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Mandatory Work Activity (UK) - Stupidity Beyond Belief. [DEBATE]

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Yeah, sounds like BS, the whole thing
-tomos (November 17, 2014, 03:37 PM)
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More than it would be possible to imagine :(

It had a familiar ring to it:,_neither_shall_he_eat

And for taking jobs away I've heard in the US there are a lot of "customer service" phone banks being run out of private prisons.  Tough to compete with a prisoner who has room and meals provided by the taxpayer but is only getting a paltry hourly stipend.

I'd be surprised if there wasn't a 60 Minutes story on it.  People talking to a "customer service representative" are likely unaware the person was incarcerated.  I'd wager con men make the best reps.  :)

In my home state of NJ (USA). We have a similar "Welfare to Work" program. But it requires recipients, and every unemployed member of their household over the age of 16 and not a full time student or disabled, to spend at least 30 hours per week looking for work (and documenting it), until they find some. And if they still remain unemployed after 6 months, the state sends them to school to gain some job skills (at the state's expense), and then helps them to find a job.

They do not require you to work for less than minimum wage. The job you end up with is a real job, with real wages being paid by your employer...full wages, like they would pay to any other employee. The state would actually prefer if you were being paid more than minimum wage, since almost everyone on welfare has children to support.

What they do is start cutting your benefits, if you earn over a certain amount. But you do not lose your food stamps, medicaid, childcare benefits, rent, utility, or phone subsidies right away. Those are figured separately, and one can continue to collect under those programs indefinitely, if they still need it.

The goal is to get you off of the reliance on welfare's cash benefits by the end of 2 years time, because there is a lifetime cap of 5 years on receiving cash benefits, and they don't want you to hit that cap on your first shot (you might need the help again some day).

And there are exemptions for disabled people that can not work, and full time students that do not have the time to take on a job along with school. They would rather teen mothers finish school, enter a job training program, and end up with a good paying job that comes with benefits and a pension plan, than to quit and take on a minimum wage job that keeps them collecting benefits from some part of the system for the rest of their life.

They will even help mothers go after deadbeat dads for child support, if they are not already collecting it. In fact, they require you to cooperate with them, as they go after the father of your kids for child support, as a condition for collecting welfare benefits. If you refuse to supply a father's name, they can cut your benefits until you do.

The goal of our state's program is to turn as many recipients as possible into self sufficient tax payers that raise kids that also become self sufficient tax payers, because under the old system (that didn't work), people ended up trapped into poverty that extended for generations, with the state picking up the tab for supporting them all, for their entire lives.

And how it works with unemployment benefits, everyone pays into the system through their employer. It's an obligatory insurance plan that pays off should you become unemployed. You collect an amount based on what you earned at your last job and for up to a specified length of time. When your benefits run out, if you have not found a job yet, good are on your own.

This is not to say that our system is perfect and doesn't have any issues, because believe me, it does. But it is much fairer and far better than the system that you describe in the UK.

My husband maxed out his unemployment benefits when he was laid off from his last job, and was on his own (with no income) for about 4 months longer, before he was finally able to find a job. That was one very rough time in our lives that we are still recovering from.

I asked my Advisor at the Job Center for a careers advise appointment of sorts (Basically to try talk it out and figure out what is the best University courses for the paths I want to go down), and the person I was talking to, ignored everything I said and decided that me working as a Warehouse Operative for (Yes I WILL name and shame them) - In a town 8 miles from here...would be the best thing for me (Bearing in mind I suggested that my 2 career paths are [Working within the Technology Industry] and [Flying Instructor]...2 completely different paths I know, but both things that I want to do more than anything). 
-Stephen66515 (November 17, 2014, 02:23 PM)
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Some years back, when we were collecting food stamps, I had to meet with one of the state's job counselors. I brought along a burned disk containing my artwork, software, and static copies of websites I had built. He took one look at the disk, wouldn't even bother to see what was on it, and replied "Oh, you like using computers? Maybe we can get you into a class to learn how to use MS Word." To which I replied "I already know how to use MS Word. I taught myself by reading the help file. What I want to learn is maybe how to write the next version of MS Word, which you would know if you bothered to look at what is on this disk."

