Steven Glover

This conversation is closed.

Allow Corporations to compete with government for tax revenue to provide social security.

First let me say sorry to the international community, this idea is all centered around American legal and tax code.

My idea is to offer citizens a choice. After the 2004 presidential elections Bush tried to force upon the public privatizing Social Security benefits. The 2008 crash was all the confirmation needed for many that this was a bad idea.

I want someone to create a blend of an insurance company, a religion, a corporation, and a government.

Religions already receive donations which are tax ride offs for citizens, but they lack any regulation, and enforce a moral doctrine on their followers.

Insurance companies will cover unexpected expenses as long as you pay your monthly premium. Usually both the company and the consumer are doing their best to defraud the other.

Corporations have a fiduciary responsibility to be profitable to their share holders. Usually the better they can do this, the more they sacrifice the well being of their workers, the environment, and society at large (e.g. Walmart)

Governments are (supposedly) responsible for the well being of their citizens. As an American who rejected the Iraq war rhetoric (If we're going in there for oil, lets just say we need their oil) I have looked at my yearly tax bill and I'm uncomfortable with how many thousands of dollars I've personally handed over to murder innocent children.

Here's my vision: A company which will receive a certain percentage of your yearly income for a five year block of time. Everything else is just speculation of what the free-market will come up with. Some people may choose to pay almost nothing, but will be unable to access U.S. Gov't benefits (Libertarians). Others can choose to pay 50% of their income, in exchange for guaranteed housing, job-training, transportation assistance, legal representation, drug rehabilitation, etc.

Simply put my goal is to tie the fiduciary responsibility of corporations, to the well being of citizens. But it must be a choice

  • Apr 2 2014: I like "Allow corporations to compete" definitely got my attention. I am in agreement with the respondents regarding your take on SS, and other government activities in our country and around the world. I would agree to a larger payout by SS and the ability to transfer those sums to living heirs if instead of a tax deferred 401k as a separate stock market investment we could apply the tax deferment to SS. The actuaries would should three draws on your paycheck, your automatic contribution, your employers contribution and now your 1-50% contribution. I would be interested to see what investing in the full faith and credit of the U.S. government is in 50 years. They have been saying SS would be bankrupt since Nixon resigned.
  • Mar 25 2014: Sure, let's destroy the only thing keeping tens of millions of elderly Americans from starving in the street because Bush was an idiot.

    You do not have to pay taxes to fund American killing babies in Iraq. You are welcome to GTFO anytime you want.

    Those of us that actually served in the military know that freedom isn't free.
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    Mar 25 2014: Steven, Prior to reading any replies and off the top of my head .... the absolute worst agency in the world to run anything is the US Government ... They even lost money running a brothel in Nevada ... fact.

    More importantly ... Social Security is the longest running Ponzi scheme in history and is only legal for the government to run since they can selectively enforce rules they want ... and ignore all others ... such as insider trading on their votes with a known outcome and a guarenteed BIG return .... immigration control ... recreational drugs for states they carry in elections in violation of federal laws ... etc ...

    Social security has been a well dipped into by most presidents .... I do not see anyone allowing the rainy day fund being released into the hands of capable management.

    Be well. Bob.
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    Mar 24 2014: Now a couple of point from Googles perspective.
    They're willing to take a chance on this young man. They can't guarantee any of his decisions, but they know based off his profile what potential outcomes there are likely.
    They're willing to provide technology so they can target him with ads, but also ads containing educational opportunities. They want most of all to keep him happy, healthy, and secure while also improving his earning capacity.
    Google itself has a large support staff they employ to do everything from keeping the other members encouraged to reach their goals, to designing and installing solar panels installed on all Google provided houses. Because of their size, they have the bulk purchasing power to get resources and materials cheap. They want to keep costs down so as to increase profits just like any other company would, but the core of their business is collected from tax revenue, which is increased by a more educated and capable members.
    Incentives can be offered for members to solve challenges, which both pays them for their creativity, and encourages self growth. Similar to a video game, certain perks can only be unlocked through terms set from Google. They'll use their reputation to get a loan for purchase of a house, only after you've shown competency in the areas they feel are needed for home ownership.

    Taxes are still collected from companies. This supports broader infrastructure spending, defense, and funds all the other functions of gov't as we know them. Google is regulated to actually provide the services they claim, and must keep enough cash on hand to pay the tax expenses of all their members should they go bankrupt. our gov't as we know it doesn't disappear, and people can still pay into social security, they're just offered a choice.
  • Mar 24 2014: Think of it this way: Do you REALLY want to trust your life to a corporation? The same corporations that will destroy our country to make a buck, then leave the country? I for one do not.

