Bill Gates recently called for a tax on robots that take jobs from humans. Does this proposal have merit?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent– Taxing robots certainly has merit for the government, which relies on taxing humans to feed its spending addiction.

It’s presumed a corporation that employs robots will be responsible for paying the robot tax. How will that be assessed if robots don’t receive compensation similar to what human employees receive? Should it be based on the robots’ productivity? And how should those tax dollars be spent? It makes the most sense to spend robot taxes on displaced workers who can’t find jobs because of automation. However, anyone who believes that government will faithfully dedicate all collected robot taxes to helping displaced workers, there is still plenty of swampland for sale in Florida. Continue reading

Would Eliminating Taxes be Disastrous for Society?

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Eliminating taxes will likely not happen as there will be tax shifts to make up for any termination of state or federal income taxes. If taxes are done away with, there will always be replacements through other sources of revenue.

If alternative sources were to be eliminated, there likely would be negative consequences but with many states currently proposing tax shifts, there will be replacements offered that will, in the long run, compare to the cost of taxes. People will challenge the productivity of the alternatives, but if they know that the tax replacement will help the infrastructures of their states, the alternative to state income taxes might be an easier pill to swallow. With state and federal entities needing monies to support the state and federal decline in infrastructure, any impending doom will be absorbed by individual taxpayers who share most of the burdens anyway. Continue reading

The Federal Reserve finally ended their zero-interest-rate stance after about seven years. Will rising interest rates cause a recession in the next year or two?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent– The U.S. economy has been chugging along at a slow-to-moderate pace since the current recovery began back in 2009 after the Great Recession ended. Part of the reason for that steady growth and lack of volatility in the stock market must be chalked up to historically low interest rates. Rising interest rates may precipitate a recession, but that’s not a certainty. Continue reading

Symposium 2016: Minimum wage laws were passed in a number of states during the last election to raise the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, and a national campaign has been initiated to institute a $15 an hour minimum. Will these increases be detrimental to jobs and job security?

Myrtle Beach, SC Correspondent- Will it hurt job security? I would say probably. Here is the issue here, rather than paying their workers a higher dollar amount some companies will probably just automate their process more. Companies who can’t afford to automate will either pay the going rate, slim down their company, put more people on salary and work them harder, or close. There are too many scenarios here. Continue reading

Will the Middle Class Become a Thing of the Past in the United States?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Much hand wringing has been done over the fact that the middle class in America seems to be shrinking. The richest one percent widens its income gap over the rest of us. A few lucky or hard-working or entrepreneurial souls claw their way toward the top from poverty or the depths of the middle class. But most people who grew up in middle-class homes in the 80s, 90s, and 00s seem to be struggling with wage stagnation, excessive student debt, housing prices that put a serious strain on incomes, and a diminishing number of higher-paying jobs blamed more or less equally on automation and global competition.

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Statistics released from the Labor Department report that over 94 million Americans are either out of work or underemployed. How can this crisis be solved and out-of-work Americans returned to the job force?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-In the long run, the unemployment/underemployment crisis will resolve itself because Baby Boomers, the largest demographic group in the country, are retiring at an increasing rate. Their positions will be filled by younger workers as all generations after the Boomers move up a notch in the workforce.

The real crisis is in the short term—the next five years or so. Training is the big issue. New jobs are being created due to new technology, but schools can’t possibly be at the forefront of training because they are slow-moving dinosaurs with regard to responding to what employers and the marketplace want and need for job skills. Continue reading

Should Wal-Mart, Amazon.com, Fed-Ex/UPS or another large US-based company acquire the United States Postal Service?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-Efficiency experts, business mavens, delivery brain trusts and thousands of others have for years been kicking around the idea of privatizing the United States Postal Service (USPS). Proponents point to things like charter schools, which in some instances have far outstripped the performance of their traditional public school counterparts. Continue reading

Election 2016 Round Table Discussion: With the economy and jobs being two of the hottest interrelated issues of the 2016 campaign, what will be the solutions to bolstering a stagnant economy and returning Americans to work?

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-The solutions to bolstering a stagnant economy and returning Americans to work lie in the reestablishment of a number of institutions and policy approaches that will strengthen the economy and return Americans to work.

With the number of businesses, companies, corporations and organizations leaving America in record numbers and corporate tax rates remaining at high levels, the demand for lower waged workers, and lower priced products and services have driven significant numbers of companies and jobs overseas. In addition, jobs have disappeared or have been significantly diminished to the point that entire industrialized sectors of the American economy have been driven out of existence. Continue reading

Some members of the Congress want to allow the USPS to engage in financial services and banking. Is this really a good idea?

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Postal controversies have been brewing in one way or another since financial inefficiency and deficits have become part of the post office’s legacy for a number of years, so whether the USPS should be allowed to expand upon its existing financial services and possible banking services is questionable.   Continue reading