June 27, 2006
New Look Exercise # 3
See the initial post for the rules and background. Here's the third set of outcomes.
We will know the region's economy is healthy when...
June 27, 2006 9:19 AM
Bob R. Says:
The region's economy is healthy when...
1. Anyone who wants a job can find a stable job that matches their skill set in a short (less than 30 day) period of time.
2. Anyone who wants to start a business can do so with no more than a few hours with a paid consultant. (For many small businesses, we are already at this stage.)
3. Any business that wants to hire an employee does not have to worry about the cost of providing health insurance. (Health benefits should not be the responsibility of employers.)
4. Anyone who works full-time should be able to cover their most basic needs on the minimum wage.
By "most basic needs", I don't mean anything extravagant. It means, for a single person, being able to cover:
A. The cost of a basic, small but clean 1BR apartment, including heat/electricity, basic phone.
B. Basic transportation costs (annual transit pass)
C. Groceries and household suplies (toilet paper, cleaning supplies, first aid)
D. At minimum, catastrophic medical insurance, so that a major illness or injury does not condemn the person to a lifetime of debt.
At Oregon's $7.50 minimum wage, working 40hrs/week gets you a gross pay of about $1,200/month (before withholding). A very frugal, healthy person with no bad luck may be able to accomplish those goals, but I'd like to see a bit more cushion in there... and all bets are off if you have children to care for.
- Bob R.
June 27, 2006 10:38 AM
Ross Williams Says:
How about setting a "safe", "stable", "efficient" as goals for the economy and "healthy" as the goal for neighborhoods and people?
Its apparent that the "new look" is just the same old look of engineers and engineer wannabe's. They are the folks who buy houses based on the quality of its plumbing and cost per square foot. They think esthetics is about the choice of copper or pvc.
The fact is that the real need is to correct the esthetic disasters these folks have already created. It was "efficient" to run a freeway along the riverfront. We have highways and arterials with no trees because it makes them "safe". And we ignore the impact on people's health and safety by designing a transportation system that is only safe when belted into several tons of steel while spewing unhealthy chemicals, raising the temperature by paving over green space and increasing runoff to rivers.
If you want a "new look", its time to start talking about what kind of community people want to *live* in, not how far they can drive to work in air-conditioned comfort. That means it matters what kind esthetic environment is created, not how "efficient" it is.
If we lived in houses designed by traffic engineers, we would all live in safe, fireproof, windowless cinderblock homes with reinforcement to protect us from earthquakes.
How about every house having space for a vegetable garden? What about making sure every street has street trees that provide a complete canopy. How about ensuring the the speed of traffic never exceeds 20 mph, since anything faster is by definition unsafe for anyone not enclosed by steel? How about a playground within safe walking distance of every home? Safe not for adults, but for an unattended six year old. How about making sure its safe for that unattended six year old to go to the store for an ice cream bar.
In short, how about talking about a city of people and families, instead of a city of poured concrete and high rise steel.
How efficient is your love making? Maybe that isn't the right question, no matter what the answer.
June 27, 2006 3:01 PM
For the most part, I agree with Bob R. and think that those are the right goals/indicators by which to measure a healthy economy.
But I'd like to point out that D. conflicts with 3. Health insurance should not the responsibility of either employers or employees. It should be covered by the state, ala Kitzhaber's Archimedes Movement efforts. Especially if somebody is working for minimum wage!! That's when they need to know the most that the state health care safety net will be there for them if they need it...
Also, the economy is most healthy when people are happy about participating in it, when it does not cause pollution, when most people can walk/bike/take transit to their jobs, and when its activities are conducted on a sustainable basis (that means that whatever they're doing is not done in such a way that it couldn't be done in the same manner by their grandchildren or grandchildren's grandchildren, if applicable).
June 27, 2006 3:34 PM
Lenny Anderson Says:
Ross, you nailed it!
June 27, 2006 3:39 PM
Lenny Anderson Says:
But Metro seems to have bought in to the Port's notion that it is at the center of our economy. Only the Airport is critical; the port itself...apart from wheat, autos and minerals...is barely "AAA" level, as in minor league. The New Look even sports a picture of the container dock, whose volumne is less than a rounding error compared to LA/Long Beach.
Talent drives the global economy; OHSU is the closest thing we have to a research institution. We must either grow our own Talent, which we don't seem to want to pay for, or attract it...via creating communities based on the principles that Ross outlined. The best minds will flock to such a place.
June 27, 2006 4:45 PM
Bob R. Says:
I should have elaborated more on point D. You are correct in asserting that health care should be universal. I meant use point D as a jumping off point for a discussion of the cost of health care.
If the minimum wage really, genuinely, did allow everyone who worked to cover their health care costs, we wouldn't have the large numbers of uninsured that we have today. We could just mandate that everyone buy health insurance (just like we do for car insurance), and welfare of some kind could cover the unemployed and those unable or too young to work, students, etc.
But, of course, the minimum wage as currently implemented does not cover all of these costs except for young, very healthy individuals who do not fall into a high-risk category. Everyone else is either on their own or at the mercy of their employer.
(FYI, I approach health care as a moral issue and a public safety issue. It is close to universally agreed, at least in principle, that everyone should receive police protection from crime, and fire dept. protection from fire, regardless of employment status or income. I view basic health care needs in the same category.)
- Bob R.