• Mr. Steven J. Muehler

Steve Muehler's Plan for Social Guaranteed Income

Updated: Apr 23


In the last ten to fifteen years, the growth of technology and globalization have combined to eliminate a large number of jobs in the United States, and millions of jobs in advanced industrial countries, leaving many “blue collar works” and many lower-income to middle-income workers scrambling to find work, many in new industries and/or at reduced wages. If you believe the talk throughout the technology communities, robots and intelligent software are quickly becoming so advanced and sophisticated that they are about to claim millions more jobs, leaving more people without jobs and even less jobs available for us Humans. The time has come for the United States to strongly consider a Guaranteed Income for all of its citizens.


My plan for a Federal Guaranteed Income is loosely based on Mr. Charles Murray’s proposal for eliminating all social welfare programs and substituting an annual $10,000 cash income to qualifying American citizens. Whereas Mr. Murray proposes a $10,000 annual income to all Americans, my plan is for an annual income of $10,000 to $25,000 per year to “Qualifying Citizens”. My plan also includes some concepts of the Alaska Permanent Fund, which is funded by investments from state oil revenues, and sends annual dividend checks to the state’s residents.


The key reason why residents of the United States needs to seriously consider a Federal Guaranteed Income Program for all its citizens is very easy….. Automation is taking over the low-income and middle-income jobs.


Automation, which includes both mechanized robots (whether humanoid or drone-shaped) and artificially intelligent software programs, are predicted to eliminate 6% of the jobs in the United States over the next five years, and it is not just low-wage employees that need to be worried. Highly skilled, knowledge-based employees in some sectors, including legal and accounting, could see their jobs decimated in the next decade. Deloitte estimates that 39% of the jobs in the legal sector could be automated in the next ten years. Separate research has concluded that accountants have a 95% chance of losing their jobs to automation in the future.


It is not just professionals in the legal and accounting sectors that will see jobs disappear due to automation. Knowledge workers, retail, and manual laborers will see their job prospects decline. Here are eight examples:


Insurance Underwriters and Claims Representatives: The effects of automation on the insurance industry are already being felt. Many insurance claims representative positions have already been replaced by AI systems. The AI Software programs can analyze and interpret client data, including understanding text, images, audio, and video better and faster than a human can, and can drastically reduce the time needed to calculate payouts.


Bank Tellers & Representatives: First it was the ATM that ate into human banking jobs, then the smartphone app. It is likely that many of the remaining human teller and banking representative jobs will be finished off by AI over the next few years.


Financial Analysts: Once thought indispensable to a company, keen-eyed financial analysts could spot a trend before it happened, allowing investment managers to adjust their portfolios and potentially make millions, if not billions, of dollars. But human financial analysts can no longer compete with Artificial intelligent financial analysis software that can read and recognize trends in historic data to predict future market moves.


Construction Workers: Manual labor jobs are also under threat by automation. Robotic bricklayers will soon be introduced to construction sites that enable the machines to replace two to three human workers each. Semi-Automated Mason (“SAM”) can lay up to 1,200 bricks per day, compared to the 300 to 500 a human can do. Other on-site construction jobs, such as crane operators and bulldozer drivers can also expect to see their positions filled by AI-controlled machines in the next 5-10 years.


Inventory Managers and Stocking Persons: The supermarket employee restocking the goods in the aisle may soon be no longer a person. As robots become more advanced, they are capable of performing actions that previously required a pair of eyeballs, such as managing inventory on a store shelf. One such robot is called “Tally”, is designed to audit shelves for out-of-stock items, misplaced items, and pricing errors. Tally can roam the aisles and use multiple sensors to scan store shelves, alerting human staff to its findings.


Checkers at the local shopping market: This segment is already shrinking with self-checkout lines, and with Amazon’s Checkerless Supermarkets called Amazon-Go. It is estimated that within five years, the human checkout will long be a thing of the past.


Farmers: Farmers are being replaced by artificially intelligent robots that can do everything from milk cows, drive farming equipment up and down the fields, and pull and wash lettuce. More than ONE MILLION of the United States farmhands could see their jobs replaced by intelligent machines that can do everything from weed cabbage to pick & clean apples.


Drivers: Traditional semi-truck, local courier and taxi drivers may really start feeling the pinch from autonomous vehicles in the next 5 to 10 years. Tesla is planning on rolling out autonomous semi-trucks in the next few years (driverless semi-trucks that have no restrictions on hours of driving will be a massive disrupter), and Tesla along with Uber, Lyft and Google have been road testing autonomous cars for the last few years now. Uber’s CEO has even publicly stated that its services would be a lot more inexpensive and its profits would be greater if you weren’t “paying for that dude driving the car”. It is expected that within the next ten years, the roads will be filled with self-driving semi-trucks, self-driving local courier vehicles and self-driving taxi services.


