An Economic Populist Test

An instapopulist post earlier in the day linked to an economic profile test. Like the 4-square political views tests that place libertarians at the top of the diamond, I felt that this economic profile test was biased to produce a result showing the you are a neo-liberal (of course, otherwise you'd be a heathen).

This is such a disservice to public discourse, and I would like to take the first step in putting together a similiar Economic populist test dealing with economic views.

Below you will find my preliminary suggestion of what it should look like.

Four square, double axes.

The idea is that there are two important elements of economic views.

The first question is whether public policy should center on the creation of economic wealth (i.e. the more money floating out there in the world the better) or social welfare (i.e. the relative distribution of wealth matters.)

The second question is whether the state should regulate the market (i.e. labor laws, etc.) or whether it should accomodate the market leaving efforts to deal with the harm done by the market to private sector groups like churches.

I think that with a set of 20 questions we could create a value attached to responses to locate individual's economic opinions on a grid.

There are four quadrants:

1) Economic Populists: This group believes that social welfare should take precedence over the creation of economic wealth, and that the state should regulate the market to make sure that it is kept under control. They abhor the market because the believe that it renders man and nature alike into nothing more than so many dollar bills. This group favors strong state regulation of wages, and protection for the rights of workers to organize.

2) Rubinites: This group believes in regulation, but puts the creation of economic wealth first. They believe that governemnt investment should be directed towards sectors that increase economic wealth, but are not concerned with how that wealth is distrbuted.

3) Buchananite: This group recognizes that social welfare should take precedence over the creation of economic wealth, but prefers for controls over the market to arise from institutions other than the State. They long for the old conservative social order than placed social taboos on the expansion of the market into many areas, and controled economic activity through social sanction rather than legal mechanisms.

4)Neo-liberals: This group believes that "there is no such thing as society." They think that the summation of the actions of individuals trying to get rich is the best possible outcome for national economies. They believe that the market is a morally superior decision makign mechanism to that offered by democratic elections, because they believe that it allows the intensity of preferences to be indicated through the price individuals are willing to pay to create a certain outcome.

Tell me what you think. Do you think that this is a good start?

Can you think of any questions that we could use?

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I've thought about this

quite a bit and frankly I cannot come up with anything better. I like it.

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I like it too

works for me 8-)

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We now need to think about

specific issues that capture the two axes.

I see that trade, living wages, unionization all need questions.

That's where I'd like suggestions.

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We now need to think about

Taxes progressive regressive

Tariffs and VATS

Economic incentives, penalties for R&D, capital equipment so forth

medical care




social safety nets - unemployment, social security, medicare so on

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Horizon project

There is a host of policy recommendations which I wrote about, Horizon Project, which to me really define a series of policy positions that are very populist.
They assuredly would enable strong growth, private sector, corporations yet modify policy so the US middle class, US national interest, workers is taken into account.

I do not believe tariffs is a Popular Populist position but VAT, BAT probably would be.

I'd say per statistics, per details, per analysis, what would actually work per case yet have a body politic actually acting in the national interest is more Populism than say some black and white answer like "tariffs".

I could say withdraw from the WTO, but I think more it's renegotiation of trade agreements, so it's more of a very tough actor in the national interest versus this broad stroke sorts of answers.

I've already said:

Health: HR. 676 or not for profit. My reasoning is to plain reduce the overall costs for regardless of what any policy happens I think if they do not reduce costs nothing else happens. Somewhere between England, France, Canada solutions.

Guest worker Visas: has to be US citizens first and probably greatly reduced.

Immigration: US citizens first in all things, which doesn't imply "amnesty" or "no amnesty" really but would require some very detailed analysis of policy to ensure US workers are not hurt or being displaced plus other additional costs.

Budget deficits: balance the budget

Taxes: heavily Progressive, redistribution of wealth to a degree

Investment, R&D incentives: some public-private works like NASA, DARPA modeled from what was successful in the past.

Labor: enable management to join unions is one thing. Assuredly major, major stronger labor organization, representation. I would add some sort of legislation requiring corporations to stop these layoffs. They know use layoffs to raise their stock price in a quarter, it's like throw away workers and they see it as something to maintain their profits...that's just not right to treat workers as temporary and disposable. Someone somewhere has to make it very difficult for companies to fire workers.

Pension: return to the old pension system, not this privatization scheme or just 401k. Protect pensions. Al Gore's Lock box" on social security so the funding off it cannot be siphoned off to pay for other things in the budget.

Consumer protections: heavily yes, credit cards, loans heavily regulated.

I'd say this one is beyond Populist: get corporate money, lobbyists out of DC

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Another graph and view

I found this blog graph of what a Populist is.

He has Jim Webb as a Populist and I would say that's true.

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another another interpretation

From a site with the domain neo liberal.

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