Have you been there too? Then you know all the emotions:
· The shock of having that place where people bonded with you and counted on you suddenly torn from your life.
· The helplessness of drowning beneath mounting bills with no paycheck on the horizon.
· The anger of remembering less qualified, unethical employees keeping their jobs by forging the right connections—while all you did was work.
· But worst of all is the fear—the fear of failing at that next interview, the fear of facing your spouse and kids when you have no good news, the fear of being labeled a “parasite” if you take that welfare or unemployment check, or the fear of desperate afternoons sitting silently on the couch, wondering if anyone will ever need you again.
That fear is horrifying, and I believe some people embrace bitterness instead—just to stifle the dread within. Would I convince myself that society owes me free money because I’ve been wronged? Well, I’ve never been out of work long enough to know, but truth be told…
…I’d probably convince myself that donuts are health food if it would ease my pain.
So, why am I telling you all this?
It’s because, while the general plan I’m about to propose will be labeled as heartless, I want you to know it is the opposite. I love people. All of them. Seeing each as a miracle to be unleashed, I am enraged when Leftist politicians use desperate moments to hook fellow citizens on handouts.
At a heartbreaking time when someone’s greatest desire is to feel needed, leftist politicians instead deem them worthless, dependent, and worthy of only one task: Voting. How sickening. Let me tell you this: THOSE WHO ARE TAKING GOVERNMENT CHECKS AREN’T THE REAL PARASITES—LEFTIST POLITICIANS ARE. And I despise them for it.
The Issues at Hand
As I see it, here is a list of problems facing America in regards to welfare and unemployment:
1. Joblessness paralyzes the individual. Fear grows in our isolation, and nothing creates more fear of the workplace than months at home. People must be put back in the game, not paid to stay out of it. Removing this fear, we Conservatives can change lives for the better.
2. Many unemployed Americans just give up and collect their checks, since the pain of workplace rejection is so great. Thus, many exhaust every drop of welfare or unemployment benefits.
3. America is buried in debt. Put simply, a nation with trillions in debt can’t afford paying people to do nothing. We just can’t. To revive job creation, we must free up resources in the private sector by lowering government spending.
4. American businesses are suffering from high labor costs. Industries are collapsing or moving overseas, partly because of high domestic labor costs.
My Plan: “Back in Business”
We’ve all heard of workfare programs, wherein people work for the state to earn their welfare checks. But while some workers would still perform tasks for the state, I prefer getting them “Back in Business.”
Here’s how it works: Say you lose your job. For the first 6 weeks, no participation in the “Back in Business” program is necessary. Having just gone through a traumatic experience, you may need time for recovery, so that first 6 weeks of your welfare/unemployment check can be work free. During this time, however, you will receive a skills assessment with the state government. It won’t take long—you just answer questions and, if applicable, demonstrate some abilities. If it would be more efficient, perhaps this process could be contracted out to existing temp agencies.
After the 6 weeks, “Back in Business” requires you to earn your check by being placed in a nearby business that can use your skills. Much like the military system, this placement will combine your “wish list” with what is available and deemed the best fit. Working only 20 hours per week, you will still have plenty of time for job hunting on your own. If you decide to start work earlier than waiting 6 weeks, your welfare/unemployment check will be 20% larger until the 6 weeks is completed, allowing you some extra money up front to address costs you’ve incurred due to job loss. It’s your choice.
Participating businesses must have 20 or more employees, allowing them to hire up to 5% of their workforce from the pool (perhaps 10% would be a better level; it depends upon the unemployment levels of the state). The cost to the business is minimal, as it only pays 30% of your benefits, and it pays nothing for the first 2 weeks—thus cutting training costs. So, companies would want to participate.
Finally, random drug testing will be required of participants. Those who fail will be placed in treatment until they are ready to resume the program.
Benefits of the “Back in Business” Plan
1. With “Back in Business,” unemployed people will stay in the game, thus greatly diminishing their fear and isolation—all while developing skills in the world’s best job training program, the American marketplace. Think of the difference: Whereas a jobless person’s spouse used to ask, “Did you hear back from anyone today?”, now they’ll ask, “How was work today?”
With “Back in Business,” you’re needed. You’re back in the game.
2. As for those who are unemployed because they simply want to live off taxpayers, “Back in Business” will remove their work-free leisure, giving them more reason to seek lasting employment. Truly, “Back in Business” is better for a state or country than “Money for Nothing.”
3. When a participating business has a new opening, they will be inclined to hire someone who is already there, rather than risk the unknown. Then, after moving that person to full-time, they can just get another new part-timer from “Back in Business.”
4. Taxpayers will save enormous amounts of money. This can be applied toward the state’s debt, or (if the budget is already balanced) returned to state taxpayers through rebates.
5. Without lowering the wages for their other employees (since “Back in Business” participants will comprise a small percentage of their workforce), companies can nonetheless lower their overall labor costs—thus helping competitiveness.
6. Some hiring will actually increase, since more cheap labor awaits any company reaching the next 20 (or 10) employees. So, rather than endlessly cut customer service and lose clientele, businesses will enjoy some extra help in meeting their patrons’ needs.
Due to constraints of space, many challenges are not addressed in this writing. (After all, I’m proposing an idea, not crafting policy.) What happens when participants perform poorly? No, businesses won’t mind this risk, since releasing participants back to the program is much easier than firing normal employees. But how many chances will participants get? How long can someone stay on the program?
Let’s remember, since every program faces these challenges, such issues provide no problems unique to “Back in Business.” Neither this program nor any other claims to fix all of mankind’s character flaws. But unlike current programs, we won’t be rewarding these flaws for political benefit. So that, at least, is a good thing.
Most importantly, though, we will end the fear. No longer will jobless citizens stare hopelessly at their phones, waiting for a chance to prove their worth. No longer will the label of “parasite” be applicable—in fact, since most people know the pain of job loss, “Back in Business” participants will often be embraced by their co-workers. Taxpayers will see deficits decline, businesses will get needed relief in labor costs, and maybe…just maybe…
…this deeply divided nation will draw a little bit closer together.
Let’s replace fear with optimism. Let’s end those days of quiet desperation on the couch. And
let’s put everyone—the unemployed, the taxpayers, and struggling companies—Back in Business.