Should people who receive welfare be required to do community service?

Cosmos

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I see this debate pop up now and then and I'd like to see what my fellow Kiwis think.

Personally, I don't see how this has a downside. Of course, some people would be exempted (like the disabled and people who are taking job training courses), but I think if you have a healthy body and you're receiving government benefits you should be required to do a few hours of community service per month. People should also be allowed to choose what they want to do (be it working in an animal shelter, a food kitchen, a library, organizing events, etc).

I've seen people complain about how "insulting" this is to welfare recipients, but is it really? There's nothing bad about giving back to the community that's been supporting you. Plus, volunteer work is good for the soul; I've worked in animal shelters, food kitchens, and other places and I have nothing but positive things to say about my experiences. I'm sure that a lot of other Kiwis feel the same way. Getting out and helping other people never has any downsides.
 

Cosmos

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Forcing people to do community service would take away from time they could be working or trying to get a job.

Wouldn't that make it harder for people to get off welfare, which is the whole goal of welfare itself?

I said something about that in my original post ["Of course, some people would be exempted (like the disabled and people who are taking job training courses)"]. Imo, people should be given a choice between either community service or job training courses (or anything else that will help them find/prepare for a job). And if they're already employed, they shouldn't have to worry about either of those things.

Also, just to clarify, I'm not one of those "fuck the poor" people who thinks that we should get rid of welfare, I just think that if you're on welfare but not actively trying to find a job you should be doing something to give back to the community.
 

Grand Number of Pounds

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From what I understand a lot of people who are on government assistance are the working poor, so they're already working.

I would certainly support everyone to do community service and contribute to charities as they see fit, but I don't think the government should force people to do community service unless it's part of a sentence, like they do for mischievous people who have too much time on their hands and get into trouble.
 

Pikonic

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I like the idea. As long as it's not a crazy amount like 60+ hours a week. An hour a day, 5 days a week wouldn't be bad. They could even volunteer at a place that'll get them real job experience.
However,
The 13th Amendment said:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
It doesn't take a Harvard lawyer to say "Hey, this is involuntary servitude. These people didn't get convicted of a crime. This violates the 13th amendment."
Now, can we argue that receiving welfare is payment for their work and people still have the choice not to work/collect? I guess so, but that's really for the Supreme Court to decide.
 
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SpessCaptain

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They do this in Australia which is known for Work For The Dole. A lot of people are stuck in the system where people value experience more than the willingness to learn and get trapped.

Unfortunately I've heard that a lot of the Work for The Dole is unregulated: in one situation my friend was cleaning up Airplane blankets and found syringes and shit on many of em and had to stop when someone reported to a OH&S officer. Yes you get experience but in the end you're prone to less than acceptable conditions.
 

Dudeofteenage

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It's a bad idea. It's been tried in many places and it doesn't help get long-term unemployed back into work, because the work you do is not of the kind that employees value. All it does is satisfy some moralistic impulse to punish the unemployed for their supposed laziness, which is bullshit anyway.
 

Cosmos

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Receiving welfare in exchange of community service?
the sounds like a Job.

although this sounds like something that should be done to individuals like ADF, but I don't know on a mass scale. I don't have enough knowledge on this issue.

That's a very good point, actually; it would be great if something like this could be done on a case-by-case basis instead of as a blanket rule. There are lots of people on welfare who are doing all they can to get by and are very hardworking, virtuous people... and then there are some people like ADF, who sit on their asses collecting free money while outright refusing to contribute anything to society.

I gotta say, the mental image of ADF collecting trash by a highway while he thinks of ways to bitch about it on FaceBook later (definitely something involving how the white cishet government is literally enslaving poor Latinx transwomyn) made me giggle.
 

Save Goober

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I think it would be a lot of trouble and would only apply to small groups of people. People like CWC and ADF, while technically fit to work, cause a huge amount of problems when they do.. Len Shaner was a "special hire" at Sears according to Gook Choy and he caused far more problems than he was ever worth. Then again, maybe lolcows aren't the best example.
Plus I think there are quite a few people on government assistance who do volunteer work anyway.
 