    Something similar to what you propose existed: The Company Store. When expanding West there were entire towns where money was not used, rather everything was owned by the Company. You were paid in Company Notes which were good in the Company Store, Company Saloon, Company Whorehouse, etc. In theory you could exchange your Notes for Dollars, but in practice everything was balanced such that you could live well as long as you worked. Those experiments did not ever end well (for the workers anyway.)

    Ultimately, a plan such as yours means people starving to death in the streets. I'll take my chances on my own choices putting me in that situation, but involving any corporation means that they will be ACTIVELY attempting to put me there - after I give them all the work they can wring out of me, of course.
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      Mar 24 2014: "Ultimately, a plan such as yours means people starving to death in the streets. I'll take my chances on my own choices putting me in that situation, but involving any corporation means that they will be ACTIVELY attempting to put me there - after I give them all the work they can wring out of me, of course."

      I agree that may happen.
      I guess I fail to see how that's much different than today. As a 25 year old who came of age during the great recession, I've eaten bread sandwiches, ketchup soup, and have taken public transit to places I wasn't going to shop again at so I could run out the store with their food. Since I wasn't always perfect, my theft charge kept me from earning a living wage (could have worked at Sprint, Boeing, Toray Composites)
      I've been told by business owner "You're too unreliable, I'm just using for cheap labor" cause I missed 2 days with pneumonia. I had left the E.R. against medical advice so I could come to work that day.
      I had to take another 2 days off unexpectedly to attempt a modification on my girlfriends house (she's now my wife). I returned to a lay-off notice, after 2 months of 56 hour weeks, because I had to secure a place for my family to live.

      It felt like I had been wrung out
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    Mar 24 2014: I've been trying to think of a better way to articulate my vision, and I think I can better explain by telling a story from the perspective of somebody living in a world with today's technology, but my plan is in place.

    1. So I'm 22 years old. I'm currently capable of earning minimum wage, and have been having trouble finding reliable full time employment. I recently found out my girlfriend is pregnant so it's time to buckle down. I walk into a building filled with salespeople trying to offer me different packages of plans I'll be committed to for the next 5 years once the 90 day trial period has passed. I'll need to be careful when choosing because there are worse companies than others, but I'm here because the old (current tax system is default) way didn't work, and I don't see Congress doing anything about it.
    I walk into the company Google. After handing over my drivers license and filling out a short I.d. form I'm led back into a room where I create my temporary profile. I'm asked a bunch of questions about interests, goals, limitations, and to test my knowledge as it already stands. After the screen tells me I'm finished, and the sales rep returns with an offer. I scored above average in mechanical aptitude, a field of particular demand. I'm told of the perks all Google members enjoy. Free Smartphone, a laptop, unlimited data (which as counted all the same for tv, internet, phone etc), 500 miles per month transportation allowance using their driverless vehicles, and a 2 bedroom apartment (they have 300 available in my area).
    In return I agree to make my best effort to work 32 hours or more per week at a company of my choosing(though they've provided a list of partnered businesses with opening in my skill level), and take 2 developmental courses online per quarter(free to choose any course, though they have suggestions based off browsing history and aptitude test). I also agree to pay 60% of my wages. We agree, and google eventually profits, which is taxed
  • Mar 24 2014: Steven, there are no guarantees in business.

    Usually, as long as the market is rising you have a chance. But to put your retirement dollars
    at risk with a business person of unknown character, is simply folly. I speak from 55 years of
    experience. I have cranked up 21 different companies, and I still wouldn't trust me. I still
    remember my Mother, forced into retirement at age 60, and then her pension plan, that was
    funded by a Texas life insurance corporation suddenly went belly-up. Instead of cash values,
    she got a letter.

    George W. Bush has a super-sized ranch located in Honduras. Not too shabby for the son
    of the CIA Director. He and Cheney could have been laughing their way to the bank with
    our social security monies.

    The stock market has a great history of appreciation. Little is written about the losers that the
    newbie investors are replacing, just to keep the appreciation upward bound. Those newbies are
    the losers of tomorrow. Nobody has told them about that part. The "burn and churn" part.

    In 1974 ERISA Employee Retirement Income Security Act, allowed "safe" Banks to collect IRA's
    and 401K's retirement funds from the public at large and the Corporations. Overnight the Bank's
    took out full page ads nationwide and scooped up all the monies that would have been invested
    into local small business investments. In 1994 lobbyists had in 20 years, bit by bit, bought enough
    lunches for congress members to Deregulate the Banks. Wall Street sold Bankers 40-1 leveraged
    investments, backed by bad mortgage paper, and even worst, they sold them investments that were
    not understood by most university professors. Then ex-Treasury Secy Hank Paulson mysteriously
    came on the scene. His Shakespearian Theatre convinced Bush, McClain, Obama, and the Congress
    into bailing out the nation's Bankers. After raping our Treasury, the money still bleeds out.

