Rounding Up Your Big Ideas to Fix the Economy

Friday, August 19, 2011

This week we’ve been asking listeners to suggest big ideas on how to fix the economy, and you've given us a huge response. We’ve talked about raising inflation, boosting housing pricescapping total compensation for CEOstaxing the rich, and the potential financial impact of legalizing pot. We received over 200 responses, and noticed some interesting trends. One in six of those who responded suggested reforming the tax code. The second most popular idea was to cut military spending.

We're talking about your suggestions with Louise Story, Wall Street and finance reporter for our partner, The New York Times. She talks about what she thinks are your most interesting ideas.


Louise Story

Produced by:

Sitara Nieves

Comments [26]

Rick Tonkinson CPF®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL 33133

By 2025, or sooner, China will replace the USA as the world’s number one economic power. Due to our government and corporate leaders gross mismanagement based on their total disregard for the best long term interests of the country, we will have consistent, gradual decline in our quality of life to the point where we will no longer be number one. We will go through a mental depression just like England did after they lost their empire.

Oct. 07 2011 12:38 PM
Rick Tonkinson CPF®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL 33133

Who our enemies are today will be our trading partners tomorrow. Japan, Germany, Russia, China and Vietnam were enemies and the USA spent trillions and lost hundreds of thousands of lives in wars with these countries. 58,000 US soldiers died in Vietnam so that we would have our sneakers made there. Why not stop the wars and start making sneakers in Iraq and Afghanistan now?

Oct. 06 2011 02:55 PM
Rick Tonkinson CPF®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL 33133

Peace will provide recovery. The trillions spent on war and rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan can be used to rebuild our country.

Oct. 03 2011 10:24 AM
Rick Tonkinson CPF®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL 33133

During an economic turn down, the ability to honker down and live on less is anticipated and implemented better by people over 50 years old and less by people under 50 years old. older people adjust quicker and more effectively to life’s hardships and have more patience during tough times.

Sep. 27 2011 09:44 AM
Rick Tonkinson CPF®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL 33133

In approaching a crisis, such as the 2008 economic collapse, the response has been reactive after the damage is done. A proactive response to preventing this from occurring again with proper scrutiny of transaction is critical but sadly still deficient.

Sep. 19 2011 09:48 AM
Rick Tonkinson CPF®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL 33133

In order to make much better use of tax dollars to address social issues, the US tax code should be changed to allow anyone with an adjusted gross income of over $250,000 to be able to direct the entire amount of the estimated tax to the charity of their choice.

Sep. 15 2011 09:58 AM
Rick Tonkinson CPF®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL 33133

In order to facilitate the growth of startup businesses, the US should pre-relate the success of third world economics in providing micro loans to poor people who have no credit at banks.

Sep. 09 2011 01:13 PM
Rick Tonkinson, CFP®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL 3313 from Miami, FL 33133

Gas at $4 a gallon, $100 to fill up an SUV. Want to put some confidence into the regular guy? Then tell him that the US government will provide an energy policy that triggers down into $2 a gallon for gas. Every time a $15 per hour clerk pays $100 for gas, it is almost one day of pay.

Sep. 08 2011 01:45 PM
Win Bonner from Memphis, TN

SOME ONE PLEASE LISTEN! As a small business owner, I am in a category that employs the majority of Americans. I need cash to hire additional employees and to upgrade equipment. Tax incentives do nothing for me. Banks are hoarding money. We must free up cash for small business. It could be in the form of low interest loans tied to the number of additional employees hired. I would then be able to hire people to expand, putting tax payers to work. Giving them money to purchase goods and services. I would also buy additional equipment which would in turn spur manufacturing and hiring. This would solve all of our ills as it snowballs!

Sep. 04 2011 11:21 AM
Rick Tonkinson CPF®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL 33133

Bread and butter economic issues are the crux of middle class woes. The wealthy have no idea of how high food prices have risen, but a $15/hour clerk has to do without in order to feed their family. Middle class resentment toward those that "do not feel their pain" is a large part of animosity toward the Washington, DC elite.

Sep. 02 2011 09:49 AM
Rick Tonkinson CPF®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL 33133

40 to 30 years ago, poor people with just a high school diploma or a couple of years in the military could find a steady job at the telephone or electric utility company; it allowed them a decent middle class lifestyle. Now these people are retired. The next generation of poor people cannot replace these older workers because entry level jobs are rare and if they are available, the employee benefits such as wages, health insurance, 401K and pension, are significantly less compared to the older workers. They cannot maintain a middle class lifestyle.

Sep. 01 2011 09:59 AM
Rick Tonkinson, CFP®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL 33133

Technology has significantly diminished the neighborhood’s spirit of community or camaraderie. Watch people at a restaurant and they do not talk to each other but rather text message at the table throughout the meal. Stifling face to face communication has given us a detachment to the community we live in. This detachment permeates into lack of activism or concern on social, political and economic issues. If you have a job, do you really care if your next door neighbor does not? This detachment or void in passion has resulted in a lack of will to address our real issues.

