5. INFLUX OF PRESSURE TO COMPRESS
An influx of pressure to compress the workweek will develop as reformation of public and private institutions proceeds. Publicly, election reforms will save a lot of time which can be translated into a reduced workweek for all. Similarly, reformation of the Executive and Legislative Branches of Government will indirectly save time by reducing the number of time-wasting problems that are presently ignored. Reform of many private bureaucracies will benefit people with a lot more wealth and time-savings as well.
In a following chapter on election reform, a process is described for
collecting, filtering, percolating and honing
democratically for both the Legislative and Executive Branches of government. "Colfilperhone" can immensely reduce the cost of policy-making (directly and indirectly). These savings will come from organizing and rewarding private citizens who provide relevant information to solve inflationary problems. As problem-solving becomes more efficient and the number of problems decreases, the public work force can be reduced.
This reduction of the public workforce represents a possible tax (time) savings for all workers. However, these savings are negated if compression is not implemented to absorb the displaced government employees. To avoid an increase in the cost of unemployment, compression in the private work force can be used to create vacancies for the newly unemployed. In addition, all workers will enjoy a reduction in the hours they must work for others through lower taxes and fewer actual work hours.
Similarly, because colfilperhone will be used to tap the intelligence of Americans to solve their problems directly, the government's reliance on price-gouging consultants will be eliminated. A previous quotation showed this cost to be an estimated $10 to $11 billion--$40 per American. Should these intelligent, misemployed people go on unemployment when their consulting comes to an end? Or worse, should they use their wits to organize domestic or foreign crime? Or should vacuums be created to draw them into the productive mainstream of America?
Another area of the federal bureaucracy that will be simplified immensely (with massive public and private time-savings) is the collection of taxes. Presently, the Internal Revenue Service spends a percentage of each tax dollar to collect the taxes. The revised tax procedure, described later, will cut the cost of collecting taxes and the cost of private and public bureaucracies. These bureaucracies have sprung up to manipulate our politicized taxation process. When these bureaucracies are dissolved, what's to be done with the bodies? Should we put them on unemployment so they are supported by taxes for not working? Or should the private sphere compress the average workweek in order to accommodate the influx of pressure? Another area needing reform is the national pension system known as Social Security. When the problems in it are corrected and the bureaucracy reduced, what will we do with the displaced workers?
If you are a member of Civil Service, please do not feel threatened by compression. In its entirety, NUSA Reforms offers you not only a shortened, unbureaucratic workweek, but also a guarantee of your accrued pension. The same cannot be said for any of the political promises of the Democrats or the Republicans. Any civil servant aware of the future will readily embrace NUSA Reforms even if it requires a period of transition as that individual moves into the private sphere.
Is there any productive person who does not think that unemployment should not exist? Throughout NUSA Reforms, the case is stated that unemployment is unnecessary if the available work is divided among the able-body persons by directly compressing the workweek.
Without an understanding of unemployment based in human time, one's perceptions are incomplete. Employed people don't realize the ironic repercussion inherent in a rise in unemployment: employed workers end up working more each pay period to support the unemployed. Once employed people wake up to this fact, they will readily stop monopolizing production time. Employed people need to realize that there is the total workweek and the personal workweek. The gulf between the two continues to grow because of unemployment. Enlightened workers will demand an elimination of overemployment in which they work for others and institute direct compression of the workweek.
Traditional gripes about unemployment compensation center around the chronic abusers, but these gripes have never amounted to lasting reform. To resolve this problem permanently, we must analyze it in a more meaningful way--in terms of time. Without compression, the time of both the employed and unemployed is cheapened; both suffer inflationary losses.
From Each According To His Ability
Chronic abuse of the public unemployment funds, e.g., workmen's compensation, is readily understood if one sees workmen's comp for what it is: a communist program.
From each according to his ability,
Workmen's comp fails because it is hard to determine real needs and because it is not geared to individual responsibility. The individual is not responsible for the amount that he draws. Also, the amount drawn is based on "reported" needs. Imagined and faked needs easily get mixed in among the real needs.
This section of NUSA Reforms is not an indictment of producers with long-term, stable work histories who are suddenly fired for reasons beyond their control. No, this account attacks the conditions that breed the habitually unemployed: neo-communistic programs involving indirect capitalism. An anger-provoking account of some unemployment fraud is detailed in "The Great Ripoff in Unemployment Pay." Perhaps the most galling point made in this article is that some unemployment compensation is legal but completely illogical. The disparity between legal and logical, as always, results from politicians "bringing irrelevant factors to bear on problems," e.g., their reelection.
Many people remain on workmen's comp because they can't find a job, so they "need" some income until they find work. It is amazing how many people find work when their income from this communist loan program runs out. As the following quotations show, there is little incentive for the unemployed to seek work. This "disincentive" is detrimental to companies unable to find workers as well.
