Please help out with even a trivial donation so I can maintain putting in hours each day to write Congress, write the Federal Reserve, post on internet news stories truth in financial data that the media is keeping from you. Except for minor modifications and the list of extras at the end of the major topics requiring fixing, this was written in late 2010. At that time I sent this to over 50 U.S. Senators and a handful of U.S. Representatives, the president and the Federal Reserve. Since then I've been referencing this site to mostly members of Congress in my State, repeatedly sent to the president, and dozens of times sent to the Federal Reserve in showing them that part of the solution is for them to dissolve and the rest of the actions to help this country were nothing they could do to help yet all their actions ended up hurting us more with their gigantic, regressive, ANTI-STIMULUS monetary policy, not a "stimulus" as they like to call it. The country did not change for the better since 2008. It has gotten worse, and the major areas needing addressing are the wealth divide, government compensation, and employment. Some may do their knee-jerk reaction to some programs I mention that are not unfettered capitalistic. Without rightful constraints, if you are not already in the top 1% and there were no restraints in the last 50 years, you'd most likely be in poverty right this moment. So when you may say, if a person "earns" a ton of money and decides to own 1,000 homes to force oppressive rents, defending capitalism to your own death, your thinking is misplaced. Wealth will concentrate without restrictions and even if the restrictions are moderate it will still happen though the time frame will be longer. You must ask yourselves, do you want a train wreck to occur from wanting to retain your notion of what capitalism is all about or do you want to moderate it for the sake of humanity? I am no bleeding heart liberal and certainly no ardent conservative - I seek common-sense solutions addressing the underlying issues. Think for a moment - with all our technological advancements, why is it our workweek has not decreased and us having more leisure time, plus having an even higher standard of living? The answer is we have, but it's not evenly distributed - it is so highly skewed today of who is getting the benefits of all our advancements with the lower 80 percent or so being largely left out. This is not some sort of welfare to say the greedy skewing of wealth accumulation at the detriment of all others has to be undone. The complaints from the wealthy and ardent capitalists who are not wealthy but somehow got obsessed on the word "capitalism" as if anything but must necessarily be evil may scream the dirty term "wealth redistribution", and yes, this is pretty much what is warranted, sorry to burst your bubble, but in relation to what was said just immediately prior, not to mention regressive taxation and other matters that greatly exacerbated the wealth inequity, the runaway wealth divide in the last 35 years is not well deserved and so withdrawing some of the illicit gains makes for a wrong happening turn somewhat into right (or partial correction).
SKIP INTRO - JUMP TO PROPOSED SOLUTIONS TOPICS
To maintain relevance of legislation in monetary terms, the use of static figures must be dropped and in place, dynamic figures be incorporated that are tied to some measure such as a factor of the minimum wage. If and when the monetary system is adopted that defines the value of one unit of currency as one hour of work at the rate of minimum wage, it would enable a meaningful relationship with monetary figures.
Here's where it all counts in this world that makes no sense. Together we can put meaning back into life. We can create a more level playing field, compress the divide between the rich and poor, and so much more!
Jobs, stock market, currency, banks, taxation, home ownership, government size and compensation, credit card limitations, foreign labor, illegal immigrants and impact on agricultural jobs, non-agricultural jobs, crime, raises cost of living, suppresses wages, controls in government will all be covered.
You may consult the book, Thoughtful Living and the website Thoughtful Living Book Extras for additional details of some of the above topics.
If greed is put into check with some of the proposals set forth in my book along with people exercising control over their reproductive proclivity and people deciding to not live such spoiled lives, greater harmony will result. The wealthy are able to live parasitically off of those less advantaged without bound in the present unchecked system but once reasonable limits are instituted, both the cost of living and dispensable incomes would rise for all but the wealthy. The greater advantaged persons should not take this as a negative for their class since with greater harmony, it should provide them a good feeling knowing their oppressive actions are restricted. With less available means to make money off of the less advantaged while essentially not working to earn it, there would be greater numbers of people having the opportunity to live more fulfilling lives. Greater harmony also translates into less crime.
An objective framework for the determination of fair wages has been constructed and can be viewed at: Unified Equitable Wage Determination. This would only pertain to employees, not self-employed. And furthermore, an employer could still pay for occupations per the chart but an equal amount be also given to the public (the public hereinafter is identical to government, but not the inefficient and unchecked government many of us are use to). For the capitalistic system to survive, it must be recognized that the wealth divide must be kept in check. Besides the anti-wealth accumulation program I proposed in my book, one way to keep our system vibrant is to compress the range of wages and to apply wages with sound basis. The capitalistic system compared to other economic systems enables a more insidious means for the ultra rich to get far richer-for it makes it appear that those beneath them have opportunities but those opportunities become less and less as years go by because of how the money gravitates.
A new stock market system has been developed and is provided in my book, Thoughtful Living. It is imperative that the present corrupt stock market system be revamped to allow for actual investing and with the inherent fairness, faith will be restored in the financial market. Some of the insufficiencies of the present stock market system are presented at: Stock Market Realities.
In my book, I also introduce a new currency that would be able to be used among different countries. The currency is based on the minimum hourly wage, where the monetary unit equals one hour of work by a person at the lowest acceptable wage.
[When there are contrived jobs, lots of home rentals from laws allowing it that hurts the cost of living for most people, unchecked immigration, and bountiful loose credit, you will have economic fluctuations but there need not be more than minor blips in the economy if credit was tightened even more even though many people would complain about it until which time we begin to share the available jobs with more people and have legislation to reduce rental prices by disallowing excessive rental property ownership. Loose credit is for a gambler's society and causes big economic swings - those in power love this for that is how money can be extracted from others.-to be removed after some passages are completed]
The demise of this country appears inevitable unless sweeping changes are made to alter lofty attitudes of each one’s contribution to society, to imbue responsibility with money by all, including government, and to make monetary policies robust to foster economic stability. Following along with the treasonous objective of the Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke in defying the mandate of price stabilization undermines the health of this nation, and accordingly, he should be prosecuted for high crimes. Greed and leaders in government controlled by special interests over the past generation has gotten out of hand and must be corrected before the United States resembles more of a third-world country. There would be no recession had there not been the greed exhibited by so many in expecting home prices to go up and not having any concern if they could really afford one. We could be at a 35-hour workweek already had greed been put in check for there need not be so much work performed by working age adults to fully support the needs of society. However the masses of people failed to control their own decisions regarding money, Congress was asleep and the one central figure who is paid to have a watchful eye on the economy and is more nimble to react, Ben Bernanke, allowed bubbles to be formed in the housing and financial markets. Ben Bernanke is the one person whom, with his big salary and supposed expertise in economics, put the brakes on the super-heated economy before it imploded naturally. I can’t say enough about how the Federal Reserve Chairman was placed in such a high level of stewardship and yet failed miserably. A competent steward is necessary to help direct the economy being the masses will invariably foul up without restraints are appropriately imposed. What Bernanke did was just watch the bubbles being formed and uttered only minor concerns. He refused to raise bank capital requirements and certainly didn’t want to spook the terribly overpriced stock market by raising short-term interest rates by more than a puny one-quarter of one percent per FOMC meeting. Bernanke assured the public on several occasions that the markets were contained but they were far from that. After the crash occurred from him refusing to mitigate in any meaningful manner, he then invoked his highly controversial “Qualitative Easing” programs amounting to trillions of dollars for the purpose of manipulating the stock market back up through creating more debt. By him making the stock market go up to create unreasonable valuations, again contrary to the mandate of price stabilization, the stock market becomes more unstable. Bernanke defies the fair market and picked winners and losers as many people rightfully short-sold the market as a legitimate means to invest when stock prices are too high, but he made certain to corrupt the stock market. There was a much more simpler plan to put money into the system, and though I wouldn’t recommend it for there are still much better ways, but in following decisions of simple-minded leaders, instead of Ben Bernanke having the Federal Reserve pump money into the financial markets that is equivalent to $10K per adult, there could have instead been 10 stimulus allotments of $1,000 given every 3 months to each adult. Having the money in the hands of the public, most of whom would be able to use the money instead of using a massive stimulus to increase the wealth of the ultra-rich and expect a trickling down in the future is foolhardy in thinking it would cure the structural problem of employment in a world economy or even the over-heated economy that requires a period of deflation to very low growth.
Summary of just some salient points presented on this page.
1) Cut 20% of government employees immediately and then cut 20% more over the next few years.
2) Cut 30% on average (those at the bottom would have less of a deduction) of current salaries AND cut pensions an average of 35% for all present and past government employees as applicable.
3) With lower taxes required to pay for government employee compensation, the tax rate could be lowered to enable a 35 hour workweek with less of a hit on net wages to employ most of whom who want a job.
4) Kick out all foreign lawbreakers, ie illegal aliens. There are only 2 million agricultural workers today. This is far less than what is was 20 years ago. Only 1 million of these workers are illegal aliens so do not buy into the story that we need them that much. College students can work the fields in summers and even if produce goes up a bit, you will save more on lower housing cost being these lawbreakers would not be occupying homes).
5) Impose a penalty of the minimum hourly wage for each man-hour worked to all US corporations who utilize H1-B visa workers on US soil as well as all foreign workers in their own country when working for the US corporation. This would be the best mechanism to utilize more American labor.
6) Suggest curbing home ownership so that the rich cannot control the supply. Understandably this sounds socialistic, but it is needed to lower housing costs further as it is too high as a percentage of people's wages. I could offer you talking points - you know how to contact me.
7) Suggest dramatically lowering nurse and doctor salaries. Nurses in many parts of the country are making over $100K/year for which a $40K/yr salary seems more appropriate. The high salaries in medical profession is killing America. This must be done and not some work-around solution that retains these out-of-control wages.
8) Limit total credit (car loans, credit cards) to 20% of annual salaries to make a more stable economy (except for homes, for which a minimum of 20% must be put down). Bank loans can still be made beyond the 20% but since the process would be more personable, better control of risk should occur.
9) Do away with ALL IRA and similar accounts. It is a nightmare dealing with all the rules of retirement accounts. The rules for contributions, rollovers, distributions, and how the law applies to each of the numerous types of IRAs whether it be health savings accounts, child college education fund, traditional, Roth, and so on, it is just a far bigger mess than what it was suppose to solve. Better would be for the US government to offer 0.5% interest on the average bank balances throughout the year as reported by banks, not to exceed $400 on tax forms and no longer tax bank interest or tax only after a set quantity, such as a relational figure of 2 months wages at the minimum federal wage that translates to approximately a current amount of about $2,000, not far from the typical amount allowed to be tax-free under the current boondoggle IRA system.
10) Let go of all foreign nationals who work for the government. These jobs need to be reserved for citizens who know our culture better and are better suited to serve the needs of Americans.
11) Suggest the new stock market system that the SEC has been sent that is amenable to actual investing and would eliminate 90% of Wallstreet workers who extract money from working people.
12) Suggest the modified weighted proxy voting system that the SEC has been sent.
13) Abandon the Federal Reserve System and transfer the responsibility of bank and money supply onto the Treasury Department. Do away with the mandate of maximum employment through monetary policies as this is more conducive to fiscal policy that emanates from Congress.
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|GOVERNMENT WORKFORCE||GOVERNMENT STATISTICS|
|FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM||BANKING|
Job creation: When there are complaints by the populace because of great unemployment, job creation is spoken of as if there are companies that must necessarily hire more workers and/or it is expected that new companies should somehow be created to allow for more employment. Jobs cannot just magically appear NOR is it always justified that everyone who seeks work should obtain it, provided that all the goods and services are being provided by a smaller workforce and while legislators refuse to lower the legal workweek. This helpless feeling of despair and of having unrealistic expectations could arise from numerous circumstances such as:
1) A country’s central bank having an overly accommodative monetary policy causing a super-heated economy and either upon the bank tightening the monetary supply or if large enough market bubbles were formed to cause a natural implosion without the central bank tightening the money supply, there will be a fall-out in terms of employment.
2) Increased business efficiency via systems, machinery, or other non-human component.
3) Excessive population growth and/or excessive immigration that can cause a temporary to lasting condition of large unemployment because hiring does not keep up with the pace of population growth.
4) Surpassing the critical percentage of unemployed that provides employers with greater control over the workforce. Once it is realized that employers have this control from fear of employees losing a job while jobs are scarce, employers are able to push employees more, thereby increasing the productivity per employee. In essence, increased productivity has the same effect as if the legal workweek was raised. And furthermore, though not applicable to this topic, employers can also suppress wages when the flux of employment is in their favor, thus creating a greater wealth divide.
5) A large decrease in military spending, provided the previous amount spent on building of military equipment was substantial.
6) Consumption spending becomes lower and this could be caused by a variety of factors including:
a) Higher cost of living
b) Greater savings rate that could come about from fear for the future or simply deciding on being responsible with money
c) Higher quality goods requiring less frequent replacing
To have stable employment, the various causes of unemployment listed above requires careful analysis so that reasonable maximum employment can occur along with stability of employment.
With good monetary policy, and not the corrupt policies that chairman Bernanke is pushing on the American people of inducing inflation, there can be greater stability of employment.
There are presently many contrived jobs in the United States that contributes little to nothing to productivity. This includes much of government employment, hotel, restaurant, travel, and entertainment industries.
A job cannot simply be “created” and expected it has some value to society. A created job must be able to satisfy a necessary component of life, whether it be related to production, government, or entertainment, maintenance of infrastructure, or various research and development to produce future efficiencies (that will then put further downward pressure on employment). Entertainment has its place in society but when hedonism takes over from periods of time of loose monetary policies, it is asking for unpleasant economic swings. At present, I contend that people on average require leaders to assist them in curbing their desires by not allowing overly loose credit. Had our leaders been observant, they would see how society is operating to then institute corrective measures but they must have been intoxicated with the illusion of wealth from rising stock market indexes, demonstrating their inability to lead and consequently are not deserving of their salaries.
Jobs are created that have lasting and meaningful importance without draining the public money (as in increasing government employees) when there is an authentic need, not artificial need or wasteful desire (though people wanting to go to restaurants at a high rate or buying high-end items serving a use beyond necessity, as examples, could support such but upon economic fluctuations, there’d be greater swings that could cause more distress). Job creation in a mature economy can come about from a lower cost of living thus enabling discretionary buying (and hopefully not insidiously done by credit giving the illusion of affordability) but if that is not happening and while business efficiencies are improving, job creation has to come at an expense to those presently employed by reducing work hours per individual and cutting back on discretionary spending (and to offset some of the negative factors, government should scale back its employees and wages).
Over the last 10 years, our government has become increasingly more bloated, and with much higher compensation than that of the private sector. This is an example of what should not have happened as more government jobs hurts an economy. Since year 2000, 3 million private sector jobs lost and 2 million government jobs added. With 18 million people entering the workforce via population growth in last 10 years, 18-3+2=17 million more out of work than in year 2000. The 2 million government jobs added is not a cure for the employment problem but rather will exacerbate funding the government since the increased number of highly compensated government employees have to be paid by private sector workers. Addressing the structural problem of employment as suggested in this topic would be far more preferred.