Manufacturing Workers: The political cry of “bring back manufacturing jobs” is going to be drowned out over the next ten years as most of these jobs are taken over by even more robots. Even China, the country where the majority of the world’s manufacturing jobs exist, will see its human manufacturing workforce depleted by robots in the near future, and that future is actually already upon us, as Foxconn, the manufacturer who makes iPhones and Xboxes, recently replaced 60,000 workers with robots.


Retail Sales: Not much to be said here, many of the items you used to buy at the mall or your local boutique have all moved online, leaving empty retail stores being repurposed for service providing companies (massage, martial arts, fitness, yoga, etc.), and taking with them many jobs.


Let’s not forget about Real Estate Agents and mortgage brokers, with online property listing sites and online mortgages, why pay those pesky commissions and brokerage fees. Website designers, even my blog site is a Wix site that I built by myself in less than an hour for less than twenty dollars, and I have zero years of any type of computer coding or website design education. Even the household dog is not safe to robots, my kids have “CHIP” the robot dog (it does everything a real dog does without the mess or the need to feed it, and we can turn him/her/it off whenever we want).


So, how does one fund a Federal Guaranteed Income program. Well, to understand the concept, you must first see government inefficiency at its best. The below programs were right for the times they were created, computers were new and scarce, there was no internet, and the rotary dial telephone with the very long cord was new technology. As we as a civilization have advanced, the programs that support its citizens need to advance as well.


  • The Federal Government spent about $980 BILLION in fiscal year 2015, and had tax expenditures for health care that totaled nearly $260 BILLION.

  • Of that,

  • Medicare claimed roughly $527 BILLION

  • Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Programs took about $353 BILLION

  • Veterans’ Medical Care about $61 BILLION

  • Subsidies for the Affordable Care Act health Insurance Exchanges about $41 BILLION.

  • Of the $260 Billion in tax expenditures, about 60% came from the exclusion from taxable income of employers’ contributions for medical insurance premiums and medical care.

  • According to HUD, a homeless person costs taxpayers $40,000. According to Reuters, there are more than 500,000 people homeless in the United States. The cost is an estimated $20 BILLION per year to the Federal & State Governments.

  • There are 323 Million Americans, of which:

  • Approximately 24% are under the age of 18 years.

  • Approximately 36.5% are 18 to 44 years of age.

  • Approximately 26.4% are 45 to 64 years of age.

  • Approximately 13.1% are over the age of 65.


Welfare programs are government subsidies to the poor. That means recipients must prove their income falls below a target, usually some percentage of the Federal Poverty Level. In 2017, that number was $24,600 for a family of four. Understanding this number is a key, as $25,000 annually will be the maximum (Tier One) a Citizen will be allowed to receive through my proposed Federal Guaranteed Income program.


There are six major U.S. Welfare programs.

  1. TANF

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Most refer to the program as “Welfare”. On average, it provided income to 2.8 MILLION recipients in 2016, and paid out approximately $16.5 BILLION.

  1. Medicaid

  • Discussed in the above paragraphs.

  1. Food Stamps

  • As of July 2017, 42.6 Million Americans were receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (Food Stamps). The cost to the Federal Government for Food Stamps in 2016 was $70.9 BILLION.

  1. Social Security Income

  • Over 62 MILLION AMERICANS will receive $955 BILLION in benefits in 2017

  • To begin with, understand that around a quarter of the United States Federal Budget ($955 BILLION) is being diverted to Social Security on an annual basis. This $955 BILLION is predominantly generated from a 12.4% payroll tax on earned income (87.3% of all revenue came from payroll tax income in 2016), the interest on the program’s $2.85 Trillion in asset revenues and the taxation of benefits make up the remainder.

  • 171 Million Workers are covered by Social Security

  • The SSA wants you to know that the Social Security program covers a lot of working Americans. Under the current program, to qualify for Social Security Benefits, you only need to collect 40 lifetime work credits. You can earn up to four credits annually, with each credit being valued at $1,300 in earned income in 2017. In other words, working part-time for ten years could ensure that you’ll be receiving Social Security benefits when you retire.

