Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
It might be better to just get another gerbil.

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Unemployed politicians

Pay them a lifetime stipend so we don't have to
  (+1, -5)
(+1, -5)
  [vote for,

Compared to many business leaders, politicians are not paid enough.

The idea is to provide a lifetime annual stipend to former politicians, with the proviso that they can never work for pay again.

It's true some politicians might just take larger donations to reach higher and higher political office, ad infinitum.

But within the confines of term limits and reasonable exceptions for politicians changing political positions, I feel certain most politicians would honor a system restricting their future salaries.

4and20, Aug 22 2012

How to fix the economy http://www.business...tion_ref_map=%5B%5D
Relevant. [RayfordSteele, Aug 22 2012]


       // I feel certain most politicians would honor a system //   

       OK … so, by your reckoning, the ideal candidate to guard a lettuice would be a rabbit?   

       Not sure how this is a benefit- why keep paying them, rather than just sending them to landfill?
8th of 7, Aug 22 2012

       Toxic pollution control paperwork for that would be a nightmare. Perhaps Yucca Mountain?
RayfordSteele, Aug 22 2012

       The proviso is insufficient. I would suggest that it be beefed up so that the politican is prevented from communicating directly with another human being ever again. Communication through animal intermediaries would be OK, I guess.
calum, Aug 22 2012

       the real mistake is in not paying politicians enough.
theircompetitor, Aug 22 2012

       Because greed has limits?   

       I think rather the real mistake is in our overcompensated executives and faulty board oversight.
RayfordSteele, Aug 22 2012

       Re: [link] -- perhaps you could take a tax deduction for employees, like children, but on a sliding scale which maxes out well short of the top incomes. Imagine how much the government would save by deducting politicians.
4and20, Aug 22 2012

       how will you keep the politician from getting another job?
Voice, Aug 22 2012

       [Voice] The same people who track down dole/welfare cheats?
4and20, Aug 22 2012

       I didn't know they did any work...
xandram, Aug 22 2012

       [8th] Lobbying and quid pro quo deterence.
4and20, Aug 22 2012

       Ray, the best and the brightest are already deterred from politics by the mud. Having to constantly beg people for money can't add to the fun.   

       As to executive pay or any other pay scheme, there's no "magic bullet" that can somehow be imposed from outside. And, companies have never before been run better, by comparatively fewer people -- this is not a trend that is going to change despite all the lamentations.
theircompetitor, Aug 22 2012

       [their] Yes, the world economy is a pocketful of poseys. Ashes, ashes...
4and20, Aug 22 2012

       The fundamental problem with democracy is that it is predicated on the assumption that the general population are capable of making meaningful judgements on complex issues. Regrettably, this is entirely incorrect.
8th of 7, Aug 22 2012

       It's one of those jobs which as soon as someone wants to do it you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they shouldn't be allowed to under any circumstance.
Phrontistery, Aug 23 2012

       Democracy works quite well in some countries. In others, neither the people nor the politicians are willing to be the technicians they should be. 2D graphs don't have 1D solutions, but somehow, technicians are blamed for this.
4and20, Aug 23 2012

       Unemployed politicians should be stripped of their assets, shaved, sterilised and pulped to dog food.
theleopard, Aug 23 2012

       What [theleopard] said.
8th of 7, Aug 23 2012

       To take the U.S. Congress as an easy but bad example, in 2011, 11,503 bills where considered over 140 days in session, for a rate of 82 bills/day, but a final total of 173 laws, including a new commemorative coin honoring baseball.   

       I don't know what to do with this except leave it, like fishbones for an overfed dog. It's satisfying to know that this is not the forum for politics.
4and20, Aug 23 2012

       Here's a start: fire any executive who considers Gordon Gekko his idol.
RayfordSteele, Aug 23 2012

       //Unemployed politicians should be stripped of their assets, shaved, sterilised and pulped to dog food.//   

       Don't you think that's a bit extreme? Dogs have pretty hearty immune systems, I don't think sterilizing their food is necessary.
doctorremulac3, Aug 25 2012

       It would be better for older dogs, and for puppies, both of which may be a little more vulnerable.   

