What are your policy priorities for the US?

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Most members here seem to be from the US (it certainly seems like the most-discussed country). It's also unusually important in the world. So what would you say the ten most important domestic policy priorities in the US are, assuming they can feasibly pass?

Here’s my rough list:

  1. Stricter animal welfare regulations, including a ban on CAFOs, battery cages, fast-growing broiler varieties, and factory farming more generally, as well as government subsidies for plant-based meat and other alternative proteins. 
  2. Reform the US political system, by abolishing the filibuster, making DC and Puerto Rico states, creating independent redistricting commissions, abolishing the Electoral College, and adopting ranked choice voting for most elections.
  3. Substantial efforts to reduce global catastrophic risk from emerging technologies (e.g. invest in AI safety research, increase BSL-4 security standards, invest in gene sequencing and vaccine capacity for future pandemic prevention, regulate antibiotic overprescription), but also from weapons of mass destruction (primarily a foreign policy problem, so I won’t talk about that in too much detail). 
  4. Substantially (in the range of 2x–3x) increase legal immigration into the US (of both low-skilled and high-skilled workers), and give amnesty to and create a path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants currently in the US. Also significantly lower restrictions on goods and capital mobility, though these are less important than labor mobility. 
  5. Efforts to reduce global and American environmental pollution (and mitigating their effects), including substantially scaling down the use of coal power, significant clean energy subsidies to reduce solar and wind prices in international markets (as well as subsidies for advanced geothermal energy, which is especially promising), clean energy R&D investments, carbon pricing (and raising the gas tax), expanding the use of other alternative energy sources (e.g. nuclear power, more fracking), and a nationwide lead cleanup. 
  6. Adopt a better macroeconomic stabilization policy, with automatic stabilizers, the Fed adopting an NGDP level target with a “whatever it takes” approach to get there, and staffing the Fed with economists committed to full employment, while preserving Fed independence. Some bureaucratic reform is probably also good (e.g. separating out the financial regulation and monetary policy functions of the Fed).
  7. Criminal justice reform, including abolishing for-profit prisons, lowering prison sentences across-the-board and abolish mandatory minimums (especially with nonviolent crimes), reforming the bail system, investing to make prisons much more humane and rehabilitation-focused, and the decriminalization of many nonviolent activities that contribute to widespread incarceration (e.g., decriminalize sex work, end the War on Drugs). Also hire more police officers – deter crime through police rather than prisons (while engaging in police reform, such as more representation on police forces and banning police unions). 
  8. Increase investment in antipoverty programs, including significant EITC expansion (possibly restructure it to function more directly like a negative income tax), a universal child allowance, Medicaid expansion, and making section 8 housing vouchers an entitlement for the poor. Also protect poor workers by abolishing occupational licensing, raising the federal minimum wage (and perhaps tie it to local housing costs), and making unemployment insurance more generous.
  9. Significantly relax land use regulation, including federal transportation funding to incentivize cities to abolish zoning ordinances and increase housing density, banning rent control, and reducing the reliance on public housing to house low-income families. More housing density should be accompanied by better transport infrastructure and street lighting. 
  10. A health policy focused on the supply side – invest in health R&D and innovation (including anti-aging research). This is a good set of health policy recommendations. On the demand side, reduce the reliance on employer-provided health insurance, either through something like allowing people to buy into Medicaid, “universal catastrophic coverage,” healthcare vouchers, or substantial HSAs. My guess is that US healthcare prices are unusually high because of high demand for healthcare (driven by America’s high GDP), rather than traditional explanations from progressives (e.g., high market power on part of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries). 
I’d describe this list as “generally liberal, but acknowledging that free markets can do lots of good.” What’s your list? 

I’m also (especially) happy to talk about my recommendations for India, though I imagine people here are less interested in that. 

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I want to run for POTUS, so for me this should be pretty serious.

My goals in no particular order are:

1) Eliminate the US debt while cutting taxes and not cutting social programs by increasing the number of taxpayers.  The plan is below:

2) Implement law based on the 10 commandments and legalize anything not prohibited in the list.  This is not an exact copy of the 10 commandments, but my 9 commandments are on page 3 of the below document


3) Repeal the war on poverty as it has caused the poverty rate to stagnate after falling for decades.

