A couple of weeks ago I was going to write a blog post asking why liberals weren’t pushing for a consumer banking public option as part of the financial regulatory overhaul, but I decided against it. Now Mike Konczal comes out with the same suggestion, and I’ve missed a chance to be ahead of the curve in liberal thinking and producing policies I disagree with. Never again I told myself. So with that in mind, I would like to propose some ideas for liberal policies that I completely and wholeheartedly disagree with, but I think some liberals might embrace and I haven’t seen anywhere else:
CASC Standards: the cousin of CAFE standards, corporate average sodium content would set the averaged amount of sodium per serving that a food corporation can have over their entire product line. There are a couple ways that companies could bring their average sodium levels down: decrease the sodium levels in their existing products, raise the prices (and thus decrease quantity sold) on high sodium items, or decrease prices (and thus increase sales) on low sodium items.
However they chose to do it this would mean the average sodium consumption of the population would go down, even if that means companies have to essentially give low sodium items away. Despite it’s incredible inefficiency and high-likelihood of being gamed for the industry’s advantage, this is better for politicians because, like CAFE standards, the costs are hidden.
Organic food stamps: $1 worth of food stamps are worth $1 if you spend it on most food, but if you spend it on certified organic, local, and sustainable foods it’s worth $1.20.
Green-ify the home mortgage interest deduction: A lot of liberals don’t like the home mortgage interest deduction, but given it’s political popularity, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. So instead of getting rid of it altogether, make it only work for homes that are certified energy efficient. They could either have to be LEED certified, or there could be a public option for home energy efficiency certification… hey, there should be a public option for home energy efficiency certification.
It may layer a terrible inefficiency on top of another terrible inefficiency, but it’s at worst budget neutral and will get consumers spending, which will generate Keynesian stimulus and fight global warming.
I consider these sincere suggestions that fit well within the mainstream of progressive policy proposals (ok, the organic food stamps are a little ridiculous), and I’d be curious to know if any liberals would embrace any of these. I of course hate all of these ideas. Since turnaround is fair play: do any liberals have original libertarian policy proposals they hate but think libertarians would like?
P.S. I recognize this is a pretty pointless activity that doesn’t do anyone any good. Writing it felt weird and exercised a part of my brain I’m not used to using, like writing with your opposite hand.