       For healthy adult dogs, they could be fed fresh, live politicians. This would give them healthy exercise and a good supply of bones to gnaw on.   

       This could also be extended to zoo animals. Lions, tigers, wolves and even weasels could benefit, although a lot of weasels would be needed and the process would be quite slow. This is not however necessarily a disadvantage, and the spectacle of a politician being slowly devoured by a flock of weasels would be both gratifying and deliciously ironical, particularly for the weasels.   

       There would, however, need to be stringent safeguards to ensure that no animals are harmed. It may be necessary to stun the politicians electrically, or preferably by clubbing with a pickaxe handle. Or they could be trimmed to remove unwanted extremeties.
8th of 7, Aug 25 2012

       Ray, you persist in refusing to accept that greed is neither good nor evil. Instead, it is a natural phenomenon, like gravity, or evolution.   

       There's a reason laws like Prohibition (or the current drug war) are ultimately futile. They are attempting to stop the flow of water downhill. Even when you dam it, you run the risk of catastrophic floods.   

       The best way for self-aware entities to deal with nature, human or otherwise, is to learn to channel and manipulate those forces, not to expect to repeal them.   

       So channeling greed and fear is how public markets work, and yes, sometimes they go into localized maxima and minima -- that's part of the system.   

       Is Jobs Gekko, for having destroyed RIM and Nokia, Real Media, countless MP3 player companies and and now potentially on the way to if not destroying, then at least severely limiting the potential of Samsung and other Android manufacturers?   

       With Gekko or without, manufacturing will be nearly completely robotisized within 20 to 40 years, and the location of the factory will stop being dependent on near slave labor, whether the client is Apple or a local furniture "manufacturer". The Diamond Age is coming, you cannot stop it. You can only learn to swim better with the current and enjoy the view.
theircompetitor, Aug 25 2012

       People are greedy for personal value, often expressed as power, but money (coloured paper, electronic pixels, or whatever) is just a means.   

       Apple tries to produce a valueable product and their customers want to be associated with that value, but if the definition of what makes a person or company valueable were to change, as it so often does...
4and20, Aug 25 2012

       And likewise [tc], you persist on turning a blind eye to the huge disparity between executive payscales in the US versus everywhere else in the world that manage to get by without legal limitations.   

       And yes, greed is one of the seven deadly sins. In any resource-constrained environment, greed will ultimately wipe out a society.   

       I don't care when corporations die because they're killed off by superior products. I do care when people are treated like animals by said corporations. Jobs was all about the product and innovation, and he was well-rewarded. Gekko was all about money acquired by a lack of personal ethic.
RayfordSteele, Aug 25 2012

       // greed will ultimately wipe out a society //   

       Oh, we do hope so.   

       // when people are treated like animals by said corporations //   

       As opposed to people being treated like animals by unaccountable government agencies ?   

       At least corporations are "held to account" by their shareholders to return a dividend, even if it does mean turning humans into soap and grinding up their bones for phosphate. Sovereign governments are rather less constrained. Apart from the free labour, Auschwitz-Birkenau probably ran at a net loss.   

       // Gekko was all about money acquired by a lack of personal ethic. //   

       At least he was satisfied by money, rather than life-and-death power over others.
8th of 7, Aug 25 2012

       // At least he was satisfied by money, rather than life-and-death power over others. //   

       This sounds like the python you stuff with dead rats, and still it keeps strangling you.
4and20, Aug 26 2012

       In making comparisons between governments and corporations is there some insinuation that governments aren't ten times greedier than corporations? Corporations want money, governments want everything they can get their hands on. This includes being able to print, borrow or steal as much money as they want whenever they want but that's just the beginning. They want the power of the throne and everything that comes with it.   

