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

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Holdek

Down to where? All that is down is only the floor.
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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.
Milton Friedman (and even Friedrick Hayek) supported the idea of a Guaranteed Minimum Income given to all citizens by the government concurrent with eliminating a lot of welfare programs and the minimum wage because it would be more cost-effective and decrease market distortions.
 
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A

AP 297

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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.

Actually a man named Max Weber wrote a book on the concept and coined the phrase Protestant Work Ethic in 1904. It was called The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Protestant-Ethic-Spirit-Capitalism/dp/1603866043

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.

Interesting. This is what troubles me about a lot of these programs. Companies are too eager to have unpaid internships and projects like this in order to get "free labor". They justify it to themselves by saying they are giving the person experience, but really the worker gets nothing in this.

I would be for creating some type of Civil Service Administration or a Public Works Administration(similar to what happened during the American New Deal under Roosevelt). I am pretty conservative, but these are unique circumstances and we have a lot of people unemployed in the US(Many who want the opportunity to work and for their work to be meaningful) and a lot of infrastructure that needs to be developed. If people work, they should be paid for it.
 
A

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Weber did not use that book to advocate anything like "work for the dole".

Relax man, I never said he did. I was talking about the origin of the concept.

Simply put Calvinism put forth a notion that certain people were predestined and saved from the beginning. That these were the people chosen by god and therefore granted his noble spirit and divine blessing. So to many the idea that if you are thrifty, hard working, temperate, and successful then you are obvious one of his chosen has taken root in our Cultures. A takeaway from the book of James - Faith and Deeds James 2:14 - 26 and basically the 2 books of Thessalonians. (Particularly the passage "If one does not work they do not eat")

People believe the opposite is true as well. If you are live beyond your means, lazy, indulgent, and a failure then you are clearly a sinful person devoid of god's providence and that it is evident of your deeds.

In many countries like America, this idea has evolved because people reject the idea of predestination. They accept that a person who is godly would be thrifty, hard working, temperate, and successful, but they reject the notion that those who are unsuccessful cannot be saved. To them there is a mantra of trying to save a person by making them work.
 
S

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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.

I don't see a downside for this either. It just makes people feel entitled and spoiled. Ever since I started working recently, I feel fuck tons better making my own money and buying my own shit and my own food, though my life is still shit right now.

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?

Not quite, it gives them experience. Employers are picky as shit nowadays. They always want to hire someone that their employee already knows or at least have some experience in their resume. They're not going to pick some schome who doesn't have volunteer or at least something credible in their resume. It's funny that it happens a lot in the retail industry where it doesn't take much to stock shelves and ring out transactions. Seriously, you expect someone to have 1-3 years experience in retail when they haven't got retail experience at all but have volunteer experience? And these are the same assholes who complain about people on welfare. WELL YOU REJECT THEM YOU FUCKS. So yeah, force them if they are able bodied.

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.

It should only be for people who are able bodied but give them a choice in terms of what do. For example, if someone is good at cleaning and filling out paperwork, why not have them pick up trash and refer them to a janitorial job if cleaning and maintenance is more of their vocation?

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.

Why is it bullshit? Because some people don't want to work at all and live the easy life coasting? This is the problem here in America. For someone who spent 7 years of his pathetic excuse of a life trying to get a part time job to support himself while others who don't care about work getting a part time job this is what pisses me off. It's about helping people feel good about themselves not resorting to crime or sex work just get through rough times in the most 'greatest/richest country' in the world. If you call helping others to have self esteem and work ethic punishment then go fuck yourself.
 

Clown Doll

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The concept of this is generally punitive. They want to punish people for getting something for nothing.
Plus the system "steals" a job(say, as a library assistant) from somebody who would want the job as full-time, paid job instead of a mandatory chore for people who do it occasionally just to collect their welfare.
 

LazarusOwenhart

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UK opinion here. Any person who has been claiming Job Seekers Allowance for six months should be required to perform a minimum of 20 hours of unpaid work for either charities or public services per week for the remainder of the time he/she is claiming JSA. The 'employers' of these people should be required to write references for them to aid them in gaining paid work. Refusal to perform voluntary work would then constitute a criminal offence resulting in judiciary community service and, eventually a custodial sentence.

