A car would not swerved towards us and we would not have driven under downed trolley bus wires if it were not for this green fetish. The swerving car distracted me from noticing that the trolley bus wires were hanging low above it on a dull Wellington Day
This enormously expensive way of running public transport in Wellington is already killed bus drivers when they are out on the road putting in the polls back up to the wires. Today, we were put at risk of electrocution.
The universal basic income is a rare bird for the left. It is the only time the usual suspects on the left are happy to cut government bureaucracy.
Furthermore, the left makes no inquiries as to how these redundant bureaucrats who administered the welfare state will find jobs. The market is left to work its magic for once. How convenient.
When a tariff cut is proposed, a trade deal signed, or job reduction in a bureaucracy suggested perhaps as the result of a privatisation, left-wing activists chain themselves to factory gates or government offices in solidarity. The social upheaval from the job losses among existing workers and their dim prospects of reemployment are paramount in their minds.
Why in the case of a universal basic income is the left so relaxed about job losses. Indeed, it celebrates as an advantage of a universal basic income that “Most of the bureaucracy of the welfare system [is] swept away” .
The universal basic income is the only time the left welcomes a reduction in bureaucracy and the role in the state. This switch from welfare payments to a universal basic income does not make those on the benefit any better off. Normally they are worse off under a universal basic income.
None of the the less well groups which of the concern of the left gain from a universal basic income. Despite this, they sell the jobs of their comrades in the public sector down the river.
I cannot believe the explanation is job losses are OK as long as they are the result of left-wing policies. Unless the labour market is liberalised, its ability to find new jobs for workers, for example, made redundant in the public sector after the introduction of a universal basic income is not any under greater than under a right-wing policy that costs jobs.
Any decent political movement makes an ambit claim in expectation of being beaten back to its real position. That is basic negotiation tactics in politics.
Such is the volatility of expressive politics that the fight for 15 campaign has taken on a life of its own and is actually delivering on a $15 living wage as the minimum wage in the USA in a growing number of states and cities as well is in Democratic party presidential campaign pledges.
If there is any degree of economic sanity and practicality among living wage advocates, they know that such a high living wage increase will cost jobs.
After all, if a large wage increase for low-paid workers cost no jobs, why not increase everyone’s wage by a similar percentage, which is about 100% in the USA?
I used to argue that the quality of public policy making would double if public policy analysts remembered the first 6 weeks of microeconomics 101 but on reflection more than that is required.
I picked up my initial insight out when working as a graduate economist in the Australian Department of Finance. That was a few years ago.
I am now concluded that policy analysts also need to know the basics of the economics of tax incidence. Who pays the tax depends on the elasticities of supply and demand rather than who writes the check to the taxman.
The number of times that I have read media and public policy analysis saying who pays the tax is the writer of the cheque to the taxman is beyond counting.
There is also what to do about unemployment and inflation. Do not just do something, sit there might be good advice on most occasions. As Tim Kehoe and Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba explain in the context of first do no harm:
Looking at the historical evidence, Kehoe and Prescott conclude that bad government policies are responsible for causing great depressions.
In particular, they hypothesize that, while different sorts of shocks can lead to ordinary business cycle downturns, overreaction by the government can prolong and deepen the downturn, turning it into a depression.