The end result of that meeting was for him to claim I never showed up to keep my appointment with him, for which my whole family was kicked off food stamps a month later.  :(

That dude reminded me so much of the patronizing high school guidance counselor that told me programming was for boys, and then shoved me in a secretarial typing class, because I showed a desire to "play with a keyboard".  >:(

I often wonder what I could have accomplished with my life if so many people didn't insist on getting in my way and shitting on my dreams.

@Stephen - Look at it this way... Imagine you run a large chain of stores and some employment minister comes to you and wants you to hire people so that they get work experience and can then get a job somewhere else. Your first reaction will be, "No. Sorry. I don't need inexperienced people. I already have people working, and they're doing fine. Good luck finding another sucker." There's no reason for you to hire anyone, and especially people who aren't readily employable. So, the minister says, "Ok. But how about if you only need to pay them 1/4 what you pay others?" Then... All of a sudden you can probably afford to have these unemployable people doing "something" for you, even if it's just menial upkeep and extra stuff like cleaning signs or scraping gum off the parking lot pavement. At that rate, they can add some value for you, but not at a full rate.

So, the low wages do make sense in a way. (Don't crap on me for this - I'm not agreeing with it, but just explaining a bit of logic for it.)

But none of any of that work program/welfare/blah blah/whatever addresses any of the root causes of the problems that they purport to solve. If anything, they make it worse.

Here's a quick & dirty example based on some actual figures...

Say you can get back 1,200 pounds of taxes that you are already paying, but then you need to shell out 300 pounds to pay for some things yourself, e.g. garbage removal, etc. Would you do it? You'd have an extra 900 pounds in your pocket every year, or 75 pounds a month. While not the exact scenario I outlined, the 25% figure comes from Sandy Springs when they outsourced most city services. They got more services for much less.

Poverty is only increased by taxes, and property taxes are an existential tax that force you to pay merely to exist, merely to be, merely to occupy space. In fact, there's a special word for people that don't pay property taxes: HOMELESS.

Taxes on things like petrol asymmetrically, adversely affect those with lower incomes. Same goes for most other taxes. e.g. A and B both drive 10 km a day, but B's income is 100x A's income. A ends up being affected by prices swings and tax increases on petrol much more than B.

Here's another example...

Imagine a magic genie pops out of a bottle and says, "I can give you 4~6 months of your income every year, but that's all I can do." Would that 4~6 months of additional income make a difference in your life? Would you be willing to give up anything for it? Would you be willing to forgo some things, and pay for others that you had to give up but still wanted? Could you put up with a few minor inconveniences? Because 4~6 months of your life is what governments take from you in taxes.

People with money can spend money.

When people spend money, businesses hire more people.

When businesses hire more people, there is less unemployment.

Less unemployment means higher production and better allocation of resources.

Better allocation of resources makes room for greater innovation and competition.

Innovation and competition raise the quality of people's lives.

The state creates artificially high unemployment by taxing people into subsistence-level existences, which reduces the velocity of money which drags on the overall economy.

Taxes destroy wealth and create poverty. Just look at the current state of the UK and what's been happening for the last few decades. If taxes and Keynesian economic and monetary policies actually worked, the UK would be crazy, awesome paradise. They don't work. The UK is flushing it's people to drown in the sewers.

And for taking jobs away I've heard in the US there are a lot of "customer service" phone banks being run out of private prisons.  Tough to compete with a prisoner who has room and meals provided by the taxpayer but is only getting a paltry hourly stipend.
-MilesAhead (November 17, 2014, 04:32 PM)
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It's more widespread than that. I understand California has more recently been using some inmates for hazardous duties like fighting forest fires. I don't know how 'voluntary' the participation was or if there were special 'incentives' offered to participating inmates. I suspect it was "completely voluntary" and there were likely some incentives given considering this was a program ripe for Watergating if there ever was one.


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