Anyone claiming disability should have regular health checks to A) insure their welfare but B) stop layabouts defrauding the system. Being fat and lazy isn't a disability and we shouldn't pay for it. That being said if a ham beast chooses to stop claiming benefits instead of volunteer work then they are well within their rights to starve to death on the streets. People with a genuine disability who still find gainful employment should not have their benefits cut as they are demonstrating a true English spirit.

Finally, benefits, where possible, should be paid in vouchers, not cash. Sky TV, a 52 inch TV and a PS4 are not the basic necessities for life, stop buying them with taxpayer money. Enjoy your food vouchers, clothing vouchers and housing vouchers, redeemable at all good supermarkets and local authorities.

As for the bedroom tax, it's awesome. That local authority house isn't yours, it's the peoples. If you're a single woman in a 3 bed house because your kids have moved out, either pay up or go to a one bedroom flat, your choice.

The right wing has spoken. EDIT: Not a troll post. I am a conservative.
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Watcher

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I don't see a downside for this either. It just makes people feel entitled and spoiled. Ever since I started working recently, I feel fuck tons better making my own money and buying my own shit and my own food, though my life is still shit right now.
That's you.

Not everyone is in a position to find work, and not everyone is in a position where they can work. Some people require legitimate amounts of time to find work and get their affairs in order so they can eventually get back into work. A good example is if someone feels they're not mentally qualified (as in they get diagnosed with a psychopathic disorder and they need to take medication for it for a certain amount of time).

Yes I agree people "Should" work and should find jobs and make their own money. The problem is not everyone is able to. And we don't live in a society that bases it's policies on what the ideal is but instead what leads to less prostitution and petty crime.
Not quite, it gives them experience. Employers are picky as shit nowadays. They always want to hire someone that their employee already knows or at least have some experience in their resume. They're not going to pick some schome who doesn't have volunteer or at least something credible in their resume. It's funny that it happens a lot in the retail industry where it doesn't take much to stock shelves and ring out transactions. Seriously, you expect someone to have 1-3 years experience in retail when they haven't got retail experience at all but have volunteer experience? And these are the same assholes who complain about people on welfare. WELL YOU REJECT THEM YOU FUCKS. So yeah, force them if they are able bodied.
This is a terrible argument.

Community service does not give a person experience that they need usually. Walking a person's dog and handing out flyers is completely useless. If a person is more geared toward customer service, helping pick up trash on the side of the road is also completely useless. If a person is on welfare because they lost their job and their legal practice, volunteering at a homeless shelter is again completely useless to them.

Yes it can help a person but it should not be used as a justification to remove time from a person who is trying to find work. This just prolongs the problem longer and leads to more less skilled labor in the workforce. Which is already a big enough problem.

And yes there are jobs that pay attention to community service. Once you get past things like minimum wage jobs those steadily decrease. Due to how low the minimum wage typically is people also cannot usually live off it by themselves (especially if they have children/high medical costs) so they will also require government assistance. So the community service argument is useless there if a person is also working.
It should only be for people who are able bodied but give them a choice in terms of what do. For example, if someone is good at cleaning and filling out paperwork, why not have them pick up trash and refer them to a janitorial job if cleaning and maintenance is more of their vocation?
Volunteer jobs are based on demand. Not on who is available to take them.
Why is it bullshit? Because some people don't want to work at all and live the easy life coasting? This is the problem here in America. For someone who spent 7 years of his pathetic excuse of a life trying to get a part time job to support himself while others who don't care about work getting a part time job this is what pisses me off. It's about helping people feel good about themselves not resorting to crime or sex work just get through rough times in the most 'greatest/richest country' in the world. If you call helping others to have self esteem and work ethic punishment then go fuck yourself.
Would you rather have high crime rates or have a welfare system? Honestly answer this. One benefits absolutely nobody and harms everyone, wheras the other helps people who need it and can help people who don't need it.

Because you cannot erase the welfare state without having higher crime. This is an impossibility. Creating these roadblocks leads to further problems and costs the state far more than just giving them money would. At this point you have to determine whether you want a moral "but people should work" argument or a "this costs the state the least amount and helps the most people" argument.

