Wealth redistribution the right way

A guest post by Daniel Miller

Take from the rich and give to the poor.  A fantasy that millions have had for hundreds of years.  It doesn’t work because once you take all the money from the rich (a/k/a those who know how to generate wealth), the economy collapses.

Believe it or not, for the first time in history we now have the capability to do wealth redistribution the right way.

For about a decade I have worked from home.  Over three million employees do the same at least half the time. Millions more could also work remotely full time.  But for some reason, companies still insist on making their employees congregate in crowded metropolises and spend valuable time commuting.

If these companies allowed their employees to work remotely and encouraged them to move to small, distressed communities, then wealth would flow to poorer areas in the right way.  These employees would spend their money at stores, restaurants, service stations and hardware stores, which would boost the economy of the small towns. If the employees decided to build, then local labor would benefit from the construction. The poorer areas also tend to have fewer good educational opportunities, and an influx of taxes would help alleviate such problems.

This would help with the lack of affordable housing in the big cities.  Also, people who live in smaller towns tend to suffer less from stress and live healthier.

The takeaway from this is, yes let’s encourage wealth redistribution.  But don’t do it by stealing from the rich; instead, encourage companies to spread out and employees to move to small towns.

Comments

  1. dave

    by all means, however please leave your democrat voting green forcing ways behind, otherwise in a few short years you’ll have the utopia you just left

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  3. ScottM

    Slightly off topic. But there’s been a push to dentralize corporations like Google and federal government agencies. There’s no reason good Google can’t break up it’s campus into multiple ones in smaller cities, just as there’s no good reason federal government agencies can’t be headquartered in small towns. They can all teleconnect easily in this day and age.

    Your solution sounds like a pushing of that idea to its limits. If someone doesn’t need to be “on campus” to do his job at Google, and can work from his home close to campus, why can’t he be in Tennessee?

  4. Brian Maher

    Good thinking. I’ve been working remotely for the same company since 2006 when I decided to move back home for family reasons. Best thing I have ever done.

  5. Tom G

    ” encourage companies to spread out ” << this sounds good, I like it.

    Positive or negative encouragement? or both? With gov't, that means tax monies and regulations.

    Pos: tax credits for setting up branch offices in areas where real estate values are less than the median of the prior year (or the median plus 10%?), perhaps $146,000 for 1,000 square feet (median $146 sq foot), or $200,000 for median "home".

    Neg: tax surcharges on companies for hiring more folk in any county where the median house price is 50% more than median (100%? 80%?), or a progressive tax surcharge that starts at 10% and goes up to 100% over some range (50% above median up to 150% over).

    So NYC and Silicon Valley (Palo Alto, etc) would have companies paying surcharges on new employees (not merely higher net headcount).

    I like encouragement, and in general prefer Land Value taxing (Henry George), but I don't see it really happening.

  6. Todd

    Love the concept and the drive by the elites to move people to urban centers only continues disrupt the economies of rural America.

    Also, charitable giving in your local community is an effective way to support the poor. Giving directly and developing a relationship to those in need is much more effective than giving to nameless and faceless bureaucrats in a far distant city.

    1. Dawn Smit

      Many people would have the inclination to use the government to force companies to do this. Having recently driven to visit an extremely poor town, I would suggest an alternative approach. If the towns would offer to scrape abandoned properties and offer them to remote workers for only the cost of the back taxes, they might be able to entice new residents. Most towns or counties have a person in charge of development, and it would be up to that person to reach out to the corporations.
      Really the best way to mess this idea up would be to involve big government.

  7. Steve Sherman

    Timely for me – my company had an off sales year so they’re addressing it by eliminating set wfh days and not allowing shorts in the office – tackiling the big issues

    1. Dawn Smit

      Ahhh yes, the do-something-even-if-it-is-irrelevant approach. You did remind me though, many companies talk about reducing their carbon footprint, and this is a way that goal can be reached. They wouldn’t need such large office buildings, or they can lease the extra space to other companies.

  8. The Sky Noodle

    Respectfully, as someone whose family runs a very large manufacturing corporation (you’ve likely eaten our pasta if you live in America) there are a couple of problems with your theory: Not all corporations can disperse their people, particularly manufacturers who are infrastructure-dependent (you need a factory to produce, package and ship pasta from trainloads of raw materials, in quantity…can’t spread that out.)

    And, people don’t want to move to poor areas…
    Rural is something else, but people are simply not motivated to move to blighted areas. We have a heck of a time getting people who want to live in Fresno, for example…

    But I agree in spirit that there is a better way than the coerecion of government redistribution…

    1. Dawn Smit

      Thank you. I was hoping someone would point that out. You’re right, this wouldn’t work for manufacturing jobs. However, there are tremendous amounts of jobs where it does work. Pretty much any position where a person can do most of their job via the Internet can work remotely.

  9. Dawn Smit

    (Dawn note: all of the earlier replies with my name are from Dan. Someday I’ll get him his own access to the blog…)

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