Even though an increased savings rate may cause unemployment, the effect would be minimal unless if there were many contrived jobs, that is, jobs that go well beyond fulfilling the basic needs of society. It should be noted that when an employment crisis is going on, people should not be encouraged to spend to help generate jobs if there is present, a great deal of contrived jobs that only delays the inevitable or when it is financially irresponsible to do so as is the case for so many non-wealthy Americans at this time. Government leaders including the chairman of the Federal Reserve System actually want to maintain a super-heated economy to make things worse as opposed to fixing the structural problems with employment. It’s sad that there are so many who are in leadership roles and garnishing hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries off of the taxpayer that while they are urging people to be reckless with money.
As long as a decent standard of living can be maintained, it is a POSITIVE sign that fewer persons are required to work to sustain an economy. Unfortunately, most legislators are too dense to understand this concept. If instead of 83% of available workers at 40 hours per week supplying all the needed goods and services, there could be 95% of the available workers at 35 hours per week. This is simple mathematics in sharing in the work needed to support an economy over a larger pool of persons. Without corrective measures, there is a downside to time sharing and it is that the longstanding workers would have less take-home pay. This can be partially remedied when there is an active social welfare system since the tax rate could be lowered on the basis that the long-standing workers coupled with the added workers would be supporting fewer people requiring financial assistance. Complete remedying would require the wealthy to sacrifice some of their greed by appropriate legislation to reduce the total number of homes allowed to be owned by any one person so that home prices and consequently rental prices, would each fall, thus allowing a lower net income of workers to satisfy an overall lower necessary expenses. In addition, since people presently can’t control their greed so well, society (ie government) needs to have a hand in it, but not so much as to stifle business. A windfall profit tax on corporations could be implemented wherein a corporation could have exceptional periods of profit and not be penalized on individual financial reporting periods but instead could be based on a rolling yearly period or even on a fiscal yearly basis. The windfall tax allows corporations to strive for profit but not be making this the primary objective so that workers salaries could rise and/or the price of goods and services could be lowered. In any event, there would be the net effect of lowering the cost of living from a well-constructed windfall tax program. In this way, a lifestyle could be sustained that was similar to identical to that before this novel plan was instituted. If such a program is not implemented soon, the unemployment rate will keep increasing, causing social unrest.
Just like there is nothing magical about the number 40 as needing to be the only acceptable number of hours of work per week to be considered full-time, home prices falling to a level that provides for affordability that then translates to a more harmonious society should not be quickly scoffed at as being a bad thing. Only to the wealthiest who wish to live grander lives through high rents and from having more control over the wages of workers when the legal workweek is high to produce greater unemployment, would there be any loss. However, this “loss” to them should not affect their lives in any meaningful way and besides, they should feel more gratified with the net result of greater happiness in society and accordingly, lower crime that really makes the insignificant loss on their part to an overall gain for all.
As there becomes greater workforce efficiency, the legal workweek could be reduced further, perhaps to even just 20 hours per week within a generation! What would help in this objective would be to focus on cutting out the inefficiencies in the workforce. Consider the numerous persons employed in the financial services industry these days – there is so much money floating about from others who work to enable these money-pushers to live quite well, in fact many in the banking industry are able to make 50 times what a high level researcher in the sciences may be earning. With greater responsibility with money, people may choose to cut back on costly entertainment in the areas of restaurants, hotel, and travel industries to reduce the needed workforce. Government employment, not to mention how overpaid they are along with their lofty pensions that are helping to bankrupt this nation, can be appreciably downsized immediately and still be able to provide what is needed-perhaps they would then have to work more efficiently as their private-sector counterparts, not have as many legal paid holidays and sick pay, and perhaps the manager to worker ratio could fall to yield a better value for taxpayer money.
There could even be an adjustment to the legal workweek worked out in legislation dictating a lower legal workweek whereby either by mutual agreement or mandate by the employer to retain a 40-hour workweek that there would be an offset by greater amount of free time by allotting an equitable amount of non-paid vacation. In rotating the hours worked, not on a weekly basis but on a yearly basis, There should be no fear in the net loss of wages since the total number of hours worked per year could be kept constant. Note, this is just like the practice of a person working four-10 hour days per week to get one extra day off per week.
In 2009, Congress could have passed legislation reducing the legal work week in order to reduce the unemployment rate. It should be noted that During the Great Depression, the current president, Franklin Roosevelt, resisted pushing this but once instituted, it was a success. It is surprising that past lessons were not learned.
Understandably much of this may sound so “outside the box”, but if all services are being met, then any so-called "job creation" is contrived and can only persist so long as people are willing to support the SUPERFLUOUS additions to the workforce. The real need is to have deflation and richer people to let go of their extra real estate of making money off of other people to make HOME PRICES GO DOWN EVEN MORE so we can have a lower cost of living and then we'd be able to share the total number of hours needed to sustain life over a greater number of people.
Job creation is often a natural tendency to forward the quality of life. It is natural when it comes to resources such as wood, metals, and oil, harnessing of energy, housing, food and clothes production. It can be contrived in allotting superfluous experiences such as restaurants and the travel industry that is based on enjoyment rather than purpose. Sometimes it's new technology such as the advent of cars or computers whereby much of society desires these items to make it indispensable in life. Contrived job creation doesn't necessarily mean the society cannot support it but there is a widely held view that job creation in any form such as enlarging the government workforce and creating programs that serve to put people to work that has no longevity unless government funds are recklessly used to continue supporting such.
If all the goods and services necessary for the normal functioning of society is already being met and while there is a large amount of unemployment, expecting jobs to be created is whimsical. To produce new jobs, there must be time-sharing as I mentioned earlier in this topic OR temporary to long-lasting jobs that somehow make life more efficient that would have an eventual negative-feedback to allow for even less work required of the population to then consider further time-sharing.
There is also the impact of employment on United States citizens through poor immigration policies. As stated in the Immigration topic, the impact is of a great magnitude, with the number of illegals in this country far exceeding the number of US citizens in the workforce population who are out of work. All businesses need to be penalized for hiring illegal aliens. The wealthy of this country enjoy how illegals enable them to become even richer but it hurts a majority of the citizens. Criminal prosecution and/or very stiff fines need to be given to those who knowingly hire illegals. In regards to the legal use of foreign nationals, it would be prudent to set reasonable limits of fees and percentage of a business’s workforce. I propose an hourly fee be assessed onto all businesses utilizing legal foreign nationals set at the federal minimum wage for each foreign national employed when on US soil and two times the federal minimum wage when employed off US soil. Furthermore, if a corporation has more than 10% of their workforce as foreign nationals it would be disallowed from being listed on a United States stock exchange. It is not well-known to all but state and local governments also hire foreign nationals. Never should a government be giving away the prized overpaid, underworked jobs away to those who are not citizens. It crushes the motivation of those being born in this country who struggle to get a job and seeing someone who may have effortlessly gotten a job via affirmative action, or simply someone who feels pity on foreign nationals to make it a point in hiring them, or if a foreign national gets into a position where they can command who gets hired and disproportionately hires more from their country of origin. Citizens who chose to be observant noticed such horrendous actions occur. It thus makes sense to eject all foreign nationals from government jobs.
In coming back from a foreign country I noticed many restaurants out of business and that shows these were superfluous jobs in recent past but people stupidly supported them from not being self-sufficient and saving money to prevent hardship in bad times. The average workweek I saw in the Philippines is often much greater than 40, thus exacerbating the employment problem and simultaneously giving the rich business owners more control over the working class. Educational level was overly scrutinized. To even work as a store worker in a mall, it was expected that a person have a 4-year degree! I see the United States as experiencing a similar problem though with a lower workweek that could still be made lower and of how college education is used as a tool for hiring when in many cases it supplies so little information. To a person working in human resources who lacks the ability to assess the actual work of the job position, lacks an understanding of the extent of formal education needed, and lacks the ability to size up the applicant on the basis of intelligence, work ethic, creativity, or whatever other traits are ultimately advantageous, then determining suitability largely on formal education is inadequate. Excessive time and money involved with college creates a more inefficient economy. Though more of this is addressed elsewhere in my writings, school programs could be made far more efficient than they are now so that they would become less of an encumbrance from the point of view of the student and society would benefit from there being less jobs needed in education.
When managing the workforce population, it would be immensely helpful for policy-makers to be dealing with a population that grows at a slow to even modestly negative rate. Excessive population growth puts great pressure on time-sharing that could not be very well countered by lowering the cost of living through lessening greed from the top because only so much wealth could be shared without dramatically financially impacting the wealthy. Some will point at Japan as being a failure for the low population growth but that is only through a narrow view of generating high profits for the few. If business efficiencies are less than the loss in population, it could give a false impression of the economy by inspecting a GDP growth figure alone. Having a lowered population in our times of business efficiencies means the quality of life for the average person would improve. Advanced nations do not have a majority of the workforce involved with farming operations as they did even just a century back. Today, only a couple percent of the workforce in developed countries are in farming jobs thus implying a large balance of jobs are of lesser importance for the necessary ongoing of the human race and therefore, many jobs held even now are expendable. Controversial population control would be helpful when people cannot control their proclivity of reproduction as it impacts the economy or in many other regards to society. Greater education to make it clear the irresponsibility in having children that cannot be afforded, the impact on their quality of life and of the negative impact on society, not to mention the strain on limited world resources is in order at this time. When education is not sufficient, sadly, draconian programs involving birth control would be needed for managing the human race on this planet.
In providing more evidence that many of our jobs are contrived today compared to the past which suggests that we could actually have fewer total number of man-hours worked to supply all of our necessary goods and services is the following: On a percentage basis, compared to 100 years ago, we now have 2X more teachers, 2.7X more service workers, 3X more police and fire fighters, yet 25X less agricultural workers. Food is of primary concern for survival and yet we need so much less people involved with jobs in this area. So what have we done? We made life unnecessarily complicated and invented jobs. By eliminating many of the fabricated jobs, we as humans could work much fewer hours on average and have all we need.
I will conclude this topic with a thought regarding highly paid corporate executives: If just 5,000 CEOs and 15,000 executives at or below the level of CEO (such as CFO and VP) were not compensated at 500 and 250 times the common worker, respectively, and instead were paid at the rate of 50 and 25 times the common worker, there would be enough money freed up to enable 5.5 million more workers. The question would be why there needs to be more workers if all the goods and services were met from a smaller workforce. Well the answer to that is, perhaps there could be a partial cutting back of productivity on a per-person basis so that jobs could be done with less stress, but the real impact would be that the money that would otherwise go to executive compensation could be seen in lower priced goods and services to bring down the cost of living and consequently improve the quality of life without making any artificial stimulus. Extending this further to paying CEOs at 5 times the average worker and other executives at 2.5 times the average worker, would free up an additional amount of money equivalent to another half million jobs. Even at the ratios of 5 and 2.5, I feel these figures are too high relative to what little ultimate responsibility they have when corporations are driven down to the ground and of the lax hours, never having to lift a thing, and being in the position of telling others what to do as opposed to suffering from someone else telling you what to do. Also note that just 30 years ago, CEOs were paid about 40 times the average employee yet today this factor ballooned to about 500. There is no good justification for this incredible disparity that keeps widening with time. See my thesis on Fair Wage Determination.
Make tipping unlawful and change tax law for table waiting and other jobs that the government deems as expected to have tips. This would ease taxation complications and produce more equity among workers in that pay would be determined by work involved. Customers could also feel assured that service is done equitably without money being a motivating factor in determining the quality of service that ought to be non-discriminatory. No doubt many will quickly feel like harm is done to workers who receive tips, thinking that’s the only way it’s possible for them to receive an income. I say if a customer is willing to tip, then the money could have been used to pay the restaurant directly and the restaurant owner pay the worker at least the minimum wage that applies to non-tipping occupations. In three states of this country, waiter positions receive the minimum wage that applies to all jobs and so when customers are not informed of this and decide to tip higher compensated waitpersons, those workers are able to take advantage of this not so well known fact and help cause a disruption in worker compensation. Realize there are many workers who do not get tips and for wait service jobs to sometimes get far more than others either because of customers unknowing of compensation laws or of showing off in front of other people in putting out a huge tip, or by feeling sorry for such workers, is not well justified. Cutting the tipping convention in our culture would help drive for more equitable wages and lessen the psychological problems associated with determining how much to tip.
I mentioned the corporate windfall taxes in the employment topic above. Although I am not for corporations paying income taxes as I explained in my book that the consumer ends up paying for all the corporate income tax liability anyway, a windfall tax that is based on profit margin would have a positive effect on the public in general. Corporations do not look out for the welfare of the country but for the executives and shareholders. Without some way to balance excessive flow of money that gravitates to few hands, society could be fractured that would cause unrest. The wealthiest have the most to lose and thus would live in the greatest fear and this would mean extra protection that comes at a great expense. The rich desire to have everything plus orderliness but that would never happen unless all those not in their elite class were eliminated. In having a windfall tax (along with other restraints that I suggest elsewhere such that if a corporation is publicly traded or is doing contractual work for the government, that salaries would need to conform to strict standards and I would push an equitable wage program that I devised and can be seen at: Fair Wage Determination), the welfare of workers and consumers would be respected. Corporations would still seek profits and shareholders would still be awarded when corporations do well, however, there would be reasonable limits in order to maintain prosperity among as most people as possible. I propose No income taxes whatsoever for corporations and no taxes on profits until the net profit before the windfall tax is applied, in which case a 20% tax is levied to then derive at the corporation’s net-net profit. Corporations could evade this windfall tax easily and FAIRLY by doing a number of things that helps the country at large such as reducing prices of goods and services, raising wages, or even sacrificing some work productivity by hiring more persons. An important philosophical argument regarding appropriation of money earned from business operations to the actual workers, management, and investors must be allayed if the human race is to advance. Government, as representative of the people, can help through public advertisement campaigns showing that no certain group within business structures are deserving far greater compensation than others as each has a mixture of manual labor, mental contributions, managerial, risk of capital that should balance out more evenly compared to longstanding notions that have been accepted without substantial debate.
In accordance with the chapter on taxation in my book, over 90% of federal government revenues come from payroll and income tax and fewer than 10% comes from corporate taxes. Thus, it would be just a small transference of placing the corporate tax burden on individuals. The net effect would be a gain for individuals since corporations would be able to reduce the cost of goods by not having to pay taxes PLUS the added personnel to deal with taxes.
In following the outline above for corporations, individuals as well require reasonable restraints on wealth accumulation and that would be to institute progressive taxation more along the lines of how it was thirty years. Sure the wealthy would complain but these are the very people who would be safeguarded if society falls apart from unchecked greed as they would have the most to lose. Additionally, a person earning more money and then being subjected to a higher tax percentage would still be earning more than another person earning less.
The tax code certainly needs to be revamped to require no more than 10 pages or so of actual code and a tax form of the size of half a sheet of paper. There are just so many special interest groups that one member of Congress after another caters to and then pushes onto the populace, an ever increasing tax code. If there are special considerations for victims of war or disasters, these could all be dealt with in some other way so as to not complicate the tax system. Home mortgage interest deduction is one ridiculous tax deduction that serves only those rich enough to utilize. On the opposite end of the scale, there are special deductions granted for certain very low-wage earners but this too needs to be eliminated for a crystal clear tax scheme. Furthermore, the boondoggle of personal retirement accounts needs to be abolished and in place, a reasonable amount of bank interest could be made tax-free and my suggestion here is one-half the poverty level yearly earnings. Government made personal retirement accounts so overly complicated and not only does it add stress to people’s lives, it takes away from the efficiency of the economy by needing to have tax professionals involved, not to mention IRS employees having to allocate time to answer the many questions that arise from the public who require clarification on an ongoing basis.
