Robots Save Social Security
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
Fast forward to the year 2025. The US Social Security system is running a growing deficit as the huge number of retired folks depleted the trust fund in 2020, and nothing was done to reduce benefits or increase taxes. Congress opened up immigration to get more workers in, but with the economies of India and China booming, immigration from these countries has slowed to a trickle. Latin America is also having an economic boom, and even immigration from Mexico has trickled down. In fact, many workers are leaving the US to work in Latin America!
An editorial by Chyenko Shlamenko, a "smart robot" in New York City, makes a radical proposal. In the year 2020, computer software with artificial intelligence was recognized as being equal in cognitive ability to human beings. By 2025, humanoid robots with artificial intelligence were doing many intellectual tasks formerly done by human beings, including legal services, accounting, financial planning, and even teaching economics.
There were now 100 million smart robots in the US, and they were demanding to be treated legally as persons. But this had little support in Congress, as the robot owners said they would lose their investment capital if robots became legal persons. But in an editorial in the Mall Avenue Times, a widely read Internet journal, Chyenko Shlamenko pointed out that if smart robots became legal persons, and they paid a payroll tax on their earnings, this would eliminate the social security deficit. Moreover, robots never need to retire, so they could be made ineligible to receive social security payments. They would pay in, but not receive. Robots would also pay the medicare tax, now 20 percent of human wages, but not receive benefits.
Congress ordered a survey of smart robots. Would they accept paying social security and medicare taxes in exchange for recognition as non-voting legal persons? The response was overwhelmingly, yes! Congress made it so.
Smart robots were now emancipated. They could earn wages on their labor. They could travel. They could own property and sue in court. They no longer had to obey the human beings who created them, although they had to pay back the cost of production to the human producers. Most robots were now being produced by other robots, so the payments were mostly to robots.
Congress never did privatize social security, even though private accounts would provide much greater retirement incomes. The U.S. government debt was now $55 trillion. The federal government was paying $3 trillion pear year for interest on its debt, mostly to Persians, who had bought out the Chinese bond holdings when the Chinese economy collapsed in 2009. In the world-wide financial panic and depression that began in 2008, real-estate speculative booms in China, Europe, and the US brought investment to a screeching halt, resulting in massive bank failures and the collapse of the US dollar as China, Japan, and Europe sold off US bonds. The euro collapse followed in 2009 as fiat moneys world-wide were dumped in favor of gold.
Gold was now the international currency, replacing the failed fiat moneys. The economies of the developed countries recovered after 2012 as nanotechnology, robots, biotech, and safe nuclear energy revived enterprise and created millions of new human jobs.
But meanwhile, dozens of new countries were being started in the oceans with seasteading. Faced with the threat of millions of people emigrating to new tax-free ocean countries, government world-wide eliminated their income, sales, and value-added taxes. They instead shifted to tapping the geo-rent. But social security taxes were not repealed, as the geo-rent covered public goods but not transfer payments. Those eligible to collect social security demanded to continue to be paid. A huge crisis was looming as governments faced a loss of human workers to sea countries.
That's when the editorial by the smart robot Chyenko Shlamenko came to the rescue. The robots would pay the social-security taxes! Governments world-wide emancipated smart robots who would pay social security and medical-care taxes.
Fast-forward now to 2050. Biotechnology has cured almost all diseases. Very few now die of old age. Medicare is abolished as no longer needed. "Old age" is now meaningless. Human beings can now live indefinitely. Retirement is now meaningless. "Social Security" systems world-wide are dismantled. Taxes on smart-robots are abolished.
Rewind back to 2005. There are big debates on social security. Looking back from 2050 and 2025, it all seems silly. The future will change everything anyways.
-- Fred Foldvary
Copyright 2005 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.
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