4) Abolish all gun restrictions at the federal level that don't reduce the homicide rate (including but not necessarily limited to semi automatic gun bans and background checks).

5) End all wars and implement a minimum of 10 US military bases in every NATO country (my 1st link shows how it will be paid for).

6) Reduce the abortion rate by expanding access to contraception.

Thoughts?


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Your list:

Stricter animal welfare regulations
I hope all the people advocating for animal rights are vegetarians or vegans otherwise this is hypocritical.

  1. Reform the US political system, by abolishing the filibuster, making DC and Puerto Rico states, creating independent redistricting commissions, abolishing the Electoral College, and adopting ranked choice voting for most elections.
I support the abolishment of the filibuster.  DC should become part of Maryland and not be a state.  I think PR should become a state (so I'm not rejecting statehood on political ideology). Why do you support the repeal of the electoral college?  The common argument is, "One person; one vote.  Represent everybody the same".  However this idea taken to its logical conclusion would abolish the senate as well because the Senate represents people from small states more per person.
Substantially (in the range of 2x–3x) increase legal immigration into the US (of both low-skilled and high-skilled workers), and give amnesty to and create a path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants currently in the US. Also significantly lower restrictions on goods and capital mobility, though these are less important than labor mobility. 
I support open borders on the grounds that it is the easiest way to get out of debt.
Efforts to reduce global and American environmental pollution (and mitigating their effects), including substantially scaling down the use of coal power, significant clean energy subsidies to reduce solar and wind prices in international markets (as well as subsidies for advanced geothermal energy, which is especially promising), clean energy R&D investments, carbon pricing (and raising the gas tax), expanding the use of other alternative energy sources (e.g. nuclear power, more fracking), and a nationwide lead cleanup. 
If you support clean energy, buy solar panels.  I want solar panels but don't believe they should be forced.  Don't force people who don't want to pay for clean energy to pay for it through subsidies.  I would say the same thing for fossil fuels.

Increase investment in antipoverty programs
War on poverty failed.


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I hope all the people advocating for animal rights are vegetarians or vegans otherwise this is hypocritical.
I’m lacto-vegetarian (mainly because I don’t think dairy is nearly as bad as most other animal products, though I was vegan for two years), but I disagree with you for two reasons.

First, some degree of hypocrisy is to be expected and is okay, to be honest. No one can be morally perfect (e.g., I believe that it is morally ideal for many people to donate most of their wealth rather than spend on luxuries, but obviously that’s a pretty demanding expectation on a lot of people), and many people are raised in cultures where it’s really hard for them to be vegan or vegetarian. Trying to reduce how much you eat meat/eggs, or change the types of meat you eat (e.g., eating wild-caught rather than farmed fish, eating beef rather than chicken), is still a way you can do good. Or you could try to “offset” the effect of eating meat by donating to effective charities that help improve the lives of animals.

Second, you might think eating meat is okay, but the way animals are treated currently in factory farms is not. So you need not believe in a right to life for animals, but you might believe that animals experiencing gratuitous suffering is wrong. 

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I can kinda see what your saying, but you said, 

First, some degree of hypocrisy is to be expected and is okay, to be honest
I don't think people should be hypocrites.  Any rule you wish others to follow you must be willing to follow yourself.
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I support the abolishment of the filibuster.  DC should become part of Maryland and not be a state.  I think PR should become a state (so I'm not rejecting statehood on political ideology). Why do you support the repeal of the electoral college?  The common argument is, "One person; one vote.  Represent everybody the same".  However this idea taken to its logical conclusion would abolish the senate as well because the Senate represents people from small states more per person.
I think there’s a pretty strong case for abolishing the Senate, yeah. Or radically reforming it. Majoritarian politics is not ideal, but the level of small state overrepresentation in the Senate is probably worse, in my view.

I support open borders on the grounds that it is the easiest way to get out of debt.
I worry about fully open borders. I think it would be a pretty sudden shock that’d be hard to adapt to, including in terms of emigration (e.g. “brain drain”). In general, I’d favor lots more migration to developed countries though, and I can see why others might support open borders.