The fair tax, ie, a national sales tax that supporters would want as the major source of government revenue with the abolishment of yearly tax returns sounds good in theory but there are some aspects of it that demonstrate that by itself, it will fail to compress the wealth disparity thus making society more unstable. Presently. With the present system of unchecked greed in business, low wage earners are often able to receive a refund on yearly tax returns. Those pushing for the fair tax understandably have a concern for low wage earners able to get more than what they put in, however, this is also under the system of unfairness in the distribution of incomes. If businesses gave more considerations to workers instead of the disproportionate allocation of money to management and investors, the present low wage earners would have more income to not need a tax system giving them a refund on yearly tax returns. The fair tax ideal is to allow for a certain income level to not have to pay taxes but this would still necessitate a revenue collection agency (or be placed under a different agency in name only) for sending in proof of income to receive money back that everyone earning money would be entitled to. The problem with this is that it is only weakly progressive, with the rich being able to benefit the most though it is not shown to be this way as promoted. Instead there is emphasis on everyone paying their “fair share” through a national sales tax so that no one would be able to hide money from being taxed, particularly those in crime, including illegal aliens (all illegal aliens are criminals by virtue of transgression of immigration laws). This aspect is reasonable but the wealth disparity will become even greater very fast without some form of progressive taxation. There is the fear of the people that if a fair tax would be implemented, the government will want to dip its hands in both the newly adopted system and retain the yearly income tax system. It is quite conceivable that government may want to push this onto the public since so many highly paid government pension actuaries, paid a quarter million or so per year failed the entire country and so instead of these persons getting fired and undoing the promises they made to government employees as far as the overly generous pensions, everyone else will be forced to suffer. This obviously is not a good solution for non-government employees, however, in addressing both progressive taxation to compress the wealth divide and to address unreported earnings, both a sales tax and income tax, to some lesser proportion would be warranted. It seems odd that pushers of the fair tax don’t spend more time on addressing getting rid of illegal aliens to diminish the need to tax them. As mentioned in my book, there are only about 1 million illegal aliens employed in agriculture – a number easily met by college students to help out in the fields without needing foreign workers. But, as you might have guessed, the rich WANT the illegal aliens here as it does several things: enables them to have low cost home helpers and gardeners, suppress wages overall in this country so that as business owners or investors, they earn more money, and from the greater number of people entering the country, home prices can be elevated to levels that are not in proportion to people’s incomes (does this sound like a situation that was evident in 2006 and still the case now?). I am all for the elimination of overpaid IRS workers, however even the fair tax proposal would still require them. If the present income tax system would be made ever so simple and our country choosing to enforce laws to deal with unlawful transgressors into this country, we could have fairness, simplicity without the stress as experienced now, and still be able to eliminate probably 80%-90% of the IRS. Giving our unresponsive and out of control government yet another means to tax is not wise. Pushing for revamping of the present tax code and increasing the progressiveness of taxation that those in power are unwilling to do is what will benefit the greater proportion of citizens.
GOVERNMENT WORKFORCE AND COMPENSATION
Government compensation has gotten out of control since about 1980. At that time, there was the beginning of a great separation between the private and public sector. Government generally had good benefits from even before 1980 but private employers before this time also treated their employees fairly well with respect to a greater percentage of companies than now offering pensions in spite of medical coverage not so often provided. The pay for government workers before this time was perhaps 10-20% lower than that of the private sector but the benefits more than made up for the difference. Today, government workers earn so much more than those in the private sector, about 40% more on average, and still have much better benefits, not to mention greater job security and generally cushy working conditions. Overall compensation of government employees is about 55% greater than that of the private sector. And, if you happen to be a foreign national, your chances of obtaining an overpaid government job over the past several decades was better than that of citizens. Not just from the individual standpoint of unfairness in compensation relative to those who pay their salaries, ie, the private sector, but along with the lucrative compensation enjoyed by government employees, the size of government is too great for the private sector to support. Thus the percentage of the workforce employed in government must be reduced and their compensation cut back to the level of the private sector, if not slightly less as it once was. It would make sense to establish a percentage of the workforce allowable to be government workers as well, and hiring for which should be made available only to citizens. For starters, the percentage could be set to 11.5% right away by cutting 20% of existing government employees. In time, this percentage could be cut to the goal of 10% and possibly lower to 5% to have a much more efficient government. It is amazing how the size of government got so great, but even more surprising how the compensation of government employees got so wildly out of control. Much of the job additions to the workforce in the past decade was a result of excessive government hiring, thus exacerbating our country’s debt. Today, with the feeling of superiority that is a result of high pay and a feeling of being impervious to being terminated, government employees are able to cop an attitude by acting bossy or in purposely being unhelpful towards the public. No longer are public employees the civil servants they once were – now the so-called servants of the people get paid better than their employers and have more power over them!
We need to cut 20% of government employees right away. Their salaries and pensions need to be cut by an average of 40% so they become more in line with that of the private sector AT ONCE! There is such a big debate going on in February 2011 regarding the pensions of Wisconsin state employee pensions as the governor is pushing to scale back the outrageous pensions that are bankrupting the state. Considering how much of a fight there is on just the pension of government employees shows the public is not hurting enough to force the issue more. The rightful cutting of public employment salaries is thus expected to be delayed, further exacerbating the debt burden on the public. People need to arm themselves with facts of how compensation and benefits (including not just the pensions but all the other perks such as health care coverage and sick time, vacation time, and bountiful paid holidays) public employees get. One site that has much useful information is: State and Local Government Compensation. By doing this cutting of workforce numbers and compensation, the taxpayers would save at least $700 Billion per year (~$200B for Federal and ~$500B for State and Local). The official total number of government employees is at about 20 million. There are currently about 138 million employed in this country so that government employees at a percent of the workforce stands at 15%. There are an intractable number of persons employed in the private sector that are involved with defense contracts and with public works contracts. Counting those in the private sector whose salaries are essentially dependent on government probably adds another few percent to the 15% government workers. This number is significant since when trying to lower the government workforce and compensation thereof, there is a significant percent of the population that would be directly affected and, not surprisingly, would be active in persuading public sentiment against these needed reforms.
Once the 20% of government employees are cut, there needs to be discussions of what a realistic percentage of government employees should be in relation to the workforce. Including those persons in the private sector whose paycheck is a direct result of government contracts for building roads, cutting trees and other such infrastructure matters. Defense contractor employees may be deleted for a separate measure. Military and/or U.S. Postal Service employees may be excluded as well to determine a target for government employee percent of the workforce. Government leaders could play around with the number of government employees by contracting out more services to the private sector as a way to fool the public, and thus private contractors who work for government must also be taken into account. I could make an unqualified opinion and propose that we could make 10% as a goal for public employee percent of the workforce, including those employed by private-sector infrastructure companies but not counting defense, and post office employees. Having a percent goal keeps the size of government in check.
I have been upset about runaway government salaries since the mid 1980's, but most of the public was asleep and let it got out of hand. The salaries have since soared to new heights. Because there is much less oversight in job performance in government as it does not have to be held accountable to efficiency/profit, the salaries need to be slightly below that of the private sector, much like how it was in the early 1970's (I was inquiring about the pay of government workers even as a pre-teen).
Anyway, this thing about government workers, many of whom we know are LAZY, UNCOOPERATIVE as CIVIL SERVANTS, OVERPAID, SPOILED, do grocery shopping on OUR TIME, take government vehicles for trips ON OUR TIME AND DOLLAR, FEEL SUPERIOR, yet as civil servants they are no longer the servants to the people, SINCE THEY "EARN" more than those who fund their lofty salaries, THE TAXPAYERS ARE NOW THE SERVANTS TO THEM!
To think of showing up to work, working slowly, mistreating the public, hanging up on calls from the public, being rude, take long breaks, get extra holidays, and laugh your way to the bank. Does this sound like a worker that is deserving of high monetary compensation?
The many divisions of government which uphold affirmative action and which generally institutes similar pro-"minority", pro-immigrant, and anti white male, anti-American policies fully demonstrates just how entrenched minorities/immigrants are in this government. They (immigrants/minorities) don't even have to be legal US citizens for many of the government jobs. From affirmative action, many of these people obtained "give-away" jobs, and have since controlled the hiring positions that can undermine America with unfair hiring practices. It is also these people who have gotten into positions that manages government contractors. Our very own government with terrible hiring policies has created an atmosphere of animosity against certain minority groups and foreign nationals of any origin.
Setting of government employee compensation: I’ve said before that the populace should have a means by which to determine the salaries of all government worker and the limit of paid sick days allowed, paid holidays, and paid vacation days. This duty should have never been in the hands of government since they face no competition and thus would continue to raise the compensation of their own until which time the public catches wind of their actions to revolt. The easiest way is to conduct a survey every 2 years over the internet with categories of pay beginning at PLE=1 on up to PLE=5, in 0.1 PLE increments which at present time implies salaries to be in the range of $10,000 to $50,000. In time, salaries should be compressed further to reflect personal effort in contributing to society so that an upper limit of PLE of 3 to 4 would make more sense than happenstance of some occupations paying much more than others with little basis. In addition, to combat fraud, the highest 25% of categorical votes would not be counted. The fringe benefit of paid days could be voted similarly and done only every 4 years and would apply to all employees (taking into account longevity). Presently, low-level government workers such as basic secretaries, street sweepers, bridge toll collectors, and meter maids with no college education are able to make in many instances much more than those in the private sector with a college degree in a technology field such as a scientist. Surely there are some in the private sector who earn more than those in government, but on average, it is far more lucrative to be employed by the government than not.
The following are examples of outrageous salaries of government employees. Much of this data was compiled in the late 1990’s at the time I planned on running for a county Board of Supervisor position with the intent of lowering county worker salaries by 30%.
Low level science positions in government (well beneath my past level of an inventing biotechnology research scientist in the private sector) paid $3500-$6000 per month. As a contrast my monthly salary was below this range, and even lower than that of even laboratory technicians in the public sector but I could never land any of those low-tech, do-nothing jobs with better pay and magnificent benefits. The private sector jobs in the sciences are loaded with H1-B visa holders to suppress wages.
An example of a typical science position job in government, that of an Environmental Health “Specialist”. Job duties: Oversees, among other things, underground fuel tank removals. Job duties include travel to site, shoot the bull with property owners and environmental contractors, drive slowly back to the county office, taking breaks at restaurants or shop for groceries along the way, and write short memos. I tried getting into one of these types of jobs but evidently I showed I could use my brain and I was not clearly a minority in the county that had far more minorities hired than reflected in the local population. It’s possible they also read me as a “whistle-blower” and they would be right as I cannot hide my disgust for overpaid, under-worked government employees and I surely would have sent information to newspaper editors as I have done so at other times in my life.
Toll Bridge Collector: work 6.5 hours and get paid for 8! Starting wage $11.50/hr, but steady increases in pay. I knew of a non-citizen earning $16/hr, and another at over $20/hr. No education required. I say we don’t need any of these bridge toll collectors and no million dollar automated toll booths since bridges are simply roadways over a body of water that could be funded by the existing method of roadway tax collection from motor vehicle registration fees.
City Street Sweeper: Starting wage about $3000/month. 10th grade education required.
Parking meter maid at over $50K/year.
State Park Interpreter I: $15.72-18.89/hr; State Park Ranger III: $3287-3966/mo. (These salary figures are from the late 1990’s and even though at least 10 year old data, the salaries are still TOO HIGH!)
School Administrators: typically $70,000 to more than $120,000. (You can assume these salaries are about 20-30% higher now.)
High School Vice Principals: Typically $60,000/yr to start. Compare with San Mateo County Supervisor, starting wage of $61,000/yr.
University of California Board of Regents: Around $250,000/yr and up. How many days per month do they do actually do something? The Governor needs to reduce these wages to around $30,000/yr, as part-time work. I assure you, positions would be quickly filled with talented individuals even at the reduced salary!
Nurses and administrative employees at $70K to $120K/year that I saw while working in a government hospital. I worked as an assistant to one of the overpaid administrators who used public postage for her personal letters. I typed up a 6-page report of abuses I saw and presented at the county budget hearing. My boss was at the meeting as well and so I was promptly terminated.
Public works employee at over $50K/year. I would go for walks and sometimes stumbled upon one such employee who would be commonly seen resting in his government vehicle. I talked to him to get greater insight on public employee abuses as I try to do whenever I am able to do so with public employees. He would tell me his supervisor directed the workers to spread out in the city and just hide out. Once in a great while he’d put in an hour or two of work but that would be about it. The department was clearly overstaffed. When there was a project that needed to be done and was of modest complexity, the city would contract out the work to a private company.
In a rural community, with cost of living only one-half of that of the SF bay Area, the county human resources director was making over $70K/year and his two minions who answer calls about open positions and send job circulars in the mail were both getting over $40K/year! Wow, such hard work! A person shouldn’t even waste his/her time getting an education in college when the easy money is in getting a low-level clerk position in the government! I wrote a letter to the editor about various public employment salaries and the human resources director resigned immediately.
I looked at the salaries of hundreds of government jobs along with the respective job responsibilities. Being I was in many different fields in the private sector, had brief temporary stints in the public sector, and I store lots of data in my head, I was quick to make comparisons of various jobs with their compensations to note there often was disproportionate pay for certain fields including areas within the government sector. In the private sector there are some lucky employees who loaf on the job, but it is not so common as it is in government. Anyone who is the slightest bit observant would have seen numerous instances of freeloading government employees. You may have see them at the supermarket when they should be working, they might be out on a joy ride with a government vehicle, you might find them sleeping in their vehicles, possibly hiding out near a park, or see five of them loafing around while just one of them works at half speed. Lots of this can and should be corrected. I offered the proposal earlier in this passage to put the responsibility on the public to determine salary structures. For instances of seeing government employees not doing their job, there could be an all volunteer group of citizens who could investigate such matters and upon positive verification, make notation for corrective action. This type of volunteer group needs to be in place in as many areas of government as possible and serve to put a lid on corruption.
Too many government workers and at high compensations is recipe for a country's ruin as they do not produce but only take, and furthermore how could they be civil servants when they make more than those who pay their taxes? Look at Bell, California and other cities where government employees make $600K to $1.6 million per year. Look how in Vallejo, California, the city declared bankruptcy because it was terribly mismanaged by deemed qualified personnel, allowing compensations to get out of control such as over $100K/year police and firefighters. It's a big joke. It’s hard to believe that humans endure such huge problems even after thousands of years, greed and incompetence is embraced by so many to prevent widespread prosperity.
See also Overpaid Federal Workers and State and Local Government Compensation.
More is presented about this topic in the book, Thoughtful Living.
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Government statistics showing job growth should always take into consideration the population growth, or more specifically, the number of persons entering the workforce subtracted by those retiring, and so if, for example, there is a net increase in the available labor pool of 150,000 and government claims 100,000 jobs were added, it should be taken as a shortfall of 50,000 jobs. I can't emphasize enough for people to look deeper than raw numbers or raw statistics to get a better grasp of the numbers.
