David Riemer says that the government structure created by the New Deal has sputtered over the last four decades in the face of international competition and disruptive technology. He also says it will take big changes to reverse declining trust in the federal government.
“The tinkering, making small changes within those four clusters, we’ve been doing for almost 80 years now, is not going to get us out of the mess that we’re in,” Riemer, senior fellow at Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, said during a recent Rotary Club of Milwaukee program. Riemer was also previously chief of staff to Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist, a legal advisor to Gov. Patrick Lucey, legal counsel to U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy’s subcommittee on health and scientific research and a health policy analyst for the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
The four clusters of public policy Riemer referenced include broad-based economic security, means-tested welfare programs, market regulation and market manipulation. In his new book “Putting Government in its Place: The Case for a New Deal 3.0,” Riemer argues for bolstering broad-based economic security programs and market regulation while eliminating means-tested welfare programs and subsidies.
“I favor making sure that when the market functions it doesn’t harm people, it doesn’t damage the environment, it doesn’t damage workers or consumers or investors,” Riemer said. “That’s not a proper way for a business to make profit or succeed. They ought to succeed because they’re better at producing what they produce, they’re more creative, they sell things that people want. They shouldn’t succeed because they manage dump harmful substances in the air or in the water or have their workers work in dangerous work places.”
Riemer said broad economic security programs doesn’t mean just giving people money. It does include offering the un- and underemployed fall back job opportunities, raising the minimum wage to $10 or $12 per hour, making it easier to get childcare, eliminating disincentives for work and marriage in programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit and favoring the ability of unions to collectively bargain.
Hear more from Riemer’s presentation on the latest episode of the BizTimes MKE Podcast.
In partnership with the Rotary Club of Milwaukee