If you support clean energy, buy solar panels. I want solar panels but don't believe they should be forced. Don't force people who don't want to pay for clean energy to pay for it through subsidies. I would say the same thing for fossil fuels.
I’m okay with forcing people to pay for it, for two reasons. 

First, one person’s decision to use fossil fuels affects other people, at the margin. So in a transaction to buy fossil fuels, the buyer and seller are consenting, but not the people who face its externalities. The externalities of air pollution are too large and dispersed to be resolved through something simple like contracts, so I believe in subsidizing the public good of clean air and a safe climate.

Second, there’s inequality. Due to circumstances often outside their control, some people find it easier to afford solar panels than others. In that case, addressing that inequality probably requires some force.

War on poverty failed.
There’s evidence that it cut consumption poverty in half. There’s also tons of research on specific antipoverty measures, including food stamps, child allowances, and the EITC.
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Any rule you wish others to follow you must be willing to follow yourself.
This is overstating it a bit. I don’t think people who eat meat but care about animal welfare are angrily demanding that others stop eating meat.

I think they are making big efforts in their own lives, and against the way they were often raised and the culture they grew up in, to give up things important to them to do good. Even when they aren’t, they often think that, while meat consumption is okay, the current process of producing it is deeply immoral and are asking for that to change. 

I’ve got a lot of respect for people who eat meat, but are making efforts to reduce their consumption or even pushing for animal welfare reforms. I think people should be credited for taking efforts to be more moral, even if they aren’t morally perfect. Here’s a good Slate Star Codex post on this.
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I worry about fully open borders. I think it would be a pretty sudden shock that’d be hard to adapt to
I think society can adapt to it.  Basically open borders worked for the UAE; they are rich as hell because they let people move there easily.

I’m okay with forcing people to pay for (clean energy), for two reasons. 
Then buy clean energy yourself; India will probably let you.

Second, there’s inequality. Due to circumstances often outside their control, some people find it easier to afford solar panels than others. In that case, addressing that inequality probably requires some force.
Even wealthy advocates of solar panels like Hilliary Clinton do not have solar panels.  The majority of solar panel advocates can afford solar panels and don't have them.  If they won't use them, why should everyone else be forced too?


There’s evidence that it cut consumption poverty in half
R888d615ddf956dd87bdd06f35e9aa3b8 (655×451) (bing.com) and various other articles show the poverty rate stagnated right after the war on poverty after the poverty rate was falling for decades.

 food stampschild allowances, and the EITC have encouraged poor people to have more kids (so they get more money) which ends up costing taxpayers more money than welfare should have cost.  The best way to reduce poverty in the long term is to end the single motherhood epidemic in the United States because someone who worked in the welfare department told me that if you had a father in the home, you didn't get welfare.  This encouraged fathers to flee from their kid's homes, which made kids (particularly black youth) to grow up without fathers (which in addition to providing fiscal stability also provide a male role model) just so they could receive welfare benefits.

Single motherhood should not be subsidized by the government and it should be eliminated.  Giving single moms more money for having kids encourages them to have more kids which cost taxpayers more money and only giving them welfare if they have a deadbeat dad encourages single motherhood.

Single motherhood needs to be eliminated if we wish for the poverty rate to plummet, and this is best done by making deadbeat dads get a vastectomy so they don't have more kids after they ditch their parental responsibilities.
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Good points in post 7.
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Ten is a lot, but I'll do my darndest
1. Secure border from illegal immigration/end birthright citizenship
2. Decrease legal immigration- multiculturalism will kill this country
3. Revitalize our manufacturing base and protect the wages of those workers- it must be possible to make a decent living without a college degree. Manufacturing is a national security concern.
4. Make it more affordable to have children through tax credits, low-interest loans, grants, etc.
5. Reform education to promote patriotism and traditional ethics
6. Increase expenditures on infrastructure like better roads, high-speed trains, and good bridges
7. Disentangle ourselves from open conflicts/stop trying to enforce democracy in other countries
8. Need some type of healthcare reform. A public option and increasing competition among insurers would help.
9. Regulate/ban sexual degeneracy in media
10. End opioid epidemic. Regulate treatments to reduce use of opioids overall.
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Thoughts.