[Mr. Lytle] collected between $156 and $253 a week tax free after General Motors Corporation laid him off as a sparkplug division plant inspector in November 1979. His take-home pay had been $260 a week. Last spring and summer, the 24-year-old bachelor fished and kayaked in northern Michigan, 300 miles from home. "Being laid off and making that much income spoils you a bit," concedes Mr. Lytle, who didn't hunt for work after returning to Flint because he expected to be recalled soon.
For many, the present unemployment system is a source of annual vacation funds. The State of New York has opened unemployment field offices in Miami during the winter to handle the number of unemployed New Yorkers looking for work in Florida during the winter months. Others use unemployment payments to supplement income they make on their own in the "economic underground" where they pay no taxes (income, Social Security, or unemployment).
People who are chronically and repeatedly unemployed often justify their abuse by saying that they are merely getting the money back that they paid in. Wrong. First of all, the "unemployment taxes" were paid by their employers, not by the workers. This is a minor and controversial point compared to another mathematical fact. Regardless of who pays the 2.5% (or less) of earned wages toward workmen's comp, an unemployed person uses up the tax payments very quickly.
If someone earned $10,000, $250 dollars would be paid toward unemployment compensation, if they worked the entire year. This amount of dollars would be gone in less than three weeks if used at the minimum rate of payment for unemployment. How many people remain unemployed for only three weeks? Not many. The raw substantiation for this conclusion can be seen in the financial state of the unemployment system as shown in the following. Note the chronological sequence.
Funds to Help Jobless Scraping Bottom.
Workmen's comp is going bankrupt because more funds are drawn than are put in. People, especially the habitually unemployed, get back more than they ever put in. In the fall of 1981, unemployment reached 8% as announced by the Labor Department on November 6. One network reported that a rise of a single percentage point in unemployment required an additional $5 billion in unemployment taxes and resulted in a loss of $25 billion in Treasury revenues.
Who makes up the lost tax revenues? Who suffers direct tax losses for the unemployed? Definitely not the unemployed. Naturally, the taxes for the unemployed are paid by the employed. The effect of rising unemployment results in the employed working less and less of their forty-hour week for themselves. They work more public hours--hours the unemployed could be working.
The previous paragraph on the tax cost of unemployment implies an indirect tax cost which most people do not realize: lost tax revenues. The indirect cost of unemployment (which the employed must bear) also includes the social problems that come with unemployment. The following list, used previously, outlines the nature of the social problems that arise with increased unemployment. These problems have an inflationary cost that someone must bear. Since the unemployed can't, the employed do.
A researcher found that "over a six-year period a 1 percent rise in unemployment would have this impact----"
36,887 total deaths
No employed person should think that they escape the social costs of the unemployed, for the social losses translate into certain dollar losses that only the employed are able to pay. It is a zero sum world. Unemployment is a no-win proposition for everyone involved. The solution is not only compressing the workweek but also reforming the system whereby people are given funds to tide them over until they find work.
Workmen's Comp Reform
A major reform of unemployment reform will be the institution of mandatory compression when unemployment occurs. In addition, a minor but important reform is the restructuring of unemployment compensation. Unemployment funds will no longer for de facto communistic loans but for individually responsible programs. As it is, workmen's compensation forces everyone to pay into a common loan fund that will be repaid only to the "needy." In other words, everyone pays according to their ability and receives according to his needs--real, faked, or imagined.
A better alternative to workmen's compensation would be individual loans, available to and repayable by the unemployed. The existing regular payments made by the employer, which are geared to a employee's earnings, should be channeled into the employee's control. Quarterly, an employee would receive the dollars his employer would otherwise pay out for workmen's comp. This money would be in the form a check marked for deposit in a special savings account for that individual. The individual could draw upon these savings only when unemployed, or he could draw funds that were deposited at least 10 years ago. In other words, the person's individual unemployment fund would accrue up to 10 years of unemployment deductions.
This proposed reform of unemployment, in conjunction with compression, has a number of advantages. Compared to the beneficiaries of the present system, people will not remain unemployed for as long. One reason is the creation of job vacuums through compression in response to rising unemployment. Another reason is the bonding of individual responsibility to the funds used during a period of unemployment; fewer people will take the maximum number of unemployment payments while working underground jobs. Any additional money borrowed will require repayment. If one is unemployed and his unemployment savings account is insufficient, he could obtain a loan to be repaid by his future, quarterly unemployment deductions. These future deductions, normally 2.5% of wages, would be doubled until the loan was repaid.
A key variable of this individualized unemployment plan is the lack of interest payments on either the savings or the loans. This is better than the present program which has a negative rate of return on the money that people have put in their unemployment accounts in the form of workmen's comp. The productivity of zero interest rates on savings shows up in low-interest rate loans for production. If lending institutions do not have to pay high interest rates for borrowing money from savers, then they don't have to relend at high, counterproductive rates.
The present unemployment system sucks money out of the economy and dilutes it through public bureaucracy before it reenters as a counterproductive, neo-communistic loan program. The opposite is the case for the proposed individualized unemployment plan. It keeps the money in the economy without dilution, and it provides inexpensive funds for running the American economy. This too will promote jobs for preventing unemployment!