  • Retired Workers Account for 71% of benefits paid:

  • Social Security is primarily designed to provide a financial foundation for lower-income seniors during retirement. This year, an estimated 71% of the $955 Billion being paid out will be headed to retired workers. Social Security payouts accrue by 8% per year beginning at age 62 and continue until age 70, meaning the smart way to boost your payout, if you’re nearing retirement, is to wait to enroll.

  • Disabled workers and survivors comprise the remainder:

  • Disabled and survivors of deceased workers also receive a pretty sizable component of this $955 Billion pie. As of June of 2017, the disabled accounted for 10.5 million beneficiaries, while survivors tallied another 6 million. The disabled will receive about 16% of the $955 Billion in 2017, with survivors getting the remaining 13%.

  • Approximately 90% of workers are protected in the event of a long-term disability.

  • According to the SSA, a little more than a quarter of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before they reach their 67th birthday. What more, 67% of the private workforce has no long-term disability insurance in place. Thus, it’s probably a godsend that Social Security is currently covering about 90% of workers ages 21 to 64 in the event of a long-term disability. If you have 40 lifetime work credits, your taken care of. For younger folks who may not have hit that mark, a staggered lifetime work credit total, based on your age, may allow you to qualify.

  • Roughly 96% of those aged 20 to 49 have survivor’s insurance protection

  • About one in eight 20-year-olds won’t live to see their 67th birthday. However, the SSA notes that practically all workers (96%) between 20 and 49 who worked in covered employment as of 2016 had survivor’s protection insurance for their young children and surviving spouse in case of an untimely death.

  • 61% of Seniors rely on Social Security for half of their income

  • It is no secret that workers are exceptionally reliant on Social Security Income to make ends meet. According to the latest fact sheet from the SSA, 48% of married couples and 71% of unmarried elderly folks count on their benefits check for at least half of their monthly income. That’s 61% of all senior citizens leaning on Social Security for half of their income, if not more.

  1. EITC

  • Earned Income Tax Credits. A low-income worker can receive refundable tax credits from the “EITC” when they meet certain requirements for income and age.

  • The IRS erroneously paid out an estimated $15.6 BILLION in Earned Income Tax Credit Payments in fiscal year 2015!

  • The $15.6 BILLION in improper payments identified by the Inspector General represented 23.8% of the total income credits paid out in 2015.

  1. Housing Assistance

  • The United States shells out roughly $46 BILLION a year on affordable housing - $40 BILLION on means-tested programs and ANOTHER $6 BILLION in tax expenditures through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program, which supports affordable housing investments for low-income Americans.

  • Compare that to the $195 BILLION in subsidies that flow largely to wealthy and middle-class homeowners via tax deduction for mortgage interest.

  • A study of the actual subsidy to homeowners show that the number may run as high as $600 BILLION based on the non-taxation of imputed rent.


Under my Federal Guaranteed Income plan for Social Minimum Wage, all the above stated Social Welfare programs in their present form would be completely eliminated.

  • No more TANF

  • $16.5 Billion to be reclassified for use

  • No more Medicaid

  • $980 Billion to be reclassified for use

  • $260 Billion in new revenue from eliminated tax credits

  • No more Food Stamps

  • $70.9 Billion to be reclassified for use

  • Social Security

  • $955 Billion to be reclassified for use

  • No more EITC

  • $15.6 Billion in revenue to be reclassified for use

  • No more Federal Housing Assistance

  • Approximately $400 to $600 Billion to be reclassified for use

  • Another program that would be eliminated is Social Unemployment Benefits, but a majority of the cost of the program are absorbed in the numbers above.


APPROXIMATELY $2.6 TRILLION WOULD GO TOWARDS THE FEDERAL GUARANTEED INCOME PROGRAM.

Under my proposed Federal Guaranteed Income Program:

  1. All medical costs for all American Citizens under the age of 18 years will be covered by the Federal Guaranteed Income program.

  2. Children ages 0-18 will receive no Federal Guaranteed Income.

  3. Parents of children 0-18 will receive up to $650 per month, per child (see #4 below).

  4. All American Citizens will receive monthly Federal Minimum Monthly Income based on quarterly income totals.

  • $0 to $2,500 per quarter receive TIER ONE MONTHLY INCOME (the max)

  • $2,000 per month

  • $650 per child ages 0-18

  • For citizens over the age of 72 years, any pensions, investment income and/or other forms of retirement income will be included in this calculation.

  • Self-Employed persons will be required to submit quarterly income statements along with bank statements for qualification. Many of the traditional tax deductions that were once used to calculate “net income” will no longer be eligible for determining Federal Guaranteed Income benefits.