Ten commandments and lots of guns.

I think that you need to go on the watch list.



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My 10 commandments is not the original 10 commandments.  My bio contains what I mean when I call for the American 10 commandments.

Also shooting guns is so fun and legalizing all guns doesn't increase the homicide rate.
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Shooting guns is so fun.

You really do need to go on the watch list.
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Many people find it fun to shoot guns.  I'm not talking about shooting PEOPLE with the guns, I'm talking about shooting TARGETS.
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  1. Reform the US political system, by abolishing the filibuster, making DC and Puerto Rico states, creating independent redistricting commissions, abolishing the Electoral College, and adopting ranked choice voting for most elections.
You seem to be a supporter of a one party state lol
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I think there’s a pretty strong case for abolishing the Senate, yeah. Or radically reforming it. Majoritarian politics is not ideal, but the level of small state overrepresentation in the Senate is probably worse, in my view.
If this ever happens I predict a Civil War. Drastically reduces the power of smaller states in political affairs.
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You seem to be a supporter of a one party state lol
How is that? Ranked choice voting, for instance, would probably allow for the success of more than just two parties. The system I support would just allow whoever’s supported by most American people at any point in time to have political power – and it’s not obvious to me that that would systematically favor any one political party. At the moment, it would favor the Democrats. Six years ago, it would have favored the Republicans. Four years ago, it’d be pretty close. 
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How is that? Ranked choice voting, for instance, would probably allow for the success of more than just two parties. The system I support would just allow whoever’s supported by most American people at any point in time to have political power – and it’s not obvious to me that that would systematically favor any one political party. At the moment, it would favor the Democrats. Six years ago, it would have favored the Republicans. Four years ago, it’d be pretty close. 
I severely disagree. Democrats are going to gain power for the next century with the agenda they hold. If you’re arguing after a 100 years things will change that’s fine, but by that time I argue they will have ruined the nation - if it even exists.
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I think your 3, 6, and 10 are pretty good. Some of 5 and 7 are good.
The rest (except #1) would probably collectively destroy the country.

I don't want to sound rude, but you want massively increased immigration plus a universal child allowance (and multiple other entitlements)?

While I don't agree with Milton Freidman on everything, I surely think that his assertion of: "“you can't have open borders (free immigration) and a welfare state." was quite accurate. (I know that you are not advocating "open borders", but taking in an extra 1 or 2 million per year is pretty close).
Ignoring the social impacts of immigration, we are 100% boned if we increase expenditures and allow in more low-skill workers who will be a net-drain on those programs.
The taxes or new debt that would be needed to fund these programs would be catastrophic.
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I don't want to sound rude, but you want massively increased immigration plus a universal child allowance (and multiple other entitlements)?
I’m comfortable with a higher short-term deficit and higher taxes on the rich. Interest rates right now are extremely low, and they have been relatively low for over a decade now. My guess is that part of it is the slowdown in productivity and part of it is a savings glut. I expect that some of this spending will pay for itself in the long run too (see the programs in Hendren and Sprung-Keyser 2020 with infinite marginal value of public funds). 

I think there are three good reasons to think the fiscal burden of more immigration would be smaller than it initially seems. First, the U.S.’s population is aging a lot, and it needs more workers to pay for entitlements through taxes. Roughly two-thirds of American social spending is on very young children and seniors (who don’t pay taxes) – immigrants, in general, are neither. In fact, as the population of domestic U.S. taxpayers decreases, it needs enough young people to take on the load in the future. Second, even if low-skilled workers are a net drain on these programs, over the long run, their children are often no longer net drains and end up being net surpluses for social programs. Third, a lot of U.S. government programs are fixed costs for investments in nonrival public goods – for example, U.S. military spending. In this case, an additional immigrant doesn’t contribute to the cost of programs (you still have to spend on defense), but pays taxes for them, hence spreading out the cost more and offsetting their effect on social programs not aimed at public goods. 

