• Lifestyle

The New Social Contract

Anyone who's interested in the big ideas behind the Freelancers Union should check out David Brooks' NYT column today. It's behind a paywall so I'll quote: "The old employer-based social contract is eroding and the central domestic policy debate of our time is over how to replace it." He refers to a debate sponsored by the Hamilton Project of the Brookings Institution on this very topic, and particularly to a health care solution proposed by one Stuart Butler of the conservative Heritage Foundation. "He sees America as a thick society, and believes that unions, churches and community groups should be involved in health care and social support...he would create tax-exempt “insurance exchanges.â€? These would be sponsored by trusted agents — unions, churches and other social groups. Organized like the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, they would offer menus of coverage choices and create diverse risk pools...It’s a [social] contract that envisions society as a dense but flexible web of social networks, the perfect vision for 21st-century America." The idea is that organizations like, say, for example, this one, will be at once more responsive to their members and less partisan than the government, and less absolutely mercenary than employers, and thus would be better positioned to organize and provide for peoples' needs. There's more at the Brookings Institution site. Exciting stuff.

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