I recently signed up to complete consumer surveys for a well known market research company.
I have done similar work in the past and have also participated in panel studies. I don't remember how much I was compensated - probably in the area of a hundred bucks per panel - but I was, indeed, paid for my efforts.
In this new set-up, however, I have to do four or five surveys per week, each of which takes up to twenty minutes, and for doing this I receive nothing but points which makes me eligible to win cash and prizes.
This not wanting to pay the average Joe for his efforts is becoming a trend in this country. The big shots continue to get the big fees, but the little guy has to dive for peanuts.
I wonder how my doctor or lawyer would react if I told him that in exchange for his services, I will make him eligible to win cash and prizes. I have an old play station two sitting out in the garage and this may be a good way to get rid of it.
I think that Congressman Paul Ryan may pounce on this idea to reform Social Security:
From the Office of Paul Ryan
For Immediate Release
SOCIAL SECURITY RECIPIENTS WILL NOW BE ELIGIBLE TO WIN CASH AND PRIZES
WASHINGTON- Congressmman Paul Ryan, R-WI, announced today his exciting new plan to overhaul Social Security.
Instead of receiving a boring check or direct deposit each month, America's seniors will now have the opportunity to compete for generous awards of cash and prizes.
"Anyone who has ever gone into one of those cute little stores in our ethnic neighborhoods - I think they call them bodegas - will know how much our old timers really love to compete for money," Ryan said. "That look in their eyes as they scratch away on their instant lottery cards is not desperation,as my opponents allege, but the twinkle of the good old American competitive spirit."
Each month, a Social Security recipient will receive in his e-mail account one hundred points.
He can go onto the SS web site, youllbedeadsoonsobettheranch.com, and apply the points to the monthly $5,000 cash offering or one of the dazzling prizes being featured. These run the gamut from a full year's supply of cat food to Jitterbug phone plans.
Winners will be drawn each month and each point is the equal of one entry. Thus, if an entrant puts 30 points on the cash prize he will have thirty chances to win.
"If a person is running short of funds, he can apply all his points to that cash reward, if the grand kids are coming, that lawn dart set may be just the thing to go for," he explained.
When asked how many people would be competing for the single cash offering each month, Ryan responded: "More than you might think."
When asked about the average person's odds of receiving anything, he became justifiably indignant: "Life isn't only about money, it's about having fun. If the Government can't bring a little joy into the lives of our non-productive old people, what is it for?
Once a year, a $20 million dollar prize will be up for grabs. However, only recipients who earned salaries of $1 million or more annually in their last ten working years are eligible to compete for it. "Fair is fair," Ryan explained.
Younger Americans will also benefit from the new plan. Their Social Security payroll deduction will be cut by a whopping 95% and be replaced with what the Congressman is calling a Financial Future Security tax.
This money will establish an insurance fund for the financial industry.
"With the peace of mind this offers them, our investment bankers will now be free to come up with even more creative ways to grow our capital, and thus assure the future of our younger workers."
Ryan feels his new system can also be used to revamp Medicare. "This is democracy at work, if you need a cancerous tumor removed, bet all your Medicare points on the surgery. You have the same chance of getting it as the next American."
Ryan cares deeply about our old people. Last year, his "Guns for Geezers" firearm subsidy for seniors helped many put much needed food on their table. His light-hearted show, "The Urban Game Chef", which will replace Paula Deen next Fall, provides them with creative, affordable recipes.