7 Common Sense Solutions To Save American Quality Of Life To 2050 : here are the first three
1. Government-private sector co-investment in massive, job-creating national infrastructure improvements.. Come on, folks! This is ripe fruit for job creation and generating spending in the economy (Keynesian–?—yes but injecting funds into American businesses, e.g. construction):
a. roads, bridges, etc., upgraded and built, sorely needed
b. people employed, many at skilled jobs such as welding
c. multiplier effect on economy: welder must buy groceries, clothes, go to doctor, etc.
2. Government- private sector partnership in civic projects: parks, school facilities (playgrounds, sports arenas, auditoriums), urban and highway beautification, rural health clinics, utilization of retirees for tutoring, paid public service or privately contracted work—the list goes on…
3. There is a solution implied in the Summers-Hubbard ”debate” (NY Times Magazine 5-5-2013) over ways to get revenue for expensive, growing entitlement programs: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc., (actually Summers advocates job creation and stimulus, Hubbard prefers trimming or restructuring the programs so they can pay for themselves for a longer period): the Only really solid solution is the potentially unpopular one that follows, but if it is framed by an effective public information campaign, it Can work. It goes like this:
a. most people want a reliable, “it will be there for me” Social Security and Medicare, etc. system
b. these are essentially government savings programs that for most people become disguised welfare programs (yes, it’s true) in that they pay out more than is paid into them by most people; all of a citizen’s payroll deductions over a pre-retirement lifetime earmarked for Social Security and Medicare will probably not equal or even come close to what is paid out to her/him,
c. to grossly oversimplify a way to capture the revenue needed to close the gap—$150 billion for Social Security alone in 2011(Hoover Institution http://www.hoover.org/publications/defining-ideas/article/90721 ) –and keep these programs healthy, assume 150 million employed Americans (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5/13, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf ) being taxed On Average (sliding scale) $3000 additional dollars per year, or—euphemistically—paying $4000 more into all retirement benefit programs… this seems outrageous and in fact is on the high side, but stay with us on this..
This would generate an additional 150 x $3000 per year or $350 billion dollars annually toward closing whatever gap exists
d. This might generate a firestorm of initial opposition to this increased taxation, but this should die down somewhat when it is realized that is will save the programs for many decades (adjusted of course)
e. Much of the blowback will come from the very people (the Rep. Paul Ryan’s, etc.) who say the system is unsustainable, and it will be said that the increased Social Security- Medicare pay-in as you go will hurt families and dampen the economy—not addressing increased health provision costs and generally imposing an onerous tax scheme,
f. Americans of the middle class could easily pay this, because they make between $40,000 and, say, $400,000, and there would be marginal rates for the new program and a sliding scale, so that a $400,000 earner might pay an added $5500 in extra SS/Medicare tax, while one making $40,000 might pay $1500 additional—or less.
g. Here are some areas from which a relatively painless $4000 could be raised, depending on individual spending habits:
(1) luxury taxes could be very modestly raised across a variety of conspicuous consumption designer goods: cars, liquor, designer closing items and top of the line sporting equipment electronics, etc.; the point would be to spread the revenue extraction over a wide range of goods so that no one sector was taxed too painfully; an alternative to be considered with car would be a VAT/value added tax across an even wider range of items, exempting food some clothing items, medicine, etc.
(2) Consumers could be told that $3500 a year is less than $68 per week; for someone making $100,000 per year in one of the more expensive urban areas this might seem like a lot except that the sliding scale could reduce Their relative tax increase to, say, $50 per week: an arbitrary savings of part of that amount could be derived from converting 2 latte coffees to regular ($3.50 to $1.50=
$4); an increased tax of $5 on a man’s suit or woman’s high end dress ($10 for both for a total of $14), $2.00 on a carton of cigarettes or $3.00 on a fifth of whiskey or $2.00 on a six pack of beer ($18 if 2 of the 3 are bought total).. and so on, idea is clear
h. another way of putting the preceding is that every consumer who wants a guarantee of a solvent social security and Medicare system with fewer or slightly more expensive discretionary items; as an example if a $.50 tax could be placed on a high end coffee maker or snow tires or a riding lawn-mower or any of 1000 such items, substantial revenues could be generated.