Here’s a letter to the New York Times, in response to yet another report powered by the very same widely held “economic” notion that J.M. Keynes and his followers elevated into the old “new economics”:
You note that “Every year, young adults leave the nest, couples divorce, foreigners immigrate and roommates separate, all helping drive economic growth when they furnish and refurbish their new homes” (“As New Graduates Return to Nest, Economy Also Feels the Pain ,” Nov. 17). So how sad it is that today more young adults opt to save money by living with their parents. This economically irresponsible behavior, as you report, “deprive[s] the economy of a lot of potential activity.”
Trying times demand bold action. I propose that government prohibit people over the age of 21 from living with their parents. The resulting additional expenditures on furniture, kitchenware, and the like will help spark recovery.
A truly Progressive Congress will go farther by also requiring every family to own at least two homes, with added tax breaks if the homes are 2,000 miles or more apart. (That way, families will stimulate the economy even more by spending on motels or air travel whenever they trek between their residences.) Further, crushingly punitive taxes should be levied on marriage and (This will help win the votes of the ‘family-values’ members of Congress!) a strict prohibition enforced against unmarried people ‘shacking-up’ together.
Audacious? You bet. But as that great seer of the curse of saving, Lord Keynes, advised during an earlier spell of economic despair, “We must free ourselves from the bondage of old ideas.”
Donald J. Boudreaux