Knowing that about 150K jobs must be added each month to account for population growth, any number less than this is NEGATIVE.
Last month there was a loss of 50K jobs. That means 200K more people out of work. Is this something to make the stock market go up 5% or down 5%. The answer is obvious but there is little logic in this world.
At some point there will be 100K jobs added, but remember this, it will still amount to 50K MORE people without a job because of the population growth. Still nothing to parade about.
In regards to the government conducted employment surveys, these could be structured more simply and asking only several questions:
1) Are you engaged in paid work? YES: Go to Q.2; NO: Go to Question #3.
2) Are you working 20 or more hours per week? DONE
3) Would you accept paid work that you would consider as fair pay?
In 2000 there were about 3 million part-time workers. In 2010, there were about 10 million part-time workers. This surely should be accounted for in a headline number but it is suppressed. In following the questions above, we would be able to get the total amount employed, the number of workers working less than 20 hours per week, and the number of working age adults who are not currently working and want to work. There may be contention with the term “fair pay” in question #3, but this is reasonable. Without such wording it would imply that at no matter a person’s skill set that he/she would be willing to work at the rate of the Federal minimum wage and this would be highly unreasonable for a great number of workers. Imagine being offered a federal job that pays 2 times that of the private sector, if the question in the survey was asked in regards to such jobs, who wouldn't take it?
The unemployment rate provided by government purposely undercounts. There is at present about 36% of working age adults out of work, not to mention the millions working only part-time or being compelled to work in another field for less out of a lack of job opportunities. As stated in my book, I propose that the government always includes the labor utilization number, that is, the total percentage of non-institutionalized adults who are working, and then provide other statistics to work up to their minimized statistic. In addition, there should be parsed, the category of part-time workers. In this way, a more complete picture of employment would be provided.
The current (as of January 2011) labor utilization number according to government is 58% which is derived by taking the 139 million employed and dividing by the 239 million working age adults. However, working age includes 16 and 17 year-olds and also includes those beyond retirement age. In addition, disabled workers are also counted. If the total non-institutional population has subtracted from it 8.5 million to account for 16 and 17 year-olds and 2 million for those over age 70, and 8 million for disabled workers, we’d have a more realistic labor pool of number of 220.5 million. Being 16 and 17 year olds would not be included in the labor pool, the 2 million workers from this age group who predominantly work only part-time would be excluded. And so, a more accurate measure of labor utilization, that is those from age 18 to 70 who work divided by those in the same age group who are capable of working. This new measure would be 137/220.5 or 62%. Thus 38% of those from age 18 to 70 are lacking a job. From this figure, it could then be elucidated who is really wanting a job, pending if the pay would make it worthwhile for them as suggested by a new methodology of employment surveys a few paragraphs above.
Also for such measures as GDP growth. Look at these two examples: China with population growth of 2%, and United States with population growth of 1%. If the GDP growth rate of these two countries are, respectively, 6% and 5%, then the GDP growth per person would be the same. Putting the GDP growth rate in perspective with the population growth rate is never spoken of but their relationship is obvious and therefore should be commingled for economic policy making.
The statistic of home ownership. Well this one is a really loaded number. The quoted number is often around the high 60 percent but this would be virtually impossible noting the great number of children and young adults who are not qualified in one way or another of owning a home. The statistic is misleading in that it counts the number of people who are living in an owner-occupied home. If instead, the statistic reflected all those persons over the age of 18 who own a home, we’d have the more realistic figure of around 25 to 30 percent, to provide a useful number of how many own and do not own a home. By having this useful measure, we’d be able to direct public policy better in adopting measures to help ensure homes are more affordable and to highlight that situation of how society is severing from wealthy persons getting even richer off of renting to those less fortunate.
When it comes to measuring the economic health of a nation, there is often quoted arithmetic averages of savings or assets per person. These statistics need to address the wealth disparity by incorporating other descriptions such as reporting the lower 10%, lower 25% and median values. In this way, the economic well-being for a majority of people would be seen more clearly in order to make better policy making decisions and for the public to be more aware of the situation to galvanize them into action to help drive policy-making decisions.
Sometimes data is altered to fit an agenda. If government wants to make inflation look contained, it may report the figures less food and gasoline (“ex food and gas”). If sales data for automobiles is subpar, government will report sale “ex autos”. It’s ex something or another almost all the time to give people a tainted view of the state of the economy. Sometimes there is a usefulness in excluding some component of the data for certain circumstances, but it’s done so routinely now. If there is reporting with some exclusion, the primary data should be headlined and the data with exclusions mentioned as a side-note. Reporting in this fashion would be fair.
FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM
In all but the State of Texas, there is an elected person for the position of treasurer. The federal equivalent is the Secretary of the Treasury, but is a Presidential appointed position.
The Federal Reserve System was set up in attempts to isolate it from political influences. However, the President of the United States appoints some of the top members including the major position of the Chairman of the Board of Governors, subject to United States Senate confirmation. The Federal Reserve Board of Governors have special powers over the banking system and thus also the economy of the country but whether appointed or elected, they would still have their own individual political temperaments. Thus, the attempt to isolate from politics is probably an act of futility and poses great harm to the economy when one or a few persons decide to make monetary policy that is in direct opposition to what is reasonable. The current Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (comprised of Board of Governors and Federal Reserve Bank Presidents) is disrupting the financial markets and is forcing debts onto the people, sometimes to questionable entities besides financial instruments. When financial markets are intentionally manipulated, it may cause market bubbles or in some way, alter valuations from what may be considered fair to then cause investor losses, though some will also benefit, however, this extra introduction of manipulation causes greater instability and distrust in the financial system.
The budget for the Federal Reserve System is about $3 Billion for around 18,000 employees. This then costs the taxpayer $170K per employee, though actual wages are just over 50% of the budget. Just where is the money going that is needed to perform their functions? This site may help elucidate this question but it’s not as thorough as it could be: Federal Reserve Budget.
The Federal Reserve could be operated under the Treasury Department. The massive amount of statistics that is generated from this entity is duplicated in some ways with other agencies, particularly the Labor Department and the Census Bureau. (I assert elsewhere that 3/4 of government statistics could be dropped, saving the taxpayers lots of money in duplicative and superfluous statistics.) The functions of managing the nation’s monetary policy could be done entirely by the existing Treasury Department in setting bank reserve requirements and setting the discount rate for loans to commercial banks. The current game of having a market operations, also known as Permanent Open Market Operations, or “POMO”, is simply a way of creatively hiding government expenses, causes financial market manipulations, and with no apparent no limit to the extent it decides to affect the lives of the citizens as there is no oversight. This POMO enables a game to be played of buying Treasury notes but is just moving numbers around on balance sheets and therefore masks the financial situation of the Treasury and hence the Federal Government. Thus, the POMO ought to be done away with.
For monetary policy, an inflation rate of zero would create greater stability than trying to maintain, for example, a range of 1-2% inflation rate as the present Federal Reserve Chairman erroneously thinks is good for the country. Purposely having an inflation rate helps greatly the wealthy who have passive income but those who do not have passive income will lose. The clear unfairness in maintaining a positive inflation rate should outrage the public to push for no inflation. Deflation is considered so terrible to the established rich as this is the time when they get hurt relative to those who are less fortunate. It’s no wonder why the present FRB chairman opts to side on the monetary policy that helps his own kind. Deflation should not be considered destructive. History shows that deflation is much less damaging than inflation. When there have been periods of high inflation, a corrective mild deflationary policy should be the way to correct this, but the way our misguided leaders act is in to disregard any past inflation! Most people who use their brain knows the prices of many assets doubled from year 2000 to 2010. If there happens to be no month-month inflation during the year 2010 does not mean there is no inflation and therefore all is fine when people are suffering from high prices that were allowed to occur from incompetent managing of the money supply. This is an instance of when having mild deflation to correct the inflationary period. However, our leaders instead opt for continuing a super-heated economy by creating even more inflation. This game can go one for only so long before a country implodes. I warn the reader that the United States is headed for disaster from the mismanagement of our economy by highly paid persons who are deemed qualified. I suspect our country will be totally bankrupt and then a new economic system will be devised. I honestly think our leaders will continue in causing havoc to the point where there will be no more easy way to correct the many years of mismanagement. Once the new system is implemented, I’d hope that people will push for better management with zero as the inflation rate target.
I firmly stand on the thought that government should take over regular banking services since government is the back-stop for banks, and furthermore, it is one immensely crucial area whereby consolidation of the banking system would be able to spot embezzlement much easier and the profits would not go to shareholders nor would executives be able to get rich off of others. Any profits in this system would go back to the people. The efficiency and cutting out of the middleman would serve society much better.
Bank reserves currently stand at an appalling low 2%. There is a worldwide proposal to set the bank reserve rate at 7% by some future year, but it’s too slow and still not enough to adequately safeguard the economies of the world. I propose 15% reserves during a stable economy. Bank shareholders would not like for it would mean banks would not be as profitable, however, it’s for the protection of the economy and thus country. The banking oversight authority could set bank reserves higher or lower to a range from 10-20% depending on objective inflation rate criteria.
Currently checking and savings accounts at banks are segregated. I propose savings accounts be abandoned. It’s a joke to think the only way for people to save is to have it in a savings account that can still be accessed for withdrawals. Instead, a single bank account, earning interest as a savings account would make more sense, lessening a burden on customers and banks alike in regards to less record keeping. In this way, there would be far less a chance for a customer to be overdrawn.
In concert with the Treasury Department making the target of inflation at zero (this is presently the duty of the Federal Reserve Bank, however, I propose the FRB be disbandoned), standard bank accounts could be fixed at 1% above the government short-term interest rate. As stated in the credit section below, bank lending rates could range between 3% to 5% higher than the government short-term interest rates. This implies that the minimum interest spread would be 2%. The average interest spread would be around 4% and so this should be sufficient for banks to provide all their services without imposing extraordinary fees.
The extraordinary fees banks charge primarily for executives to get their outlandish salaries and secondarily to keep shareholders happy need to be addressed by the authority over the banking system (currently FRB but I believe this would be better monitored by the U.S. Treasury Department). Some banks are testing out monthly fees for making use of a bank teller. This one is obvious but there are other insidious fees such as if there is activity in an account that exceeds a certain prescribed limit, if an account balance drops below a minimum threshold, if there are less charges with a bank debit/credit card than a prescribed quantity on a monthly basis, and if there is no monthly electronic deposit of a paycheck. Other such fees also include withdrawal at a non-proprietary ATM, overdraft protection that shouldn’t have to occur if savings and checking accounts become merged, wire transfers, and stop payments. Some of these make sense for a fee to be associated but it must be realized that the many people who face financial difficulties, either from their own irresponsibility or unfortunate circumstances, get whittled down by bank fees. Some of these fees need to be incorporated in the regular banking operation, as covered by their profit, and for others, the fees need to be reduced dramatically. It’s as if banks fouled up so badly in the recent housing crisis that they feel they need to charge 5 times the amount of their cost for every service to make up for their past shortfalls, led by multimillion dollar salaried CEOs. For example, why should it cost $34 for a stop payment if it really only costs the bank $5 worth of effort? Why should there be wire fees of $25 to $40 when the process is electronic in all or in part so that it this type of service could be assimilated into the ACH system (Automated Clearing House) so that there would be no cost to make an electronic movement of money. It does society no good when there is oppression by a bank that sets back the poor. There needs to be no charges for minimum balances that prevent people from trying to establish themselves financially. An unintended consequence of excessive bank fees, especially on those who can’t afford them, is to help suppress those at or near the poverty level and for which increased criminal activity and/or increased government welfare. For some others, the high bank fees encourage people to keep their money at home and this can hurt a bank’s ability to lend to keep the economy flowing. The reasonable interest rate spread of 2% to 6%, based on creditworthiness, should be sufficient to pay for most, if not all banking system expenses, provided that the bank is run with efficiency and managers and executives do not inordinately receive compensation many times over the real workers, the bank tellers and other support staff. See the chapter “Wealth” in my book and also consult the website I created to help drive this world to fair compensation: "Fair Wage Determination". When a bank CEO makes $10 Million plus for doing hardly anything and even if running the bank down to the ground as still occurs without facing penalty for incompetence (you’d think the salary was based on ability but it’s not!) and the low-level workers who actually do something and make perhaps 500 times less, the masses need to let go of the notion that managers should necessarily be paid as if they are kings. When there are fewer fees and more of the banking costs covered simply by the interest spread, it makes the bank teller job easier to perform and makes for less stress for customers. This is totally feasible when the salary structure of the undeserving top “earners” are brought back down to Earth.
Living big on credit is irresponsible learned behavior that works, that is why it is not limited to a small percentage of people in American society. You see, there is a benefit to borrowing in the United States and that is to obtain what you want ahead of time, no matter if someone has to come to the rescue to bail you out of debt because that is what inevitably will happen to some degree. So, as long as a person is selfish, accumulating debt with no concern over other people who have to come to the rescue will be done to a significant degree for who wants free money? Some would also include the word "ignorant", however this really doesn't apply since every adult should know full well what debt they are undertaking and have the foresight that if they can't manage it there will be some form of assistance. Ethical persons would never let debt get out of hand, excepting very unusual circumstances, for they would not want to be a burden on anyone else.
To reduce disruptive economic volatility, lines of credit must have a reasonable limit. There are two types of credit, secured and unsecured. Secured debt isn’t always secured because asset values might suddenly change. In dealing with each of these types of credits, I offer a couple of proposals. For secured debt, a law could be established to limit credit to 40% of assets. Safety for the individual and for society would be offered in this way. If and when a large number of persons extend even their secured assets followed by an economic downturn exacerbates the health of a nation. In addressing what is a fair rate of interest for secured debt, I propose a drastically different methodology in this determination since the money lent is collateralized. Consider if a bank or a brokerage firm has money on deposit from a person who is extended credit – the institution earns interest without risk! It is common for brokerage firms to charge 10% above the government short-term interest rate on secured loans for use in stock trading. This is an absolute farce for which governmental oversight does not bother to step in and impose reasonable restrictions. Having non-cash collateral can be more problematic in collections and so this should be allowed to have an interest rate associated with it. I thus propose that a limit be set at 1% interest be allowed for secured debt that remains in the account of an institution such as a brokerage firm, irrespective of short-term government interest rates since money lent out is in essence easily recoverable by debiting the borrower’s account and 3% interest above government short-term interest rate for those debts collateralized by a non-cash asset. For unsecured debt such as that provided by credit card companies, a reasonable limit of 20% of annual income, but no less than $200 or properly in ratios, 2 times the minimum government established monthly food expense. If a person fails to qualify for the minimum of $200 unsecured credit per month, a cosigner could be utilized. In addition, if a person has a credit score that objectively by a standard criteria such as a score at which 20% of credit card holders do not pay their balance in full could be the minimum acceptable score and which could be reviewed on an ongoing basis to raise or lower the score to maintain the criteria. Having a credit card has been equated to a God-given right in the United States but not all should qualify and furthermore, it does not help society when there are defaults, and especially for people with spending problems, having higher standards helps prevent people from hurting themselves. Fees imposed by credit card companies has gotten out of control. Credit card companies receive a fee from the merchant and so the additional cardholder fees amounts to mostly unreasonable extra revenue streams to provide company shareholders and executives high compensation and for failures arising from incompetence in improperly assessing risk. Tighter controls over fees could be set by law such as by imposing a minimum monthly finance charge of 5% of the hourly PLE (poverty level earnings) and maximum interest rate set at 10% higher than the government short-term interest rate. Cash advances often have extraordinary fees that make no sense. I propose cash advance fees be related to the cost of processing and not based on a percentage of the cash advance and a fee for this at $2, or presently at 20% of the hourly PLE. A cash advance is similar to the use of a credit card but is treated as something much different. The interest rate for cash advances should be the same as that for credit cards.