  • In the case of an untimely death of a parent, each child of the deceased parent will be eligible to receive the deceased parent’s income until their 18th birthday.

  • $2,501 to $5,000 per quarter receive TIER TWO MONTHLY INCOME

  • $1,650 per month

  • $500 per child 0-18

  • For citizens over the age of 72 years, any pensions, investment income and/or other forms of retirement income will be included in this calculation.

  • Self-Employed persons will be required to submit quarterly income statements along with bank statements for qualification. Many of the traditional tax deductions that were once used to calculate “net income” will no longer be eligible for determining Federal Guaranteed Income benefits.

  • In the case of an untimely death of a parent, each child of the deceased parent will be eligible to receive the deceased parent’s income until their 18th birthday.

  • $5,001 to $10,000 per quarter receive $ TIER THREE MONTHLY INCOME

  • $1,250 per month

  • $300 per child 0-18

  • For citizens over the age of 72 years, any pensions, investment income and/or other forms of retirement income will be included in this calculation.

  • Self-Employed persons will be required to submit quarterly income statements along with bank statements for qualification. Many of the traditional tax deductions that were once used to calculate “net income” will no longer be eligible for determining Federal Guaranteed Income benefits.

  • In the case of an untimely death of a parent, each child of the deceased parent will be eligible to receive the deceased parent’s income until their 18th birthday.

  • $10,001 to $20,000 per quarter receive $ TIER FOUR MONTHLY INCOME

  • $900 per month

  • $200 per child 0-18

  • For citizens over the age of 72 years, any pensions, investment income and/or other forms of retirement income will be included in this calculation.

  • Self-Employed persons will be required to submit quarterly income statements along with bank statements for qualification. Many of the traditional tax deductions that were once used to calculate “net income” will no longer be eligible for determining Federal Guaranteed Income benefits.

  • In the case of an untimely death of a parent, each child of the deceased parent will be eligible to receive the deceased parent’s income until their 18th birthday.

  • $20,001 to $35,000 per quarter receive $ TIER FOUR MONTHLY INCOME

  • $500 per month

  • $100 per child 0-18

  • For citizens over the age of 72 years, any pensions, investment income and/or other forms of retirement income will be included in this calculation.

  • Self-Employed persons will be required to submit quarterly income statements along with bank statements for qualification. Many of the traditional tax deductions that were once used to calculate “net income” will no longer be eligible for determining Federal Guaranteed Income benefits.

  • In the case of an untimely death of a parent, each child of the deceased parent will be eligible to receive the deceased parent’s income until their 18th birthday.

  • $35,001 plus per quarter receive no Federal Guaranteed Income benefits.

  1. NOTE: Citizens with disabilities will have 100% of their “standard care” paid for under the Federal Guaranteed Income program.

  2. All medical costs for all American Citizens over the age of 72 years will be covered by the Federal Government.

  3. Excluded parties:

  • Active Duty Military

  • Prisoners

  • Parties who remain unemployed after twelve months, but are physically able to work, will be required to meet with a Federal Guaranteed Income Agent for review of current situation, and continued maximum monthly payments.


Much like a Debit Card Account, the Federal Guaranteed Income Funds may only be used for specific purposes.

  • Nutritional Foods (no alcohol, and dining out must be at an approved retail location approved for healthy foods).

  • Housing (mortgage or rent, these funds are paid direct to the mortgage lender or the landlord).

  • Housing Insurance and Housing Taxes

  • Education

  • Psychiatric Care and Therapy / counseling

  • Medical Treatment (hospital, clinic, dental, eye care)

  • Medical Insurance payments

  • Physical Rehabilitation

  • Substance Abuse Rehabilitation

  • Pharmaceuticals (Prescription and over-the-counter) and Personal Hygiene items

  • Select Fitness providers for approved services

  • All public transportation, including driving services such as Uber and Lyft

  • For disabled Americans – cash advances

  • For Americans over the age of 72 – cash advances

  • Clothing from approved vendors (no high-end clothing).

  • Federal and State Income Tax Payments

  • Child Care (from an approved vendor) & Child Support

  • Baby Care products (diapers, formula, bathing items, essential clothing).


Under my Federal Guaranteed Income program, a person will be ultimately responsible for the use of their Federal Guaranteed Income Funds. Should one choose not to acquire medical insurance, that person may be denied even basic medical services.

Again, this is just an opinion with broadstrokes, and there would need to be people more educated than me to define the finer points, and what the additional cost (or savings) this program would have when compared to the current programs.


Steve Muehler is the Founder & Managing Member of the Private Placement Markets:

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