A New Economic Vision, in 27 Words

By James Kwak

A couple of weeks ago I posted a 6,000-word essay laying out a new economic vision for the Democratic Party. It kind of vanished into the ether, although Stephen Metcalf was kind enough to say this:


So here it is, in 27 words:

All people need a few basic things:

  • An education
  • A job
  • A place to live
  • Health care
  • A decent retirement

Let’s make sure everyone has these things.

If you want more, there is always the long version.

26 thoughts on “A New Economic Vision, in 27 Words

  1. Now lets see, the last 4 of those things are directly dependent on the first one, education. And it’s been proved over and over again that, education in this country, like poverty, SUCKS!

    As the ex-wife would say, now get educated you stupid F’s.

  2. Probably not in that order. Add in a daily meal and a “Square deal” and you’ve got a campaign platform.

  3. Wall Street is mostly Democrats.

    Look, kids, it is simple. With all the FOCUS on “rights” for all sorts of sexual peccadillos being the ONLY socially acceptable fight for rights in today’s post-truth world, the Democrats stabbed LABOR in the back and no one is going to trust you guys ever again. And since you forgot to list the “right to eat” right along with the “right to work”, one has to question what you know about the “invisible” carnage of lives since The Patriot Act took over….

    The ONLY cadre of human beings who cannot fight for “rights” because the DEMOCRATS made it socially unacceptable for them to do so, as a group, is….drum roll please……


    It is SOCIALLY UNACCEPTABLE for LABOR to have the soap box for a spell….you have to give it up to people lobbying for the right to do female genital mutilation….

    And how about “security” from Patriot Act psychos….?


    Can you financial wizards of eternity explain HOW the Federal Reserve Board’s


    of the 4.5 TRILLION they printed and gave to their inner circle to buy (STEAL) up all the “dull tracking” foreclosed homes/businesses

    is going to be a newer new than the new

    plan for FAIRNESS….?


  4. Chit Annie, I said the same thing. I told the private side of the fed, you try to unwind that sucker by yourself and then come back and tell me there aint hell to pay. Payback is going to be one hell of a bitch! (insert smiley face)

  5. These 27 words are much easier to digest — good idea, and thanks, James.

    Many fewer words, yes. But I suggest that this shorter version rings best for not using the word “fairness.”

    Fairness screams partisanship & redistribution & government mandates, automatically turning off a lot of folks — not helpful when we aim for political solutions to our ugly socio-economic problems. Democrats use that word too often.

    That our system is “unfair” and blatantly skewed toward the wealthy there is no doubt. But our great national paradox has always been that we all hope we might become wealthy one day. We celebritize folks who’ve become wealthy (even as vulgar as a Shkreli or a Kardashian or a Trump!)

    Wealth simply isn’t a dirty word in the USA, while the idea of not at least trying to earn one’s way definitely does not resonate.

    So, I’ve found the most concise and “fair” and attractive way to explain our economic needs is to say that “anybody who works a full-time job shouldn’t live in poverty.” All-American, individualist, hard-working, good citizen stuff.

    Of course, with McDonalds et al eliminating all of the usual entry-level jobs, by the time we agree on that simple statement it’ll be too late.

    Next stop to try to rescue capitalism: Universal Basic Income (or, as I call it, Democracy Insurance.) Alas, not in the USA in my lifetime.

    Keep the faith!

  6. You know Harvey, the worlds economic situation has become a monkey see monkey do conundrum, or perhaps a money see, money do. The Italians are now giving money($900/mo for each refugee and host) to refugees and those who house them with the belief that they can be integrated into society and become productive one day, There is not one example in history of that ever having been successful, yet it wont stop the establishment from trying (and failing once again) to prop up an ailing world economy with a debt to gdp ratio of 350%.(that’s the equivalent of every working person in the world, working 3 1/2 years for free to free the world of it’s debt chains, and that’s while being a consumer to buy the things you need to survive during that period). So you may keep your faiths, but we already know monkey’s will be monkey’s, it’s not like an old dog trick you cant do, the world is going to monkeys this time.(rather than pizzas)



    We are already paying retards to reproduce faster than we can afford them here in the U.S.. Not in your lifetime you say? Well, it’s happening right now, and could get worse.

