21st Century Social Security Idea

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In the U.S., the aging population that receives a large share social security funds is ballooning due to the influx of retiring “baby boomers”. At the same time, the numbers of young adults in the workforce is declining, as a result of a variety of factors including the increasing use of automation to enhance production. As this technological evolution increasingly displaces jobs that would otherwise by manned by a human workforce, the source of social security funding becomes less secure.

I submit for consideration that installed automation that removes a job that would otherwise be done by a human, be subject to an hours-based FICA. This means that if an employer seeks to streamline their production via a robot or related automation, then they still have to pay their share of FICA into the system just as if they had a human doing the job. Robots/tech that are individually overseen by a human while they are in action are exempt, as they would then be classified as tools, not technological workers. As a result, the employer doesn’t get a completely free ride, but they do get to have their (mostly) reliable & tireless drone who otherwise works only for power and maintenance calls. Yes, the displaced employee(s) still gets screwed, but the impact to the social security system’s feedback loop is lessened. In fact, with the increase in participants paying into the system, the individual tax rate might actually decrease.

There are, of course, any number of ways you can game this. It’s also not necessary completely fair in all cases or in all industries. Even so, if it’s not suggested, it can’t be refined.


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