Crime costs the state a great deal, homelessness costs the state a great deal. Welfare fixes much of this and the only argument here is "well people should" which isn't a pragmatic argument when it costs the state more and hurts everyone equally.

~~~
Now onto Lazarus Owenhart

I know this is a troll post but there are some actual arguments here I've heard.
Refusal to perform voluntary work would then constitute a criminal offence resulting in judiciary community service and, eventually a custodial sentence.
The court fees alone would cost much more than simply giving them money.
Anyone claiming disability should have regular health checks to A) insure their welfare but B) stop layabouts defrauding the system. Being fat and lazy isn't a disability and we shouldn't pay for it. That being said if a ham beast chooses to stop claiming benefits instead of volunteer work then they are well within their rights to starve to death on the streets. People with a genuine disability who still find gainful employment should not have their benefits cut as they are demonstrating a true English spirit.
If the person doesn't have health insurance or the person lives in a country that lacks socialized healthcare (IE: The US) the amount of money the state would have to spend annually to continually medically test disability recipients would cost far, far more than just giving them money would.

It also gets into the subject of what constitutes "layabouts defrauding the system". I knew someone who had a muscle disorder that made him get fatigued very easily, and was told it would lead to further complications with things like his heart and circulation. He tried to get disability but was unable to until he retried over 10 times. There's a large grey area between "ham beast" and "cripple" here and intentionally limiting people will have some people starve to death despite actually requiring assistance.
 
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Dudeofteenage

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Relax man, I never said he did. I was talking about the origin of the concept.

Simply put Calvinism put forth a notion that certain people were predestined and saved from the beginning....

Yeah, thanks, I've read the book.

I don't really think they're related, though. Weber was arguing for something that was innate to people raised in largely Protestant cultures. I've never heard anybody mention protestantism when arguing for work for the dole.

The concept of a "work ethic" predates Weber. Weber's main theoretical leap was to try to argue that there was a particular work ethic that was found only among Protestants or those influenced by Proestantism.

Why is it bullshit? Because some people don't want to work at all and live the easy life coasting?

Because, while some unemployed people are doubtless lazy, there's zero evidence that laziness is the cause of unemployment.

Globally, unemployment rises and falls as economies grow slower or faster. It is very hard to believe that people just happen to always get lazier or more hard working en masse as the economy contracts or expands, respectively.

You can always find some lazy unemployed people because unemployed people are always a large group and unusually lazy people are going to be represented in any large group (just like it's not hard to find unemployed people who are foot fetishists, or have unusual eye colour, or are fans of K-pop). But any analysis that rises above anecdotes is going to abandon the "unemployed people are lazy" narrative pretty quick.

The 'employers' of these people should be required to write references for them to aid them in gaining paid work.

When I'm reading somebody's CV, and I look at their references, I'm always trying to figure out why the employer felt driven to write them a good reference.

If the reason is 'because they had literally no choice on the matter' I learn nothing about the person the reference discusses. These enforced references would be worthless.
 
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LazarusOwenhart

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@Dudeofteenage It's not about the cost and anyway the reduction in benefits scroungers would offset the additional cost of prosecutions long term. As for references in the UK it's against the law to give somebody a 'bad' reference. You either get a neutral one or a good one. Most companies give out stock references, ours for instance says "XXX worked as a job position at company between the dates of xx/xx/xxxx and xx/xx/xxx and performed his/her job role adequately."
 

Dudeofteenage

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@Dudeofteenage It's not about the cost and anyway the reduction in benefits scroungers would offset the additional cost of prosecutions long term.

Highly doubtful

@Dudeofteenage As for references in the UK it's against the law to give somebody a 'bad' reference. You either get a neutral one or a good one. Most companies give out stock references, ours for instance says "XXX worked as a job position at company between the dates of xx/xx/xxxx and xx/xx/xxx and performed his/her job role adequately."

I'm aware, but that doesn't change my point. If your prospective employer knows your previous employer had to write you a good reference, the reference is meaningless.
 

LazarusOwenhart

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@Dudeofteenage Employers in the UK are generally far more concerned with employment history. If you have big gaps in your work history you have real trouble getting a job. Volunteer work is quite highly regarded as it shows a pro-active willingness not to be idle. As for cost of prosecutions, my issue with our benefits system is not that it costs money, it's that it's tremendously easy to abuse. Before I got into my current career I did a lot of agency work, mostly delivery jobs. I used to do a lot for John Lewis which is a high end UK department store. I spent my days delivering expensive furniture to rich people and stupendously expensive electronics to council estates. I'm not talking one or two either, between my work for John Lewis, Argos and White Arrow Couriers I probably went to at least three or four houses every day to deliver something absurdly expensive to people who are obviously not employed. The worst part is that these people can be granted a store credit agreement. The worst example I saw was a £4000 Bose Plasma TV going into a house on a £100 per month HP agreement. When we arrived at 10 in the morning both occupants of the house, which was filthy beyond all rational belief and STANK of nicotine and shit, were drinking vodka and chain smoking. They had a SKY TV box and a couple of games consoles under their existing TV which was a 42 inch flat screen. We installed the TV (they'd paid £100 up front for that) and then they had the cheek to demand we move the other TV up to thier bedroom. When we refused they phoned our depot and complained. This is an extreme, but not uncommon occurrence.

