PDA

View Full Version : Unemployment


Terez
01-24-2012, 07:08 PM
So, this socialism vs capitalism thing often boils down to a belief on the part of conservatives that liberals believe that people shouldn't have to work for their money. Now, perhaps someone can tell me why this hasn't been tried, because I really doubt I'm the only person to have ever thought of it.

So, we pay unemployment insurance. Why can't that just be a guarantee that you will always have a job? Say, you get a paycheck for two weeks, no work expected, while you look for another job. That seems reasonable. After that, you're expected to work part-time, since after all unemployment benefits are part-time pay, doing one of various jobs that needs to be done. There are always such jobs. The kind of thing that we normally expect volunteers to do, like helping poor people, or things like temp work, shovel-ready type stuff. I realize there are some labor-ready type organizations around here, but it seems to me that the effort is largely decentralized, unorganized, and not integrated very well with the unemployment offices at all. It seems to me that the list of permanent jobs you're offered at the unemployment center are usually 1) jobs that require skills you don't have, or 2) jobs that aren't really necessary.

Naturally a lot of people don't want to work certain jobs they think are 'beneath' them. In some cases it comes down to how dirty you are willing to get. Sometimes there are more logical objections. For example, I refuse to work in a kitchen ever again, and partly it's because the heat and the smell make me sick. But why is it that it apparently never occurs to anyone to ask unemployed people for a list of things they are good at? I have been to unemployment offices several times, and no one has ever asked me that. They just give me a list of available jobs. None of them fit. Of course, I've never received unemployment money (even though I've been eligible for it several times). But it seems to me that, if you had a good idea of what your unemployed population was capable of doing, you could put them to work something they'd be happy doing...for the government, who is paying the unemployment checks. And why aren't unemployment offices integrated with vocational training programs? It's stupid.

Davian93
01-24-2012, 07:35 PM
Becaues then a good number of people wouldnt work or work hard at least.

As yks sometimes mentions about Soviet Russia..."you pretend to pay us and we pretend to work".

Crispin's Crispian
01-24-2012, 07:50 PM
Oregon's Employment department uses a system called iMatchSkills (http://www.imatchskills.org), and it is supposed to do exactly what you suggested: match the skills people have with the jobs that require those skills. It's only as good as the honestly of the job-seeker and the quality and quantity of employers using the system.

For the rest, I'm not sure I quite understand what you're asking. First you said that everyone should be able to have a job as they are always available. But then you said that most of the jobs that are available aren't necessary or are outside the skill set of the job-seeker. I must have missed something.

Terez
01-24-2012, 11:13 PM
For the rest, I'm not sure I quite understand what you're asking. First you said that everyone should be able to have a job as they are always available. But then you said that most of the jobs that are available aren't necessary or are outside the skill set of the job-seeker. I must have missed something.Well, you're talking about two different things. One is the jobs actually being offered. The other is jobs that always need doing, but no one is necessarily volunteering to pay for. But if you're already giving away money...

GonzoTheGreat
01-25-2012, 04:37 AM
A problem with letting the unemployed do those "jobs that always need doing" would be that those jobs then do not get done if the employment situation gets better. Of course, that is also a bit of a problem if they depend on volunteers, but less so.

And, of course, when it comes to jobs that actually always need doing (like trash removal, cleaning of public restrooms, and so forth), why not actually pay the ones that do them a decent salary?

yks 6nnetu hing
01-25-2012, 05:58 AM
Becaues then a good number of people wouldnt work or work hard at least.

As yks sometimes mentions about Soviet Russia..."you pretend to pay us and we pretend to work".

well, yes and no. As a short-term solution in case of - say - war funding, it might work. But long term people start getting annoyed. I don't think Terez meant a situation where the jobless are assigned work and kept at that work for years on end. Paid, yes but without any motivation whatsoever, which in turn makes the job quality so low that in any other situation that person would be fired. So I don't think that that particular one applies in this case.

What does apply is something my mom would always say: "If you don't have enough work, lower your asking price (=become less picky in what you take on). If you have too much work, raise your asking price (=become more picky in what you take on)"

Anyways, I think it very much depends on who are the jobless. In the case of Estonia (which is the one I know best so I'll use that), the people who lost their jobs were mainly men who worked in construction. At one point the jobless rate was something like 17% (before the crisis the percentage was below 5) while at the same time the IT companies were screaming for new qualified workforce. The jobless rate has now petered down to under 10%, which of course is not ideal but at least it's more manageable.

