Some decades back I read a pretty good book that advocated for a “guaranteed job” for anyone who wanted one as a better solution to poverty than a “citizen wage” (or any sort of welfare assistance). I don’t remember all the details in the book, but the advantages primarily had to do with preserving the existing social structures around employment.

One question I always struggled with had to do with the strength of the guarantee. Suppose a few percent of the people with such jobs have (as I do) seasonal depression such that they cannot be productive during the winter months. Would the job guarantee permit them to simply show up and get paid, even though they can’t get any work done until spring?

This particular for-instance matters to me, as one who suffers from SAD, but it’s a broader problem—lots of people have some sort of condition, medical or otherwise, that makes them unproductive for long stretches of time. Do they get to keep their guaranteed job? How can you tell them from malingerers? Does it matter? How do you deal with workplace tensions when many perceive their coworkers as not doing their fair share of the work?

These sorts of issues are why I’ve always come down on the side of a universal basic income as a better way to reduce both poverty and the abuses that come along with having a few rich people and a vast class of precarious workers. But I’m willing to give alternatives serious consideration, as long as they work for people like me.

It is perpetually tempting to imagine letting the red states (whose voters imagine that they are getting the short end of the stick, when in fact they are vastly subsidized) go their own way. Tempting, but both impossible and harmful.

Much better, as cogently explained here by @interfluidity, is to build things up in the red states, so that their citizens perceive that they have an economic and political stake in the United States.

Fix the Senate II: Integrate

“The only way to mitigate this tendency towards corrosive crisis is to ensure that differences of interest between larger and smaller states are generally modest.”

This from Forbes is actually a pretty good start. All media outlets should commit to such a policy:

“Trump’s liars don’t merit that same golden parachute. Let it be known to the business world: Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie… Want to ensure the world’s biggest business media brand approaches you as a potential funnel of disinformation? Then hire away.”

Source: A Truth Reckoning: Why We’re Holding Those Who Lied For Trump Accountable

We did not prosecute Nixon, but we did prosecute his enablers (Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Dean, etc.). Because of this a generation grew up knowing: If you commit crimes for the president, he will not go to jail but you will.

That is the lesson that the next generation needs to learn. Ignore Trump; prosecute his corrupt enablers.

“There is a social cost to not pursuing potential criminal cases. But the alternative is arguably costlier.”

Source: The case against indicting Trump

On one of my top-two issues when it comes to means-testing benefits, @interfluidity gets it just right:

“Requiring demonstration of inadequate means up-front, rather than on the back-end, creates at best a delay between when a shock is experienced and when it can be ameliorated. “Delay” can mean your kid skips meals, you start rationing your insulin, or your family is evicted from its home. It’s a big deal.”