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Bad Liberal Ideas?



Catherine Rampell is EXTREMELY CONCERNED that Democrats are going to think they have a mandate after the election. She wants to make sure that doesn’t happen. So she lists all the horrible ideas of “the left,” although she means liberals.

These are proposals such as bringing back Glass-Steagall, a banking law whose repeal actually had nothing to do with the 2008 financial crisis. Its resurrection is perplexingly popular on the left.

Or banning genetically modified organisms.

Or instituting a $15-an-hour minimum wage nationwide, even though that’s higher than the current median wage in four states and three territories.

Or free college for all, including rich people.

Or arbitrary tax carve-outs for items such as tampons (which constitute a giveaway to rich people, too, and ultimately require raising tax rates on everything else, which can disproportionately hurt poor people).

Well that’s a weird list. I hope we can all agree that indeed banning GMOs would be a stupid idea. Anti-GMO activism is second only to anti-vaccination as the worst idea floating around the left. Of course, there are problems around GMOs based around patent rights and corporate monopoly and that’s part of the GMO worries. But what motivates most of these people is concerns about pure bodies, which should be shunned.

But otherwise? Arbitrary tax carve-outs is a major goal of liberals? I mean, I don’t mind ending taxes on tampons, but no one is saying this is a major policy goal. Plus, a) we already have all sorts of arbitrary tax carve-outs and b) more important we have all sorts of ways rich people avoid paying taxes which should receive significantly more attention than small ways to help the poor.

Glass-Steagall? Is there any actual downside to bringing back this law? OK, it might not have stopped the housing bubble and Wall Street collapse, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. I don’t see how this is a terrible idea.

And as for the $15 minimum wage and free college, these are GREAT ideas, including for the rich. Yes, raising the minimum wage high enough to reduce inequality is something that should happen. If that requires a serious raising of other wages, then great. That’s precisely what has to happen if working people are going to live a dignified life. And including the rich under programs of free public college is exactly what needs to happen to get such a program passed. There is nothing wrong at all with that idea, unless your real concern is low taxes for the upper class. It’s not like Rampell doesn’t do quality work at times, so I don’t really get what this is all about except her own delusions about what the left is actually advocating.

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