  7. Hi. I actually just read the 6000 word version tonight, thanks to a link at Naked Cap. You clearly have given things a lot of thought and make a lot of good points. I only come here occasionally but you seemed to have moved quite far to the left in your politics if I recall correctly. Here are 3 comments:
    1. I was one of the union people pushing fair trade over free trade in the 80s and 90s. I think you overstate the appeal of fairness. It is hard to get people to agree to what it means. There is a lot of cynicism out there, probably more now than there was then. So I don’t think you can count on any groundswell of support from the Dem masses to push the party in this direction.
    2. With regard to the party, I think you, let’s say, underestimate the hostility with which such a program would be met by the Dem donor class. The tech companies, the cable companies, health care, insurance, Wall Street – all diametrically opposed. So you are asking Dem politicians to tell their donors to take a hike.
    3. You are absolutely correct to say our side needs a vision (though I am not really sure how many Dems are truly on our side). I see multiple problems with fairness, the main one being it is hard to know when you have got there. I would suggest a paired alternative: adequacy and really high taxes on the wealthy. Adequacy is IMO better than fairness because it is a minimum standard. Adequate schools, adequate jobs, adequate health care, etc. Defining an absolute standard is way more straightforward than defining a relative concept like fairness. The problem with adequacy is that is becomes very expensive. That is where the really high taxes come in.

    You deserve real credit for putting this out there.

  8. Harvey wrote, “So, I’ve found the most concise and “fair” and attractive way to explain our economic needs is to say that “anybody who works a full-time job shouldn’t live in poverty.” All-American, individualist, hard-working, good citizen stuff.”

    Quaint concept in today’s “sharing” part-time economy – a “full time” job.

    You can see another “holocaust” on the way – as one person recently quipped, “….Descending on silicon valley with torches and pitchforks is just around the corner….”.

    You have to be morally, ethically, and spiritually retarded to continue to “sell” the vision of replacing people with robots to HUMANITY when humanity has the newest problem of dealing with almost 8 billion people….

    Investors should be ashamed of themselves for being such desperate billionaire beggars for “fees”

    and “government” putting its thumb on the “business” scale approving unregulated public transportation means it is not a “government”, at all, anymore….



    Getting people to agree on what is “fair” has already been done, over and over again. The problem is that Nihilists, Hedonists and Anarchists just do not WANT to be “fair”.

  9. You for one Annie should be howling in the streets over Ubers fairness behavior, being the big critic of predators that you are.
    Who else designs software to take advantage of a humanitarian crisis like Uber? And then backs down about their intentions. During the London Bridge terror incident, if you wanted a quick ride away from the danger, (the quick ride being what uber is supposed to be all about). They automatically raised rates and used the old supply and demand formula to justify the increase in rates. I mean, who else is just sitting around waiting for a sudden crisis to arrive so they can jump at the ready and make money? It’s capitalism they say, a good thing, not a predator waiting to strike at the ready to make money.
    Of course who would create such a predator, if they didn’t intend to use it in the first place?


  10. Well just look at the bright sunglasses future ahead Annie. Modern day dog tags,(for the modern day dry powder+… war) who are willingly carried around by the solders/citizens they are meant to identify.

    Identify? Well you know in case you or your family are blown up during the modern day war in a car bomb or vest bomb, your new cell phone has been made to survive the blast,…. any blast. You know, so you and/or their stuff can be rembered after your gone, mostly your stuff but publically in the name of proper burial and rememberances and such.

    Yes, it’s on it way soon, finances and moneitizes itself quickly, hence the need to get it out there first, and then inform the people it was part of the fine print at the bottom of the page you all agreed too so, there you have it.

    Much like a recession, you dont find out about it until you are out of it,(course it was a nasty one), so it’s all well and good and mostly completely forgotton in six months, until you see the bill and the rates go up for that special service you were sold and agreed too, see the problem yet

  11. In reference to Mr. Kwak’s “new economic vision”
    I think what most “conservatives” would say (and maybe a few people who are NOT</b "conservatives") is—that if you "guarantee" people all these things, they will get soft, and lazy, and not make much effort to be creative or push themselves hard at work. I think, at minimum, there is a degree of truth in that. At worse, you have China. A country packed with FALSE promises in a world of limited resources, where those with connections (“guanxi”) and comparative advantage in skills are going to grab some of that “guaranteed” piece of pie from the bottom rung.

    i.e. I think unicorn are cute also. But just because me and James Kwak think unicorn are cute doesn’t mean we can replicate them for an American reality.

