Re the idle rich and the idle retired adding to the GDP

"The ongoing war: after the battle over the cliff, the battle over the debt ceiling" by Robert Reich. As that article points out, this "war" was never about the federal budget deficit, since the deficit has been steadily dropping as a percent of the total economy, down to 7 percent from the 10.1 percent it was in 2009. Reich points out that the real war is about shrinking the size of the American government, which is getting scapegoated for the woes of the middle class, to divert attention from record high corporate profits while reducing the wages of the working class.

So I wonder, what is going on? Seems that only accentuates the easy wealth increase of the idle-rich while making life harder for those who actually work to enable this country to function. This is not to say that "the idle rich" do not perform essential functions for America; the working-class expects somebody to figure out a job that a worker can then "get" and thus work to pay the bills and have a family, enjoy life a bit too. So among some of those "idle rich" folks, trickle down the jobs. Problem is, in the past couple decades, the idle-rich have not been doing that adequately for America. They have been piling up their fortunes in ways to not pay their fair share of taxes, the taxes America needs to function as a whole through our government, jingling their riches like a scrooge spending time counting the stacks of money hoarded up instead of the money being out in the economy enabling work to be done.

A number of years ago, I read that it looked like America was being deliberately manipulated to carve the country up into medieval-type kingdoms with their hordes of serfs and knights. This model continues to seem to fit uncomfortably close to what looks like the end goal of the strange "wars" in congress and scattered all over the country. Looking back, I realize now that was much of the stimulus of the scenarios focused upon in the first two of my science fiction novels "Building Up" and "The Ark of 1984's Future" where first all the functions of government, including the military branches, were doled out to mega-corporations, who then battled out to leave just one megacorporation's idle-rich living off a captive horde of serfs by the start of "The Ark of 1984's Future" scenario, in a world that had mostly died due to rampant corporate predation on the world's resources of the environment, turning it all into refuse; and little could live generally on the land anymore. But he idle-rich had fortified themselves into their ever plush areas, and in this scenario, genetically-selected members.

Well, that is science fiction about a possible future. Future, by definition, hasn't happened yet, and most likely has options for choice among multiple paths. Paths that lead from right here and right now.

Back to the "wars" going on in upper federal government, Congress and the Presidency, one beneficial effect is that it seems to be significantly filling the public's craving for drama, and getting lots of average people aware of government and the inner workings of the nation. Instead of merely focussing on the usual of getting born, getting an education that is employable, getting a job, getting married, having kids who then keep the cycle going. But the "getting a job" part is the link between those folks and the "idle-rich" management class. If the "idle-rich class" is not doing its "job" (job in the national picture) of creating and managing those jobs, those jobs are not waiting there for the working class to obtain. Now, the more workers there are and being productive, the more profit for the idle-rich, correct? So, there is still some other very major factors ongoing; what could they be?

Probably it is the growing horde of retirees. Those older folk who had been the workers that had built the wealth of the idle-rich; now they are no longer providing profit for the idle-rich. Those older folks had been required to contribute to their social security safety net, during their working years; and their employers were also required to contribute an equal amount into that social security trust fund.

(Now, are the corporations striving to get their money back? The money they had been "forced" to contribute by government, to help cover the cost of life after employment for the hordes of retirees. Just like in the early years of the so-called Bush-II administration, taxes on the wealthy were cut just exactly so as to remove the federal surplus left over from the previous Clinton administration's years.)

All this Monopoly-game-board kind of activity is a bit beyond my skill or interest. This post is about suggesting solutions. Now that a big part of the problem has been described, what can be done (other than just more game-board stuff.)

The American health system currently takes some 18% of the economy, and 25% of the federal budget, much of that goes to service the growing horde of the now "idle-retiree" class. If the idle-rich are weaseling out on their fair share of taxes to keep the country running well, then the health system looks like a place to cut back to make up the lack of income to the system.

There is a factor not generally recognized re the healthcare system in America: the money spent on doctors, hospitals and pharmaceuticals, is largely spent here in America, in contrast to much of other purchases of products that come from other countries which have not been doing a balance of trade with us. Thus money spent on the health care system stirs up the money flow in America and thus generates tax revenues that help keep the country running (we have not yet become carved up into feudal warlord corporate estates.) So that suggests the uncomfortable conclusion that being unhealthy is good for the economy, keeps the money going around inside America significantly more than does, say, our electronics purchases. So, what I am going to suggest, is not supportive of that factor. And thus will most likely get ignored, like my other suggestions of the past. Well, horse to water and all that. I will do my suggestions here anyway. Keeps the old fingers more exercised on the keyboard, if nothing else; stirs up some synaptic exercise in the brain, too, I suppose.

