Market Mad House

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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America needs to pay a Dividend

America needs to pay a dividend to its citizens because most of them are receiving little or nothing in exchange in their investment in the nation.

If the United States of America were a stock, I could not recommend it; because the USA offers a lousy return on investment (ROI) to average citizens. For example, the US Census Bureau estimates the 2017 Median Household Income in the USA was $61,372 a year.

When I divide $61,372 by 2.53; Statista’s 2018 estimate for the average number of people in an American household, I get a median individual income estimate of $24,258 a year. Consequently, many Americans make less than $25,000 a year.

Note: most estimates of the Real Median Personal Income in the United States are higher but still dismal. For example, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis estimates the average American make $31,099 in 2016. A little better than my estimate but still a pittance.

Americans are not Making Enough Money

Such results are pathetic for a country with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $21.063 trillion. To clarify, the Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis estimates the US GDP for 1st Quarter 2019 at $21.063 trillion. Moreover, America’s GDP grew from $20.041 trillion in 1st Quarter 2018.

America is making more money than ever but most Americans never see that money. In fact, I estimate America’s 2017 individual per capita income at $53,128.54. To explain, the per capita income is the amount of the GDP the average American could receive if we paid the Gross Domestic Product evenly to all Americans.

America is making more money than ever but most Americans never see that money. In fact, I estimate America’s 2017 individual per capita income at $53,128.54. To explain, the per capita income is the amount of the GDP the average American could receive if we paid the Gross Domestic Product evenly to all Americans.

Tellingly, America’s 2017 per capita household income could have been $134,415.Trading Economics estimates. In detail, I got the $53,128.54 by dividing $134,415 by 2.53; Statista’s average US Household size for 2017.

How America Rips Off Seniors

Thus, America sucks as an investment for average Americans. Moreover, specific groups get an even worse return on their “investment” in the United States.

Dramatically, a senior citizen who gave America a lifetime of hard work can expect an average monthly Social Security benefit of $1,348.21, the Social Security Administration estimates. Consequently, the average hard-working senior citizen can expect a Social Security income of $16,178.52 a year. Meanwhile, the average American couple will receive $32,357.04 a year from Social Security.

Thus, Social Security is a terrible deal for the average American. Retire after a lifetime of hard work and you end up working at Walmart (NYSE: WMT) or Amazon to pay the bills. Moreover, there are tens of millions of Americans who receive far less from Social Security thanks to the program’s arcane rules.

For instance, a person who has only Social Security will receive just $997; a month or $11,964 a year, in exchange for a lifetime’s work. Most recipients receive more because they also get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from Social Security. For the average retiree, no SSI means regular visits to the local food bank.

America is a Bad Investment for Most Americans

Sadly, seniors are just one of many groups being ripped off and short-changed in our current economy. Workers receive some of the worst return on their investment (ROI) in exchange for breaking their backs, sacrificing their time, and risking their lives and health on the job.

Disgustingly, the median income for an American man with a job in 2017 was $44,408 a year, the Census Bureau estimates. Meanwhile, the 2017 median income for a woman with a job was $31,610 a year.

Not surprisingly, 39.7 million Americans; 11.2% of the population, were living in poverty in 2017, the Census Bureau calculates. Pathetically, the number of poor Americans fell by a dismal 0.4% in 2017 despite “record economic growth.”

Frighteningly, America’s poverty rate could be higher than the Census Bureau’s estimate. Notably, 40.3 million Americans were receiving Food Stamps; the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2018, the Associated Press estimates. Thus, 40.3 million Americans did not have enough money to buy food in 2018.

America is an even Worse Investment for Black People

America is an even worse investment for black people, in the final analysis. Black Demographics estimates the median household income for an African American family in 2017 was $40,232 a year.

Nor are average Americans receiving much for their hard work. Black Demographics estimates the median income for a male black American worker in 2017 was $40,370 a year. Plus the average working African American woman earned $35,963 in 2017, Black Demographics calculates.

Thus African Americans get paid little for putting up with a constant diet of racism, discrimination, and disrespect. An honest investment adviser would tell the average black person to stay away from America.

How to Make America Pay for Average Americans

Fortunately, we can make American pay for all Americans by paying every U.S. citizen a “dividend.”

Many companies reward shareholders by paying a percentage of their income to each stockholder in the form of a dividend. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) shareholders received a 77₵ dividend on May 16, 2019, for example.

