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These 5 'reforms' have conservatives fuming

Tuesday, 7 Jan 2014 | 2:05 PM ET
Rolling Stone writer defends 'reforms'
Tuesday, 7 Jan 2014 | 4:42 PM ET
Jesse Myerson, Rolling Stone magazine writer, addresses millennials in his newest article "Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For." Myerson proposes guaranteed work for everyone, universal basic income for the employed and unemployed, and a public bank in every state. Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary and CNBC contributor Carol Roth weigh in.

For Jesse Myerson, it's simple: Take all the stuff that private enterprise has accumulated, give it away to those who have less, and everyone will be happy.

Well, not really everyone.

Ever since Myerson's "Five economic reforms millennials should be fighting for" hit Rolling Stone last week, he's been the target of some severe conservative rejoinders, reminding him that this is, after all, a free society called the United States of America.

Shark Tank's O'Leary offers Rolling Stone writer a gig
Jesse Myerson, Rolling Stone magazine writer, addresses millennials in his newest article and ends up being offered a job by Shark Tank's venture capitalist Kevin O'Leary, who wants to "fix" Myerson.

Myerson's reforms are: guaranteed work for everyone; a taxpayer-subsidized "universal basic income" combined with a job guarantee; taking back land from private owners; "make everything owned by everybody," which would see government buy up assets from private holders; and establish public government-run banks in every state.

Myerson discussed his ideas Tuesday afternoon on CNBC's "Closing Bell."

While the proposals may sound unique in some sense, UCLA professor Stephen Bainbridge said they've been tried—unsuccessfully—before: "It was called the Soviet Union."

"The bottom line is that Myerson is recycling (without attribution to their originators) tired old ideas that have been advanced by socialist utopians since the middle of the 19th Century. Look around," Bainbridge wrote in his Professor Bainbridge blog. "Where are these socialist utopias?"

Conservative pundit Jonah Goldberg found the essay and its aftermath amusing.

David Paterson | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

"After confirming it wasn't a parody, conservative critics launched a brutal assault on its author, Jesse A. Myerson," Goldberg wrote in a column published Tuesday. "Myerson's essay captures nearly everything the unconverted despise about left-wing youth culture, starting with the assumption that being authentically young requires being theatrically left wing."

Dylan Matthews at Wonkblog, though, was willing to cut Myerson some slack, saying the proposals weren't so unlike some things that already are in effect.

"Frame the policies a bit differently and it sounds almost like a conservative wish list," Matthews wrote.

—By CNBC's Jeff Cox. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxCNBCcom.

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