       I guess governments promise complete salvation for the wretched which is why they're so popular. Corporate products promise one thing at at time, brighter teeth or a car with better gas milage. There's nothing governments won't promise and no evil they won't engage in once they're suckered the people into letting them have the keys to their country. In the last century "salvation" governments of Russia, China, Japan and Germany murdered a tenth of a billion innocent people. That's 5,000 Bhopal disasters. Corporations aren't without their evil people, but the idea that somehow a group of people who come together as a government are inherently more moral than a group of people who come together as a business doesn't hold up to review very well.
doctorremulac3, Aug 26 2012

       I do not turn a blind eye. I'm convinced, however, that it's hard to find a better motivator than self- interest -- and the intersection of those self- interest can and does create unpredictable results, "creative destruction" -- whether that is the best buggy whip vendor refusing to start building cars, or the auto union refusing to understand that defined benefit plans are going to destroy the source of his livelihood.   

       Whatever value judgement you put on private equity, Gekko is no more "entitled" to destroy the steel mill than its original owner -- but he is no less entitled to it, either, if he bought the shares. The "quirk" of private equity that makes that potential transaction attractive is a NECESSARY side effect of the ability of countless businesses to actually raise outside money and succeed. You can't have one, and then legislate against the other -- or otherwise money stops flowing. It simply cannot be done without doing much more damage to economic growth, and thus much more harm to future potential steel mill builders -- or their potential workers.   

       Back on topic, what you want is the best and the brightest in those roles. I do not suggest that money is the only criteria, by any means. But there's a reason why many of the brightest do go into finance -- it pays better. We can wring our hands and debate if we're teaching the best values to our kids. Or, we can start paying better for things that we think are more important -- like teaching, or other government service, including politics -- and believe me, that would be a much simpler, and more reliable strategy.
theircompetitor, Aug 26 2012

       I would gladly see unions disappear if the system of private investment also disappeared. I don't really have any big ideas for changing society, nor any forseeable intention to try, but what I would like to see are stock markets shut the fuck down. If there are to be any more investments made those will be done through banks, and people will recieve an honest return on their savings. You can wank to all the rational self interest in all the finance textbooks that you like, but when it really comes down to it, an egalitarian society is better than one with disgusting poverty, and grotesque wealth. Let the best and brightest make wonderful rational choice finance decisions for the rest, by investing everyones meager savings. Until then I wouldn't expect a single worker to work a single hour for a company that is causing the distribution of income to become more disparate. But that is rational self-interest in action at the bottom too, the worker decides to work, instead of resisting.
rcarty, Aug 26 2012

       Democratic governments can be voted out of office of course, subject to referendums, etc. They can also theoretically alter the behavior of corporations if it ever comes to that. If corporations want to open up their appointments and/or decisions to general, popular vote, this might also work.
4and20, Aug 26 2012

       One of the major problems of so-called "democratic" government is the huge disconnect between the elected leadership and the civil service.   

       In a commercial organisation, if a top manager screws up, he gets booted. Lower level managers also get booted. And above all, everyone knows that if the company folds, they lose their jobs. There's a continuous subtle pressure there.   

       But in politics, no matter what the colour or flavour of the administration, the civil servants carry on regardless. They have no vested interest in "success".   

       It would appear logical therefore to hire civil servants on fixed term contracts, and if the leadership changes, they don't get re-hired.
8th of 7, Aug 26 2012

       // if the leadership changes, they don't get re-hired. //   

       It's a great idea and puts the fish in the coffin of the original idea. If they're not paid off, you'd need a similar stadium of permanent staff just watching and waiting for any golden parachute landings, but I imagine they'd all have an amazing party.
4and20, Aug 26 2012

       //civil service//   

       Who's serving who? As a taxpayer I feel like I'm the servant to these people serving up ridiculous pensions that the private sector would never be able to support.   

       Put each and every government organization up for bid to private industry, yes, even some aspects of the military. If the bidder doesn't do the job, fire them and get somebody else who can. Of course some government organizations like the "Department of Education" would be a little hard to farm out because at some point the contractor would want to know exactly what it is they're actually supposed to achieve.   

