David Brooks, New York Times, taxes, deficit reduction, income security for all, basic income, Peaceful Positive Revolution, Steven Shafarman www.IncomeSecurityForAll.org, Steven Shafarman
Income Security


Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Friday, November 5th 2010

David Brooks on taxes, deficits, and morality

David Brooks writes about taxes, deficits, and morality in his column today in the New York Times, and his ideas suggest some good reasons to support income security for all. Brooks does not go so far, of course. Perhaps one day he will.

Here’s a key section:

Debt reduction has to be about renewal and prosperity, not pain and sacrifice.

That means deficit reduction has to be embedded in policies that produce growth. Michael Graetz of Columbia University has proposed replacing the current awful tax code with a value-added tax of 14 percent, cuts in the corporate tax rate, and a fair income tax with two simple brackets kicking in over $100,000. Many people have ideas to streamline the welfare state. The message has to be: we can afford to have a thick safety net, if it is more efficient.

The tax ideas are clearly compatible with a basic income, and could thereby be made even simpler. More relevant is “Many people have ideas to streamline the welfare state.” The most efficient “thick” safety net would be a basic income.

Set some amount, enough for a frugal person to manage food and shelter, at least, and give that to everyone, the homeless, middle class readers of this blog, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey. No means testing. Minimal bureaucracy. Integrated with the tax code. Direct deposit into bank accounts. The ultimate social safety net and the ultimate in simplicity and efficiency.

Here is Brooks complete column. Also worth reading, and considering seriously, is his link in the excerpt above to more specifics about taxes.

As you can see, the main focus of Brooks’ column is deficit reduction — he is an avowed conservative, after all — and the concluding section focuses specifically on the challenge of gaining political cover for his ideas. Here, too, basic income provides an answer.

Income security for all is a plan that can attract support from across the political spectrum, from “tea party patriots” to those the tea partiers denounce as socialists to those who really are socialists.

It’ll be exciting when these ideas are more widely debated. That could happen this year, and would if I had a platform as broad and sturdy as Brooks. In addition to his semi-weekly columns in the New York Times, he’s a regular guest on NPR, PBS, and other mainstream media. All I have is this blog. Even so, I expect a real, massive, effective, and ultimately successful campaign within the next five years.

I discuss these ideas in more detail in Peaceful, Positive Revolution: Economic Security for Every American.

Please help spread the word.

Steven Shafarman

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.