As it is, the unemployment compensation is an economic black hole sucking up not only dollars but also the human motivation to produce. The loss of incentive occurs for the overtaxed, overemployed worker and the unemployed as well as the able-bodied worker who is unable to find a job on par with his skills. Compression eliminates this loss and individual loans will eliminate the option of milking a communistic loan system by those who are so inclined.
If a leader willing to educate the public from the White House is found, the advent of the proposed individual loan program can be instituted over a weekend. People can look forward to increases in their income upwards of the 2.5% that is presently diluted by or lost in workmen's comp. This money will go into individual special unemployment savings accounts that can be drawn upon in 10 years or during unemployment.
With an individual loan program, business can look forward to available funds at lower interest rates. In addition, they won't have to justify the termination of someone who subsequently applies for unemployment compensation. Everyone wins when individual responsibility for handling one's wealth is instituted. Direct capitalism is better than indirect capitalism, it is "capitalism per capita: pure capitalism."
NUSA Proposition #3: The unemployment compensation program should be switched to an individual loan program.
All the money presently paid into workmen's comp by employers should be immediately switched to specially marked, quarterly paychecks for individual unemployment savings accounts.
A precedent for the above is Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA). IRAs allow people withhold some of their money in an "untouchable" account from which it can be withdrawn early only in dire circumstances or under a penalty.
Parallels in Welfare
Welfare is a special form of unemployment compensation. The lessons learned from reforming workmen's comp can also benefit welfare reform. The present welfare system is also a common loan program which is communistic in nature (from each according to his ability, to each according to his need--real, faked, or imagined).
The concept of compressing the workweek also offers possibilities for dealing with the total welfare problem, especially the welfare mentality. Let's face it, there are people who have acquired a welfare bunker attitude. They are impervious to any calls for self-improvement, especially from superficial politicians who offer no new jobs to go with their well-publicized "critiques" of the welfare mess.
Compression not only offers the lacking jobs, but it provides work opportunities to which the chronic welfare recipient can adjust. It is unrealistic to expect people to shift suddenly from a low standard of living with no work to a low-paying forty-hour week. Wouldn't it be more realistic and meaningful if the acclimation to the "work ethic" came in stages? In a very real sense, when it comes to entering the "real" world, expecting those "crippled" by welfare to accept and appreciate the work ethic instantly is analogous to expecting a newborn baby to hit the floor running.
Compression offers a shift to a work schedule that is not so drastic. Compressing the workweek will not only create the job openings for current welfare recipients, but also ease their transition into a working environment.
Regardless of how the welfare mentality originated and who is responsible, the welfare mess must be eradicated. The present politicians cannot come up with either the jobs or a productive means of gradual transition from a welfare to a "workwell" state of mind. Compressing the workweek will provide both.
The people on welfare represent rising pressure for workweek compression. The people now working forty-hour weeks spend a number of their total hours to pay the public costs of people on welfare. Would it not be smarter to stop working the hours that the people on welfare could be working directly to earn their keep? Those who complain about welfare do not think about how they are hogging the workhours. They have helped create their own enslavement. Their enslavement is an ignorance tax exacted through higher taxes, inflation, and crime.
The above sections on unemployment and welfare describe tapping the resource of unemployed human time to make a compression of the average workweek possible and productive. However, there is another faction that we must consider--the misemployed. The misemployed are people engaged in makeshift work or inefficient bureaucracies. An example of misemployment is the bureaucracy that handles fringe benefits for workers. Fringe benefits are a form of indirect capitalism. People can manage their own fringe benefits at a lower time cost than they presently pay.
The following quotation conveys an unwarranted, Pollyanna view of fringe benefits.
"Tax Free 'Extras' Can Boost Lifestyle"
In truth, there are no "free" fringe or employee benefits. A more descriptive term is "fringe services." Fringe benefits actually result from the employee foregoing a certain amount of his total earnings in order to have someone provide services that he cannot or will not provide himself. Fringe benefits are like taxes inasmuch as a certain amount of the workers' pay is taken out to cover the cost of problems that the worker will not solve for himself.
One difference between tax deductions and fringe services is that only the former is directly detailed on a paycheck. As the following set of quotations shows, the cost of fringe services probably equals or exceeds the tax deductions of the average worker. Fringe services amount to thirty-three percent of total earnings on average. Rationally, a fringe service (funded by foregoing take-home pay) is a fringe benefit only when the worker is provided a better service than if he had the money and provided the service himself. NUSA Reforms will provide the justification and the means for the worker receiving only an hourly wage from which to direct his wealth rather than a "wage package" of direct wages and indirect services.
Fringe services are a form of indirect capitalism. With indirect capitalism, a person, head, or "caput" allows another person to control the wealth that he produces. When a person opts for company-run fringe benefits, he is giving up some of the wealth that would otherwise appear in his pay check.
