Saturday, March 11, 2017

Nick Hanauer and David Rolf — A New Social Security System for the Sharing Economy

The American middle class is facing an existential crisis. For more than three decades, declining wages, fraying benefits, and the rising costs of education, housing, and other essentials have stressed and squeezed middle-class Americans. But by far the biggest threat to middle-class workers—and to our economy as a whole—comes from the changing nature of employment itself.
Gone is the era of the lifetime career, let alone the lifelong job and the economic security that came with it, having been replaced by a new economy intent on recasting full-time employees into contractors, vendors, and temporary workers. It is an economic transformation that promises new efficiencies and greater flexibility for “employers” and “employees” alike, but which threatens to undermine the very foundation upon which middle-class America was built. And if the American middle class crumbles, so will an American economy that relies on consumer spending for 70 percent of its activity, and on a diverse and inclusive workforce for 100 percent of the innovation that drives all future prosperity....
An economy based on micro-employment requires the accrual of micro-benefits, and a twenty-first-century sharing economy requires a twenty-first-century social contract that assures shared economic security and broad prosperity.
We propose a new Shared Security System that endows every American worker with, first, a “Shared Security Account” in which to accrue the basic employment benefits necessary for a thriving middle class, and second, a new set of “Shared Security Standards” that complement and reinforce that account.
One can think of the Shared Security Account as analogous to Social Security, but encompassing all of the employment benefits traditionally provided by a full-time salaried job. Shared Security benefits would be earned and accrued via automatic payroll deductions, regardless of the employment relationship, and, like Social Security, these benefits would be fully prorated, portable, and universal....
A New Social Security System for the Sharing Economy
Nick Hanauer and David Rolf


Noah Way said...

Egghead bullshit. Just an act a guaranteed living wage and eliminate Social Security, all welfare programs (such as housing subsidies, food stamps, etc.) AND poverty.

Dan Lynch said...

... benefits would be earned and accrued via automatic payroll deductions,

That would be a regressive tax and a "demand leakage."

Benefits that normally accrue to full-time employees on a daily basis — sick days, vacation days, health insurance, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, retirement matching, Social Security, and Medicare — should also accrue to part-time employees ... on a prorated ... basis.

What planet are the authors on? I have never ever had a job with paid sick days. In my entire life there were only 2 years that I received a paid vacation (and only 2 weeks). Most unemployed people do not qualify for UI due to a variety of "gotcha's." If, as Mosler advocate, SS paid enough to live on, then there would be no need for private retirement accounts, which are a demand leakage and a defacto subsidy to Wall Street. And health care should be a basic human right regardless of employment status.

But I agree with the article's general idea that social programs should be 100% universal and provided by the government rather than by the employer. As MMT is aware, taxes are not needed to "pay for" such programs, only to throttle aggregate demand if the economy overheats.

Kalecki would point out that the ruling class will oppose a universal safety net because the ruling class does not want workers to be comfortable and secure.