       Having an actual function isn't a pre-requisite to many government agencies.
doctorremulac3, Aug 26 2012

       //an egalitarian society is better than one with disgusting poverty, and grotesque wealth.//   

       Yeah, yeah, whatever. Personally, I don't see disgusting poverty across the board as an improvement. People get so hung up on disparity of wealth rather than the true goal which should be eliminating poverty. I wouldn't get a warm glow of satisfaction saying "well, we are dirt poor but at least so is everyone else - so it's a good thing" any more than I'd weep for the only millionaire living on a street full of billionaires.   

       As for shutting down the stock market and forcing everyone's savings into the hands of the banks, I can only shake my head. I don't personally own any traded shares but know how important the market is to finance the economy.
AusCan531, Aug 26 2012

       //the true goal which should be eliminating poverty. // I think we're not doing badly on that front. Even Africa is slowly starting to lift itself up and China and India have a billion fewer in poverty in the last decade even with population growth.
Voice, Aug 26 2012

       //China and India have a billion fewer in poverty in the last decade even with population growth.//   

       Which happened immediately after they adopted free market economies and bailed on the Marxist, centralized government controlled models.   

       Ehh, probably just a coincidence. Marx did have a beard so he must have known what he was talking about.
doctorremulac3, Aug 26 2012

       8th, I don't know about that. Tying the careers of the technocrats to the politicians is simply going to feed the beast.   

       [tc], blah blah blah, I've heard it all before. It still doesn't get you past the simple truth that there are and have been successful businesses run by executives and investors all throughout history and in every corner of the world earning an order of magnitude less than 471 times base wage earner's pay.   

       The culture of high finance needs to change.   

       Gekko got his money through compromised ethics, and that sort of greed we need less than a thneed.   

       If Marx is one bookend extreme, there must be another on the other end as well.   

       Anyway, read the article.
RayfordSteele, Aug 27 2012

       I don't think most people would need to be forced to put their money int othe hands of the banks, their money is already in the banks. Banks use that money for loans and investment. People's savings are already used for those purposes. The only thing I have proposed different is that the private stock trading has been abolished, so that private investors can't own part of the company a worker works for. All of the trading will be done by heavily regulated banks with everyone's money, and everyone will get an honest return on their money, which they don't now. The system of private enterprise can remain, and government will only regulate and tax as usual, but the stock market is gone.
rcarty, Aug 27 2012

       Marx might be one bookend extreme, but his points are still valid. Workers need to see more returns on their labour. The economy could be repaired if it starts to put more money into the hands of the average person. That means returning profits to the workers through investing their earned savings, rather than paying foreign investors and the extremely wealthy dividends. But average people can't be expected to invest their earned savings profitably. That has to be done by banks who are already investing their money, but only returning marginal amounts. By shutting the stock exchange down, and putting all financing through major financial institutions using everyone's money, then more equal wealth distribution could be possible. Workers' pension plans already invest workers' earned savings, and that money is reinvested in the economy, and allows aged workers a comfortable end of life. I see that as a lot of good. When I look at private investors, domestic and foreign, sucking the earnings from a company while average American workers are drowning in debt feeding and sheltering their families, I see that as a lot of evil.
rcarty, Aug 27 2012

       Much of my income comes from stock I own in my company. You're proposing to eliminate that.   

       The idea your suggesting is called a mutual fund with the exception that everybody would have to put their money into these mutual funds that they'd have no control over, control being given to the banks. I don't see what this solves except eliminating the financial engine that drives new enterprise and giving a hell of a lot of control to banks.   

       //When I look at private investors, domestic and foreign, sucking the earnings from a company while average American workers are drowning in debt feeding and sheltering their families, I see that as a lot of evil.//   

       These investors bought stock, it wasn't free. Are you proposing that rich people not be allowed to invest their money? So what do they do with it, put it in a mattress? If private investment money is taken out of the economy how do you think that will effect it? I want rich people to spend and invest their money. That way other people can benefit from it.   

