Trump gives with one hand, takes with other: Paid family leave would force parents to delay retirement
As we move deeper into this Crisis period, we will see all of our institutions come under scrutiny including our most cherished like Social Security and Medicare.
I suspect at first the changes will be wrapped up in policy changes like this SS change, which offers paid family leave in exchange for delayed SS benefits. In the end, I suspect these changes will grow to allow the voluntary transfer of long-delayed SS benefit start for partial SS personal accounts today. By this I mean, people will be able to own a portion of their SS account outright and place it in an investment account in exchange for a long delay in the potential for SS benefits start. I would expect the SS benefits might be delayed a decade or more to 77 or even later (I would suggest tagging it to the average American longevity). I would double down and require high-income earners match the amount of SS they invest with an equal amount of personal investment into the account. This would all but ensure that nearly every one of these people would have adequate funds to keep them off of SS. I would also add a means testing rubric for the people who avail themselves of this benefit. Again, this would likely mean these people would never take SS benefits, but they would continue to pay into the system, making SS more secure and reliable.
Progressives will be whipsawed by these new policy proposals because they live in an echo chamber and they have never been exposed to creative thoughts on individual liberty and personal responsibility and how it can be used to allow the individual to create a personal safety net which meets their needs, without increasing the burden to the taxpayer.
I expect to see many more proposals on how to make alterations to the safety net via personal decisions and tradeoffs. The leftist progressives will claim Americans are not competent to make these decisions. Americans will shut these progressives down quickly. Americans are clearly up to the task, just as the progressive politicians are not.
An example of this might be to attach unemployment insurance to old age benefits like SS and Medicare. Like the above policy, if an individual uses these benefits, he will delay his access to the old age benefits.
I am less sanguine about doing this with welfare, but then again, I think the federal government needs to reallocate the welfare state to the states while cutting federal taxes by the cost of the benefits released. The federal government could offer states some relief under strictly limited situations which amount to a state emergency, but those should require low-interest federal loans, not gifts. This change would force the various states to look at whether their state laws, regulations, and tax codes promote, or stymie economic growth. Forcing states to deal with these issues would be a tremendous benefit to the citizens of the state, and the nation as a whole.
I also think we will see dramatic changes to FEMA and disaster relief. The federal government should eliminate FEMA, and cut federal taxes by the amount FEMA wastes each year. Then the federal government should stand ready to assist states with disasters through low-interest loans. Perhaps the federal government could offer small one-time assistance for states which are willing to prepare joint disaster relief and assistance programs. These one-time grants should help the states' structure any necessary coordinating/planning agencies.
As I have been saying for a while, we are quickly moving into a new epoch. The unraveling is over, and the crisis is upon us even if the crisis itself has not yet manifest. America is as different today when compared to 2005 as it was comparing 1968 to 1958. But unlike the awakening of 1967 or the unraveling of 1988, we are now in the post-2008 crisis. An existential impression will override all else, and American will again become focused, determined, and serious. No longer will we tolerate the foppish, sloppiness of the dandy, empty suit Obama.
The next 40 years, the crisis (2009) and the building (2028?) turnings will allow Americans the opportunity to take a hard-flinty eyed, utilitarian look at our institutions, government policies, social arrangements, and fiscal situations. No longer will the spendthrift Boomers control the purse strings, or direct government expenditures towards the inane or insane. Whether it is high-speed rail to nowhere, which isn't high-speed; useless, and costly infrastructure; wasteful and economically destructive energy modes like wind and solar, the emotional elements will be drained from the decisions, and it will be the cost-benefit analysis which matters.
Category: Fourth Turning