Thursday, August 11, 2011

How to fix the economic mess

One of my personal rules is that if you complain about a problem it's incumbent on you to propose a solution. So here goes:

1. Re-regulate investment banking. Investment banks should go back to being what they once were, small partnerships of high net worth individuals. They should not be public companies, and they should not be allowed to invest other people's money. Un-repeal Glass-Steagall. (Banking should be a commodity. No one should get rich from banking. That being a banker is one of the most lucrative careers a person can have nowadays is just one of the symptoms of how badly screwed up our priorities are.)

2. Institute patent reform. Specifically, institute a system of peer-review where the public is invited to comment on, cite prior art for, and opine on the obviousness of patents before they are issued. Most patents being issued today are bogus and only serve to feed patent trolls and stifle innovation. Patents on human genes should be eliminated entirely. These are clearly discoveries, not inventions.

3. Cut defense spending. The amount of money we spend on defense is just ridiculous. Spend the money instead on alternative energy research and development.

4. Let the Bush tax cuts expire. Even better, raise top marginal rates to 50% or more, but allow people to spread windfalls out over several years so that you only get pushed into the top brackets if you make obscene amounts of money on a sustained basis.

5. Raise the retirement age. Index it to life expectancy. Means-test social security.

6. Institute single-payer healthcare. (Hey, a boy can dream, can't he?)

7. Listen to this guy

Since none of these things are likely to happen any time soon (except maybe #7), I'm not going to spend much time elaborating on them. I just wanted to go on the record with my suggestions so that I can carry on complaining without feeling guilty about it ;-)

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