       It's ok to hate the rich I guess, but a better way to get even with them is to educate yourself, work hard and better your station in life. And don't vote for politicians who will put you in debt. As an American, my share of the national debt, something I didn't want to buy into is $140,000. My nine year old's is $50,000. The rich didn't do this to me, politicians did. Wanna help the poor? Get rid of socialist governments (of any party) that run up this kind of debt and leave the private sector alone. And don't support politicians that take taxpayer money and bailout private sector companies that were too stupid to survive on their own. And if you don't like the stock market, don't buy stocks, but don't be jealous of people who make money by investing in it. The car you drive, the computer you use, the phone you make calls on were all funded at one time by the stock market.
doctorremulac3, Aug 27 2012

       Those statements are merely a reflection of my general attitudes regarding the issues. They were made with the full realization that they were being posted on a website for halfbaked ideas. I'm just throwing stuff out there as I wait for noodles to boil. Am I jealous? Maybe, who cares, I feel lots of feelings. I care just as much about your livelihood, as you do about mine, none at all. That's true, but it's still wrong. Government has to get involved to keep people from being bastards to eachother. No more stock exchange, banks handle all investment, everyones money is invested the same, everyone gets the same return.
rcarty, Aug 27 2012

       //I care just as much about your livelihood, as you do about mine, none at all//   

       I care a great deal about you and everybody else having a livelihood. Why would I want to live in a society that's causing people to suffer from un- employment especially if I can do something to help?   

       What I do is what I think everybody else should do. I learn everything possible about how these things work to the best of my ability. In my studies I've found that there's things that work, and things that don't, both having lots and lots of examples. I suggest we continue doing things that have proved fruitful, and discontinue doing things that have proved detrimental. I also don't believe we need a radical and ingenious new approach. It's just not that complicated.
doctorremulac3, Aug 27 2012

       I'm glad you took over [doc]. Saved me a lot of typing and aggravation. I deal with banks on a weekly basis and I shudder to think how the economy would grind to a halt if they had to decide which business ventures got capital and which didn't.   

       By the way [rcarty] investors sometimes do get 'wealthy dividends' and sometimes they lose their money. I'm happy either way. Investing in a company isn't exploiting the workers - its providing them with the tools and equipment they need to do their jobs.
AusCan531, Aug 27 2012

       Good point AC.   

       Rcarty, as a peace offering, wanna enjoy a little schadenfreude? Just think of all those rich bastards that lost hundreds of millions in a matter of days with Facebook.   

       Hey, makes me feel good. Being a good capitalist doesn't mean you can't get great pleasure out of watching somebody dressed like the Monopoly man step out of his million dollar car and into a pile of dog doo.
doctorremulac3, Aug 27 2012

       I don't really care about money, never have. Yes, of course, to have lots of money is good. But lots of other things are good too, like peace of mind, and enjoying a comfortable life. You can't expect everyone to love money and pursue money the same. That's a factor that has nothing to do with ability, or whether they deserve money or not. Some people are just not going to have a lot of money because that's not what's important to them. I'd rather just have rest, than stupidly work to afford it. Rest doesn't cost anyone anything, and the meagre demands of a restful fellow shouldn't belabour anyone too greatly. I don't want my rest disturbed by worries about how much or how little I have or someone else has. But there are some people out there that are quite concerned about that I have noticed.
rcarty, Aug 27 2012

       People aren't solely motivated by money. Furthermore, once a certain level of prosperity is achieved, it drops significantly down the list.   

       Having the banks run everything like some distributed communistic work-assignment is simply silly; give me that kind of structure and I'll go start my own bank, in my own country perhaps.   

       Skip that generation of development, and I think your company stock would take a serious hit.
RayfordSteele, Aug 27 2012

       > by skipping a product generation, we can all take a year off without any impact on the global economy.   

       A year's progress is 200,000,000 people lifted out of poverty, a 30% improvement in processor speed, a 20% improvement in storage capacity, an innovative type of 3-D printer, 200 new toys, and 10,000 influential research papers on everything from biology to history.   

