National Service 7 to 17 Investment Trusts

Published by Randell Hynes on

spilled coins from the jar
Podcast Audio

The basic concept of National Service is a program that requires each American to spend a certain period of time donating time in exchange for practical experience, on the job training, more formal training, or combinations of those after high school. It’s similar to voluntary internships available from businesses. It’s normally an unpaid job. We propose something innovative here.

The ideas shared here continue the theme of showing what Congress could do if innovation could be considered instead of nothing.

The proposed program would be to require each American to enter a qualified two-year program at age 18. The programs could include many forms for the approximately 4 million new adults each year that would satisfy the term of participation and give them skills to compliment their aptitude.

Here are some possibilities for new or existing qualified options to serve a two-year term:

  • Union Apprenticeship program,
  • Established Trade School towards a predetermined number of possible jobs,
  • Opportunity Zone Trade Program, as proposed in Fort OZ, Nevada commentary. There are training programs that lead into several proposed Federal efforts to support underserved communities, i.e. solar, energy efficiency, train the trainer, senior care, mental health intervention, police training, crisis intervention training, pandemic response training, national Internet security training, et al.
    In the beginning, O-Z infrastructure jobs would be plentiful and fully funded with the Federal budget and private investment. Building the facilities for centralized training in the O-Z Trade Program and for revitalizing the 8,764 opportunity zone underserved communities will keep Americans employed for a decade or more.
  • Approved Business Intern program with OJT that leads to a probable full-time job,
  • Training for a specific Federal job, then OJT for the balance of the term,
  • Active Duty Armed Services tour,
  • Satisfactory completion of two years of college. A life skills and work ethic curriculum will be taught at community colleges and mandatory for completion by all National Service participants,
  • Many other plans to satisfy the term that lead to a job for on-going programs.

National Service will not be mandatory, but the investment feeder program will require participation.

Investment in Children 7 to 17

The inefficiencies in spending the nearly $4 trillion we send the IRS each year are undisputable, see Budget Priorities. Administrative overhead of hundreds of federal offices consumes most of those dollars long before they do any good.

Starting a budget from scratch with a clean slate that would put every Federal institution, department, program, job, asset to the side and rebuild it to be more efficient with less administrative overhead.

The proposal to combine a mandatory National Service program with a contractual Trust for every child ages 7 to 17 could work fairly straight-forward, and efficiently as a feeder program. In the beginning, the program would require an individual trust to be created for every child 7 to 17 years old. It would be sort of like a 529 savings plan, with similar but with different goals. The US Government would invest with this new innovative budget to contribute $500 to each child for their successful completion of a school month. The potential for cumulative principal for a 7 year old would be $72,000 at age 18. Upon entering a qualified National Service term, they could use Trust income to pay for qualified expenses, or perhaps just choose to start withdrawing a monthly income from the Trust during the NS term then after completion until the Trust is depleted. The Trust income would serve as a kind of basic income that would fund post high school training to get to the next stage of life.

The Trust of course can also be saved and after successful completion of the NS program term the funds could be withdrawn without any further accountability.

The details of a program would be many. The Trust could have many stipulations while being funded. Some that might be considered are:

  • Children who enter a contract, but because of disabilities would be exempted from National Service could instead start drawing from the Trust as it’s funded to pay any expenses for the child.
  • Parents who demonstrate a need could draw a set percentage of the Trust funds for childcare services as required.
  • Funds from Trusts for children who will no longer attend school will roll into the National Service budget.
  • There may be benefits paid prior to returning funds for untimely passing. There may also be a plan to transfer funds or make surviving siblings an alternate beneficiary of a Trust.
  • Some considerations must be made for working with participants who become pregnant and the Father. Since there is a real need to discourage teenage pregnancy, there should be consequences. It’s just not certain what that would be now.

Lots of work is needed to perfect something brand new like these programs. It’s certain there is a need to invest in our children in a way that is both meaningful, efficient and has the best chance for succeeding and not making children feel as though they are being herded, given their compulsory participation in 7 to 17 toward National Service.

Creating a Trust contract would be a parent’s commitment for the child to move forward with a goal of achieving a good education and measuring their child’s aptitude. For a prescribed period of time before age 18 the child will learn about National Service opportunities. A process for applying to a qualified program will occur and at age 17 a choice will be made. Or, perhaps when a child turns 18 with a fully funded Trust and chooses not to enter a qualifying program, they could opt out and the Trust funds would roll into the National Service budget. Since this is obviously a new program built on innovation, perhaps, Trust funds could be applied as a supplement to wages for an entry level job that would be needed to support a family in times of need. A sort of temporary minimum wage.

The 2021 call for U B I to be considered law would largely be satisfied during this important time. A gradual investment of direct payments to Trusts is a highly efficient, low overhead system that would make that income available at a key time in an American’s life. While children are making the transition from childhood to adult and starting a career and family. The annual cumulative dollars are needed to build or repurpose the training infrastructure required to centralize the post high school training for generations of Americans.

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Randell Hynes

Managing Director of Rampart Caucus—US.

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