When I were a lad, being "on the dole" as it was called back then, was a shameful thing. It was stigmatized. People fought tooth and claw to get off benefits. Nowadays it's seen as being clever to game the system and get free money from the state.
 

AnOminous

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I'm aware, but that doesn't change my point. If your prospective employer knows your previous employer had to write you a good reference, the reference is meaningless.

It is also quite possible to give a "positive" reference that would pass legal muster for any such requirement but would nevertheless make it entirely clear that it wasn't really a recommendation. Damning with faint praise.
 

Dudeofteenage

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It is also quite possible to give a "positive" reference that would pass legal muster for any such requirement but would nevertheless make it entirely clear that it wasn't really a recommendation. Damning with faint praise.

Especially if there were enough of these flying around that employers had seen a wide sample and could tell the difference between the reference given to satisfy a legal requirement and the reference given because of genuine endorsement.
 

LazarusOwenhart

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Especially if there were enough of these flying around that employers had seen a wide sample and could tell the difference between the reference given to satisfy a legal requirement and the reference given because of genuine endorsement.
You have literally no idea how employment in the UK works. I get to choose what references I give to an employer. I provide them with my work history, they cannot then contact somebody else for a reference. All an employer would see would be a long list of places worked and two references from any place I choose to give them. Most people use friends and family.
 

Save Goober

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Frankly I don't see the reference thing being a huge deal. I don't know what industry you work in or what level you hire at but people have regularly given me as a reference (me being their friend, not even a coworker/authority) and somehow that's accepted. A lot of places give bullshit references to get rid of someone, or due to some other obligation. I'm sure many places consider "did they have to give this reference?" as much as you do, but a lot don't.
 

Dudeofteenage

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You have literally no idea how employment in the UK works. I get to choose what references I give to an employer. I provide them with my work history, they cannot then contact somebody else for a reference. All an employer would see would be a long list of places worked and two references from any place I choose to give them. Most people use friends and family.

So what's the point of the mandatory references from work experience employers? To ensure that everybody has at least one work-related reference?

Frankly I don't see the reference thing being a huge deal. I don't know what industry you work in or what level you hire at but people have regularly given me as a reference

In and of itself it's not, you could cut it out of @LazarusOwenhart 's plan and it would still be largely intact. But the problems with it are symptomatic of the idea that you can use government compulsion to move people into jobs that don't exist.
 

AnOminous

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You have literally no idea how employment in the UK works. I get to choose what references I give to an employer. I provide them with my work history, they cannot then contact somebody else for a reference. All an employer would see would be a long list of places worked and two references from any place I choose to give them. Most people use friends and family.

How is this unique to the UK? I assure you people around the world have jobs.

Other than being somewhat more protective of employee rights ("at-will employment" does not exist for instance), how would it be possible for any person of normal intelligence to have "literally no idea" how it works in the UK?
 

Holdek

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Most people use friends and family.
How is this helpful in a job application?

So what's the point of the mandatory references from work experience employers? To ensure that everybody has at least one work-related reference?
I think it's more just confirmation of your work experience/skills. That you actually did work at a company with a certain title for an amount of time.
But the problems with it are symptomatic of the idea that you can use government compulsion to move people into jobs that don't exist.
Welfare-to-work programs have been successful in the US. There are lot of sectors with labor shortages but people don't want to do that kind of labor. So sometimes it's good to force them.

Employers in the UK are generally far more concerned with employment history. If you have big gaps in your work history you have real trouble getting a job.
Couldn't you just make shit up? Say you were self-employed selling stuff on eBay or whatever?

("at-will employment" does not exist for instance)
Interesting. I didn't know that didn't exist in the UK. Besides the US, what other first-world countries have at-will employment?
 
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