The big question is whether the indirect capitalism of fringe benefits provides better, more efficient services than the worker could arrange for himself. Simply, is it better to live in a company-owned and -controlled world or live in a self-sufficient world?
A section in a sister book on tax reform details many forms of indirect capitalism as compared to the "Laffer Curve" analysis of taxation. Most of these services put the individual out of his home and job using his own money against him. Examples are the banks that lend money for condominium conversions of apartments rented by some of the banks' savers, and insurance companies that speculate in real estate rather than investing and creating new jobs and production, e.g., Prudential. (Thanks to the Reagan Administration, savers won't have to worry about banks lending money to real estate speculators, for the Reagan administration asked "Congress to allow banks and thrifts to invest [sic] directly in real estate in the first of a series of decontrol moves." These are examples of how indirect capitalism can harm those whose wealth is indirectly controlled by others.
Presently, most people opt for indirect capitalism because there is no viable way of organizing themselves and providing certain "fringe" services at a better cost to themselves. NUSA Reforms contains several proposals whereby people can start getting more control of their lives by taking the cash and investing it themselves (insurance and pensions for example). In addition, this text describes the means (telecomputation) whereby people can organize themselves and establish the rules to ensure a smooth transition from indirect to direct capitalism.
Fringe benefits are services which workers pay for by taking less in pay. Before describing some of the ways that people could take the pay directly and provide the services themselves at a better cost, the costs of the present fringe benefits system will be listed. If these fringe services are self-provided at a lower cost, the dollar savings can translate into a reduced workweek without a loss of buying power. Properly sequenced, this influx of pressure for compression from eliminating fringe bureaucracies can not only reduce the workweek but also increase buying power through the greater productivity per capita that will result.
The simplest way of depicting the cost of fringe benefits is a listing of the costs.
Fringe benefits consume an increasing chunk of payroll dollars.
A common denominator in these quotes is that workers pay a third of their total earnings to others for providing various fringe services. This funding represents a vast private bureaucracy to channel and handle the money for fringe services. Given certain standards, the employee can benefit more if all the cost of fringe services are given directly to him. The services would then be funded on a private, individual level.
The model on which fringe services could be individually controlled is the previously mentioned unemployment reform. Basically, the cost of all fringe services are a portion of the workers' total pay. Presently, each of these percentages are put into a common loan fund from which the worker draws as "needed."
Without a doubt, the arbitrary factor that results in the abuse of many common loan funds is "need." When the wealth of many people is pooled into a common loan fund for control by others, abuse arises. The abuse comes in two forms. One form of abuse is the representation of excessive needs as described in the previous section on unemployment and welfare. The other abuse is corruption on the part of the people who run the neo-communistic funds. The following depict both types of abuse.
A study by Rand Corp., financed by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, concludes that people make fewer trips to the doctor when they have health insurance that requires them to pay part of their bills. And the more they have to pay, the less they use the service.
These abuses are central reasons why most of the common funds run out of money. Abuses would not occur if productive individuals were provided alternatives based on direct capitalism.
Often, workers are finding that hard-earned fringe services are not benefits at all. All too frequently these "services" turn out to be bankrupt pension funds, etc., that were managed by someone other than the workers themselves. Benefits also disappear with sudden unemployment. Individualized fringe services will guarantee continuity in these areas.
Many workers are concerned about losing the money they put into Social Security. A growing number are aware of similar problems with private pension funds: "The independent pension system faces a severe crisis in the next few years. Some of these funds are in no better shape than Social Security." Like all forms of indirect capitalism, public and private pension funds are doomed to collapse. They all are forms of communism in that they do not reward individual responsibility like direct capitalism.
The aforementioned unemployment reform involved workers receiving a quarterly "unemployment savings check." This check, amounting to 2.5% of the worker's wage earnings for the previous period, would be directly deposited into his unemployment account at a bank of his choice. Similarly, all the costs of fringe services for insurance, sick days, holidays, vacations, health, and others could be broken down into percentages of the total wage package. On a quarterly basis, the worker would have deposited into his various "fringe" saving accounts checks for the given percentage of his earnings. The bookkeeping would be analogous to the present method businesses use to make regular payments for various withholdings.
With direct capitalism, the ideal worker (who stayed healthy and who did not use any of his "fringe" funds) would have an additional $5,530 a year in a portfolio of various accounts. This money could not be touched for ten years except in the case of pensions. However, another qualification on the pension fund is that the worker could once a year extract up to half of his last year's input for buying stock to build his portfolio. Of course, any stocks bought with pension funds must be "fresh" stocks.
As noted before, fresh stocks are stocks freshly issued by a company to increase or improve production capacity. Buying fresh stocks is an investment in a future with a lower time cost for goods and services. Opposite fresh stocks and investments are stale stocks and speculation. When one buys a stock from someone other than the original, issuing corporation, one is buying a stale stock.
Stale stock transactions do not put a single penny into the coffers of the originating corporations for improving or even maintaining production. Stale stock transactions are counterproductive and inflationary. Designated pension funds cannot be used for stale stock transactions. Stale stock transactions are a form of gambling, and people should not be allowed to gamble with their futures. When the gamblers fail, non-gamblers have to pick up the cost.
With the reform of fringe benefits, each worker would develop his own portfolio. With productive changes in the nature of stock transactions, it would be hard for a worker to lose when investing his wealth. The present stock system is complex because of corruption. Only a few highly educated, well-placed persons can consistently gain income. Elimination of the corruption and complexity will allow the average person to buy stocks for long-term investment without fear of insiders destroying his wealth.
Through promotion of direct capitalism in fringe services, America will progress to the best form of capitalism--capitalism per capita. America increasingly has capitalism for a fewer few. Indirect capitalism, whether in the form of fringe services, savings, insurance, or politics, is the route by which people lose control of their lives.
Reforming fringe services will result in a lot of unemployment for the people who were shuffling paper in the corporate world. However, compression would create openings for these people in direct production. Overall, workers will be able to work fewer hours with more buying power since the increased hourly compensation will more than make up for a reduction in total hours.
The generation of unemployed, former handlers of fringe services represents another influx of pressure to compress the workweek. With this compression and other NUSA Reforms, people will have more material and mental wealth for each workhour and, more importantly, each lifehour.
There are various types of fringe benefits. Some of them, such as breaks, directly involve time. If compression is fully implemented to the point of there being four six-hour shifts a day, one will not need certain time-consuming breaks as a rest from the tedium of work. An example of eliminating minor fringes with the compressed workday is the following.
"Short Workday Working Out"
There are so many ways to compress the workweek by organizing various fringe benefits more efficiently. Fringe services currently detract from a person's freedom because they require an unnecessary bureaucracy. Properly reformed, these fringe services could be provided by the workers themselves. The workers would then enjoy not only an increase in the quality of the services but also higher hourly pay.
In summary, transforming fringe services into private, individual accounts will provide many things. Most obviously, it will increase the dollar amount that a person sees on his paycheck for each hour worked. Most of this will show up in the form of a "savings" portfolio on which he can draw in time of need or after a set period of time. Reforming fringe services will also provide an influx of pressure to compress the workweek.
A key point in the successful transformation of fringe services is the establishment of principles and requirements on the use of fringe service funds so that they are fringe benefits in fact as well as in name. One requirement is that the money be placed in savings. A second is that the money be lent at low interest rates to benefit the saver. This can occur only if the self-savers, self-pensioners, and self-insurers organize democratically to decide what production they want stimulated by their savings, pensions, or insurance reserves.
Banks, pension funds and insurers are presently providing a lot of the venture funds for Space Invaders and other video games when farmers are crying for low interest loans. Instead of savings being democratically tuned, they are being inflationarily lent to the highest bidder; in times of inflation, the highest bidder will be the unproductive speculator who gains inflationary returns.
Speculators can always bid higher for funds than producers because speculators have lower overhead. Do the affected savers, pensioners and claim holders really want cheaper distractions for the youth of today instead of cheaper food and educated workers? Of course, because of the indirect capitalism involved today, the people who put money into banks, pensions, and insurance have no say on the use of their wealth.
A people should expect inflation when they do not acquire and retain direct control of their earnings. A government should expect an eventual social revolution by impoverished citizens when it allows private bureaucracies to misdirect the savings, pensions, and reserves of the citizens. On the other hand, if people are democratically organized to rule on the use of their wealth, they will experience "productive deflation." When their wealth is used to improve production of the goods and services that they want, prices will fall.
Home Employment: Full-time and Self-time
Another source of time-savings for compressing the workweek is home employment through the use of telecomputation. This employment can be in the form of working for another or working for yourself. Self-time employment can be a profession like accounting or teaching. Or, self-time employment can mean simply providing services cheaper and more directly for oneself, e.g., banking, pension, and insurance services. If home-banking is to exist in the future, should it benefit bankers or homeowners?
The following quotations show how telecomputation can be translated into time-savings such as in transportation.
"Computers, Phones May Make Commuting a Thing of the Past"
Through the increased use of telecomputation, especially electronic mail, people will be able to do more of their business at home. This will save the direct time cost of travelling to the various private bureaucracies (banking and insurance) as well as the indirect time costs, e.g., using time to work to pay for transportation.
Telecomputation, if properly used, will bring back people's personal lives as it assists in compressing the workweek for increased personal freedom. Telecomputation will also have its heyday in the field of education. Not only will it be used increasingly in the classroom, but it will also bring the classroom into the home. The educational uses of telecomputation will not be restricted to the traditional school-age groups. Recall the previously mentioned social contract in which people will give part of their time-savings (from compressing the workweek) to education. Why waste these time-savings having people travel back and forth when numerous, telecomputed self-instructional packages can be more efficient and effective? The issue of educational reform is discussed next.