Bank lending rates could be set in the range of 3% to 8%, depending on the credit risk. The top rated credit scores should be allowed the lowest lending rate and those possessing at least higher than the lowest 10% of credit scores would be at the highest lending rate. By capping at 8%, it helps to regulate risk not only from the standpoints of banks but also puts a reasonable limit on people who don’t worry about risk. Being that. Sometime afterward, the percentage of those incapable of obtaining a bank loan or credit card could increase or decrease but until which time more people become financially responsible, the 10% figure is more than generous. No credit card or bank lending would be allowed for the bottom 10% until which time they demonstrate creditworthiness that meets the 90 percentile (thus displacing those previously deemed creditworthy). The amount allowed to borrow as a bank loan by any one individual would also have to be set to some standard, based on tempered assets such as 70% of home value and of other assets such as brokerage accounts and 80% of net income from 3 months of work after all necessary expenses. Credit card limits would also need to be lowered to a reasonable amount that people could feasibly pay off and because of the streamlined, non-human aspect of this type of borrowing, knowing a person's gross income would need to be known as net income would be too difficult to check and my proposal is to have the limit as one month of gross wages only. Banks would not like the tight spread of interest rates but surely if they are not trying to make the top managers millionaires for performing work that is not demanding, it could easily be done, as noting just a 1percent spread on $10B of activity in one year yields $100M, which is plenty to go around for all the expenses for many bank locations including cost of buildings and/or rents and REASONABLE employee salaries. Along with some of the programs I proposed in the book and in this extra material, greed would necessarily go lower, enabling a well-functioning society.
Since financially responsible persons end up having to cover for those whom are irresponsible, tighter constraints on credit as mentioned above is warranted. To additionally safeguard the responsible persons, credit card companies could be allowed to collect a certain percentage of the credit balance, say 5% monthly, directly from the cardholder’s employer or banking institution if a payment has not been made within a predefined time period such as two weeks beyond the payment deadline. Credit card companies would like to charge an additional fee for this procedure but I think no other fee should be imposed since it would be counterproductive to a person facing problems handling money. Some people might even go this route as an alternative to present-day automatic monthly payments in full from a bank account. To prevent ongoing abuse of this alternative method of payment, credit card companies could give a warning that the credit limit may be reduced if, for example, the company had to seek out payment on it’s own 3 months in a row. Some people get carried away with spending and so reducing the credit limit may be a worthy action.
As far as the credit card industry goes, there could be a single clearing house that serves all credit card companies so that a business could accept all credit cards without having to be locked in to accept only certain cards with fees associated with each one. Instead, a single fee could be imposed on businesses who accept credit cards, and hopefully, with a standard imposed by the banking authority, the fee would be just enough to cover the actual expense associated with the use of credit card companies. A new, much lowered fee structure that becomes more reasonable for businesses would also be helpful to customers as prices of goods may be able to be reduced, even if only slightly.
In an effort to bring down the ratio of home prices per wages, I propose limitations on the number of homes any one person may own. Rental income is what greatly causes wealth separation as real estate holdings can offer residual income without actually working per se. To further help this cause, many small square footage homes, say 800-1000 square feet, 1 to 2 bedrooms, and 1 bathroom could be constructed – there is a demand for such homes but is not being met. In concert with my proposal of reducing the legal workweek, smaller, affordable homes would greatly facilitate successful implementation. In an optimal system there would be no personal home ownership but until which time the minds of humans can see that while alive, property could be thought of as their own and thus treated like their own and then once dead, it really didn't matter who really owned it when alive as long as it could be TREATED as if it was personally owned. I go into details about this in my book.
Eliminate mortgage interest deduction. If one does not have the money to buy a house, there should not be getting a subsidy from all the taxpayers, including those who can't afford or refuse to buy a home.
Reiterating from my book regarding real estate commissions, a generous amount of time of 40 hours at the rate of 3 times the PLE hourly equivalent to derive at about $700 should be sufficient. A further modification could be made to have a sliding scale to go from $500 for the lowest priced homes to a maximum of $900 for highest priced homes as a way to provide a break to those who are less wealthy.
Home buying has been made to become an increasingly complicated process. An independent home inspector usually has to be involved with the burden of cost sometimes on the buyer, a mortgage broker and title company. The home inspection could be done without the extra cost burden of a home inspector if real estate agents cared to learn the requisite amount of information to sufficiently tabulate any unusual factors about the house. There is no certainty that a fair rate of interest will be charged based on financial risk since offers are often so wildly diverse. If there was real objectivity involved in assessing mortgage loans, there would be very little difference among mortgage lenders. Since mortgage loan terms vary so much, it should tell the home buyer that there are many unscrupulous lenders. Mortgage brokers will try to exploit the non-cohesive assessment of financial risk evident in the industry with the hope that buyer views the industry so complicated that it’d be a stressful process in obtaining a second quotation. There needs to be clarity involved with mortgage loans so that home buyers could be assured of getting the lowest price without enduring a nightmare in the process. This clarity could be effected by a pre-qualification procedure that a person could do via a computer program on the internet by a single entity that serves participating lenders. This would be different from the quick pre-qualification that normally occurs that only suggests the upper-end of what a buyer can afford. The pre-qualification I am suggesting would ascribe a numerical factor for financial risk along with the maximum combined monthly mortgage and property taxes affordable by the buyer. Once a system of this nature takes off, more participating lenders would want to participate to obtain borrowers. When the financial risk, home price, mortgage period, and property tax rate are known, each of the mortgage lenders would be able to supply a quotation without undue effort on any party. Title companies are redundant but somehow these companies evolved to take from people. One aspect of title companies in receiving mortgage payments is a necessary function, though they could go by a different name reflecting this process is a service for lenders. The cost associated with titles and the stretch of an additional fee they would like to impose as title insurance could be eliminated with a much smaller fee associated only in updating records held at a county government office.
I go into great detail about housing in my book, Thoughtful Living. You may find this site I created to help keep home prices in perspective with amenities and affordability to prevent the home buying frenzy that greatly contributed to the depression beginning in 2008: Unified Equitable Home Price Evaluator
There is a large negative impact on employment of United States citizens via uncontrolled illegal immigration and overly accommodative legal immigration during the past 30 years. It is estimated that about 15 million foreign nationals unlawfully entered this country. Adding the children born to illegal aliens and the number may be more like 65 million. These persons not only affect the standard of living through higher housing costs, but also impacts the wages by suppressing from the unnaturally large workforce population and causes fewer job opportunities. Our government needs to stop dancing around the issue of what many term racially motivated policies when there is nothing regarding race in enforcing laws that have nothing to do with race, but nationality. Extraditing all illegal aliens would be for the best for this country. There is nothing inhumane about sending people back to where they came from when they broke the law in coming here. Being the cost of living is typically lower in foreign countries from where illegal aliens originated, America could still be the leader in humanitarian aid to foreign countries by providing monetary assistance that would be LOWER than what it costs this nation while they reside here unlawfully. Hopefully, with the aid packages, there would be a major focus on population control so more people will understand that having fewer children actually improves the quality of life.
Ejecting all illegals will increase access for medical care, lower cost of health care, lower cost of housing, increase wages, and increase employment opportunities. Everyone wins except the controlling wealthy class who won’t be able to exploit people as well.
Educated immigrants are not much better than uneducated ones, each impact our society in different ways, usually always negatively. This is primarily from the impact of more people, not race. There are some additional negative impact as a result of persons from certain countries entering this country and that is prolific baby production that puts a strain on available health care and welfare benefits. If America was wide open as it was in the 1800’s, immigration, by any race would not be much of an issue but today, there is an unhealthy amount of congestion of people. Certainly many of the countries from which people emigrate from are vastly more congested than in the United States, but this is no reason why an averaging affect must occur here. We are already suffering from the burgeoning world economy population and so we cannot let hoards of people come here and expect there to be no problem. The malady of overpopulation in other countries are best solved in those countries –not in allowing overflow into the United States to hamper awareness of irresponsible reproducing in their own country.
Immigrants, whether educated or not put a strain on our society, many things get impacted: crime by shear numbers, pollution, housing prices (including present near impossibility to purchase a home in California while earning the median wage), ability to acquire and keep a job (employer has greater control over wages), with affirmative action programs, this government instigates racism by allowing even the richest ‘minorities’ unfair advantages.
IF only we had a SLOW flow of immigrants like which happened in the 1970’s we would be able to deal with the trivial impact on society and GREET them with open arms!
Immigration: Jobs around here (SF Bay Area) are harder to get, housing prices have escalated, greater traffic congestion is present, and I’m just fed-up by all the immigrants getting into government jobs to fill quotas and beyond!! Yes, as illogical as it sounds, immigrant, non-citizens are allowed to work for the government. (San Mateo County for example as of 1996 employed 4395 people, of which white males numbered 1055 (24.0%). The targeted quantity of white males according to affirmative action is about 1477 (33.6%) to reflect working population in the county. Thus white males had 400+ fewer positions than ought to have.). I performed my civic duty and brought this to the attention of the human resource managers for the county who were paid about $60K/year each and they wanted to remain ignorant and not do anything about it. I then gave them a several page paper showing them how hiring could be done without using race nor gender as a factor in hiring but of course my idea was not implemented. I still have hope that people will someday realize and champion fairness by using novel ways to accomplish the goal. Look at the figures below which was even reported in the SF Chronicle (ca Feb 1996):
Source: George Borjas and Lynette Hilton
In China a popular 36 page book entitled ‘What You Need to Know About Life in America’ includes a guide to SSI and other benefits. Something like 87% of elderly Chinese people are on some sort of welfare AND THEY NEVER WORKED A DAY IN AMERICA (declared anyway)...they know how to exploit our system! They get sponsored for the minimum of 2 or 3 years by a family earning on average about $80,000, then as soon as they can, they apply for social security benefits.
There are plenty of out of work qualified persons in this country! We do not need to seek persons from other countries. Most jobs require little training but “higher education” is normally required in spite of most of what is learn in college will have nothing to do with the job (see the topic on education on this page).
As immigration continues, more Americans will be unemployed or under-employed. In recent years, corporations have been outsourcing work to foreign countries to pay even less, thus eliminating more workers from this country. As the world economy becomes more establish, Americans will lose more jobs, as this is expected, but it does not have to come about from U.S. corporations nor our government failing to uphold immigration laws.
Here are a few reasons why I believe there is a purported “need” for foreign workers:
1)Companies can obtain employees who won’t argue for employee rights, thus shifting more power to the management...ramifications are obvious.
2)The bottom line is of utmost importance: shareholders enjoy higher profits and the top managers can enjoy increasing wages while paying less for workers (supply/demand).
3)Typical brain-dead human resource employees eliminate qualified workers by ignoring applicants who don’t have exact supposed qualifications to perform the job.
4)Hiring managers are often excessively choosy by trying to hire the “perfect” employee.
Side-note: Seems funny that white males are the most under-represented group in government. Outreach programs are still used to obtain non-white males in under-represented jobs, but no such program exists for white males. We hire many non-citizens despite citizens are available and are applying for such jobs. Furthermore, only citizens should be employed by the government. I’d bet a thousand dollars that China wouldn’t hire a non-citizen in their government merely because they lack a certain racial group representation. One cannot go to Japan and scream racism to win a million dollars in a lawsuit!
We don’t need migrant workers from Mexico. Produce prices might rise only 20-30% if migrant workers were replaced by U.S. citizens - note, many costs are fixed such as
Thus, paying workers 100% more might only increase produce prices by perhaps as much as 30%. Americans performed this work in the past, and they can again, as long as a livable wage are earned. In the Summer, we can college students performing agricultural work, just as some do the arduous job of fishing in Alaska during Summers. Additionally, work programs for troubled youth work could include working in the fields.
NO more welfare benefits to those who are not citizens!
More is covered in the book Thoughtful Living.
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Minds need to open what is really necessary in lower education and of the role in higher education for the culture of society and in how it plays a role in job placement. Currently, I maintain that college education is far from efficient and in many instances, is not actually necessary for jobs that normally require it. To help enable the reader to understand my writings, it would help to let go of lofty feelings of what might be considered an accomplishment of graduating college and think deeply about how much really needed to be learned after high school, with or without a scant amount of on-the-job training to perform at the very same level as currently done with a college education. I am certain when approached in this manner, most people would see that although college may offer an experience, it is not ultimately necessary to perform well in many jobs that currently requires it.
In basic education, the goal is to not just equip the student with as broad of information as possible, but emphasis should be placed more on pertinence in today’s needs in society to then concentrate on fewer topics with as much present-day examples as possible so material is retained. Overpaid school teachers are not doing a well enough job in educating and are further hampered by programs that do not benefit the student for job placement. There must be realization of a couple of items such as over-prescribing homework and stuffing irrelevant information into students is counterproductive by making students hate school. Irrelevant material can be easily forgotten and so there is no point to it. In broadening one’s mind, a teacher could hammer the most important points and ask the students to pick several topics of interest and write a modest amount about what they learned. For example, does it really matter if the cotton gin was invented in 1793 or 1794? As long as notable characteristics are known, how would one or two years difference be of such great importance in terms of today? Educators often get hung up on details that serve no special purpose. Now, I have to say as a man of logic and mathematics, that there are times when being exact is crucial, however, sometimes knowing key concepts and little beyond this is sufficient. Anything additional would be learned if there is personal interest or if compelled as if it was pertinent to a work situation. And this is where employers need to play a role like they did decades ago, and that is in providing training, sort of the way they do now, but not rely so much on college education as a necessary prerequisite. College can only do so much as it’s really up to the student to learn. Grades provide some but still a weak correlation with intelligence and so grades should be abandoned with human interaction ascertaining qualifications of a job applicant. A person with great aptitude and whom learned on his/her own time could perform at or higher than one who was formally college educated. Persons in human resource offices may not have the acumen to accept this and so they would stifle progress by keeping their closed-minded policies.
Presently there is too much emphasis on advanced education (early education is lacking). Most occupations realistically require very little training, yet impose nonsensical requirements. Most jobs could be conducted by 16-year olds if provided the necessary hands-on training. If we continue in this sordid path of imposing unrealistic educational requirements, we will end up being like how it is in 3rd world countries: a 4-year degree is required to even work as a sales-person in a mall and still there will be great unemployment for those with college degrees. Typically, people choosing to not be responsible with making babies greatly contribute to this, however, the same result will occur in the United States, partly from the unchecked immigration of certain ethnic groups who don’t control their baby-birthing, and partly from outsourcing of labor to 3rd world countries. This must be remedied before the problem gets even worse! Hopefully human resource personnel make changes in their policies to accept those applicants who are worthy based on essential qualifications, not the contrived jumping through hoop methodology. Government may have to show its ugly head in the lives of people by imposing standards for schooling and job recruiting selection methodology if persons in pertinent positions fail to adopt on their own, new methods that reflect the essentials for performing well in an occupation.