  12. Sorry, been a long time since I used html tags, but you get my basic point.

  13. I remember when a certain blog host let “munilass” post on his blog. What an “articulate” and “insightful” woman she was. She would blather on about companies that took bribes in return for giving garbage loans high bond ratings, and argue they were really “nothing of the kind”. [Maybe she labels these companies “market makers”?? Remember that cute misnomer??] I’m curious to this day how Kwak thought it improved the dialogue:

  14. Moses, your post confuses me. I’m figuring a large degree since we can see the degree of boldness tilted with the statement. Now the confusing part, you lump the hards and the softs together like a tossed salad to be molded into your convenient formula of success, when it’s really not that easy.
    It’s one or the other, you either be “lazy” and more comfortable with your soft economy and all that comes with it, or live the hard miserable(once you wake up) life of competing with insanity for money and all that goes with it. Then at the end of the day everyone gets judged by the size of your bank account, [yes, we have access to your $#’s in private, and then we hold you accountable in public], this is what is occurring right?
    Everyone puts perfection at the top of the list and then conveniently chooses which degree of perfection fits the discussion so their side wins the speedy argument. And then once on the losing side, just play the disbelief, denial, and finally war cards to defend the failing beliefs. Skipping all the mirror and wall fairness for the fun, competition, and spoils that goes with all the hard winning.
    Lazy can be rewarding if you take the long way home, cause you simply can’t compete with insanity in the short term, it always wins, and it’s always unsustainable. It’s just a matter of how long it takes to climb that pyramid to drain the top. Some of those pyramids are kinda steep.

  15. Can’t smoke weed in the casino, so order up the Uber driver….


    The captains of industry’s spawn are billionaire beggars – begging the “government” for fees and taxes.

    The most retarded argument is the one “Moses” keeps spewing: “…that if you “guarantee” people all these things, they will get soft, and lazy, and not make much effort to be creative or push themselves hard at work. I think, at minimum, there is a degree of truth in that….”

    The degree of “truth” is that this is true, ONLY, for the billionaire beggar class because the people creating “all these things” that billionaires are guaranteed an inalienable right to have (begging for) with the FIAT $$$$ they print and give to themselves

    are LABOR.

    Socially unacceptable to talk about LABOR – that’s all that the Democrats succeeded in doing with “politics”….

    Billionaire beggar’s “laziness” expresses itself through murder, lying, and thieving which they VALUE as “superior intelligence”.

    Truth is, they have no skills to produce anything of REAL ‘value”. Never did and never will….it is genetic.

    Well, at least more people are getting to see the top of the pyramid that recreates the “economic” conditions for “holocausts”. And they did not stuff enough “third world” in to put the final blow to LABOR….

    THIS particular billionaire beggar circle jerk deserves to be cut off at the jugular – and it ain’t “revenge”, just SELF DEFENSE FROM EXISTENTIAL THREATS:

    pedophiles, drug pushers, for-profit prisons – they target you before you are born….

    God Bless America.

    And get outta my face with the “politics” crap….ty

  16. One wonders if the “golden age of blogging” is over (or has it already been “long gone”)??
    I have a sneaking suspicion that the reason many of these blogs are closing, is because blogs have largely been places where information could be accessed for FREE. Places like WSJ are becoming more insistent on charging for everything and pushing “premium” content. My advice to web surfers is to be just as creative in finding substitutes for places like WSJ which work overtime to stifle “asymmetric information” to the lower economic classes. Most of the time you can find the same information you happen to be looking for on free sites.

  17. This is an oldie but goodie, Shirley you’ve heard of it.

    Steve and Suzi sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, first come love, then comes marriage, than comes Suzi in the baby carriage. Sucking her thumb, wetting her pants, Doing the hula hula dance!…… ; > )

  18. Well they will soon find out that chasing a decoy wasted precious time which could have been spent preventing the outage that turns off the lights, permanent like. But they missed it again, and now they are one day closer to that realization. Or in community and chance language, “Do not pass go”.

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