Reform of the education system can provide a lot of human hours that are presently wasted. The educational system should be changed from its present chunkiness: forty-hour week schedules for twelve to sixteen years followed by a forty-hour workweeks until retirement. Both education and work will benefit if both are stretched out to relieve the tedium of over-concentration. Presently, people become bored with school because it becomes redundant without divergence and without immediate compensation.
By stretching out the educational process and establishing career ladders with compensation tied to educational performance, America will see a reversal in the attitude of youth toward education. Furthermore, by stretching it out as part of the social contract of compressing the workweek, people will continue to learn as they grow old. People who tolerate or promote the end of education early in life should expect the inflationary cost of unrecognized, undefined, and unsolved problems.
The benefits of altering the education span should be obvious. One benefit would be an influx of pressure to permit further reduction of the workweek. However, specific details on restructuring educational requirements should be reserved for the establishment of a national commission on education. Not only must the members be collected, filtered, percolated, and honed from the grassroots, but the findings of the commission must be placed in a book (similar to this one) with a ballot. Concerned citizens can then read and vote their consensus.
Trivial Service Compression
So far, most of the described pressures to compress the workweek have drawn upon people that are unemployed or misemployed (fringe services). The same criticism of fringe services can be levied against certain other service industries. This is true not only of banking, pensions, and insurance but also of services such as auto upkeep and home repair. These particular services can be classified as vestigial or trivial services. They would have dwindled a long time ago if people had the time and means to provide these services to themselves at a better price.
Private services are analogous to the fringe services of employment situations. In both cases, the workers are giving up some of their wealth to hire others to do things for them. Are the workers, out of naivete, losing money on private services as they are on fringe services?
As with fringe and financial services, people have not utilized personal solutions to the problems attacked by these services because they have not had the opportunity or backing. By opportunity, it is meant both the time to acquire the skill and the time to use the skill.
A lot of people would do more things for themselves if they had the time. Many view acquiring vocations and avocations as part of the spice in life. However, a forty-hour workweek reduces the ability to self-service.
With compression, self-servicing will rise as people turn to painting their houses, tuning their cars and other things. Of course, some of the established services will lose customers to the point that the workers will become unemployed. Should they be put on the tax dole, or should job openings be created by compressing the workweek further?
One way of looking at human progression is the cross-fertilization of ideas from one milieu to another. Compressing the workweek will bring about a faster rate of progress due to increased cross-fertilization or interaction of people with different levels and fields of expertise. People will work only part-time at a vocation and use their self-time for education, government, and self-service.
As people start to self-serve themselves, the time losses of taking something to a service shop and the like will also decrease; people will have more time. For instance, how many clogged drains have been unstopped by a $30 an hour plumber when the homeowner could have hooked up a garden hose to the water heater and used the hot 40 psi water to blow the clog out? The homeowner would not have wasted the time or money waiting for a plumber.
Do not construe this deflation of service industries in general as intention to deflate all services. Quite to the contrary. Many progressive service industries presently suffer personnel shortages because they must compete with these vestigial services for the limited amount of human resources, e.g., nursing. With compression--and the social contract of continual education--many of the higher services will grow. The growth in some of these areas will stabilize and eventually bring lower prices. For instance, all the bright people in finance probably have the moxie to be good doctors, dentists, and engineers. Would the price of these services come down if their numbers increased? Yes, if the logical laws of supply and demand are not negated by legisflators.
Again, keep in mind that the extension of telecomputation into the average person's life will increasingly allow him to serve himself. Why should one pay huge sums to an insurance company to crunch numbers? The same goes for finance. Compression will stop "The Leap Toward a Service Society." More specifically, compression will stop the bureaucratic retention of simple services that people can perform more efficiently for themselves if given the time and incentive.
Services are rapidly consuming more and more lifehours. "Not long ago, American workers spent about 70 out of every 100 hours actually producing tangible products. But today the work force devotes only 40 hours." This statistic also means that 40% of the population is producing the basic tangible wealth. At General Motors, the ratio of service people to manufacturing people is even worse; 70% of the people are not involved in manufacturing. The growth of the service industries seems immune to recession: "Service Jobs Keep Expanding in Recessions, Make Up Ever-Larger Share of Work Force." These statistics indicate that the economy may be imbalanced with service people while the production of goods suffers. If such an imbalance exists, the economy will have shortage inflation with the people in service professions outbidding each other for the dwindling product supply.
With compression and self-servicing, the ratio of actual production time to workhours will increase while people work fewer hours per week. In other words, if vestigial services could be removed, people could share the time used in producing the tangible wealth without a loss in total wealth.
America has become a nation of time-wasting eunuchs when it comes to efficiently and effectively solving problems. This is true not only in terms of public problems (due to a lack of democracy) but also in the private sphere. Many may ballyhoo the growth of the service industries, but it represents a leveling off of human progress. Retaining vestigial services halts progress in human adaptability, capability, and self-sufficiency.
How many things would you like to do yourself but don't because you lack the time? Do you and your wife work forty-hour weeks while using a full-time babysitter? Wouldn't you rather work twenty hours apiece, have more money and have time with your child while you putz around your home and town doing things you always wanted to have time to do? Does the closeness of your family suffer because your disposable income/time has decreased to the point that you have to work more just to survive? Are your children "latchkey" children subject to all that the term implies: fears and misbehavior?