So, by and large, it was the men who lost their jobs. There are of course several reasons for this, foremost is that the housing market collapsed, construction companies went bankrupt and everyone lost thier jobs - the vast majority of construction workers are male. The bigger the state, the harder it is to resolve, of course, so the state went for a largely municipal solution: told the local centers: here's the budget, do what you think is suitable in your area. So some created extra work by cleaning up communal areas (parks, mostly) and some put in counseling and re-education programmes. At the same time, the state radically simplified the rules for an individual to set up a company (it takes 30 minutes and you don't have to physically appear anywhere) and implemented a small temporary tax-break for comanies who hire anyone who was previously unemployed. Tax-break works specifically per hired person on the employer's taxes to be paid on behalf of that employee. It's not a multiplication but an addition-type break, not particularly lucrative but enough to be in favour of hiring in case of doubt "should we hire an extra person or not?" And it expires after 6 months the new employee has stayed in that company, I believe. Might be wrong about the number of months, but point is: it expires.

So basically, most of the unemployed who are now left are long-term unemployed - some were unemployed before the crisis struck - and those who keep getting fired, which is a difficult segment of society in any country. To which extent, the re-education programmes are already in place and I think those will be staying in place.

Terez
01-25-2012, 06:30 AM
I didn't watch the whole SOTU but it looks like Obama read my mind, lol.

Davian93
01-25-2012, 08:11 AM
Well, you're talking about two different things. One is the jobs actually being offered. The other is jobs that always need doing, but no one is necessarily volunteering to pay for. But if you're already giving away money...

You could offer them seasonal farm work in Alabama & Georgia...of course the farmers would probably just let the crops rot in the field instead of paying a fair wage like this did this last harvest when they couldn't get enough illegals to work for them thanks to the crackdown on immigration both states passed.

This year their plan is even better: Simply dont plant labor intensive crops...

Terez
01-25-2012, 08:28 AM
The money is already coming from the unemployment insurance. We're not talking about creating new jobs in the sense of coming up with the money to hire people.

Davian93
01-25-2012, 08:31 AM
The money is already coming from the unemployment insurance. We're not talking about creating new jobs in the sense of coming up with the money to hire people.

Of course, its fairly hard to look for a job when you're working all day at some other temp job like that...

Bryan Blaire
01-25-2012, 09:18 AM
So, this socialism vs capitalism thing often boils down to a belief on the part of conservatives that liberals believe that people shouldn't have to work for their money. Now, perhaps someone can tell me why this hasn't been tried, because I really doubt I'm the only person to have ever thought of it.

So, we pay unemployment insurance. Why can't that just be a guarantee that you will always have a job? Say, you get a paycheck for two weeks, no work expected, while you look for another job. That seems reasonable. After that, you're expected to work part-time, since after all unemployment benefits are part-time pay, doing one of various jobs that needs to be done. There are always such jobs. The kind of thing that we normally expect volunteers to do, like helping poor people, or things like temp work, shovel-ready type stuff. I realize there are some labor-ready type organizations around here, but it seems to me that the effort is largely decentralized, unorganized, and not integrated very well with the unemployment offices at all. It seems to me that the list of permanent jobs you're offered at the unemployment center are usually 1) jobs that require skills you don't have, or 2) jobs that aren't really necessary.

Naturally a lot of people don't want to work certain jobs they think are 'beneath' them. In some cases it comes down to how dirty you are willing to get. Sometimes there are more logical objections. For example, I refuse to work in a kitchen ever again, and partly it's because the heat and the smell make me sick. But why is it that it apparently never occurs to anyone to ask unemployed people for a list of things they are good at? I have been to unemployment offices several times, and no one has ever asked me that. They just give me a list of available jobs. None of them fit. Of course, I've never received unemployment money (even though I've been eligible for it several times). But it seems to me that, if you had a good idea of what your unemployed population was capable of doing, you could put them to work something they'd be happy doing...for the government, who is paying the unemployment checks. And why aren't unemployment offices integrated with vocational training programs? It's stupid.
I've said similar on TL before, minus the guarantee you always have a job. One of the issues is different states' requirements for when you are allowed to turn down a job that is offered (ie, some states allow you to decline if the pay isn't within X amount of your previous salary, benefits offered don't match to X percentage, hours aren't similar enough, etc).

However, how do you write a law that makes labor compulsory while on unemployment benefits without infringing on the rights of the people to be employed? That's something I've been shouted at about welfare recipients before when I suggested that those recieving various types of welfare be required to perform services at the discretion of local gov't offices providing those benefits.

Zombie Sammael
01-25-2012, 10:27 AM
The government has been trying something like this in the UK recently. Long to medium term unemployed people are being made to go and do "work experience" for private companies, such as supermarket giant Tesco or bar chain JD Wetherspoon's. Inevitably, these are low-paid, menial tasks in the first place, but what's worse is that when the job is customer facing (such as in Spoons) the quality of customer service declines. There's also no drive for the companies to actually employ anyone; as soon as one lot of unemployed have done their "work trial" they can just get another one in.

