No, no, and no.
But progressives are often uninterested in the creation of the goods and services they want everyone to have. This creates a problem and misses an opportunity.
This is because any good or service will be means-tested and our mechanisms for testing means are state-based which means redlining and discrimination. If the people who need it the most are African-Americans in the South, creating a good or service at the federal level will guarantee that Southern legislators will either opt out for "patriotic" reasons or gerrymander eligibility such that all the money goes to a white guy named Clem.
The problem is that if you subsidize the cost of something that there isn’t enough of, you’ll raise prices or force rationing. You can see the poisoned fruit of those mistakes in higher education and housing.
The problem is that if you eliminate market forces the market will force everyone to take a knee. Education didn't go fully batshit until it became impossible to disburse student loan debt in bankruptcy while keeping the federal guarantee on student loan debt. As a consequence, any institution whose students default on debt get paid 100% by the government, who sells that debt to a collector for 10 cents on the dollar, who can garnish that student's debt at 200% of its face value and nothing shy of DYING will make it go away and somehow this is a subsidy problem?
Medical expenses truly shot for the moon the minute the Republicans (with the backing of the AARP) forbid Medicare and Medicaid from negotiating prices with private companies. You think EpiPens would be $350 ea. if Medicaid could go "naaah we need these for the inner city and there's eleven cents of epinephren in a fifty cent housing get bent?"
A problem of our era is there’s too little utopian thinking, but one worthy exception is Aaron Bastani’s “Fully Automated Luxury Communism,” a leftist tract that puts the technologies in development right now — artificial intelligence, renewable energy, asteroid mining, plant and cell-based meats, and genetic editing — at the center of a post-work, post-scarcity vision.
Fully Automated Luxury Communism is a deeply cynical, deeply libertarian book that argues every modern problem will eventually be solved by innovation simply because the incentives are too great not to. Nowhere does it say there will be smooth landings, nowhere does it say disruption won't leave a trail of dead, nowhere does it say things will be painless. Bastani basically sweeps the bodies under the rug, much the way Paul Watson's book on global warming basically says "so uhhh a lot of Africa, Asia and South America gonna die, moving on." If anything, Bastani argues that most innovation is happening outside the bounds of regulation and eventually, regulation catches up with innovation.
Bastani’s vision is bracing because it insists that those of us who believe in a radically fairer, gentler, more sustainable world have a stake in bringing forward the technologies that will make that world possible.
There is zero fairness in Bastani's "vision." William Gibson's latest trilogy hinges on the concept of "the Jackpot", a period of tribulation in which no single event fucks the world over, but global warming, pandemics, scarcity and politics combine to deeply pare the human race down to isolated ivory-tower aristocrats lording over a vastly-depleted landscape. The actual depletion is left happily off-stage as per usual to play with time travel between alternate histories on either side of the event because, like most novelists, Gibson ignores the slow grinding period where nothing good happens and everybody dies. But make no mistake. "The Jackpot" is very much lurking in every page of Fully Automated Luxury Capitalism.
We should combine price controls with new policies to encourage drug development. That could include everything from more funding of basic research to huge prizes for discovering drugs that treat particular conditions to more public funding for drug trials.
Spoken by someone with no fucking clue how drug funding works. Aimmune was a two billion dollar company whose sole purpose was to feed peanuts in a controlled fashion to kids who are allergic to peanuts so they wouldn't be allergic to peanuts. In order to recoup the expense of peanuts, Aimmune had to sell their anointed peanuts for $50 ea. Nestle, smelling blood in the water, bought a two billion dollar company for two point six billion dollars so they could sell anointed peanuts for $50 ea. Now - your goal is to come up with a "prize" such that Nestle is more incentivized to come up with magic peanuts and give the technology to the government instead of selling magic peanuts for $50 ea for the next 17 years (not adjusted for inflation) without giving Medicare or Medicaid the ability to negotiate prices.
A decade ago, progressives talked often of making housing affordable, but they didn’t talk much about increasing housing supply. Now they do. That’s progress.
The Progressive Housing Market, ladies and gentlemen - entirely owned by rich people yet somehow, eliminating zoning restrictions will somehow benefit poor people. Let's say my block goes from "residential" to "multi-family." First thing that's gonna happen is my neighbor is gonna try and scramble together a loan to buy everybody out 'cuz he already owns three of the 30 houses here. Next thing that's gonna happen is KBB or someone equally huge is gonna swoop in and buy everybody out for 20% more than the houses are worth. My neighbor is gonna do the best, of course, but the rest of us are gonna get a modest bump. KBB is gonna raze the entire neighborhood and in three years, maybe four, there will be a thousand units where there used to be 30... and every.single.one of them will rent for more than the houses that got nuked and all that money is gonna go back to where it came from: the fucking stock market.
And Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama and Joe Biden will smile about all the "housing opportunity" they've opened up.
We can pretend that there was some sort of low-income provision in all this but the developer will get two thirds of the way through, claim poverty, stop work and my neighborhood will be a hole in the ground for six months while city council meetings scream about "think of the children" and then those restrictions will be gone like a fart in the wind and poof my whole neighborhood is suddenly chockablock with pissed-off Amazonians who have nowhere to park because the permits were originally for low-income housing so there's no parking garage.
don’t think these various policies have cohered into a policy faction, a way progressives think of themselves, at least not yet. But I’d like to see that happen.
And I would like our miscarriage rate to go down. But, much like Ezra Klein's Town Called Perfect, this has a lot more to do with conservatives more interested in eating horse paste than getting vaccinated because something something freedom.