What is our main problem, bad policy or bad meta-policy? That is, do our collective choices go wrong mainly because we make a few key mistakes in choosing particular policies? Or do they go wrong mainly because we use the wrong institutions to choose these policies?
We've developed an objective method for evaluating the internal structure of policy models (metapolicy, meta-policy, call it what you will - its a game-changer). While research and practice are still in the early stages, this new approach suggests that we may have the ability to predict the effectiveness of policies from a previously unaddressed dimension. A recent example here: http://meaningfulevidence.c...
I added to the post.
Better yet, get rid of the states in favor of rational administrative units. [But I guess that would count as a separate wish.]
And make it proportional representation of as large as possible constituencies: national for the presidency, statewide for congress.
Metapolicy recommendation: Abolish first to the post voting; replace by proportional representation.
American citizens are mired in two decrepit political parties. This is substantially due to our voting procedures.
Not sure if it's late to post this, but Megan Mc Ardle's contribution also looks like a meta-policy more than a policy, creating a regulatory "budget" where your overall "complexity points" are bounded.
Right, but it's still not good enough as a single metric (you need to keep track of multiple metrics and having democracy is a way to do that). Too much emphasis on median income leads to what we heard in the last US presidential election: our eardrums getting bombarded with the word "middle class", while there was almost no mention of the working poor.
True, but in the US, median income has still been a better metric for how the typical person is doing than GDP. Real median income peaked around the late 1990s, while GDP is still overcounting how the 1% are doing.
You're thinking from the present situation: if a country started focusing almost exclusively on increasing total GDP (which, relative to other developed countries, the US does and it has more inequality to show for it), including bonuses for parliament coupled to GDP growth, things might very well change. Compare it to how if you rate a school almost exclusively on test scores the school will start to narrowly teach the tests.
Our biggest mistaken policies do not need an army of analysts to understand.
Imagine doubling the amount of design time spent on the details of Obamacare. How much better would the computers work? How much would they have managed to keep labor participation up, without sacrificing core elements of the design?
Imagine doubling the effort on fancy sounding energy investments. Would the country do that much better?
Imagine doubling the effort spent on allocating funds to scientific projects. How many of our choices would change?
Imagine doubling the size of the CDC. How much cleaner and safer could we possibly make modern life?
Imagine doubling the size of FCC. Would Internet improvements start happening faster and more expeditiously, or would it be even more clogged up than now?
I don't think going meta will help much. We need to make better decisions at the gross level--mostly, the decision *not* to do something.
The Federal Reserve is the agency that looks most like this and it's performance has demonstrably improved in the last 90 years. It learns, slowly. Have another agencies improved on average? our foreign-policy decision-makers have had quite a decade!
There would be no need to create new jobs. It could be done with a reallocation of power among existing jobs. I expect what could go wrong are the same things that currently go wrong with the Fed, SCOTUS, and the Defense Dept; all of which I consider a substantial improvement over Congress.
"Most people," probably, but here, clearly, most CATO selected economists. [We can probably generalize further than that.]
Near-mode, far-mode, again. Meta-policy is far; imfeasible policies are far; extensive changes are far. Economists (R.H. excepted) would appear to have a near-mode orientation.
Have his premises and reasoning changed?
I'm thinking of the macro econ realm where you see stuff like: -I'm against QE because it'll produce hyperinflation (prediction fails)-I'm against QE because it actually has no effects whatsoever (prediction fails)-I'm against QE because it produces asset bubbles (almost unfalsifiable) and inequality, etc.
Premise/reasoning consistency over time is a rough, easy way to check for motivated reasoning.
The question is whether R.H.'s preference for meta-policy depends on his particular meta-policy innovation (versus, perhaps, "leaning" toward meta-policy solutions). [Was I unclear, or was that a joke?]
Sure, but this a thought experiment initiated by a libertarian-leaning think tank. If these scholars feel like they can't air their pie in the sky meta-policy proposals in a symposium like this, when can they express them?