Heinz
01-25-2012, 10:30 AM
The OP was the general idea behind some of the public works projects in the Depression era. Many of our national and state parks' initial infrastructure like paths and bathrooms are thanks to such workers.

Other countries have had or have similar projects as well, of course. Some of us Americans laughed at the license application process while we were living in Germany. You would have to fill out forms, for the ability to fill out a form, so you were allowed to fill out the actual application form. It smacked of 'give someone an office job pushing papers so they have a job'. I know you were meaning something more productive though, and I don't claim we knew what the intent of the forms actually were. It was just a light humored moment for those couple who were trying to drive there.

Anyway, the basic premise is good, I agree. I'm a conservative myself, and don't especially like how generous the unemployment process can be in the U.S. Though I don't disagree with unemployment itself. I have no problem with the idea of helping someone who needs a bit of help. My objections, and largely what I'll point out here, center around the ones who abuse the system.

Having a system of 'public works' for unemployment assumes that people actually want to work. Some of us do. Some.. not so much. So after two weeks, they're told they need to report to the public park service to help tend the grounds to keep their unemployment pay coming. They don't show, because they don't feel like getting out of bed that morning (I say that knowing a friend like this). What do you do now? Do you withhold unemployment? Do you keep giving them unemployment anyway, because it is wrong for them to not have a roof over their head, heat to keep them warm, or food to eat, because they couldn't pay for it due to having no money? How far does it go?

The concept I like and agree with. It would be a good way to apply people-power to services which are understaffed or simply not currently paid attention to. It might also help unemployed job-seekers. Companies generally appear to prefer a potential applicant be actively working, rather than doing nothing, when they review applications. Whomever is organizing the officially unemployed person with the government can also serve as a positive reference, if they've done positive work. All kinds of good things out of that.

But the cynic in me sees the abusers making this a difficult prospect. Still, some help from those who aren't so lazy is better than no help at all. I'd cheer for a proposal of this sort from my State government, which is where I believe this would fall under. Feds can encourage, but it largely would fall to State.

Yellowbeard
01-25-2012, 12:52 PM
How about a system where an employer and the unemployment insurance contribute to a worker's pay while they are enrolled in the system?

In the example of the farmers that didn't want to pay more money...they contribute $x for what they would normally pay the positions. Then unemployment contributes $y dollars to get the person in the position up to the stated benefit rate they are to receive.

If said person then fails to do the job, they are removed from the program and don't get anything. They'd have to make sure they used some common sense and didn't try to stick a guy in a wheel chair out picking fruit, but I have no problem with making unemployment recipients work for their money.

GonzoTheGreat
01-25-2012, 12:59 PM
All right, then you end up with all employers paying one tenth of the minimum wage, with the state making up the rest. Add to that lowering corporate taxes so as to try to improve the employment situation, and where is the money going to come from?

Why shouldn't an employer have to pay (at the very least) minimum wage?

Yellowbeard
01-25-2012, 01:23 PM
All right, then you end up with all employers paying one tenth of the minimum wage, with the state making up the rest. Add to that lowering corporate taxes so as to try to improve the employment situation, and where is the money going to come from?

Common, man! The state would dictate how much an employer has to contribute to any individuals pay in order for said employer to participate in the program. If employers aren't willing to contribute enough to make it work, they can't participate and get discounted labor in any form.

And I would also think a program such as this would only be for certain fields of unskilled labor as you wouldn't be able to take an unemployed coal miner and put him in an engineer's office and expect him to be able to the work.

Areas you could explore;
-Non-trade/non-skilled labor for construction - seriously...having been on lots of sites, if they can get work done now with unskilled, non-english speaking workers being directed by a single multi-lingual foreman on site, they could take regular unemployed folks that are able bodied, give 'em a shovel, and put 'em to work.

-Agriculture - working the fields. Again, labor intensive, but not much needed in terms of special skills.

-Public facility maintenance - mowing road medians and shoulders, clearing drainage ways from obstructions (i.e. cleaning and maintaining ditches - it ain't hard to swing a brush axe or use a shovel), basic maintenance such as repainting, etc.

-Picking up litter/trash in public places.

-Public schools can always use help with people to assist them in simple tasks.

Obviously people wouldn't be big on this sort of thing, so they'd be a bit more motivated to find new jobs. Which the program would have to allow time for. You wouldn't be able to enforce this 40 hours a week. And that's also another reason it would be limited to non-skilled work. It would have to be something that another person could easily pick up and do where you left off.

Terez
01-28-2012, 05:38 AM
I kind of forgot about this thread, for some reason. Anyway, some things to respond to:Of course, its fairly hard to look for a job when you're working all day at some other temp job like that...
That's why I said that, after the two-week period receiving unemployment benefits with no work expected, the work will be part time, because the pay is only part time. That gives the person plenty of time to search for a job, and some of these theoretical part-time jobs could feasibly lead to full time employment.

I've said similar on TL before, minus the guarantee you always have a job.
It's not a guarantee to the point that you will always have a job. Just a productive replacement for the existing unemployment benefits. (In other words, a guarantee of a job rather than a guarantee of a paycheck.) You only get paid for time you work; if you don't work, you don't get the benefits. And the benefit only lasts the designated amount of time, or perhaps until a designated amount of money is earned.

However, how do you write a law that makes labor compulsory while on unemployment benefits without infringing on the rights of the people to be employed?Not sure what you're saying here.

That's something I've been shouted at about welfare recipients before when I suggested that those recieving various types of welfare be required to perform services at the discretion of local gov't offices providing those benefits.To me this only makes sense if they're not already working full time. A friend of mine lives in subsidized housing and gets food stamps. He works two part-time jobs and between 50-60 hours a week. His wife stays at home with their two kids because daycare costs more than she would get paid at any job she is qualified for. How does that work? Granted, the wife will have some time to work when the kids are in school, but most of the jobs available to her would be looking for someone with more flexible hours. But what about my friend? Should he have to do something too? What if he was a single dad?

The OP was the general idea behind some of the public works projects in the Depression era. Many of our national and state parks' initial infrastructure like paths and bathrooms are thanks to such workers.
Right, I get that, and I know that's what Obama is trying to do with his Jobs Bill aimed at building infrastructure and the like. I just don't understand why we ever went to a non-working unemployment benefit. I imagine I could find out if I researched it, but I was hoping someone would know.

Other countries have had or have similar projects as well, of course. Some of us Americans laughed at the license application process while we were living in Germany. You would have to fill out forms, for the ability to fill out a form, so you were allowed to fill out the actual application form. It smacked of 'give someone an office job pushing papers so they have a job'. I know you were meaning something more productive though, and I don't claim we knew what the intent of the forms actually were. It was just a light humored moment for those couple who were trying to drive there.Yeah, like I said in another thread, I think useless jobs get created all too often because of the underemployment problem that always persists. Something around 25% of US residents are unemployed or underemployed at the moment. That's a huge problem. (I think that is a somewhat conservative estimate.) I just think there are a lot of useful jobs that haven't been properly explored because the private sector always whines when the government creates more jobs, especially competitive jobs.

Having a system of 'public works' for unemployment assumes that people actually want to work. Some of us do. Some.. not so much. So after two weeks, they're told they need to report to the public park service to help tend the grounds to keep their unemployment pay coming. They don't show, because they don't feel like getting out of bed that morning (I say that knowing a friend like this). What do you do now? Do you withhold unemployment? Do you keep giving them unemployment anyway, because it is wrong for them to not have a roof over their head, heat to keep them warm, or food to eat, because they couldn't pay for it due to having no money? How far does it go?Yes, you withhold it if people don't want to work, unless they have a valid medical reason, a death in the family, etc. With centralized organization it should be pretty easy to determine who is cheating the system. It's not any different in a humanitarian sense than it is right now, because unemployment benefits only last so long, and only pay so much. But if you offer a working unemployment benefit, then more unemployed people become eligible for it than are currently eligible. If it's a proper work-training system, then it could even get people on the road to full-time permanent employment.

As for the fed-state distinction, I think unemployment benefits are currently paid by the state? I could be wrong. But I don't see any problem with federal efforts to help organize it on a voluntary basis. There are some projects that have a federal scope, and would require some sort of consistent standards.

cindy
01-28-2012, 03:38 PM
FWIW UI benefits are funded mostly by employers paying UI taxes. employees don't pay for UI.

which is why it's really difficult to get any major changes through. employers don't like what they're paying as it is and don't want to pay more, or to pay for something that they don't see benefitting them.

it's a hard sell.

Davian93
01-28-2012, 07:56 PM
FWIW UI benefits are funded mostly by employers paying UI taxes. employees don't pay for UI.

which is why it's really difficult to get any major changes through. employers don't like what they're paying as it is and don't want to pay more, or to pay for something that they don't see benefitting them.

it's a hard sell.

Yes but just like healthcare costs, its considered part of your benefits package when it comes to payroll/salary. Thus, "you" pay for it as the employee.

As to the rest, I agree. I was trained extensively on how to fire people without having to pay unemployment.

cindy
01-29-2012, 02:22 PM
not really. not in the US.

people think it is... but the employers and the people who run the system... and i worked there for years... are well aware who funds it, and the laws and policies and every individual decision follows the money.

it doesn't seem fair, and... it isn't. but it's weighted to the benefit of the employer, and it always will be as long as it's funded through payroll taxes.