Proposal: present-day high school education truncated to 1.5 years with subject material meshing with the following 340 pages that can be covered in 6 months of a concentrated education program. Further training for certain specialized occupations should be aimed at efficiency and not in prolonging a program as a means of exploitation to make extra money. Depending on the occupation sought, a person would choose to go directly into a job and be provided the necessary training, enroll in a specialized educational program such as for nursing, lawyer, scientist, or for a very select few, continue in traditional higher degree programs at colleges. Most of the on-the-job training should require just hours to days, but sometimes longer, but in no way should it take more than 6 months, less some special circumstances. For the specialized educational programs, or trade schools that should no longer be associated only with blue-collar industries, an additional 3 or 6 months of specialized training to be required that emphasizes the most relevant subject material. Some programs may need to be extended, say if a person needs to learn surgical techniques on humans – perhaps provide 3 to 6 more months of training. However, in all of these programs, there must be realization that it does not take 4, 6, or 8 years to be proficient in a field unless we continue in the inefficient educational programs as conducted today. Concerted learning of just 1 year in any field (not counting liberal arts) should provide exceptional expertise to be able to perform magnificently in a job. These extra programs could be taught in programs either publicly or privately and would be more streamlined and possessing accreditation by a pool of hiring managers who themselves passed a test that demonstrates they are deep thinkers and not just swayed by popular beliefs. College, that is schooling that is more involved in intellectualism as opposed to readying for the workforce can still be around but in my opinion should be limited to just a few percent of the population that would yield the supreme thinkers of society.
Sample Basic Education Program:
Modern history, relevant to major events for understanding, identifying various forms of governance, causes for wars, causes for economic boom and bust with little emphasis on individuals except to use names as labels when the person appears in many contexts to warrant an identifier for ease in discussion. This could be 20 pages…Ancient history 10 pages of similar but given in more brief terms as ancient times has less relevance except to the effect that humans still tend to grasp for power and general selfishness in disrespect for others.
Sociology-relating to psychology and history, 40 pages.
Philosophy/critical thinking –to augment logic, emphasizing concepts and less of historical names, 10 pages
Mathematics–60 pages, basic math functions of integers, fractions, decimals, memorization of decimal representations that frequently appear so that quick mental conversions can occur, relationships of basic figures of triangles and circles and of areas and volumes of parallelepipeds (box shape) and prisms, exponential growth including interest compounding, ratios, direct and inverse relationships, graphing in 2 dimensions, logic pattern recognition, approximation, pre-algebra concept of determining a number to make an equality expression, and basic statistics emphasizing gross errors made with statistics that is given to the public*.
Chemistry-40 pages, introduction to elements, physical properties, uses and relative hazards of chemical and radioactive substances, concentrating on chemicals used in everyday living (household products, fuels, food, pollutants.
Biology-understanding human body, diseases, bacteria, classifications, treatments, minimal summary of reasons behind dose regimen (primer of pharmacokinetics)-30 pages
Physics-only essentials that may amount to just 10 pages to possibly 20 pages. If fitting 2 concepts per page and if retained in good detail for proper dealing with situations in life dealing with physics, then the education provided worked. Focus should be on basic descriptive physics with little to no math crunching involved – as long as the concepts are well understood to be able to state whether a process increases, decreases, in large, small, very large, very small, etc in whichever measure is involved. In this way, people would be acquainted with much more and could get the concepts solidified without worry over tedious math work-up. If there is ever a need to find a theoretical answer to a physics problem in everyday life, one could always resort to using a formula that they could easily locate on the internet. Still, it would be nice to at least see the formulas as acquainting would still be useful for understanding and for any future investigations.
English-basically similar to today’s standards but with much less reading of classic literature except those books relevant to modern times that have sociological themes, essay writing streamlined to a title and story with embedded introduction or conclusion only upon choice and much more writing for business correspondence. 60 pages
Sex education…very little on typical sex education material with much more emphasis on mate selection, psychology and sociological concepts relating to sexuality. 20 pages
Money education – restraint, saving, shopping techniques and psychological and sociological issues relating to spending of money. 10 pages
Morality-avoidance of stealing, fighting, drugs and other bad habits, respect for all things, material and people. 10 pages
Within the scope of 3-6 month specialized programs for certain occupations,
a) Occupations requiring extra math-extra 40 pages, containing unit analysis (method of solving problems involving conversions), algebra, calculus concepts of rates of change
b) Occupations that require extensive math-extra 80 pages, ordinary program as occurs today but with less emphasis on repeated problem solving and more on pattern recognition for demonstrating ability of knowing how to proceed.
Chemistry for scientific disciplines-ordinary lessons as taught today but more streamlined and possibly to have certain topics mandatory and others to be selected by student. 40 pages
*STATISTICS EXAMPLES (A better understanding of statistics will help make better informed decisions):
(1)A company involved in assessing energy consumption had representatives on a stock market television program claiming that a particular winter was 30% colder than normal. Similar claims also were made by cosmetologists but the claims were erroneous in that the actual percentage of heat difference was far less as measured appropriately on the Kelvin scale, not Fahrenheit scale.
(2)Contention on welfare recipients, whether if people collecting are white or black: the data could be presented in either or both ways stating that a higher percentage of blacks are on welfare but since whites make up a larger percentage of the population, the total number of white receiving welfare outnumber that of blacks. The particular statistic used should be relevant to the use, such as for policy-making and not for racist views. Generally, ratios tell a bigger story than simply raw statistics but in this instance, the total number of recipients may be the biggest concern when the people’s money is involved. If the percentage of any given group exhibits an inordinate drain on resources, greater attention may be given to ways to ameliorate and this is where the ratio plays an importance.
(3)The faulty FBI statistics of white versus non-white hate crimes are tainted by the categorization that unfairly hurts whites but nonetheless, the statistic of 60% of hate crimes committed by whites versus 40% committed by non-whites tells only so much, but the better statistic would be the relative incidence within a group and than relies on a further statistic that employs subpopulations and from a policy-making and moreover greater understanding of what is involved this should be conducted but rarely if ever done. If the white population is 70% and non-white population is 30%, then the relative occurrence of the non-white group committing hate crimes relative to the incidence of whites committing hate crimes would thus be 40/30 * 70/60 = 1.56 or roughly 56% higher and this surprising result would not ordinarily be computed.
(4)A cellphone company study, in defending cellphone use while driving, states that a higher percentage of automobile accidents are associated with eating compared to with phones. Again, this statistic is misleading and people need to look at relative ratios. If for example 10% of the time people are eating while driving and 5% of the time they are using cellphones and that the incidence of accidents associated with eating is 50% greater than with cellphone use, the impact of accidents associated using a cellphone versus eating would thus be 1/5 * 10/1.5 = 1.33 or about 33% greater, and that is something the cellphone company would want to not disclose. (5) It may be spoken of that a movie or music album grosses more money in history but to make a fair comparison would require dividing the number of units sold divided by the pertinent population. Inflated prices and increased population confound accurate comparisons and should thus be countered. Thus if twenty years ago, a famous movie grossed 400 million dollars and a movie today grosses 1.5 billion dollars, the current movie would be spoken of as such a success but without using relevant ratios, the quick assertion would be unqualified.
(5)Home ownership statistic = Government at work to fool the public! Let’s say in a closed system, there are only 3 homes, 1 home owned jointly by a couple and also housing their 6 children, a home owned by an individual and whom lives in the home alone, and the same person also owning an additional home with one person renting it. In this scenario, there are 10 persons. According to how the government comes up with the home ownership rate, it includes also non-home owners who live in a home owned by one or more of those who live in the same home. So in the above example, government would claim there is a 90% home ownership rate but anyone should be able to see now that this would be terribly incorrect. Not only is the joint ownership counted 2 times too high but the children are counted as homeowners! The number of homeowners is thus 2 and not 3 since a joint ownership does not mean that each person owns a home. Taking 2 homeowners and dividing into 10 persons and the actual home ownership rate becomes 20%, far from the government fabricated figure.
The end to 4, 6, and 8-year programs should be welcomed. Good teaching methods with emphasis on relevant subject material should cut down the learning time by 75% to as much as 90%. Teacher’s associations will hate the proposed idea because they won’t be able to procure their salaries that are two times what they’re worth and much fewer teachers would be required, making society more efficient. Self-interest of teachers comes first with the education of students second and this could and should be reversed with your help.
Alternative to traditional sex education programs:
Since life is much about SEX and MONEY, K-12 education should include key concepts on these matters. If high school becomes truncated as I propose above, certainly, the program I provide in the chart below would be modified appropriately. It’s appalling that adults make such horrendous money decisions, getting into unmanageable debt and so on. The sexual lives of adults, including pre-adults is often a nightmare and there are plenty of innocent victims of irresponsible sexual behavior. A non-trivial amount of time needs to be expended in these areas. I can come up with guidelines for money management, but at this moment, I will offer below a proposal regarding sexual education.
An alternative to the controversial sex education program, could be a newly named program devoid of the word “sex” and encompassing far more material in terms of respecting other people and in making good choices in mate selection. Having such a program named “Relations” would be apt.
A school program from early years to deal with sexuality issues (not sex education per se) is needed to prevent so much of the problems faced in society regarding sexuality. It is deserving of much effort as most adults know sexuality ranks along with monetary issues as the biggest problems faced.
This school program, no longer classified as ‘sex education’ and will now be taught in more broad terms emphasizing respectful dealings with people with elements of sexuality introduced incrementally beginning at an earlier age but with typical directness a little later than current standards of 4th grade which is at about age 9. Such topics should include concerted teachings for girls, and secondarily for boys in what are important characteristics of a partner. Girls should learn not to use their bodies for gains in life and for boys to not be so mesmerized by the looks of girls to lie or use money to garnish attention from the opposite gender. Beautiful girls must have a special understanding that they will be admired so much that men will constantly offer worldly things to them and that she must learn to stand strong to avoid temptation and look instead for the most honorable traits in men when they are ready to date. A female actually exerts more control by being able to not be influenced by the money of a male as opposed to the manipulative pseudo control of a female using her body for material gains. In general, boy or girl, it should be stressed that whatever trait is possessed that is so much admired by the opposite gender, that humbleness is the most admirable approach and not to abuse or take advantage of another person from the power bestowed upon them. Boys should also understand that as long as he controls his desire for girls, girls cannot use their bodies to have power over them. Boys should also learn early that in any situation they are in with a female, present or far in the future, that they should treat the girl with the same respect as if he was someone else and the girl is his sister or daughter. In this way, we could possibly put a lid on rape, prostitution and prostitution-like arrangements. Any relationship involving sexuality should be based on love, optimally if married, but also knowing that lust is a human frailty sometimes happens but that should be controlled, and in no way should money be involved that drastically denigrates sexuality. These are just a partial list of what should be incorporated in 'relations' to help steer young persons into honorable behavior. The positive ramifications in society could be immense, perhaps far more than technological advancements since there is so much stress involving gender relationships that can’t be countered by quality of life afforded by new gadgets.
See more in my book and also the several passages on Thoughtful Living Book Extras - Education Issues. I offer some seemingly radical proposals but they are all founded in reason.
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Obviously it makes financial sense to pursue renewable forms of energy. Being there is a great need for more fresh water, a combined effort of creating man-made reservoirs with hydroelectric plants equal to the current quantities in both volume of water stored and electric power generated would produce a monumental change in lessening dependence on non-renewable energy sources, particularly of oil that is financially crippling the United States. With the U.S. trade deficit hovering around $600 Billion per year or roughly 4% of the GDP, it is at a dangerously high level. Worldwide, hydroelectric power amounts to about 20% of energy created. Bringing this value up to 40% would no doubt create a massive change in the trade dynamics among countries. The time required to obtain a permit for building a hydroelectric plant is very long at 4 years and the cost of license is double what it was prior to 1986. So called “environmentalists” has put a fork in our country. The United States decades ago provided 40% of its energy needs through hydroelectric power, but now it lags most all developed nations in providing only about 8% of its energy needs. Natural gas is plentiful in the United States to help cause more emphasis on natural gas electricity production but it is foolhardy to not think ahead and prepare for future needs by discouraging hydroelectricity plants. As a side-note, I derived the impact on the world’s ocean level using a couple of figures. The present volume of the world’s reservoirs is about 6 X 10^12 m^3. The surface area of the ocean is about 3.6 X 10^14 m^2. Doubling the reservoir capacity would reduce the level of the ocean by only about 2 cm. Of primary concern by “environmentalists” are likely the areas where reservoirs are constructed and if there are diversions of current water flows. I contend this planet makes it corrective changes, provided some care is taken. It should be realized that if there is a hydroelectric plant in operation, a reservoir supplying it will not just fill indefinitely, in that it will in a short time after construction, let out an equal amount that goes in it, less evaporation.
Underground natural gas pipelines are generally safe but require large costs and maintenance. However, if there is inadequate maintenance to not spot faulty joints, age corrosion, or developed cracks from ground movement, the potential for immense devastation could be realized as illustrated by the infamous natural gas explosion that occurred in 2010 in San Bruno, California, USA. It is thus suggested that natural gas pipelines be abandoned in residential areas. The fewer the gas lines and if placed in more defined and open areas to enable easy inspection, safety would be more assured. Natural gas could be used primarily for large industries including conversion to electricity, all outside of residential areas. The downside to this would be ending the use of energy efficient natural gas-powered appliances, however, there would also be the offset by appliance manufacturers being able to streamline their operation for greater efficiency in only producing electrical appliances, and enables lower fire risk which then translates to lower fire insurance for home owners. Additional cost savings from segregating gas pipelines to large industries would be no more need to produce the large amount of pipe and gas meters needed to supply new residential areas or in replacing old pipe in existing residential areas along with, of course, the cost of maintaining.
This is not new as the idea has been pushed by many yet still not adopted and that is the issue of reprocessing of nuclear reactor rods. It is absolutely amazing that in our country of intelligent people and great innovations that we lack the sense to reprocess nuclear reactor rods. Every other country does but not here. Sometimes decisions are influenced by special interests, and I am not certain whether it is mining companies that pushed for such legislation or in some weird way, so-called “environmentalists” got in the way. It just does not make sense environmentally nor financially for this country to continue in this illogical path. Being legislators cannot be relied upon to do what they are so highly paid to do, there must be a big push by numerous citizens to get our legislators to allow nuclear rod reprocessing.
