Here’s a program that can help The Donald fulfill two of his campaign promises: fewer illegal immigrants and a more level playing field for U.S. labor vis-à-vis foreign competition.
Provide $20K in non-transferable vouchers to all 18+ U.S. citizens not receiving Social Security. The vouchers discount the cost of the employee to their employers by $20K.
Pay for these vouchers with a special full-employment tax levied on every company doing business in USA (including foreign firms).
The program overall is tax neutral: voucher reimbursements equal tax payments. The only excess receipts are small monies collected to administer the program.
The program gives U.S. citizens a $20K yearly advantage in the marketplace vis-à-vis their competitors. Recall the competition for U.S. labor:
- Resident and illegal aliens
- Imported products built with low-cost labor
The cost- benefit hurdle for a building a fully automated McD, eliminating all its entry-level jobs, just got higher.
Rules for Businesses
The secret sauce for this program is in the structure of the full-employment tax. Here are some key provisions:
- Taxes must be tailored by industry, with no structural disadvantage to foreign firms doing business in the U.S.
- Taxes must be tied to business assets not easily removed from U.S. soil
- The tax mandate must include protections against the demands of special interests (e.g., labor unions, environmentalists, corporate welfare-ists)
We know the total tax burden for the program (# citizens x $20K). How do we spread this burden across businesses? We don’t want the Federal government deciding who could or should hire more employees.
We want businesses to set their own collective tax burden by bidding against each other based on their ability to switch to or augment their U.S. citizen labor force participation.
At the beginning of each year businesses have a chance to subscribe to the entire upcoming issuance of vouchers. A subscription subtracts in the form of taxes owed and returns in the form of voucher reimbursements.
Tax owed per voucher may vary, as needed to help clear the market, so this could potentially be a money maker in some high-labor industries.
As an employer I will definitely subscribe for my planned labor force. I will mostly subscribe for work where I’m can confidently substitute U.S. citizen labor. I will often subscribe for at least some workers where they can be had for less than or equal to the reimbursement rate (e.g., I’ll have them greet customers if nothing else).
But I will subscribe, or risk losing reimbursement for the vouchers of my employees, which are non-transferable. The total tax burden will be allocated and it’s better to be subscribed than to risk receiving an unsubscribed tax bill.
Rules for Employees
Voucher recipients are ineligible for other Federal government handouts. This reduces the temptation for employer-employee collusion where both feign work in exchange for nominal payments for the voucher. Employees must have incentives to find the highest bidders for their vouchers.
It’s okay for employers to demand vouchers from existing employees. It’s okay for employers to pay less in wages than $20K for vouchers if that’s what the labor market will bear.
There are hundreds of other issues (e.g., how to not game the system, the penalties of Obamacare, detailed rules for transferability), but in general the concept is sound. We allow business to avoid new taxes by looking very closely for opportunities to use U.S. citizens in the provision of their products and services.
What Senior Care facility can’t use a few more helping hands?