Commentary: The Lessons of Monopoly

John Shaban

John Shaban

Every election year politicians use tired phrases like “create jobs” and “it’s the economy stupid” while offering little else. The undeniable solution to our current wage stagnation and economic malaise is to pursue policies that will ensure broad, sustainable economic growth.

Indeed, both Rs and Ds generally believe that the private sector economy drives prosperity and freedom in our country. So how then should we proceed? Do we need more laws? More programs? What role if any should government play?

The answers to these recurring questions derive, in large part, from the lessons we learned playing Monopoly.

Our current stagnant economy is akin to the late stages of a Monopoly game, when all the properties are owned, all the buildings erected, and all the money is sitting idly in the original players’ hands. Battleships and rugby boots circle the board repeatedly, but little changes. Absent an increase in the size and scope of the game, things become stagnant, and no new players may enter.

We need to incentivize players to unleash this idle money to fund the growth of the game board, and at the same time keep the rules of the game simple and stable.

A growing game board allows for new players, new properties, new opportunities and new wealth to be created. By growing the board — i.e., growing the economy — we will provide more players with an opportunity to play and thrive, while also creating more chances to recover from an unlucky roll of the dice.

More importantly, a stable set of rules lets all players know what to expect and when to expect it. When the rules change suddenly and/or to the detriment of existing players, those players leave the game — and in the real world, take their money and property with them.

The lessons of Monopoly demonstrate that a lean and predictable tax and regulatory structure will promote both investment and growth, and allow businesses large and small to hire, inventions new and old to come to market, and people rich and poor to flourish.

We need to elect leaders who will pursue policies that create the broad, sustainable economic growth needed to return the promise and prosperity of our country to everyone. The current game of merely passing “Go” for another $200 has dragged on for too long.

State Rep. John T. Shaban represents the 135th District (Easton, Redding and Weston) and is the Republican nominee in the 4th Congressional District.

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