I was first amused, then thoughtful, when reading a suggestion from Straight From The Snark's Mouth about how to deal with our economy. She found it using StumbleUpon, and I reproduce it here, with a grateful nod o' the head in her direction.
Dear Mr. President:
Please find below my suggestion for fixing America 's economy.
Instead of giving billions of dollars to companies that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan.
You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan:
There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force.
Pay them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:
1) They MUST retire. Forty million job openings - Unemployment fixed.
2) They MUST buy a new American CAR. Forty million cars ordered - Auto Industry fixed.
3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - Housing Crisis fixed.
4) They MUST buy their own health insurance. - Health Plan for seniors just fixed!!!
It can't get any easier than that! If more money is needed, have all members of Congress and their constituents pay their taxes.
If you think this would work, please tell everyone you know.
If not, please disregard. Then shoot yourself!!!! - 1 job opening
God Bless America.
Y'know . . . the more I think about this, the more I wonder . . . is there any reason why this program wouldn't work? Think about it. Instead of splurging billions, even trillions of dollars on bailouts and buyouts and entitlement spending, we simply give a chunk of US taxpayers enough money to sort out their economic woes, set themselves up for retirement, and make way for everyone else to do the same.
A million bucks per head, for 40 million people, would total 40 trillion dollars. Sounds like a huge amount, doesn't it? Unfortunately, if we leave things as they are, paying out Social Security and Medicare and other entitlements, we're headed for a national deficit much larger than that. I mentioned it earlier this week. I agree, finding 40 trillion dollars in the short term is impossible: but we could reduce the amount up front, and pay some over time. We could also pay workers as they turn a certain age, perhaps in exchange for canceling future Social Security and Medicare coverage. There are ways to do this.
A million bucks wouldn't go too far, of course. We can allow a quarter of a million for a house, another twenty-five grand for a car, and (say) six hundred thousand into annuities to produce an income of two to three thousand dollars a month (perhaps supplemented by private pension arrangements and/or Social Security and other income). That'll leave just over a hundred thousand as a cash 'cushion' for emergencies and other needs. That won't make for a luxurious retirement . . . but it'd be a darn sight better than most of those eligible would do under present circumstances.
Dammit, this might have been meant as a sarcastic series of suggestions, but I can't think of any reason not to try them!