Job Wanted: American Economic Overseer
I have no real economics training. I haven’t handled my own personal budgets very well. In the past I was a flake about paying my bills. I’m less of one now, significantly, but old habits die hard. I borrow more than I should. I don’t save enough and I haven’t done what it takes to make what I want.
All that said, I think I would be the perfect guy to fix the American economy. If anyone’s hiring for that job, consider me an applicant.
Having already outlined some of my negatives, allow me to suggest some of the positives and my ideas.
First off, I won’t ask for an exorbitant salary. I want $75,000 annually, adjusted for inflation and for where I live. It was easy for me to arrive at that salary. I just want to be happy. Generally, I am quite content and grateful for my life. But I make less than the $75,000 I am requesting, and sometimes I feel the financial stress that would lead me to do outrageous things like moving to Phoenix. I mean, who does that willingly? I jest. Some like it hot, and it’s not just the low home prices that make Arizona attractive. But I digress.
The $75,000 figure comes from a blog piece on a site called “You are Not so Smart” (Oh, yes I am and I will remind you to shut up.) I read called “The Overjustification Effect” in which the writers wax on about how getting paid for what I love has a down side. It also refers to research done by Princeton professors Angus Deaton and Daniel Kahneman on the emotional value of money and how much it takes to be happy. It’s $75,000. You need that much to buy what you need and to get things you may not need but would like to have. The big thing the authors point out is that making more than $75,000 doesn’t make you happier. I know at least one of my friends makes way, way more than $75,000 a year and really wants it to stay that way. I wish him well. I wouldn’t turn down more than $75k, but let’s agree to start there.
Second: I don’t hate my fellow Americans, but I don’t trust all of them. I think there is a lot wrong that is largely the result of people only looking after their own self interests, but we’re basically a good people. I don’t hate health-care reform, tort reform, the Tea Party or the Occupy movement. I generally don’t hate politicians, or those who have purchased them. Some may be really bad people, but I live with the hope that most are at least trying to do the right things. I do think our current economic situation is more the fault of people who make an insane amount of money creating stupid bets on Wall Street, but I also think we are all accountable for ourselves and the state of the nation. That I borrow too much not only puts me at risk, in another sense it undermines our national economic security. I think I should be free to make some mistakes, but not so free to ruin it for everyone else. I think regulation is a good thing, generally, and would push for real reform, whatever that is. Have you seen any yet?
Third: I wouldn’t be beholden to anyone, not even the person signing my paycheck. I know that if I were to get fired, just having this position would get me a book deal later that would more than make up for my lost income. Therefore, I win either way, unless what I suggest makes the economy lose. In that case, I would quit, then write a book blaming everyone else.
Fourth: My first act would be to remove all the financial incentives politicians have to resist change or foster change that benefits themselves and their friends. Well, in fact, I couldn’t do any of this on my own. I would have to influence the politicians to do it themselves. I would use the bully pulpit: television, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and every next media phenomenon that arises.
Fifth: My next act would be to work on Wall Street rules and entitlements. We can probably get that finished in about 70 years.
That’s a start. Any employer interested in discussing this with me further can contact me at email@example.com.