In addition to reprocessing nuclear rods for obvious cost savings and lessening environmental harm, I propose a most interesting way of disposing of nuclear waste. It is so simple that it is probably overlooked, in part because of how people perceive nuclear radiation inordinately dangerous that the idea wouldn’t be easily conceived. I direct the reader to my book to see what it is: Thoughtful Living
SS disbursement payments should be based on the area of residence with those in higher prices areas receiving a larger payment, up to some reasonable cap. Disbursements, in accordance with social security as used like insurance, needs to be lower to nonexistent for higher income retirees. Social security needs to be based on low, reasonable allowances. At present, I suggest, on a monthly basis, $100 for food, $200 for miscellaneous expenses, $100 for utilities (variable, based on location), and housing expense calculated at the 25 percentile for apartments, with number of rooms consistent with family size. If the family size exceeds what could reasonably fit into a 3-bedroom apartment, then houses would be allowable. To prevent people from purposely living in a more expensive area on public money, reasonable comparisons extending only to neighboring counties, less those separated by a bridge, shall be made to calculate the 25 percentile for housing expense allowance. The adjacent county idea is to encourage finding a lower cost area to live as this would be reasonable in most circumstances and is not so far reaching as to expect someone to move a thousand miles away. A reasonable present cap on housing could be set at $1000 per month for housing, with all such metrics tied as a ratio so that the law is flexible per actual living expenses and not just a static number (this is a means I propose for all laws presently on the books with static monetary figures). Medical coverage should be either entirely free or have a reasonable co-pay tied to some measure such as 2 times the Federal minimum hourly wage. The quality of life should not be hampered by outrageous encumbrances to pay for overpaid medical staff and administrators (this topic is covered in the book Thoughtful Living
Maximum monthly SS payment in 2010 was $2,346. Based on the above scheme, the maximum would likely be reduced to around $1,400 – a considerable savings to taxpayers. Following other recommendations set forth in other topics, the housing cost could be reduced to put less of a burden on the social security fund.
At present time, there is a maximum salary which social security insurance is imposed for paying into the system. I propose no such cut-off limit. If a person “earns” an extraordinary high amount, it should be noted that it is at the detriment of others and thus there should be no qualm over the additional encumbrance. See the chapter on wealth in the book Thoughtful Living for a fresh perspective on wealth transference.
Collecting: only if total income including other pensions does not exceed 2 times $1,400 per month or $2,800 per month. To encourage people to save and not to rely completely on SS payments, there needs to be an incentive to save a fair amount and not be unduly penalized on saving. So, it is proposed that the SS payment will be the preliminary calculation minus half of non SS monthly income.
|Monthly non SS income||Example if prelim = $1,200||Final calculated SS pmt||Total monthly income|
|$2,800||$1,200||-$200 (reverts to $0)||$2,800 (devoid of SS)|
|$3,000||$0||$0||$3,000 (devoid of SS)|
This is just a first approximation as the amount of assets should also be considered. I could come up with a proposed formula after devising needed proposals in other areas.
Further determination is based on the minimum qualifying quarters but instead of having the system set up to be working the minimum quarters in a row or just prior to collecting, it shall be calculated by simply the total quarters, no matter how many years it spans to cover it. A person does not have total control over employability and thus there should not be a penalty based on not meeting a consecutive quarter criteria. Under the present nonsensical system, a person working 2 quarters per year for 20 years might not receive government benefits, however, a person working half the amount, as in 20 consecutive quarters would. It’s really bizarre how legislators arrive at their laws and regulations.
If a person made an insufficient payment into social security, SSI would be given, with the maximum of $300, provided monthly retirement income is less than $300. No longer will this be given to non-citizens no matter if there was any work history in the United States.
This is a social security safety net. It should be thought of like auto insurance, in that there is no collection if no detriment occurred.
The age at which maximum benefits are given is presently set at 67. There are proposals floating about in Congress to raise the limit to age 69 as it is on some countries. The United States has a longer life expectancy than in many other countries and thus 69 is too low relative to this measure. I thus propose the age of 70, with a reassessment made every 8 years. This is not to imply that the retirement age would be set at 70 but only in how it relates to receiving full benefits. Understandably not everyone is expected to find gainful employment at an age in the 60’s especially while the world economy takes hold, however, it should be reasonably expected that a person saves enough during his/her lifetime to not be totally dependent upon social security. Following guidelines set in my book, a majority of Americans could actually retire in their 30’s or 40’s and then get involved with other projects, perhaps donating time to some public need. If a person had bad luck in life or happened to live irresponsibly, SSI would be made available. Now, even though life expectancy is being extended, the number of years in the workforce should not be proportionately extended but an assessment made as to the typical age that productivity would fall off and of the wealth of the nation. With greater efficiency in the workforce as time goes on, there will be a lessening of the relative ratio of total man-hours worked to the population. In order for social security to be well-funded not only the proposal of no salary cut-off for paying into the system needs to be implemented but also a means to reduce the cost of living. In the section regarding housing, when there are limits of home ownership, it would put a downward pressure on home and rental prices. Of course those who wish to live off of others would be affected, there would be a greater benefit to the prosperity of society with lower home and rental prices. To enable the greater longevity of persons, the SS tax rate may also need to be raised. This should not be considered as the government taking more but rather to assure that everyone may be able to live a modest life until death without causing the fund to become bankrupt.
Though individual retirement accounts is discussed in the taxation topic, it crosses over with social security. IRA accounts is a boondoggle that causes more problems than what it’s worth. There is a far simpler way to encourage people to save and that would be to allow a certain amount of interest earned on banking accounts to be tax-free. IRA accounts help the rich predominantly by how IRA accounts are allowed to be invested in the stock market. The wealthiest own a majority of stocks and thus by allowing people a tax-free way to invest in the stock market actually produced a market bubble evident since 1980 (extend the graph of the DOW from 1920 to 1980 onto 2011 and the DOW would be only one-fourth the current value). Employer 401-K accounts also helped exacerbate the stock market bubble of recent decades but I wouldn’t do away with these types of accounts, but rather, not make them tax-free.
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The United Stated has an incarceration rate higher than any other country. Some will point their fingers at illegal aliens by citing that federal prisons comprise of one-quarter the population but the total number in these prisons are quite small compared to state prisons so overall this group of people represents a small percentage of the total prison population. There certainly is a higher prevalence of blacks and many liberals contend it is from racial discrimination by police, district attorneys, and judges. No doubt discrimination does occur but it cannot be the only reason behind a pernicious problem that is very evident in seeing some predominantly black neighborhoods just like seeing appalling white neighborhoods - plenty of unlawful behavior is done as a means to show off, some for money as if oppressed from having little to no other opportunity or in just wanting fast money. These social problems cannot be cured by putting someone behind bars as there must be a cultural change uplifting better values. Most do have access to publicly funded education so this can't be the main problem except when schools become breeding grounds for illicit behavior and since the showing-off factor (or identifying with a group, still a similar ego motivation) will be evident when there is an arena of a large amount of persons. Some schools would thus be more amenable to allocating a large amount of time in the earliest school years to try to break the children away from what they may learn in their homes or neighborhoods.
Incarceration based on doing a drug, being in possession of a drug, or even manufacturing a drug really do no direct harm to anyone but themselves (barring involvement with children). So why do people who may possess or do a drug get incarcerated? It's because society is filled with people having ignorant notions of drugs. In a culture of alcoholics, cigarette smokers, and coffee addicts, there just isn't enough acknowledgment of what the real harm is. A person doing a drug harms his or her own body. A person mixing a few chemicals to make a drug does no real crime as the product itself is not going to do anything on its own-it takes some human intervention beyond that to even consider a harmful effect. If a drug is made and then sold, the real crimes related to this would be related to tax evasion (assuming of course it won’t be reported on a person’s income tax form) and possibly also a crime against statutes of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). It should duly be noted that tax evasion, under our current system will always happen, whether it be from having a garage sale or from more extensive circumstances such as from the many undeclared self-employed persons who work for cash, including those who use different chemicals to mix things together producing cookies or cakes. There just really isn't any direct harm to society related to the use of drugs unless such a great percentage of people do drugs so that it affects our gross domestic product (which is not the case) or when persons under the influence of drugs cause physical, psychological, or financial harm to others. Certainly if a parent does any type of drug, legal or illegal, psychological harm will invariably affect children. If it can be shown that in any abusive household, regardless of drug use, there needs to be intervention, but reserving jail or some other appropriate facility for obvious cases of heightened harm. However, in most circumstances, the real harm involved with drugs is to the person doing them. And so, why must there be laws to put people away when no harm is done to others? It lacks logic. It costs a lot to incarcerate, more than whatever benefit the authorities think. Only if there was some actual harm done to others while doing drugs or somehow directly related to drugs should there be prosecution that has the potential leading to jail. I truly wish the public would awaken to this understanding. I mention some of this in my book and so that source could also be consulted.
Not paying for fines can also lead to jail time. If someone does not pay a fine, how does that imply incarceration is the solution? Incarceration does not get the money but costs even more money! My proposal for this is to have a special holding facility where inmates would actually perform work services, and not just limited to one type of occupation. These facilities could have specialties across the country, some into lumber, some agriculture, and only limited to the imagination. Something similar could be done for real criminals though security issues may constrain productivity.
Chart of incarceration rates from 1920 to 1980 suggests that there are 3 times more incarcerated than would be expected by the trend. At 2.5 million instead of 800,000 expected, the excess costs are enormous. Of the 2.5 million incarcerated, there are about 150K are illegal aliens and about 100K are juvenile delinquents. Incarceration for violent offense has actually gone done but for drug related, the incarceration rate has gone up by a factor of 12 since year 1980. Total cost is about $60B per year or about $25K per inmate per year. If our government identifies the true threats to society, there may be only 700,000 that must be incarcerated, saving the taxpayer $45 Billion per year.
A couple of personal incidents that demonstrates both how police are used as revenue-generating tools and how their psychological make-up can harm people and make for greater distrust of police and the system of government in broader terms: Personal incidents with out of control cops
1. Number of US Representatives and apportioning of congressional districts.
One representative per 1 million people. This would cause the present number of US representatives to go from 435 to 310. Big savings to the country. Make them have part-time jobs. Two sessions only, Inclusive months of January to February, and July to August. Being in the home office is not so much as work all the time, but allow for 2 months of the 8 as work to be paid ½ time only. The staff would be full-time employees. The salaries of these people need to also go down, and I propose a 60% reduction in pay for US Representative, Senators, President, and Chief Justices. If they don’t like it, many would take the job for wanting to help this nation and not making their selfish monetary gains as a major objective.
End gerrymandering: All congressional districts to be determined by entire counties, then by complete cities with use of zip codes so that neighboring congressional districts. There is no need to have an exact number of persons within each congressional district to break up zip code areas – as long as the total head count differs by no more than a reasonable prescribed quantity such as 2%.
2. Freedom of press and freedom of speech must be maintained along with greater transparency in government with easier access of information via the Freedom of Information Act and without need to charge fees as a person requesting information should be able to obtain it via the internet.
3. New ways to control how government operates by having public involved in salary and perk structures via online voting. Proposals by government agencies would list each position, the actual job duties (with no mention of educational requirements), and a list of reasonable choices for salaries and other benefits so that the true employer, the taxpayers, would finally have a voice in these matters. The highest 25% of votes would not count to account for abuses.
4. Greater progressive cap on executive compensations than currently instituted in Japan. In Japan, an executive is limited to 100 times the average worker wages, but I propose this factor to be 50 for greater fairness. This reflects about an 8 to 10 fold reduction in current executive compensation currently enjoyed in the United States. This is only a first step towards real fairness as far as the actual work involved. I really think the ratio should get down to about 1 to 2. It’s understandable many would quickly rebuff this sought goal on the grounds of communism or some strange notion that executives must necessarily be compensated like kings. All I can say to that is relax and think a bit deeper about it and consult this page of mine to help show that my claim is reasonable: Unified Equitable Wage Determination.
5. Stock options could be voted on by shareholders with the modified proxy voting system described in my book that would give greater voting power to smaller shareholders to thwart the few with major controlling stakes from controlling the outcome of the vote. Sponsorships and political contributions could also be voted on by shareholders so as to reflect what the shareholders want – some shareholders might not agree with certain types of sponsorship activities nor of specific political candidates. If a shareholder wishes money not to be used for such activities, the shareholder would be given back money, in terms of a special dividend, the equivalent pro-rated amount spent based on share ownership.
6. Similar to the proposals mentioned in the latter part of #5 above, union members could have a vote on political contributions and a similar type of refund would be given back, but not in a dividend but in either a check, bank deposit, or credit on future union dues.
7. Until I make a separate section on health care, notes will be posted here. I go into detail about this topic in my book. Dramatically lower nurse and doctor salaries. Nurses in many parts of the country are making over $100K/year for which a $40K/yr salary seems more appropriate. The high salaries in medical profession is killing America. This must be done and not some work-around solution that retains these out-of-control wages. Actual proposal of how this could be effected will come soon.
8. We need to lessen federal and state worker holidays. They can’t always be treated so much more special than those in the private sector. There is one banking holiday, Columbus day that I feel can be done away with.
9. Uniform vacation schedule. So often in government and sometimes in the private sector though usually not to the extent government does, is that with enough years put into a job, not only would one get all the holiday days paid, sick days paid if didn’t use them, but also around 2 months of vacation as well. It’s one thing to award a person more money for longevity but to also award on vacation time as well is going too far. For this, I recommend as a law that there would be determination standards for all government employees and for which would be only the minimum standard for the private sector. I propose 1 week vacation for the first year and 2 weeks vacation for all subsequent years and no more added. Negotiating for time off without pay would be the method for obtaining a long vacation. As I explain in medical benefits, it is those who do not work yet spend money who are subsidizing all these benefits. There are more people in the population than whom are gainfully employed. People with a job should be so fortunate to have one, not to keep taking advantage of all else who don’t.
10. Affordable housing, without government subsidy. I offer a couple of sample floor plans for small low-priced easy to construct homes that would be suitable for the great number of single and two-person households in this country. Owning is usually a better alternative to renting, but as home prices are still way too high in many parts of the country, not to mention government getting its hands on more of home owner’s money with high home taxes due to government employees being overpaid, the dream of owning a home is too unreachable if exercising care with finances. See the short write-up and sample homes at the bottom of my main web site, Thoughtful Living Book Extras. Many other positive effects would result from this venture such as less stress related to landlord-tenant disputes, less stress related to neighboring tenants, decrease in use of judicial system to resolve disputes.
11. Continued right to gun ownership with government standing firmly behind this ultimate right of the people to safeguard their survival, preventing massive control of the people by an oligarchy such as specifically a plutocracy as what appears to be forming today. Certainly there needs to be better methods of determination who can purchase guns as there are unstable people or criminals who get their hands on them. The right to have arms is necessary to allow for government overthrow when those in power fail miserably. This should also promote those in power to rule judiciously otherwise they should fear consequences. Having free speech to quell the masses and having fair elections is not enough for those who get into power do not necessarily reflect the will of the people when there is a lack of worthy candidates that reduces voting based on the concept of voting for “the lesser of two evils”.
12. City blocks planned with small parks that may or may not contain a windmill owned and operated by a utility company depending on adequate wind velocity, community garden to offset lack of centralized food production, and communal septic tank.
