the absurd observers

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Boosting national savings with reality television

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Today Greenspan proposed a consumption tax, and one of the benefits of such a tax, he explained, would be a boost in national savings. Maybe he's right, but I've got a better idea.

I propose a national reality tv show where everyone retiring is competing for savings accounts. My inspiration for the idea came from some simple principles.
  1. America loves reality tv shows - especially when someone wins and someone loses.
  2. Everyone is worried about social security and the viability of retirement accounts. The drama is appealing. The tension: palpable.
  3. Social Security would have less problems if there were less people in the Baby Boomer generation.
  4. Old people love to gamble. If Las Vegas can thrive from the gambling habits of retirees, why not the rest of America?

So, take everyone who could retire in the next five years and put them on a show.

  1. We could have the retirees vote each other "off the island";
  2. we could have America "call in and vote";
  3. we could have Simon Cowell and the American Idol crew comment on the retirees hobbies and plans, and maybe have the retirees sing a Ricky Martin song or two;
  4. we could set it up like the bachelor or one of the reality love shows, and every retiree that could pair off with someone else would get a joint retirement account, kind of a social security musical chairs type program;
  5. Donald Trump could fire all the retirees that couldn't organize a celebrity golf tournament, and the rest would get retirement accounts; or
  6. In the spirit of Joe Millionaire, we could tell the retirees that they were competing for a retirement account, then, at the last second explain that there was no retirement account, and the reitrees would feel cheated and slightly embarrassed that they didn't figure it out when the retirement account refused to eat foie gras.

I think this is a show everyone would watch. The government could use the advertising revenue. Maybe the show would make so much money, that we could actually provide social security for everyone afterall. Maybe the only way to save social security is to eliminate it, and then right when it looks like the retirees are going to get zilch, just like in Joe Millionaire ... at the very last second, we could give everyone a check that makes them happy.

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