If we truly invested in this country’s education, paid for by a substantial increase in the tax on the top of society, there’s no reason why our baseline competencies couldn’t rise to fill the more sophisticated jobs.
Two points here. First one is economic; when people actually go to figure out what a ‘substantial increase” on the top earners nets the government, they are generally amazed at how little money that nets them. The problem is that the number of people in that top tier is relatively small. To illustrate, the Obama tax increase on the top 1% was 4.6%. Not small; that’s better than a 10% increase over the prior marginal rate. That netted the government about 60B extra — which is less than it cost to clean up after Superstorm Sandy.
Bottom line here is that if you want to have enough money to fund things like “free food, free medical”, and all the other “frees” you mentioned, you have to jack up the rates on the middle class, which are shockingly low compared to other OECD nations. Good luck with that politically.
Second is that yes, there ARE reasons why baseline competencies can’t rise. Many individuals simply do not have the aptitude, no matter what sort of education you give them. Also, interest comes into play; an individual who is social may have the aptitude to repair a burger robot, but would be miserable in such a job.
it might be perfectly fine to have a guaranteed income (or as I stated, guaranteed housing, healthcare, food, and education) be enough to keep those individuals from working at all.
My view is that’s a ticket to dystopia. The vast majority (> 80%) of people are externally motivated as opposed to intrinsically motivated. The “stick” of the paycheck keeps them productive.
This vision is a bit more along the lines of what I believe to be workable. Don’t give people money, give them a job. There are loads of professions which could benefit from “more hands”, but are limited by the budgets of the organizations.