This post has been a long time coming – every time I would feel it ready, I pulled it back. The problems we face in the USA (and much of the world) today are so monumental that any idea seems insufficient. As a matter of fact, I believe that’s the reason why so many people are seemingly blind to what is going on around them. The difficulties are so overwhelming as to appear insoluble. So we turn a blind eye to it all.
In pondering this I was reminded that “well begun is half done” and “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” We do not have to have all the answers to have some. And we do not have be 100% correct in our efforts to still be correct. After all, as the Toyota end of show promo flashes, “Keep moving forward.”
One of the big problems right now is the huge number of people unemployed. There are many difficulties with any solution, including this one. Still – the upside makes it seem to be worth the battles and strife that may come out of it. So……here goes.
Put ’em to work.
Paying people NOT to work is nothing short of stupid. One of the reasons illegal aliens find so many jobs available is the huge number of people paid to stay home. If illegals had no place to work, no company that would overlook their status, many of them would stop coming here. And if there was no one else to take those jobs, they would not stay unfilled – unless we are busy paying people not to work.
There is a simple fix. One that helps in multiple areas. Put people receiving unemployment payments to work. Starting with the second week of being paid, the recipient should be put to work in some area needed by local municipalities at a rate of 20 hours per week. The time when they are not required to work for their income they can be out finding a job.
Are there problems with this idea? Many. Unions, rate of pay, skills, the need for another bureaucracy and many more.
But the benefits! Think of the savings in the overall expense of paying the unemployed. And the positive influence of self esteem to those who are no longer being paid to do nothing. Additionally, I think that the vast number of people who ‘ride out’ the benefit to it’s maximum will be greatly reduced. If you are going to have to work anyway, why not work at something better – something that has a future. Because working for the Department of Unemployment surely has no future at all.
All areas of government bewail the lack money to pay for work that needs to be done, from street cleaning, road repair to computer repair and programming. Using these ‘new’ workers to fill in will slow the bleeding of tax dollars while restoring self worth through productivity. For as long as they are receiving benefits (being paid), they will work. There will be no staying home and ‘collecting’ because it’s the easiest thing to do.
Make it work details: the worker will not be given ‘ugly’ jobs (this is NOT punishment) but if the only job that needs doing or that they are qualified for is cleaning toilets – they will do it. No work equals no pay. In essence they are getting paid for 40 hours work a week while doing only 20. Each hour of work not completed will be 2 hours they will not be paid for. Sick time is on your time, to be made up from the non-working 20 hours/week.
Work can be slotted to fit individual needs and preferences. Works four 5 hour days or two ten hour ones. Work a full week then not the next, in that order. After payment starts week by week it will always be work then off, rather then off then work, since the work only starts after a full week of payment. The idea is to get a job during the first week of unemployment. Pay must not be more than the lowest paying job in the area of work they are doing. We must at all costs stop rewarding people for not working.
Any person discovered working ‘under the table’ while collecting will be immediately dropped from the rolls and cut off from benefits for 6 months.
There are tons of unsolved or even mentioned details that must be solved here – but it is a step forward. Something that is desperately needed. Have a better idea? Let’s hear it.