Outcomes to Bet On in 2014
- The productive class will increasingly look for ways to protect its income and wealth from State hands
- Geographic redistribution of classes will increase, favoring lower-cost locales
- Expect tax revolts to start breaking out
- Diminishing returns and increased fragility of the status quo will result in a resurgence of volatility
In Part I, I listed eight more trends to watch in 2014, in addition to the eight that are still in play from 2013. Following last year’s format, here are some of the consequences to look for in 2014-15:
1. Opting out will become increasingly attractive for the productive class. Since the Status Quo suppresses political resistance (in official eyes, the line between protest and domestic terrorism is awfully thin) while it loads on higher costs of friction, complexity, junk fees, taxes, etc. on the still-productive, opting out—retiring, quitting, cutting back, selling out—becomes a compelling option for those who can afford to do so.
Many have opted out simply because they have no other choice. Those who are close to retirement age and unable to find employment that pays more than Social Security benefits opt to retire and take the benefits early. The Social Security Administration has professed surprise that Baby Boomers are retiring early in larger numbers than the SSA projected. (File under “Duh!”) Millions of others have managed to qualify for Social Security disability (SSI), another form of opting out.
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is one of many forces incentivizing opting out. The perverse incentives of the ACA make it “smart” to not enroll and not pay the penalty, either, as the IRS has already said that it won’t enforce the penalty for some time.
The ACA also heavily incentivizes managing your income to levels that qualify the household for subsidies. Higher-income households have a big incentive to lower their incomes to avoid paying sky-high premiums. Those with salaries cannot easily adjust their incomes, but households with self-employed or contract workers can opt to work less and thus earn less...