13. Currently about $70 Billion is spent on the food stamp program. This does not include the women, infants, and children feeding program of $8 Billion per year that may be in need of inspection but I do not have adequate information to comment on this specific program. However, I do know enough about the food stamp program to make a lofty proposal. For the 45 million persons on the food stamp program, about $130 is allocated per person, on average, per month. In my book I contended that judicious spending on food should be well under 50% of the maximum amount offered by the Department of Agriculture, which currently stands at about $160 per month. I realize the food price inflation that is a result of many factors, Ben Bernanke being one of them for help inducing inflation by injecting $2 trillion into the financial system to keep the wealthy from losing money, Congress and most everyone else who lived high on credit to drive this country in deep debt, those who support in a big way the meat industry, particularly that of cattle which requires a great amount of crops, bad weather, asinine legislation with government financial support of converting corn into ethanol, using more energy to produce the ethanol than produced, and people choosing not to be responsible by not having even a modest garden at home, when feasible. Before the food inflation seen since year 2010, I would have recommended that the limit on monthly food benefits be set at $80, but now I would say $100 would make more sense. I can demonstrate a healthy diet eating on far less than $100 per month and I outline how it’s possible in my book. Spoiled behaviors by many would scoff at what I recommend and that’s fine as long as they use their own money but when they use government money, they should be held accountable to a reasonable degree to exercise some discretion on what foods they buy. Cutting the limit to $100 per month while not reducing any proportionality in assessment of food awarded, would save our government $30 per month on average for the 45 million persons receiving this aid, and at 12 months per year, this would amount to a yearly savings of $16 Billion.
14. An offshoot from number 13. Above is to encourage greater homeowner participation in growing food. For many areas of non-temperate weather, hot houses could be advantageous. What I’d like to offer here is something I haven’t heard of but makes sense, is to convert part of a garage into a hothouse by installing natural light capturing fixtures in the roof and possibly inserting or enlarging an existing window on at least one wall of the garage. Even if just one planter box 2 feet wide by 2 feet long was used for growing normally pricey food items, it could make a noticeable impact on a person’s food bill.
15. Simplicity of home buying. Currently, the thought of buying a home entails great stress including the decision of buying a particular home in a certain area, uncertainty of unknown conditions of the home, and the amount of money that is known to some extent that must be used for the mortgage. The latter part is crucial in that there are so many fees attributable to buying homes that it is quite confusing and unless the buyer is very skilled in home buying, the buyer wouldn’t know if he/she is being taken advantage by some unscrupulous person in the process. There’s terms like “points”, “closing costs”, “title”, “title insurance”, and a bunch more. This is actually in a way in how Wall Street operates – the home buying process is purposely confusing with many different ways to extract money from a home buyer so that with little effort, those in the real estate business are able to live lavish lives. There needs to be an all-inclusive fee that would enable a person to shop around and make easy comparisons. The way it stands now, it’s so messy that a home buyer has to rely on faith that he/she is being treated fairly, but faith alone is not adequate assurance. It would help most of society to put a stop to those in the real estate business of swindling people. Cleaning up the home buying process would effect a sizable advancement in rendering fairness.
16. GDP Growth Rate Target. As a means to curb inflation, there must be the realization that there is nothing set in stone that a 3% growth rate in GDP must be the sought standard (the common view held by much in the financial system of the United States). The growth rate should be somewhat greater than the population growth, currently at 1%, with business efficiencies help contributing to a slightly higher rate.
Basically, when the GDP target growth rate is set unrealistically high, it causes instability in the economy. While there is still economic expansion within a nation or to help elevate other nations, the growth rate could be set somewhat higher but there needs to be a watchful eye on it. When the GDP growth rate is unsustainable, economic fallout is surely to occur.
17. Health Care Costs. I cover this topic in my book but will add more to this section in time. To put costs in perspective, ratios could be used to provide reasonable costs associated with health care. For example, there could be a limit on medical procedure costs in such a way that no complete procedure to any one part of a body should cost more than 1 years’ wages at minimum wage. By imposing set ratios in this fashion, medical costs could not increase at a rate higher than increases made to the minimum wage, or in my proposed new monetary system whereby the unit of currency is identical to one hours' work at minimum wage, inflation would be automatically figured into prices to provide for price stability. With efficiencies this is entirely possible, provided that pharmaceutical companies, medical instrument and device companies, and health care workers don’t try to exploit the needy by jacking up prices for their selfish gains.
You want lower health care costs? Bring the wages down in the health care industry! Make all service prices public so we can better compare and shop around to help drive competition and lower prices. And reform tort laws - but this should be done simultaneously with full disclosure of doctor records of how many patients they fouled up on, number of deaths associated, etc so the public can avoid them since the American Medical Association isn't getting rid of them.
Dental cleaning is a $20 operation, not $150. Having an x-ray done is a $5-10 operation, not $200. Going to an emergency room to only be told something you already knew shouldn't cost $400.
I still contend that “free” health care would actually cost us less money in the long run since those who need care and don’t have the money could obtain it to be more productive in the workforce and may be able to defray more costly procedures.
I made mention in my book that at least 90% of prescription medicine could be eliminated, thus bringing down the cost of medical care. Pharmaceutical companies do have to face large costs associated with FDA regulations but it does not mean that very high prices for medication must result. I’ve seen first-hand how scientist fumble experiments, then having to perform operations repeatedly, and all along the way, top executives live lavish lives. If companies decided to use natural extracts of plants with or without minor chemical transformations that may or not be amenable to a patent position, we could have much less expensive medications. The goal of pharmaceutical companies is to accumulate intellectual property since this affords a monopoly of a 17-year period, with possible extension. The patent protection enabled unscrupulous companies to produce novel chemicals but much of it is from combinatorial chemistry, i.e synthesizing many chemicals, then testing in vitro then in vivo with hopes that it could be used as a medicine. While synthesizing chemicals is fair play, the motivation is to bypass what is naturally occurring on this planet so that more money could be made. Low cost and effective pharmaceuticals should be the objective, not primarily for monetary gains. To direct less unnecessary prescriptions and lower priced ones at that would require physicians to be more prudent and for patients to ask tough questions to find out if the medications are essential and if there are low-priced alternatives. Patients may need to conduct their own investigations in spite of physician high salaries that should indicate expertise in the area of medication.
Full disclosures should be made available to the public of prices for common procedures. In this way, a person could effortlessly compare prices with other health care facilities. Health care could operate much like other business in providing an objective price list.
18 Vaccinations. Government thinks they have the right to subject children in school with vaccinations. Parents have to fight hard to prevent what they feel is either harmful or not necessary. Of course some vaccination programs in the past were highly successful but today, they are being used for influenza and containing unusually high levels of mercury in some instances and other times, contain highly controversial animal tissue products. The benefit to risk relationship should be weighed by the individual or guardian thereof, hopefully with a sensible participating oversight authority such as the FDA not just siding along with some other government agency’s desire. Of course if it meant safety to society from a highly infectious disease AND probable unrecoverable infections, the rights of an individual may need to be stepped over, but this criteria does not aptly apply to circumstances associated with influenza.
19. College Education Cost. I believe college is overused and overemphasized since employers could perform a few weeks of training instead of compelling a person to spend a large sum of money and time to perform tasks that were not taught in school. When it comes to a much lower percentage of persons attending ordinary colleges or various other public institutions of learning (suggesting that short-concerted programs be developed for a wide range of jobs, not just for blue-collar jobs), the means for paying for college could be done differently from a loan process. I propose that no interest be allowed to accumulate on costs incurred by a student at an institution of learning beyond the level of high school and no payment made on the principle until which time the person has a job. Once the student becomes a wage earner, an automatic 5% deduction could be made from the paycheck to pay for the education. Safeguards to prevent large abuses should be made but not so restrictive to prevent a person for seeking out post-secondary learning. For example, if a person never has a job in the future, the person would not have to pay for the education, but if after one course of study has been taken, no other admissions to other programs could be done without payment in full or in substantial part. This would push people in becoming more learned without fear of the associated cost of higher learning. Society would benefit by the more knowledgeable workforce that would more than offset the costly delayed payment program. Not everyone who is smart attend higher education because of the fear of direct costs. Some of the smartest persons are held back because of holding onto idealistic notions about how things ought to work but this purging of a huge obstacle could set them free to help society and the world in ways that others could not.
20. United States Postal Service
The USPS has been facing budget shortfalls in recent years. This has been popularly blamed on the internet yet there is little talk about the high salaries. You could actually be a postal carrier and get more money than a research scientist. It just does not make sense. In addition, the benefits are amazing. The budget shortfall is about $3B per year for the operation that employs about 800K workers, and they do not even have to be United States citizens as it is a quasi-federal agency! Imagine that, you were born in this country and you have to see foreign nationals get these cushy jobs. What other country could this occur? Well, I’ve addresses this aspect elsewhere but in dealing with the operations and budget, I propose cutting the compensation by a reasonable amount, cut the delivery days, and lessen the number of stops required for delivery with special congregated mailboxes. The employees are overpaid as is typical in government jobs. Cutting the total compensation by $35K for the 800K workers would produce a savings of $28B per year, less the $3B deficit to then create a $25B annual surplus. With the surplus postal rates could be lowered to compel private delivery companies to be more competitive as even the union for UPS forces extraordinarily high delivery charges because of the high salaries. Note the UPS is given lots of free money by our government because of the pressure by the teamsters union. Private companies such as DHL that might have salaries at half of what UPS charges do not get the free government money. In continuation, postal hours could further be cut and deliveries made only for 4 days, M,T,F, and Sa to create an additional savings of about $5 Billion. Furthermore, to save on delivery hassles to rural areas and soon after implement in metropolitan areas is for deliveries to not be done per household, but much like how it is for apartments but with the modification of using US Postal Service owned virtually indestructible mailboxes that would be strategically located within a few hundred yards from homes, video camera monitored but not monitored by person unless review is warranted, with a bright overhead lamp, possibly at an area between two adjacent homes via imminent domain.
21. Differential fines based on income
The purpose behind this is not to generate revenue per se, but in actually applying fines commensurate with incomes to more appropriately address the concern of respect of laws when fines for some persons are meaningless. For example, a rich person might commit an infraction that knowingly will elicit a fine and purposely continues committing the act since the fine is too small relative to his/her income to warrant behavior change. Having a step fine structure would partly address this. One way is to consider relative ratios of the PLE (poverty level income) wherein each person is attributed a fine factor based on the average income over the prior 5 years such that if the average income is less than 5X the PLE, the factor would be 1. For each additional multiple of 2X income, the fine factor would increase by 1 but not to exceed 5. Thus, if the PLE is about $10K, a PLE just beyond $50K would have a factor of 2, just beyond $100K, factor is 3, just beyond $200K, factor is 4, and anything beyond $400K, the factor would be 5. I propose this idea be applied only to certain infractions that make sense.
22. Business promotion so that the NON-WEALTHY may have a chance to start a business. This is especially needed for those who do not fall under the unfair anti-progressive system of awarding "minorities" small business loans by government when not all white males have a financial advantage. The means testing for financial support/loans should be based on the merit of the business venture and the financial situation of the business applicant, devoid of all the nonsensical categorization based on race, gender, or national origin. To help promote businesses, some (per qualifications) or ALL businesses may be decided through legislation to have lenient taxation for the first half-year to full year so that the business would have a greater chance of survival. This would be a sensible solution since it normally takes a while until the business gains recognition. There needs to be less intrusive government when it comes to "environmental" impact studies that can prevent a business from ever starting. Sadly, most in government have a lack of understanding of the real dangers of chemicals and other potential hazards and so this would require greater education as per my plan that I mentioned on tlextras.blogspot.com. Without sensible safeguarding, encumbrances would remain restrictive as is presently the case. For example, one may question why copper sulfate receives so much attention but other salts of copper do not? How could benzene receive so much attention when fluoride is 40 times more acutely toxic. As you can see from even these two basic examples, it demonstrates that government is clueless and therefore are the WRONG ENTITY for the determination of satisfying safety concerns. I believe there are inadequate persons who could properly fulfill such positions yet many are hired in these types of positions based merely on degree/certification or happen to have gotten in a government employment through some backdoor to gain experience in the already ill-qualified "environmental" agency. In the meantime, the best consultants need to come up with a universal set of instructions, and these persons should not be decided based on credentials but in KNOWLEDGE. I welcome everyone to consult my web page about chemical knowledge - few persons have a large breath of knowledge, including those in the environmental fields and even including chemists. When you get persons who have extensive knowledge in the various areas of safety concerns, then, and only then will there be REASONABLE restrictions of business to operate in a safe manner.
23. Further discussion on commercial real estate in that this property could be owned by the people to compress the wealth divide and to make brick and mortar companies competitive with online retailers (shared with the following site regarding the government’s proposal to tax internet sales: http://www.webpronews.com/online-sales-tax-law-closer-to-reality-2013-03/comment-page-1#comment-507090/) The online retailers have greatly benefited but the consumers have really not benefited that greatly because of shipping costs that are more inefficient as opposed to large suppliers shipping to brick and mortar stores. The problem that is not being addressed is the high cost of commercial real estate that need not be in private hands (I know many will hate the socialistic component of this but the wealth divide gets larger and larger partly based on the lucky few who own such property and may stay in their families forever and which takes away from everyone else in society-this property could be owned by the people but administered with minimal amount of money involved-not the overpaid government workers confounding - I could offer specifics if necessary). Now if the brick and mortar companies didn't have to pay sky-high rents, they could compete better with online companies, still be taxed at the current rates, be able to pass on greater savings to consumers to LOWER the cost of living, but of course many of the government employees are bi commercial real estate owners and represent such persons who would rather keep their greed continuing to hurt everyone else financially till the end of time.
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Personal Incidents with out of control cops
There was a time when a cop wanted to exert his power over me and I wasn't easily allowing him to get away with his power game. He pulled me over for having an out-of-state license plate and further said he thought my brake lights were not working. I asked him why he let a car go by that was right in front of me and had no headlamps on. I further added that I saw the person have 6-8 drinks earlier. He refused to do anything about the drunk driver and instead focused on his out-of-state driver revenue-generating objective. I proved him wrong about the brake lights but he really wanted to stick it to me. He then pressured to put me through an alcohol sobriety test even though I showed no signs of drinking, I did not drink, and furthermore I put it in plain words to him that had I been drinking, I would not be talking so rationally with him. He still forced me to go through the ridiculous sobriety test, though in looking back I should have had him waste his time bringing me to the police station to get a blood test to show I had zero percent alcohol in my blood. The cop was still not satisfied so then he cited me for something he could not prove. I immediately went to the police station and asked for them to put me in jail as I would not pay a fine related to a cop’s whim. I knew it would cost the backward red-neck city of Grants Pass, Oregon (as it was 15 years ago) more than it was worth to them so they wouldn't do it. I refused to pay the fine and will never forget this incident nor of my other ones involving law enforcement gone wild. Since I was always fairly well-behaved, this episode can show that people can get into trouble by not so much of what they are doing wrong but in how some people abuse power, causing unnecessarily trouble for others. There really should be on-going short course for police officers to put their egos in check as the power they have can easily be abused and if there egos are not suppressed regularly, they may increase their abuse of power. Cops are purported to have a higher crime rate than for non-cops so much has to be learned to control their egos. I can just imagine how cops would sometimes deal with persons who show some hints of them being criminals-there is no doubt that the abuse of police power on such others could be far worse than what I experienced. In addition, I have a story about a couple cops in Reno, Nevada, handcuffing me and giving me a joy-ride for an hour with them laughing away in their paddy wagon before letting me go with a $30 ticket for “obstructing the sidewalk”. I was simply minding my business, siting off from the sidewalk on a 4 foot platform that extended from a building and when they came around the corner, one of them yelled at me to get off and I said “OK” but I took perhaps 2 seconds to position myself to get off as opposed to jumping off at the sound of his command. So this is what some cops do for their personal satisfaction as opposed to doing something meaningful. I feel sorry for all the other innocent victims of police abusing their authority.