The paper is essentially an appeal to Republicans to reconsider their approach. “Instead of focusing on budget-based gimmics-based or backward-looking deficit reduction strategies or reducing arrivals for existing entitlements,” the authors urged conservatives to address direct costs. Often, Republican proposals to reduce government spending are simply shell games that shift costs over individuals. The conservative incentive to take Medicare beneficiaries (often more expensive) into personal plans is “slightly more risky than the accounting trick – a completely nominal change to ‘who pays’ that will do little to address the underlying sources of cost overruns.” Promotion!
It would be nice to imagine the Republican Party Niskanen Center, focusing more on saving a beautiful life than vaccinating, and I wish it well in its efforts to make white paper exist. For now, though, Democrats are beginning to take supply concerns seriously.
But before we do that, I’d like to broaden the definition of “supply”, a dull word that has thrilling potential hidden in it. Supply-side progressivism should not only solve current problems, it should accelerate future progress. One of the problems of our age is very few utopian ideas, but a worthy exception is Aaron Bastani’s “fully automatic luxury communism”, a leftist tract that advances technology at the moment – artificial intelligence, renewable energy, asteroid mining, plant and cell-based. And genetic editing ্রে at the center of a post-work, lack-after vision.
“What if everything could change?” He asked. “If the big challenges of our time are more than tackling – inequality and aging from climate change – we have moved far away from them, leaving today’s problems behind as we were before with big predators and in most cases with illness.” What if, instead of having no idea of a different future, we decide that history did not actually begin?
Bastani’s vision is strong because it emphasizes that those of us who believe in a fundamentally just, softer, more sustainable world have a partnership in bringing technologies that will make that world possible. This is as much a technical question as a political one: those same technologies can accelerate inequality and want it if they are not included in thoughtful policies and institutions. But what Bastani clearly sees is that the world needs more than redistribution we need. It requires innovation and progress that renders old problems obsolete and new possibilities manifold.
The most pressing example of climate change. If the Biden administration gives every American a check for a renewable conversion, the policy will fail, because we have not created so much renewable capacity that there is nothing to say about establishing and maintaining supply chain. In a world where two-thirds of emissions now come from middle-income countries like China and India, the only way to tackle both climate change and poverty is to innovate our pure energy way that is plentiful and cheap and then spend enough to set it up quickly.
Or take care of health. House and Senate Democrats are arguing over a dual policy to determine the price Medicare pays for drugs. Europeans and Canadians pay far less for the same prescription drugs we buy, and so House Democrats want Medicare to set at least 120 percent the price of some of the drugs that our counterparts pay. According to the state, the Senate Democrats seem to be moving toward managing Medicare to set prices based on what the Veterans Health Administration offers, which is lower than before but still higher than abroad. (It’s not that any chamber in the dark comics has taken the position that Americans shouldn’t pay more than Canadians for prescription drugs.)