       Are you sure you want to forgo that?
Voice, Aug 27 2012

       If we dumped the bloated government and let people keep their money a three day work week would be about all we need.   

       Somewhat off topic I'd like to say something about Karl Marx the "man". This loser was the king of useless bums sponging off his benefactor Friedrich Engels who was in turn supported by a rich father. In what was eerily prescient of the useless "promise everything, deliver nothing and cost a lot" government bureaucracies he inspired, he promised his benefactors he'd write Das Kapital in months that turned into years that turned into a gravy train that spanned a good chunk of his life. He's the patron saint of useless bums sponging off other people's hard work.   

       I'm really beginning to think society would be well served if we went back through history and wrote off everything written by men with beards as pure nonsense. (Except Darwin)   

       I've discussed this theory before and I understand it's incredibly unpopular so no need to go over old ground.   

       And I agree with what Voice said.
doctorremulac3, Aug 27 2012

       ...and to stick with the Mammoth killing analogy, which is great because I hate woolly mammoths, Marx come up with a woolly mammoth killing plan that got every single hunter who tried it killed, yet we still see people saying "Hey, let's do this thing where we try to climb up the mammoth's butt while he's sleeping and kill him from the inside! The guy who came up with the idea has a beard so you know he's smart!"
doctorremulac3, Aug 27 2012

       Well, there goes Aristotle, Plato, and all of Lincoln's writings.
RayfordSteele, Aug 27 2012

       I'd dump Plato. If you really need a beard in your philosophy I think Socrates probably had one.   

       I also think Lincoln could have freed the slaves without killing off a pretty big chunk of the population. England freed the slaves without killing everybody south of a particular latitude in their country so why couldn't we have done it that way?   

       Ok, time to get off the computer chat and go do something useful.
doctorremulac3, Aug 27 2012

       Thats an excellent example of economic restructuring.
rcarty, Aug 27 2012

       I don't know why we should expect to work less. That model must be flawed in some fashion. In an environment with fixed resources but growing demands, there comes a point where outworking the competition in order to get marginally the same equivalent reward as previously won seems the new norm. In the championship economic race where everyone's car has been souped up, any sucker who takes their foot off the gas for a moment, (let alone only works 3 days), gets passed. Just like Marx and most uncompromising idealogues, Ayn Rand seemingly could not see the extent of where her utopia would eventually, ultimately lead.   

       Ah yes, royalist England, bastion of democracy...
RayfordSteele, Aug 27 2012

       The other end to Marx? blah all you want, but you still don't understand. That's like saying the other end to f=ma. It's not a matter of opinion. You can have all the opinion you want. But you can't repeal greed.
theircompetitor, Aug 27 2012

       Sure you can, with little things called humility and charity. Revolts and demonstrations happen when these things get too far out of balance.   

       I do understand, but I don't buy it. I've read Rand cover to cover, and I understand the business line hook, line, and sinker because I live it daily in a politically-charged industry where efficiency ideals are bandied about but waste runs rampant nevertheless.   

       When you start to explain the disparity between here and the rest of the world in executive pay rates, then I'll start to listen again. Until then, don't bother.
RayfordSteele, Aug 28 2012

       //Unemployed politicians should be stripped of their assets, shaved, sterilised and pulped to dog food.//

I have to disagree. Unemployed politicians are the best kind. You don't want them actually doing stuff.
DrBob, Aug 28 2012

       Yes! We should be focusing on the ones who are actively politicking. They are the ones to be pulped and mulched.
calum, Aug 28 2012

       I'm all for Boards and shareholders holding executives accountable. And I'm certainly not for "club" executives that jump from lilypad to lilypad and getting paid for running their companies into the ground. But there's already a mechanism that addresses it, and that's share price. And employees are not indentured servants -- they are entirely free to desert a sinking ship.
theircompetitor, Aug 28 2012

       That mechanism seems to be failing.
RayfordSteele, Aug 28 2012


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle