bureaucracybusters

WHY REGULAR JOBS PROGRAMS DON’T WORK

In Bureaucracy, Business, Politics, Self-Help, Social commentary on May 2, 2013 at 12:18 am

Imagine this: A future President seeks to disband the FBI—and offer bribes to career criminals to not rob, rape and murder. And to sell his proposal, he chooses as his slogan: “Let criminals be criminals.”

If that sounds impossible, consider this: Politicians on both the Right and Left have adopted just that mindset toward holding corporate employers accountable for their criminal greed and irresponsibility.

Case in point: The Obama administration has signaled that it may adopt a Georgia program that allows businesses to train jobless workers for two months without having to pay them.

Its supporters claim the program—Georgia Works—lets workers get their foot in the door and reduces businesses’ hiring risks. Unions assert that it exploits workers and violates federal labor laws.

The drawbacks to this program:

  • It’s only open to workers receiving unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Businesses have no obligation to hire participating workers.

Mississippi, in turn, has launched the Subsidized Transition Employment Program and Services. Funded with left-over stimulus dollars, it initially covers 100 percent of an employee’s wages, gradually reducing the subsidy for every 160 hours worked.

Its drawbacks:

  • It lasts only four months—from August to December, 2011.
  • Businesses will be excluded from the program if funds are exhausted or the September 30 enrollment deadline has passed.
  • Only 80 companies had signed up for the program by early September.

Then there’s the Minnesota solution. Instead of adopting Senator Al Franken’s proposal to use public monies to subsidize wages, Congress enacted the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act. This gave businesses $13 billion worth of tax credits for hiring unemployed workers.

The drawbacks to this effort:

  • The measure has not been evaluated.
  • It does not require employers to hire.

In Connecticut, another jobs program, Platform to Employment, puts workers through a four-week training period followed by an eight-week tryout at a participating business.

During the tryouts, the employees’ wages are paid by The Workplace, Inc., a private company which raised enough funds to support 100 jobs starting this fall.

The drawbacks to this are:

  • Employers get, in effect, free labor.
  • Only those who have already exhausted 99 weeks of unemployment benefits are eligible.
  • Employers have no obligation to hire participating workers.
  • The funds will create only 100 jobs.
  • Employers are not required to participate in the program.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate keeps steadily rising. In 2007, 228,000 people were unemployed for 99 weeks or longer, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Today more than 2 million Americans have been unemployed for at least 99 weeks—the cutoff point for unemployment insurance in the hardest-hit states.

And the longer a person is out of work, the less likely s/he is to find an employer willing to hire.

What all these “job creating” programs have in common is this: They apply plenty of carrots–but absolutely no sticks.

Bribes–in the form of tax credits or tax breaks–are liberally applied to entice employers to behave like patriots instead of parasites. But for employers whose refusal to hire condemns their country to economic catastrophe–there are no penalties whatsoever.

A policy based only on carrots is a policy of bribery. A policy based only on sticks is one of coercion. Some people can’t be bribed, and some can’t be coerced. But nearly everyone is open to a policy of rewards and punishments.

Thus, corporations across the country are now sitting atop $2 trillion in profits. But their CEOs are using those monies for:

  • Enriching themselves, their bought-off politicians, their families—and occasionally their mistresses.
  • Buying up other corporate rivals.
  • Creating or enlarging companies outside the United States.

In short, the one expense they refuse to underwrite is hiring their fellow Americans.

This is because:

  • They want to pay their un-American employees far lower wages than would be tolerated by employees within the United States.
  • They want to escape American employee-protection laws–such as those mandating worker’s compensation or forbidding sexual harassment.
  • They want to escape American consumer-protection laws–such as those banning the sale of lead-contaminated products (a hallmark of Chinese imports).
  • They want to escape American laws protecting the environment–such as those requiring safe storage of dangerous chemicals.

They want, in short, to enrich themselves at the direct expense of their country.

In decades past, this used to be called treason.

Yet no major political figure–on the Left or Right–has so far dared to blame employers for selling out their country and destroying its economic prosperity.

No job-seeker, however well-qualified and -motivated, can hire himself onto an employer who refuses to hire.

But corporate CEOs–and their paid political stooges–continue to blame the unemployed for being unable to find employers willing to honor their integrity, qualifications and initiative.

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Americans generally–and the unemployed and under-employed in particular–must hold corporate America accountable for its criminal greed and irresponsibility.

Until they do, the United States will continue to sink further into decline–economically, socially and politically.

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