Building the Future
It would be desirable to enact, all at once, this entire redesign of American government. Unique historical moments may create the opportunity to put large pieces in place.
But it is wise to recognize the necessity of a step-by-step approach, phasing in the new model as windows emerge in the policy-making process.
The following approaches to phasing in the new model should be embraced whenever an opening for action arises:
Gradual Expansion of Coverage
For proposed new programs such as a national Transitional Jobs program for the unemployed and underemployed, various techniques could be applied to expand coverage in a gradual manner. For instance, TJs could be offered at first only to jobless workers who have been unemployed for six months or more...with eligibility then steadily expanded to those unemployed for five months or more...then four months or more...then three months or more...etc.
Ramping Up Of Benefits
Especially for policies that use formulas based on a percentage or a maximum, the policy could periodically increase the percentage and maximum. For instance, the Earned Income Tax Credit for so-called "childless" adults could be ramped up from its current (2016) level of 7.65% of earnings with a maximum of $506 and a phase-out starting of $8,270 of earnings to (1) 15% of earnings, maximum of $1500, phase-out starting at $9,000, (2) then to 25% of earnings, maximum of $2,500, phase-out starting at $9,500, (3) then to 35% of earnings, maximum of $3,500, phase-out starting at $9,500...etc.
Phasing Out of Subsidies
It will be a shock, to many who receive large subsidies for their particular forms of consumption or investment, to lose the entire subsidy all at once. To cushion the impact, it may be necessary to phase-out such subsidies, perhaps eliminating them by 20%-25% per year.
The main challenge is not to give up, to be patient and creative, and above all to stay focused.
Sports, as often, teach us an important lesson.
In baseball, whether you hit a single and then advance base-by-base to home plate, or knock the ball out of the park and lope around the diamond, the result is the same. You score a run.
In football, whether your team grinds out the yards and piles up the first downs, or the quarterback throws a Hail Mary pass with one second left on the clock, the result can also be the same. Touchdown!
In building a new design for putting government in its place, the most important strategy is to hang onto the ball and focus on reaching the goal line.