Working off an estimated population of the United States at 316,811,808 citizens and a national debt of roughly $16,750,785,419,436, that puts a financial onus of $52,872.98 on each and every U.S citizen. Politics, the (partial) government shutdown, and the upcoming debt ceiling debate aside, imagine my surprise today when I read that Switzerland is considering a move to give each of its adult citizens 2500 Swiss Francs ($2800) each month. Yes, each month. That's $33,600 each year.
Switzerland citizen safety
While researching this piece, I felt it unnecessary to read an article written by Carolyn Gregoire and published this week in The Huffington Post entitled, "Why Switzerland Has Some Of The Happiest Healthiest People In The World." I think I have that one all figured out given that the alpine nation will vote on this "safety net" for its citizens.
At the risk of offending some or all of the eight million people of Switzerland, "Did you really hide that much Nazi gold that makes this possible?" Thinking about it, I wonder what someone who is about to augment their already high salaries with $34,000 is doing reading an investing website; so my offense shouldn't have too long a reach.
Organizers of the grassroots movement to provide this "safety net" in response to growing displeasure with pay inequality submitted over 100,000 signatures to the government presenting their petition. It turns out you need only 100,000 to call for a referendum in Switzerland. The vote could take place as soon as Friday.
In addition to the recently delivered petition, the group calling for the vote also dumped a truckload of 8 million five-rappen coins outside the parliament building in Berne, one for each person living in Switzerland.
Swiss citizens initiatives
Under Swiss law, citizens can organize popular initiatives that allow the channeling of public anger into direct political action. The country usually holds several referenda a year.
In March, Swiss voters backed some of the world's strictest controls on executive pay, forcing public companies to give shareholders a binding vote on compensation.
A separate proposal to limit monthly executive pay to no more than what the company's lowest-paid staff earn in a year, the so-called 1:12 initiative, faces a popular vote on November 24.
I don't like chocolate, even good chocolate; but I either love or hate this.