So, yeah, I’d like to see wage subsidies and a 4% inflation target. But I’d also like to see a shift away from economic policy that pushes us so insistently into the “employee” role. What does the government call you if you are working but not on somebody’s payroll with social security and Medicare taxes automatically deducted from your wages? Self-employed! You must work for somebody, even if it’s yourself. But I don’t want to be a tiny business that hires me. I don’t want to be my own boss. I don’t want to be a boss at all, or to have one. I just want to work and get paid for it, on terms agreeable to the parties involved.
We need to stimulate the prospects for employment, but we also need to make it easier for people to just work in ways that may not show up in the official unemployment stats. You can think of this as tearing down barriers to “self-employment”, if you must. Clearly, decoupling health benefits from employment would help a lot. Less obviously, but at least as importantly, we need to eliminate the insane patchwork of regulations that keep folks from legally cutting hair for money in a kitchen, or legally making a few bucks every now and then taxiing people around town in a 1988 Ford Escort. De-formalising and de-bureaucratising labour certainly makes it harder for government to track who has paid what to whom, who owes how much in various taxes, and so forth. But it would be truly pathetic if the legal/economic organisation of our society was optimised for government surveillance and tax collection and not for the exercise of autonomy in pursuit of a meaningful life.