How many marriages have faltered because of insufficient free time? Would you like to plant that "Victory Garden" to serve yourself fresh veggies? Or, would you have started the part-time business a long time ago if you had had time to take a few courses? If compression had started a long time ago, a lot of senior citizens would have a business to sell for retirement instead of worrying about the health of company and governmental pensions.
Senior Citizens: A Wasted Resource
Forced retirement is analogous to the reserve of human time in those on unemployment and welfare; it can be used as influx of pressure to compress the workweek. Forced retirement is a program that benefits few if any. As noted earlier, the average worklife involves 90,000 workhours. Is it best that it is crammed into a 45-year span in chunks of 40-hour weeks? No, this generates youthful unemployment and wasted senior citizens.
The marvels of modern medicine and better diets have upped the age to which a person can continue to function productively. As one writer on gerontology put it, "The wheels don't start falling off the wagon until after 75." The useful worklife can be extended so that the average weekly chunks can be less. This is not to say that a senior citizen should be expected to work the average workweek up to age 75.
The worklife could begin at age ten within a range of light jobs, e.g., picking up litter, pulling weeds in public places, being a foster "grandchild" for geriatrics. Every few years, the permissible average workweek and permissible work would increase. The average workweek would peak during the prime years of twenty to fifty. Thereafter, it would decline gradually until the senior citizen directs the litter and weed clean-up as a foster grandparent. That the average workweek might be ten hours for a senior citizen does not mean that he has to work every week of the year. Rather, he could work fifteen-hour weeks two thirds of the year.
The previous work examples are just that. If America votes for compressing the workweek, a national commission should be democratically constituted to develop a referendum within one month. Then the paper should be presented for ratification by ballot to concerned citizens for their consensus. If newspapers can carry education courses with write-in cut-outs, they can do the same thing for directly solving the nation's problems through referendums.
Senior citizens would not be a problem were it not for the top policy-makers, public and private. Under the policy-making of the Democrats and Republicans, one of the most immoral and impractical tragedies is occurring. Is it not immoral how the aged are treated and perceived: "'Senior Boom' Is Key Threat in the Future'."
One major business magazine went so far as to pose this haunting question on its cover: "The Elderly, Can We Afford Them." Can we afford them?! Not only is this immoral but it is not pragmatic. The "we," who are posing and reading the questions, are the elderly of tomorrow. If we cannot "afford" the elderly today, how are we going to survive?
Don't think that you will work harder than the aged of today to avoid their present dilemma. Many of them worked harder and saved proportionally more than the average person today! In addition, total savings have been falling, so the present generation should not feel that their future is more secure than that of the present retirees.
Remember, most of the aged today are survivors of the Depression in which hard work and savings were necessary for survival. Few of the senior citizens grew up, as did the crop of post-war babies, thinking that life owed them a living. If you are a cushioned post-war baby, don't confuse your easy past with a guarantee of future cushions or with your being better savers than the aged of today.
Are you relying on indirect capitalism more than the aged are? As noted earlier, the pension problems of the aged are not results of how much they saved, but how they saved it. They relied on indirect capitalism when they trusted public and private pension managers to productively invest their funds.
With each passing year, an increasing percentage of aged will fit the following description: "Older Americans' personal finance are forcing 58% to lead a 'hand-to-mouth existence ....'." And this was written before Reaganomics! Reaganomics allowed greater occurrences of non-productive transactions that benefit the transactor rather than the person whose funds are being transacted. The issue concerning the aged of today, and our future fate, is not one of affording the elderly. The issue is stopping the inflationary theft from the aged that results from national policy-makers who are corrupt and/or incompetent.
The elderly find insecure conditions as a result of contradictory public and private policies:
"More Employers Offer An Early Retirement; Some Workers Decline."
Conversely, public officials are pushing a plan which is the basis of "some workers" declining private invitations to retire early:
A retirement age of 68 for full Social Security benefits should be phased in by 2012, the President's Commission on Pension Policy recommended. It said rising life expectancies justify switching from age 65. The panel said its plan would provide adequate warning for younger workers.
While the politicians' suggestion of raising the retirement age agrees with one theme in NUSA Reforms, it is not coupled with a needed compression of the workweek. Keeping senior citizens in the workforce on a forty-hour basis does not help them. They will merely work the hours that unemployed youths should be working. Meanwhile, unemployed youths will occupy themselves by preying on older people.
Prison Reform: Repaying Society's Debt
One of the impediments to prison reform and repayment of criminals' debts to society has been the resistance of private enterprise to engage inmates in profitable activities:
The Justice Department has encouraged inmate work programs but has found it hard to get them started, mainly because of opposition from labor unions now aggravated by rising civilian unemployment.