    I read somewhere that Paulson Corp made $1 Billion.
  • Mar 22 2014: Raise your hand if you understand why it is mathematically impossible for everyone to be spending less than they earn, accumulating money. [I raise my hand]
  • Mar 22 2014: The problem with putting SS in the hands of a private company, is, what happens when it goes broke? Do we allow old people to die in the streets from starvation?

    I think not!

    If we were allowed to put our SS into private accounts, I would take the WILDEST gambles imaginable with the money. Seriously, roulette would look like a sure thing compared to the risks I'd take! Heads I win, tales, I trust that society is really not going to let me starve in the street.
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      Mar 22 2014: "...what happens when it goes broke?"

      You've never heard of the FDIC?
      • Mar 23 2014: FDIC is insurance paid on insolvent banks, not on investments in the stocks of companies that go bankrupt.

        And, the member banks pay for the insurance, cutting into returns, which is what checking and savings accounts covered by FDIC pay so little return.

        And, you miss the point.

        Let's say I divert my Social Security money into a high risk private fund, and the risks do not pay off, and I lose everything.

        Does society let me starve in the street?

        If the answer is, as I believe, society will change the laws to make sure I get some money even if all my high risk gambles flop, then the optimal choice is to make the highest risk gambles with small potential for huge return. Heads I win, tails I do not really lose.
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          Mar 24 2014: That's why there would be government mandates regarding how much of an individual's retirement account could be invested in high-risk funds, and how much would have to stay in things like guaranteed bonds. Heck, even 5% US Savings Bonds would give 3 times the return as the 1-2% Social Security has.
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        Mar 24 2014: At one point in time, the FDIC didn't even exist.
        It's a complex and ever evolving institution, created to solve problems which occurred as a result of the changing world around them.
        It's hard for me to imagine a problem which couldn't or wouldn't be solved if the need was deemed great enough by society.
        The FDIC is a great example of people coming together to regulate a problem
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    Mar 21 2014: "I want someone to create a blend of an insurance company, a religion, a corporation, and a government." A novel idea! Four extremely complex institutions blended into one to provide social securty. One could imagine what might possibly go on during board meetings!
  • Mar 21 2014: Well my only opinion is .. tax should be paid by those who are able to i.e. Employed people..

    Any fees other than income tax which are directed for government institutions that provide environmental upkeep ( such as medical aid, garbage disposal , and street maintenance) should be completely voluntary,

    Voluntary fees include.
    Any kind of Insurance, both medical, mobile, or else. ( cannot and should not be enforced. if a working environment requires such insurance it's the working business obligation to provide with such )

    Services and products that are essential to a worker's life, including cellphone, car, internet, and food, should be carefully regulated and controlled in price... this does not extend to optional luxuries.
    • Mar 24 2014: Dave, isn't what you described Socialism? 'From each according to their Ability, to each according to their Need'?

      I for one do NOT want to be the Horse in 'Animal Farm'.
  • Mar 21 2014: http://www.ted.com/conversations/23062/direct_democracy_implementatio.html


    Good idea, but my opinion is it's still flawed because it uses the imbalanced monetary system. You may be interested in the idea I posted, it proposed similar ideas, but based on a different monetary system.
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    Mar 19 2014: A much simpler idea is to allow private citizens to invest their own retirement money instead of contributing to Social Security. As almost all private investment funds outperform the equivalent of Social Security, it sounds like a natural idea. But support falls along party lines as such a plan would take away government control of an enormous chunk of money, which is antithetical to liberal ideology.
    • Mar 22 2014: Please document the claim that private investments funds have outperformed Social Security.
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        Mar 22 2014: For most people, Social Security's return on investment is estimated to be between 1% to 2%.

        Social Security and Its Discontents: Perspectives on Choice, ed., Tanner, Micheal
        Social Security: Prospects for Real Reform, ed., Peter Ferrara
        • Mar 23 2014: And for most people, what is the return on private funds, over 50 years, including fees.
    • Mar 24 2014: I am going to assume you are getting your data from the 1998 Heritage foundation study.

      That study said that 2-income household, each earner making $26K a year, taking full retirement at age 67, would get INFLATION ADJUSTED 1.23% rate of return.

      It then goes on to compare this to 5% (NOT INFLATION ADJUSTED) that could be expected from safe private funds, BEFORE taxes. So, pay taxes on that 5%, then inflation adjust. NOW what if you happen to be lucky and live beyond median, OR, if median age continues to increase?

      AND, what the very low rate of return really shows is that SS taxes are too high, payments too low, and 67 is too high of a retirement age.

      We need to get rid of the payroll tax and fund retirement of income taxes.