Sortition juries should approve investments as having social purpose. We would replace the complex of retirement mechanisms (IRA, Roth IRA's, Simplified Employee Pension plans, 401, 457) with a simple statement, money going into approved investments is not considered income. Money taken out of such is considered income. Note that the The Brookings Institution called for us to streamline not only retirement savings, but education savings, and other tax preferences such as for energy conservation and efficiency. And this simple rule would do the same as well. Certainly, many tuition and college expenditures are good--sending one's child to nursing school, for eamples. But there certainly are parents who are using college as a "finishing school" and many college students who are pursuing degrees with no job prospects such as an increse in music majors and enrollment in conservatories. Note a sortition jury can distinguish between the next Validimir Horowitz or Pablo Casals going to Juliard and an over-indulgent parent allowing their kid to pursue an unrealistic dream.
But now one can purchase gold bullion for one's IRA in spite of the environmental damage done by gold mining. And carbon credits are being given out for dubious investments. And money in an IRA can support suburban sprawl and McMansions. (In 2003, there are 3.2 million homes with over four thousand square feet and they can cost five thousand dollars a year to heat and cool.)
On money being loaned to an individual, the sortition jury can better determine whether it is needed or not and to prevent againsts usurious use. Thus, if A wanted to buy the house from someone needing to go to a nursing home, this would likely to get approved investments, for the social benefit to this person. And many other personal loans would get approved, but those for frivolous purposes could be denied.
Investing in United States treasuries would automatically be considered an approved investment; this should hopefully reduce the percentage of this debt that is owned by foreigners and make us less reliant on foreign governments to buy our bonds. (Currently half of United States debt is owned by the United States Government itself! Of the remaining half, half are owned by citizens of this country and the other half are owned by foreign entities.
In a later post, I will discuss using this to deal with out of control executive compensation and retroactive estate taxes.