If prisoners are too efficient, they put private enterprise out of work. The previous quotation was related to a goal of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Warren Burger, to "transform the nation's prisons from 'warehouses' into 'factories' with fences around them."
As it creates job openings, compression will eliminate the resistance to true prison reform. Compression will not only increase the ability of prisoners to repay their debt (instead of being a tax drain) but also teach prisoners that capitalism can be more profitable than crime. Presently, most prison rehabilitation programs teach skills that are in short demand or offer short rewards; it is no wonder that prisoners return to crime when they get out.
With compression, jobs will be created within and without the prison system. Prisoner release will not be merely based on good behavior but on an actual repayment of their debt to society and their victims. Compared to the present mess, a prisoner will have a meaningful, well-paying job on the outside with compression. It will be one which he performed on the inside with a garnishment of his wages. His release will be tied to repaying his debt to society and/or the victim. Once released, his motivation to break the law again will be decreased if he is able to slip immediately into a well-paying, ungarnished job.
The average prisoner costs the taxpayer $17,000 to $25,000 per year. Under compression, the taxpayer will cease to work extra hours to pay prisoners to stand around, trade criminal tales and skills, and grow remorseful.
Guest Arbiter: International Flux
One of the admirable things about certain European nations is their "guest" worker system that allows the number of foreign workers to swell when business booms and decrease when work slows down. This is similar to war-time military balloons. In such fluxes, sergeants can become captains. If the U.S. initiated international compression as part of a total compression package, many line workers would become foremen working fewer hours but having more pay. Eventually, the foremen would become supervisors or above, directing the influx.
Guest workers need not be restricted to work on assembly lines. There are many rail lines, streets, and cities that need to be rebuilt. Simultaneously, there are bulging reserves of grain and milk products which the starving people of other nations would sweat many hours a day in order to have. Why can't the two be brought together? Politics?
Ideally, foreign workers could be imported on two-, five- or ten-year visas to work the regular work schedule. In exchange for their filling in the bottom of the economy, they would acquire skills during their work hours and during their educational hours. They, too, would have to spend time in education. As described later, at the end of their visa, they would return to their land with a productive education and as a friend of the U.S. In the meantime, the average U.S. worker would have been increasingly promoted into higher positions of management as he, too, partakes of education and fewer work hours per week.
If the U.S. started compressing on an international scale, it could stop an erosion that has greatly imbalanced the American economy. The economy is wobbling, in part, because many of the basic industries were exported to foreign countries along with the buildings, machinery, and jobs: "Used factories are being exported to foreign countries."
The businessman's basic motive for exporting jobs was a fast buck, regardless of the long-term consequences. The philosophy for speeding up the undermining of basic industries is "The only way for a developed economy like the U.S. to regain its international competitiveness is to encourage a fairly rapid shrinkage of traditional blue-collar employment." This is necronomics. The above writer cited a need to speed up dismemberment of basic industries by exporting them and the jobs abroad to the poorer nations. In objection to this exportation philosophy, one need only consider whether America needs a cartel of foreign countries controlling the supply of basic essential products. Fear of foreign control is not a future matter: "Ever-Rising Imports of Machinery and Parts Raise Fears in the U.S." Even the U.S. military is concerned by the dependence on foreign nations for key spare parts.
Consider an opposing view on whether America's basic industries should be exported or allowed to falter.
The thought that this nation can function while writing off its basic industries to foreign competition is nonsense. What we have to do is turn losers into winners. This is a national-security necessity since we should not have to depend on foreign steel any more than we should have to depend on foreign oil.
As we become dependent on foreign goods, an old trend appears: It is amazing how prices for foreign goods rise when domestic production ceases to be in competition.
Yes, Americans should decrease their blue-collar population. The solution is not exporting jobs abroad. The solution is an European "guest-arbiter" program in which the factories and jobs stay here and the "poor" unskilled laborers come in to work under promoted workers in "white collars."
THIS IS NOT AN ARGUMENT FOR NEW SLAVE TRADE OR AN AMERICAN APARTHEID ABERRATION. Humanely sharing the available work is not slavery. All the workers would come in on visas. They would not be second-class citizens. All the rights and privileges of American workers would be theirs. Percentages of their income would be set aside for their use as start-up capital when they return home. While here, they will learn skills to improve the quality of life and the economic stability back home. Education and jobs are the keys to peace, not weapons of war. The U.S. will have a safer world when it becomes the educational and management capital of the world instead of the biggest seller of arms.
America will not be a slave or concentration camp under international compression. The principle behind compression is to maximize human productivity so that everyone comes out ahead. Enslaving anyone, domestic or foreign, is to catalyze a declining rate of productivity.
An objective of NUSA Reforms is to make America the education capital of the world. As the great melting pot, no nation can better facilitate the education of the world, provided America is productively organized, educated, and led. If international compression should come about, why not make the offspring of servicemen sired in the last two Asian wars the first internationals to come? These forgotten, ignored Americans should have the opportunity of a better life; they should have the pleasure of returning one day to their families as citizens of the world to share what they earned and learned in America.
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