No, None Of Those Ideas Are ‘Pretty Good’

This past weekend Jesse Myerson, some self-proclaimed communist and former Occupy organizer, wrote a piece for Rolling Stone explaining to Millennials why they should demand five key reforms to make everyone’s lives better. You know, because everything these days “blows” so why not try a little communism? The column is so bad some people actually thought it was parody.

Here is Myerson’s list of demands, which Josh Barro thinks are all “pretty good” ideas:

  • Guaranteed jobs for everyone.
  • A universal basic income.
  • Imposing a land-value tax, or maybe having the government own a lot of land.
  • “Make everybody own everything,” the specific proposal for which seems to be a sovereign wealth fund.
  • State lending banks like North Dakota’s.

Barro (an alleged Republican) said that conservatives dismiss these ideas at our peril. Right after he dismissed an excellent essay at The Federalist explaining why all of these ideas are anything but “pretty good” and that they’ve been tried before and failed miserably.

If you’re a Millennial who loves bread lines, prison camps, forced famines, and abject human misery, then you’ll love the latest offering from Rolling Stone. …

But what makes Myerson’s article so precious is that either he’s too dumb to know what the Soviet Union stood for (or too lazy to have done a quick Google search prior to clicking “Publish”), or he thinks his readers are too dumb to discern that he’s actually pushing for a return to Soviet-style communism. …

As Andrew McCoy noted shortly after Myerson’s piece was published, Myerson’s ideas aren’t just similar to Soviet ideas. They are Soviet ideas, which should come as no surprise to anyone with even a passing familiarity with the Soviet Union. According to McCoy’s research, each of Myerson’s five reforms was contained in the USSR’s Constitution. Guaranteed jobs are in Article 40. Social insurance for everybody is in Article 43. Abolition of private real estate is in Article 6. Complete abolition of all other private property is in Articles 4 and 5. And government-owned banks — the only banks allowed in the Soviet Union — were a natural byproduct of a system that says only the government can own things.

But other than that, Myerson’s ideas are all totally original and completely untested by mankind. Have no fear, though. Historical ignorance is not Myerson’s only specialty. He’s also a master of cognitive dissonance: …

Read the whole thing, there is much more including a bunch of ridiculous tweets by Myerson in which he doubled down on his historical ignorance.

Part of the problem with people like Myerson is that American schools have failed to properly educate children on the complete economic and human disasters imposed upon the people wherever communism has been implemented. They aren’t informed that socialism is just another form of fascism and the goal of most socialists is to bring about a communist state.

But even without the arguments for and against communism or socialism, there is also the argument for basic economic sense. One reader of the RS article put it pretty well in a comment:

“A job guarantee that paid a living wage would anchor prices…”

This claim bewilders me. A rudimentary supply and demand curve would show that an increase in government spending (caused by the government guaranteeing jobs) would push the demand curve out and consequently raise prices. Also, an increase in cost of labor that most likely would occur if the private sector had to start competing with a guaranteed government job program that paid a living wage would increase the cost of supplying goods, shifting back the supply curve and consequently increasing prices. As such, people might get paid a “living wage”, but inflation would nullify this effect. The government would have to keep increasing the living wage, and then inflation would increase alongside it.

Also, you claim that there is “there’s tons of work that needs doing” and thus we need guaranteed jobs but then later state that “actual human workers are increasingly surplus to requirement.” So, if I am reading this correctly, we have both a great need for workers and a surplus of workers. This doesn’t make sense.

I’m sure the author is a very intelligent person and wrote this with the best of intentions, but I am honestly puzzled by some of these claims.

Okay, so I disagree with that last part. Communists never have the best of intentions, and Myerson doesn’t appear to be all that intelligent.