A subject submitted from readership:
We live in a time of a changing economy. Computers, and the internet in particular, are drastically changing the employment opportunities that are out there. Nothing has had this much effect on our society since the internal combustion engine.
Thousands, maybe millions, of jobs are simply ceasing to exist due to a combination of: functions being automated, businesses no longer serving any purpose, and older workers' job skills becoming obsolete.
The response to a changing world is often one of despair (accounting for much of the panic we see and hear these days), but it could as easily be seen as a time of enormous opportunity.... for every buggywhip maker and stablehand who was put out of work by the internal combustion engine, there were probably a hundred "new" jobs created.
I see the current economy as an entrepreneurial economy. New opportunities are being created, but we do not know what they are until they happen. We need to expedite the generation of these new ideas by economic policies that encourage entrepreneurship.
Instead, what we have is a punitive Self Employment Tax. I have learned about that first hand. To be fair, I am not one of those innovative minds creating the jobs of the future. I am just on old guy who hit retirement age, and does not feel like retiring.
I like to work. That is what I do for fun. Unfortunately, for my age group, the only job opportunities seem to be "greeter at Walmart." So I decided to turn one of my hobbies into a job; the challenge being to make more than I would have made as a greeter at Walmart.
I succeeded the first year. I made a little more than I would have made as a greeter at Walmart.... Then the Self Employment Tax took half of it. The second year the business more than doubled. I made about the same amount as a young professional, right out of college.... Then Self Employment Tax took a third of it.
Now, this is not a huge deal in my situation. I just have to dip into my retirement to pay for the privilege of working... and wonder why I don't just sign up for Social Security and wait for my check like everyone else? However, if I were a bright young man, with an innovative mind, the Self Employment Tax could well prevent me from successfully starting a business that might some day provide a lot of employment opportunities.
So, I cast a critical eye on our so-called conservatives in congress... including, maybe especially, the ones from here in Tennessee, and I ask myself why issues like this get zero attention. Could they not find time, between their important jobs of hindering the nation because they do not like the President, doling out largess to huge corporations, pandering to the hidebound old people who are afraid of changing times, and trying to codify their religious beliefs into law; to address things like the Self Employment Tax?
How hard could it be? Maybe they could set a cutoff for earnings before the Self Employment Tax is exacted. Or, maybe they could allow for a certain number of years before it was applied?
This does not seem like an expensive, nor a particularly difficult issue to address.... if our elected officials would assign it half the importance they give to interfering in people's personal lives.