I am now one of those seniors, those retirees, and one that has to largely survive on the social security safety net for financial survival. So I can speak from that perspective, as well as from my over four decades of serving as an employee for a variety of employers. And I speak (write) from a fairly unique perspective in some ways, described to some extent in my prior years of posting here.

So I suggest that upon becoming classed as a retiree taking in from the social security safety net, as I and huge numbers of other American former workers do, we take on less of an "idle-retiree-class" status, and more of a new education and application status. This means we all become lifetime students, for one thing. This becomes part of becoming part of lifetime producers, too, as will be suggested in a bit. And the first of the new education subjects would be that of learning how to do self-health maintenance, and practicing doing it for oneself.

I have been doing this as a hobby during my retirement, and had even started learning and doing it in the last half-dozen years of gainful employment, some of which had no health insurance. As a result, since retiring and being on the medicare system, I have paid into the medicare "Part B" system over $6,000 yet medicare has paid back only about $200; this seems a good deal for the medicare system, if all retirees were similarly doing it. (Hopefully this is not seen as opportunity for some new feudal-lord wannabe, however.) sure, I spend significant amounts of money on the various "complementary health" nutritional supplements and electronic stuff with which I experiment on self-health assisted by electroherbalism-type gadgetry, which is a field that uniquely fits into my lifelong interest in science and my career in electronics mostly in engineering. But I would assume most other people would have other aspects of self-health better explored in their life. The human body-mind is enormously complex yet extraordinarily well organized, thus providing a huge amount one can learn and apply to themselves. And the more one learns and uses, the more there is seen to be available for more learning. In my case, this money mostly comes from the social security retirement income, eked out such as by riding a bicycle to get groceries when possible, instead of using gas to drive to and from the stores. Learning several other self-health modes costs a little money too, yet pays off with better well-being quite abundantly, as compared to the cost. And is a much more comfortable life than in and out of the doctors' offices.

For my personality, such knowledge as of "Emotional Freedom Technique"(one of several similar fields of knowledge called "Energy Psychology") and "Laughter Yoga" knowledge, yields great health benefits as compared to money spent. But both require that I learn lots, do lots of self-educating and then putting these new knowledge tools into practice on myself. This definitely makes a "idle-retiree" lifestyle not very idle, and pays off to the country by not being much of a load on the nation, despite not actively working as a paid employee somewhere at this point. (I do continue to do fairly skilled data processing work as a volunteer, however.) A significant part of this self-education gets put on learning about the human physiological and neurological systems, leaning toward ways to increase functionality and well-being while doing so.

That brings up the second part, the part about not only being a lifetime student, but also a lifetime producer contributing to the Gross Domestic Product. As such, a retiree might only produce for the country a relatively smaller part of each day producing, but doing at least a little each day. If each of ten million retires produced only ten percent of the typical work done before retirement, that would effectively add a million worker's product to the GDP. And retirees tend to come pre-equipped with lots of skills and knowledge about doing gainful work.

Part of the usefulness of such a partial-employment of the idle-retired folks, is to minimize the overall costs to the nation in doing so. That means, involving very little added to the commute system, for one thing. And that mostly means working from the comfort of home. And that means doing work via the internet so as to not require the enormous costs of commuting to and from a place of employment a commute system which already is overloaded in many places. Some added flow of material goods involved in many of these tasks would be handled by an increase in shipper services, such as the US Postal System, UPS and Fedex, among others; but this would be largely fitted into an already existing shipping system's routes.

For details, read my prior posts and documents about my proposal to create a "Home education-manufacturing workstation" productivity system, to provide new skill acquisition, general knowledge expansion, and small-scale productivity contribution to the nation. Much of those are in the preceding blog posts in this blog, but also can be found on my Scribd document set. So I won't go into that again here other than to suggest that it is an internet and home computer manufacturing-education workstation system, vaguely like the Japanese "just in time" work system of each worker having multiple sets of individual workstation setups available and works from canisters of components to which various work functions are applied by the worker; and time is set aside for learning new skills each day, too. Only in this new home-workstation concept,the workstations would be in retirees' homes, and the shipping companies would take care of the transporting of the canisters between homes and eventually to destination warehouses or conventional business work sites.

Jim Cline


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