Cheap is better than free!
We hear politicians promise “free” stuff, but what they’re really promising is a government monopoly, but monopolies are never good, whether they be public or private because it leads to rising costs and diminishing quality.
This is why I’m not only against the socialist-left, but also the libertarian-right because the free market can also lead to the consolidation of wealth and power, but instead of being in a few government officials hands it’ll be in a few private individuals hands, which is preferable to the former because they don’t have a trillion dollar military behind them (although sometimes they have a million dollar military), but it’s still far from ideal because once they become entrenched they can be very difficult to break up. To break up a corporate monopoly, you either need to embrace your inner Teddy Roosevelt (trust busting), increase taxes on them, or hope some new technology that could be 10, 50, 100 years away will be capable of dislodging them.
So rather than the government trying to make things “free” by taking over the market it should make things “cheap” by growing the market.
Growing the Market
Using the below chart, we can see Americans spend the most amount of money on housing, transportation, food, healthcare, and education.
One of the central political questions we should be asking ourselves is, “How can we reduce costs in these areas so Americans can have more disposable income?”
Making things cheaper is not an ideological purity test. There are proposals on the left and right that can help reduce costs.
For example, people support a “public option” in housing, transportation, food, healthcare, and education to help spur competition and therefore reduce costs and increase quality. Most conservatives support a “public option” for K — 12 education, aka vouchers. Most conservatives support a “public option” for transportation, i.e. trains, buses, and sidewalks. But the problem with a “public option” is that the government is not operating on the same market based incentives as the rest of the competition, which means a “public option” can be sabotaged by conservatives who want to make sure it’s underfunded so they can say, “See! I told you it would be bad!” or conversely it could be so well-funded that private companies couldn’t compete to the point where the “public option” overtime would turn into a government monopoly, which is what a lot of Democrats openly hope for and believe will happen when it comes to healthcare, i.e. Pete Buttigieg saying in the debates that his “public option” would eventually become Medicare-for-All because everyone would want it!
ersonally, I believe if there is to be a “public option” then it should be done at the state level, i.e. Romneycare in Massachusetts.
Overall though, and this is what makes me more conservative in political philosophy, the evidence is clear that the way to make things cheaper is by creating a largely free market. When you look at the least regulated parts of our economy you see the most amount of competition, innovation, lower costs, and higher quality…
Industries in red have some level of regulatory control, while industries in blue have the least. According to Mark J. Perry, who serves as a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus, this chart demonstrates the negatives of government controlled industries.
Imagine if we treated healthcare like electronics! There would be so much more innovation in the industry! Billions of lives would be saved as there’d be so many more vaccines, cures, and doctors. Prices would dramatically come down as consumers would be much more price conscious. Quality would go up as consumers would have much more choice and look at their doctors Yelp reviews with the same critical eye they bring to buying a hamburger. No more paying $1,000 for a CT scan. After all, rich socialists love capitalist doctors… but for themselves.
Imagine if the government stopped giving 18-year-olds $200,000 in unforgivable loans! Colleges would have to drop their tuition since no one would be able to afford it anymore. The price of colleges would drop down to 1980s levels when there was less government intrusion and perhaps even lower as there are many more colleges and online options today.
And you know what, the vast majority of Democrats agree with me! They acknowledge that if we made these markets freer then prices would come down (again, the evidence is overwhelmingly clear that this would be the case), but then here is what Democrats say to me, “But what about the poor? Even if prices come down they still couldn’t afford it. That’s not fair! College and healthcare are a human right!”
But rather than putting a bandaid over poverty-related issues, I say we should eliminate poverty itself!
This may sound like a radical notion, but it’s quite simple…we should shift from welfare to work, fair? There is no reason an able-bodied American should not be a contributing member of society… even during this pandemic. As long as there are problems in the world there is a job to be done! I believe in a jobs guarantee! And before some of you freak out and think I just went full communist on you… please consider that we already have a jobs guarantee in America for basically any able-bodied young person. It’s called the military. But I don’t think you should have to be willing to die for your country in order to get a job as noble as that is. Just like with the military, there should be government employment offices throughout America where a person can walk in and say they want a job, at which point, there would be a whole host of jobs the government could offer them based on their experience and community needs (after the appropriate training and if they pass basic cognitive/physical exams): police, security, sanitation, beautification, testers, teachers, social workers, construction workers, etc.
I will note here that the implementation of this idea is just as important as the idea itself. With the right implementation, we could eliminate poverty. With the wrong implementation, we could destroy the free market. Bernie Sander’s Jobs Guarantee Plan would clearly be the wrong implementation. He sets the pay too high ($15 an hour + benefits), which means the only way for small businesses to attract workers is to pay the same or more, but most small businesses barely turn a profit as it is with labor being their greatest cost with 43.7% of American workers making under $15 an hour. To force small businesses, especially in rural areas, to exceed that random number set by a bureaucrat in D.C. would be to force many small businesses out of business, especially in lower income parts of the country. The right implementation, in my opinion, would be to have the jobs guarantee at the state level. A governor should transition his state from welfare to workfare (or welwork). And then once that state sees decreasing poverty and a growing economy, I believe other states will choose to follow suit. States could then come together to form joint worker exchange programs. Our states are meant to be laboratories of innovation. It doesn’t make sense to impose scantly-tested large-scale changes on the largest economy in the world without first seeing significant success on a multi-state level.
Virtually guaranteeing jobs for every abled-bodied American is the way to go. It’d give people a sense of dignity and it’d eliminate poverty so everyone in America could have enough money in their pocket to buy into our big, beautiful, innovative free market.