How Would You Fix Things?

Zardnaar

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As the title says. Things are a bit messed up atm but the causes have been there for decades.

There's a lot of ideas out there as to the most important things to focus on.

Here the big problem is affordable housing. Every other problems mostly stems from that. Less cash on the table (paying rent/mortage) makes every other problem worse.

Throwing more money at it eg increasing benefits, student allowances etc causes inflation and gets eaten up in rent increases.

My solution here at least is tailored for NZs problems but broadly speaking here's what I would do.

1. Taxes go up.

2. Use that tax money to build a new city.

3. Sane immigration policy. Make it very easy for critical skills need to migrate, otherwise work out how many people we actually need and issue that many visas.

Anyway the new city is because if nimbyism it's to hard and slow to build in existing locations. Building a new city also doesn't provide reasons to relocate there. That's where the rest of the money from tax increases comes into play.

Said city is gonna be medium density apartments. They will be government owned and very cheap/free to rent.

We are also short of various specialists. New city is going to be an education hub specialized in things like trades, healthcare, teaching so it's a campus city. I would also locate a military base nearby we need another one of them.

So cheap/free rent and new education facility as key industry. Education here is also free. If you want a free tertiary education you have to move here vs existing cities. The freeze/cheap apartments also supplied to younger families eg under 30 with kids.

So that's the basic idea government money that needs to be spent gets consolidated in an area where land is cheap and there's no restrictions in building up. There's incentives to move there due to cheap living costs.

Reduces pressure on popular places to live, provide cheap place to live for students, young families, and increase the amount of critical skills needed which has not kept up with population growth.
 

Zardnaar

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Ever hear about Noah's Flood?

Da if you're referring to climate change though people gonna be more corned about right here right now.

If you don't fix that problem first people won't suport trying to fix that either.
 

Samson

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The state should not need to raise taxes to build more houses. Turning agricultural land (<£10k/acre) into housing (>£1m/acre) is one of the most profitable things to do and only the state has the ability to allow it to happen, so could take the benefit of it. Then housing could be provided at a rate and location that is in the interests of the population rather than as it is in the interests of big housing.

This is not the "big problem". Climate change is the big problem and that is much harder to fix. Energy rationing is a solution, there are worse solutions but I am not sure it would get the votes in the UK right now as it probably needs to be international.
 

Quintillus

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As I see it, one of the major causes for things being a bit messed up is increasing income inequality, and the current legal structure still encouraging that.

So if I were to suddenly replace Joe Manchin in the Senate, I'd start voting for a bunch of things.

Structural Reform, focusing on Income Inequality + Housing

Raise taxes on the wealthy (progressive taxation), increase some social programs but also use some of it to pay down the debt to help tame inflation.

Engage with local communities and states to encourage changing zoning to allow higher densities. Also adding taxes around buying up single-family dwellings as investment properties.

Invest a lot more in mental health care. This will take time (have to train new professionals), but has been under-invested in for decades.

Pass laws to strengthen unions and bust trusts. Low salaries are a problem, but miserable working conditions are, too.

Reduce the loopholes that make positions "exempt" from overtime. This was originally meant to exclude C-level positions but now includes many middle-class white collar jobs.

Basically kick off a new progressive era. The last one ended the inequality of the Gilded Age, the next one can end the inequality brought about by trickle-down economics.

Climate Change

Along with the infrastructure bill passed last year, and maybe microchips, this should be the top priority for new investments.

And of course invest massively in clean energy generation. Electric cars, wind, solar, nuclear. All of the above. Biden has already expanded the federal program that provides free insulation upgrades for low-income Americans, IIRC from 50,000 to 500,000 houses per year, but boost that up even more. Hydrogen research, both for transport and for metallurgical purposes such as replacing coal in steel mills (Sweden is a current leader on this, but the Swedes only make fraction of the world's steel).

In the short term, I might also invest in LNG export capacity, including floating import terminals to be deployed overseas. Initially to help Europe wean itself off Russia without going all-in on coal, but in the medium term for exports to India, China, and Africa as well - places that are still adding coal generation capacity. This is an area where given the long-term trends, there's not a lot of incentive for private companies to invest, but it still might save a considerable amount of emissions over coal. And if the government funds and owns the infrastructure, the government can also retire it earlier than private industry would if they funded it. Get coal to zero for power generation ASAP, including in the developing world, and once that's done focus on natural gas and any other remaining fossil-fuel-based generation.

Also introduce carbon taxes. These would accelerate the economic incentives for phasing out carbon-generating industries, and encourage additional R&D in areas such as cement and marine transport that are currently carbon-intensive without many good alternatives.
 

Samson

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In the short term, I might also invest in LNG export capacity, including floating import terminals to be deployed overseas. Initially to help Europe wean itself off Russia without going all-in on coal, but in the medium term for exports to India, China, and Africa as well - places that are still adding coal generation capacity. This is an area where given the long-term trends, there's not a lot of incentive for private companies to invest, but it still might save a considerable amount of emissions over coal.
I am not convinced by this. It all depends on the level of leaks for the gas extraction and distribution system, and the time scale over which we care. Methane is 80 times as potent a global warming gas than CO2 on a 20 year timescale, and 20 times on a 100 year timescale? And I have heard figures of 25% leakage for some systems. If that is the level of these systems then surely it is worse than coal over any reasonable timescale?
 

Arwon

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Comically large wrench
 

Quintillus

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I am not convinced by this. It all depends on the level of leaks for the gas extraction and distribution system, and the time scale over which we care. Methane is 80 times as potent a global warming gas than CO2 on a 20 year timescale, and 20 times on a 100 year timescale? And I have heard figures of 25% leakage for some systems. If that is the level of these systems then surely it is worse than coal over any reasonable timescale?
That's a good point, and one I hadn't thought of. I'd be surprised if natural gas were outright worse for power generation after methane is factored in, or I doubt we would have more towards it so quickly over the last 10-15 years, but methane leaks are a problem. Definitely something to task a hypothetical congressional staffer with getting to the bottom of.
 
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