Q

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It doesn't take a Harvard lawyer to say "Hey, this is involuntary servitude. These people didn't get convicted of a crime. This violates the 13th amendment."
Now, can we argue that receiving welfare is payment for their work and people still have the choice not to work/collect? I guess so, but that's really for the Supreme Court to decide.

I'm curious on how prisons resolve this issue.
 

Holdek

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It depends on what you mean by "welfare," specifically.

If it's Social Security :tugboat:, then, generally speaking, no, because that's an insurance program that you pay into.

If it's Medicaid or food stamps, maybe.

Either way, it would require additional layers of bureaucracy and supervision that would end up costing more money, particularly if the government has to expend resources selecting out people like ADF, which is something that should be considered.

I'm curious on how prisons resolve this issue.
13th Amendment said:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
 
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KatsuKitty

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It would require additional layers of bureaucracy and supervision that would end up costing more money, also.

This is really the problem I have with "workfare". It ends up costing more money because people have this Christian work ethic notion of nothing earned, nothing gotten. That and drug testing welfare recipients. They can't afford to pay for any of this, they're on welfare. So you and I foot a larger bill because Rusty Redneck believes it's a sin to get free stuff or that you should've prayed your heroine addiction away.

Unless you literally just kill poor people, they're going to cost you money one way or another. A solution should optimise for a minimum and not aim for an elimination of welfare dependency, because you're not going to eliminate poverty without sentient-machine-powered abundance. I'm an engineer and a pragmatist; I go with the most efficient solution no matter how unorthodox it may seem. Just giving people money, without any means testing or restriction, may ultimately prove to be the best way to alleviate poverty and eliminate bureaucratic overhead. Just a small amount, it's not even enough to live off without working so the supply chain will still survive. Everyone gets the same amount of money, so there's no perverse incentives near the end of the means-testing line. We already do this in Alaska in the form of the Permanent Fund, a citizen's dividend of sorts, and it's been very effective in helping out the lowest income brackets.

This is going to get more and more important as the barrier for entry to any form of employment requires more and more brainpower and creativity. Not everyone's got it. Automation will reshape our society and culture profoundly unless everyone starts pumping out geniuses immediately. When we reach a point where the supply chain can mass-produce common items by rote on its own or with minimal human intervention, we're going to come to a point where we either issue a citizen's dividend for the people who simply can't work/can't find work valuable enough to sustain themselves...or just shoot 'em.
 

Watcher

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There are ways I think this can work in a less bigoted "stop leaching off our good fortune" way.

The biggest being if it was more akin to work experience. (IE: You work unpaid somewhere and after a certain amount of time the government finds you a job). Something that is a problem in modern society at the moment is people must go to college to get any sort of job. And if you don't have the money to go or if your specific field lacks jobs you're completely SOL. And you either need to get a good referral or a work experience placement to even get your foot in the door.

The problems I have with "force the poor to do work experience" mostly amount to slippery slope arguments based on other circumstances where people are forced to work for free. IE: They start defunding government workers because they can just get people on welfare to work for free. Or they start pressuring you to not look for work because they need X amount of workers that they'll pay less than minimum wage to work for something. Or "Hey the governor is getting re-elected. Start handing out flyers for his campaign or no money this month."

If such a system were in place I feel it should benefit both sides, and not just be made based on a "well everyone who's on government assistance is lazy and they should be punished attitude". Because it doesn't lead to more people coming off assistance to treat them like they're parasites in a system. We need to view this problem logically and without making moral judgements on people.
 
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DNJACK

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My opinion on the problem?

welfare%20cliff.jpg
 

Some JERK

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Also, keep in mind that some people can't find or keep a job because they've got serious attitude and substance abuse problems that aren't on any official radar. Forcing others to work with them is fucked up. Forcing those kinds of people to work together is a recipe for disaster.
 

AnOminous

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The concept of this is generally punitive. They want to punish people for getting something for nothing. The problem is babysitting a useless freak like ADF would waste the time of multiple people. It would be even more of a waste of money than just giving this freak free money.

And when the money isn't pure welfare, but disability, you have to prove (at least to a legal standard) that you're incapable of work.