Monday, December 12, 2016

One problem with mainstream liberalism

One problem with mainstream liberalism is that it's like playing a game of Topple Tower. It's often focused on removing things piecemeal, like a pipeline here, a factory there, but still relying on the consumptive economy that these things are pillars in. Like pulling pillars out of a topple tower, the structure becomes more precarious. The tower (economy) is still needed to provide things that people want like social services, home values, teacher salaries and so forth. The tax base is still needed. I think a better strategy is to look at the situation more holistically. What changes are needed in overall consumption and business practices, such as weening ourselves off of fossil fuels. What changes are needed in lifestyles, expectations, technology, our population growth, city planning and so forth to bring a more sustainable future.

Another example of Topple Tower is the rule, in Obamacare, that keeps insurance companies from discriminating against folks with preexisting conditions. That rule can't work alone without the overall system of premium subsidies and so forth that Obamacare tries to provide. Donald Trump is kind of like some liberals in being a populist. He wants to keep that one popular part of Obamacare, but discard most of the rest. Economists usually point out that just keeping that one part wouldn't add up. The premium subsidies (wealth transfer) parts would need to be there also or else the premiums go too high so only high income people can afford them.

Topple tower is one reason why liberal leaders, like President Obama and Canada's Prime Minister Trudeau, often disappoint more left parts of their liberal base by supporting things like Trans Mountain Pipeline. Leaders do not wish to have economic problems during their watch so they are careful about doing things that significantly disrupt business as usual. Here in Washington State, one of the first things our liberal governor did was to push for tax cuts to Boeing Corporation so Boeing wouldn't move production of the Dreamliner Plane out of the state. No Washington governor wants to be the one that looses Boeing, a large employer for middle class jobs, from our state during their watch.

We need to see how the pieces fit together and look at the big picture.

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