America could pay every citizen a dividend in the form of a monthly cash payment, or guaranteed basic income. Uncle Sam could get the dividend money through a wealth tax or a Value-Added Tax (VAT).

Interestingly, the state of Alaska usually pays each of its citizens such a dividend from the Alaska Permanent Fund. In detail, Alaska taxes oil and mineral revenues and deposits the proceeds in the Permanent Fund. Once a year, each Alaskan receives the dividend.

Currently, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R-Matanuska-Susitna) proposes a dividend of over $4,000 a year, The Anchorage Daily News reports. Dunleavy, a Republican, wants to repay Alaska citizens permanent fund money they did not receive in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Make Big Tech Pay Americans a Dividend

They created the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend to pay Alaskans a percentage of the state’s oil windfalls in the 1980s. Today, America faces a similar windfall today average Americans do not receive.

For instance, the digital economy could account for 6.5% of US GDP; or $1.325 trillion in 2019, the Brookings Institution estimates. Yet the only “benefit” many Americans get from the digital economy is the ability to play Angry Birds while standing in line at the food bank.

Meanwhile, the US technology market could be worth $1.668 trillion in 2019, and that market is growing at a rate of 5.5% a year, Forrester Research estimates. Yet the purchasing power of the average American’s wage is essentially the same as it was in 1979, Pew Research claims.

Ironically, American taxpayers financed the creation of Silicon Valley and the Tech industry in the form of grants, Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, defense contracts, and other government spending, venture capitalist Vitaly M. Golomb admits. Today, however, those taxpayers lose their jobs to technology; while Big Tech and its investors pay little or no taxes.

Moreover, Pew estimates the amount of benefits; wages, bonuses, salaries, stock options, etc., American businesses pay to employees grew by 22.5% between 2001 and 2018. However, wages and salaries only grew by 5.3%, therefore economic growth is not benefiting workers.

America must Pay Workers a dividend

We can rectify this disconnect by taxing Big Tech, Big Oil, Wall Street, and other high-profit industries. Then paying the difference out to all citizens in the form of a basic income we can call a “dividend.”

I call the basic income a dividend because it will be something we will entitle all Americans to. Interestingly, the fairest way to pay the dividend is to give a lump sum to every citizen regardless of age, race, employment status, government benefits, or income. Thus every American will receive the dividend.

A good; but far from perfect example, of such a basic income is insurgent Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang’s (D-New York) Freedom Dividend. Effectively, Yang proposes paying most Americans a $1,000 a month basic income.

Yang wants to finance the Freedom Dividend with a 10% Value Added Tax (VAT). Essentially, a VAT is a 10% tax on all revenue businesses and individuals earn on all transactions. VATs are popular with governments because they are hard to evade and raise cash from all sectors of the economy.

Disney (NYSE: DIS) could pay a VAT when it produces a movie, when it shows the movie in theaters, and when they sell movie through Hulu or Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLIX), for instance. The companies; and people, that sell Disney goods and services; such as Robert Downey Jr, will pay the VAT on those transactions.

How a Cash Dividend Can Help Americans

Unfortunately, there are some serious gaps in Yang’s proposal. The candidate tells The Breakfast Club he will not pay the dividend to children; it begins at 18, and to persons receiving Social Security.

Consequently, Yang’s Freedom Dividend will not reach those who need it most. Yang even told Joe Rogan he will deduct the cost of Food Stamps from the poor’s Freedom Dividends.

Given, those admissions, Yang’s Freedom Dividend will be a terrible deal for the poor, senior citizens, and families with children. Additionally, I think it will be impossible for Yang to win a single primary when older Americans discover how the candidate plans to shortchange them. I predict Yang will change his mind about Social Security and the Freedom Dividend after seeing a few polls.

All Americans need the Freedom Dividend

However, we can easily fix Yang’s scheme by paying the Freedom Dividend to every citizen regardless of benefits or age. We could pay children’s Freedom Dividends to their parents or guardians, for example. Plus, every Social Security recipient will receive a “raise” of $1,000 a month.

Finally, we could reduce the cost of programs; like Food Stamps, because many people will no longer need them. My guess is that many recipients will drop out of traditional welfare programs when they realize they can get cash without dealing with bureaucracy, paperwork, or social workers.

We need to consider paying every American a dividend because the United States is a lousy investment for the average citizen.

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