Aug. 31 2011 11:26 AM
Rick Tonkinson CPF®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL 33133

The lack of basic knowledge and understanding of financial concepts by the general public is tragic and dangerous. No student should be allowed to graduate without a class in dealing with the daily issues with money including banking, credit cards, loans, budgets and savings.

Aug. 30 2011 11:26 AM
Rick Tonkinson, CFP®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL 33133

Big ideas to fix the economy require bold steps. Ideas come from thought. Thought is fostered through education. A bold step would be to have education at the PhD level be free. If you are smart enough to study a for any PhD, then the US government should pay for your education. For the cost of one selth bomber, our independent foundation can be created and just the interest earned would pay for all the PhD students education costs in perpetuity. The long term benefits to the country, including the economy, would be enormous.

Aug. 29 2011 04:59 PM
Rick Tonkinson CPF®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL

“The middle class has been consistently abused and neglected while the real players believe that due to their wealth and fame are above it all and are immune to life’s issues. Have a hedge fund manager or congress man be broke, lose their house, or unemployed and perhaps the mindset would be more considerate of the rest of the slugs that have to deal with it every day.”

Aug. 26 2011 01:15 PM
Rick Tonkinson CPF®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL

The prevailing issue with employment, education, and economy is a complete void in long term strategic planning. The obsession is for a quick fix with superficial results that just compounds the problems.

Aug. 26 2011 01:14 PM
Rick Tonkinson CPF®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL 33133

People without income cannot buy a home. People cannot get hired without the specific skills to be productive immediately. Education does not “educate” people for the real world. There is no short term fix to chronic problems.

Aug. 26 2011 01:11 PM
Rick Tonkinson CPF®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL 33133

As a money manager for the paycheck-to-paycheck working people, their confidence in the system to work has significantly diminished and no one running for president, including Obama, has a real plan to fix it.

Aug. 26 2011 01:10 PM
Rick Tonkinson CPF®, MBA, CLU from Miami, FL 33133

Obama ran on the word “hope.” At this point, the middle class has much less “hope” for a better future. Ronald Regan’s question “are you better off now than four years ago?” will be the focus of the presidential election in 2012.

Aug. 26 2011 01:09 PM
Jonathan from New York City

R. Glenn Hubbard was a George W. Bush appointment to the Council on Economic Advisors. Why didn't Hiockenberry mention this during his interview. While Hubbard's political affiliation does not disqualify him as a guest, listeners should be given the nbackground they need to put his opinions into context. Sadly, this omission is typical of the Takeaway, which seems to be more focused on style than substance.

Aug. 19 2011 09:48 AM
Alan Bernard from Boca Raton, Fl 33433

To me the root of the problem is a trade imbalance. Countries, such as China that build there economies to export and support them by redcuing the value of their currency versus the dollar or Euro. The US needs to forcefully persue a remedy to this and if not successful needs to increase import tarrifs (even if that is with all partners) to equalize the playing field. This would also increase the value of free trade agreements that currently exist and could allow for negotiating better terms on future agreements.
This would bring manufacturing back to the US

Aug. 19 2011 09:47 AM
Amy from Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

Would companies sit on so much cash if there were some kind of penalty for doing so? What could be done to motivate companies to reduce this practice, which hurts the economy, and all of us in the process? Do we need a carrot or a stick? I would like to hear the opinions of experts...

Aug. 19 2011 09:11 AM
Mike Holmes from Antioch, TN.

I support the idea of converting to the metric system. It would be financed by both big business and government. It is stupid and not very cost effective to have 2 measuring systems.

Aug. 19 2011 08:21 AM

The third most popular big idea explains the first two.
Reforming the tax code would allow the government to start drawing from retirement accounts, mortgage deductions and the establishment of a VAT on top of all the other taxes and regulations that will come in 2013 conveniently after the Presidential election.
Reduction in military spending as we fight three wars, Middle-East regimes topple, and China launches a blue-water navy should be placed in context of the 9/11 anniversary which reminds us the main issue can turn from the economy to foreign policy in a heartbeat.

As we foolishly look forward to what will be another re-election speech filled with empty promises and vague solutions we should remember we are currently living with the President's "big ideas" since he and his party had full control of the government for two years. What we are experiencing in the economy now is exactly what this administration created for us and what many voted for in 2008.

Aug. 19 2011 08:21 AM
Ed from Larchmont

One reason college costs are so high is that there aren't enough young people: with more young people the fixed costs would be distributed over a larger number. We need more young people.

Aug. 19 2011 08:18 AM
Boris DeLaine from Durham,NC

My approach to improve the economy is to encourage long term investment and discourage disproportionate investment in options or derivatives. The long term capital gains tax should be lowered to 2.5% for investments of five years or more, and short term capital gains should be taxed at a rate of 5% plus Ordinary Income Tax rate with a floor rate of 15%. I believe that this measure could change CEO behavior by encouraging longer term base executive compensation. Corporate executive leadership should be compensated for systematic improvement in corporate performance. The increase in the short term capital gains tax rate would remove the incentives to derivative devices as investment vehicles instead of risk management tool. The short term speculation of securities would become far more risky also and reduce the variation of securities values.

Aug. 19 2011 07:40 AM

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