everything is free, because of divine providence. God gave us a lovely planet, filled with birds of the air and deer of the forest, plus a good supply of ores of the earth.

            1. Birds and deer kill and cook themselves with the ore they turned into knives and forks?

              1. No, you have to pay them.

    2. In a capitalist society there would be so much work none of that would be necessary. The few people who are truly helpless would be taken care of by family and friends. You lack the imagination to see all the benefits of capitalism.

      1. You’ve never heard of orphans?

        1. Orphan means your parents are dead not aunts, uncles, cousins and as I said friends. There’s also foster parents and adoptive parents. Being and orphan doesn’t mean you HAVE to be cared for by the government.

          1. ” Being and orphan doesn’t mean you HAVE to be cared for by the government.”

            Please point to where anyone said orphans HAVE to be cared for by the government. But they have to be cared for by someone. Capitalism doesn’t magically take care of them.

      2. I am pro-capitalist, nevertheless in a capitalist society there will be people who will lose their jobs or their homes to accident or bad decision making. Somebody could lose his job, and lose his home, or be unable to afford health insurance premiums. Or somebody might become disabled. We shouldn’t let them die on the streets like they do in California.

  24. A major part of capitalism is keeping the well-established well-established. The idea is to avoid having the sort of revolution where the well-established are lined up in the public square to have their property expropriated and redistributed. You have to make some concessions to make the whole deal appeal to the not-already-well-established.

  25. The only freedom we need is from the initiatory use of force.

    1. “The only freedom we need is from the initiatory use of force.”

      Freedom’s just another name for nothing left to lose.

  26. A real economist wouldn’t publish such b.s. Honestly, repealing zoning laws isn’t going to redistribute wealth to people who can’t afford to live in the nicest parts of the newly declared State of Anarchica.

    Beyond that, Stephen Lathrop is right, and beware of people purporting to be from Harvard or Ohio.

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