Blau and Mackie 2017, for the National Academy of Sciences, estimate the net present value of additional immigrants to the U.S., using data from the CBO Long-Term Budget Outlook. Some of their findings include:

  • If additional immigrants have a similar composition to current U.S. immigrants (i.e. if the number increased while the screening methods remained the same), then the net present value (over the long term, including their children and other descendants) to the U.S. government of one more immigrant is $259,000.
  • Some low-skilled immigrants are net positive, while others are net negative. Low-skilled immigrants who finished high school but didn’t go to college add a net present value (per immigrant) of $49,000 per immigrant. For those who didn’t finish high school, it’s more negative (-$117,000 per immigrant). However, I’m not advocating open borders or entirely randomizing who is let in either – if you take a weighted average of the net present values of people who are let in if you double or even triple immigration, my guess is it would come out positive. This is particularly the case for younger immigrants – even immigrants who didn’t finish high school under the age of 25 have a positive net present value. 
The taxes or new debt that would be needed to fund these programs would be catastrophic.
I’m not actually clear why this is true. Furman and Summers 2020 explain why it is plausible that low interest rates are a “new normal,” and hence the cost of additional borrowing has substantially reduced (Furman is an economist at Harvard who was Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, Summers was Secretary of the Treasury and Director of the National Economic Council). The optimal tax literature is pretty divided, but economists are generally in favor of higher taxes – consider this poll among economists in the IGM Experts Panel.
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I severely disagree. Democrats are going to gain power for the next century with the agenda they hold. If you’re arguing after a 100 years things will change that’s fine, but by that time I argue they will have ruined the nation - if it even exists.
This seems unlikely to me, but more generally, I think political structures should reflect the will of the people. I don’t support direct democracy, but I don’t think indirect democracy should be so detached from what the public wants. 

Not because I think voters are great (I’m pretty sold by arguments around rational ignorance and rational irrationality), but because I think the current system is even worse.
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I appreciate the well-thought-out response. It will take me a moment to write a rebuttal to it. I won't have access to my computer for 2 days, and I start working this week. Expect a response by Wednesday night

For now, I'll respond to the poll.

Question A was quite specific: Restoring the top individual federal income tax rate to 39.6% for incomes over $400,000 (from the current 37%) and taxing the capital gains and dividends of taxpayers with income over $1 million at that top rate (instead of the current preferential rate of 20%), with no other associated changes in taxes or spending, would be unlikely to hurt economic growth noticeably.

This specifically relates to economic growth and no other detrimental effects, and it says "noticeably", which is an ambiguous term. So they essentially admit in the question that it will hurt economic growth to some degree by raising these taxes.

That doesn't mean that they want higher taxes, it just means that they don't expect these specific changes to be incredibly harmful. There also isn't any indication of how much money this would raise, especially relative to your likely large bill.

A 2012 poll from the same website asked economists: A cut in federal income tax rates in the US right now would lead to higher GDP within five years than without the tax cut.
35% agreed, 35% were uncertain, and only 8% disagreed. Granted this was asked in 2012 and the question was "right now", but way more economists agreed than disagreed with the sentiment that GDP grows faster with tax cuts. 

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I appreciate the well-thought-out response. It will take me a moment to write a rebuttal to it. I won't have access to my computer for 2 days, and I start working this week. Expect a response by Wednesday night
Sounds good! This is an enjoyable conversation. Hope your work goes well!
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Thank you, and take care! (I did a quick rebuttal to part of your response above)
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This seems unlikely to me, but more generally, I think political structures should reflect the will of the people. I don’t support direct democracy, but I don’t think indirect democracy should be so detached from what the public wants. 
The problem is the public is divided on the issues themselves. They uphold ideas that both parties promote. No party can uphold the values espoused by the voters so at best the party with the most values in common gets voted in, yet they can still harm the same people that voted them in because of values that don’t align. The current system is perfect in that it promotes balance with the system of checks and balances not just between the branches but within branches themselves. Plus you have to consider that these are the United States of America. Foundations do matter because those foundations are what has made America arguably one of the best nations in the world. Changing the way the Senators are chosen to reflect a popular vote will definitely lead to Civil War. One that the conservative side will likely win.