The problem is structural.
If you -- as an employer -- have "created" jobs which pay below the poverty level, than by definition, you have created a drag on the economy forcing
the state to subsidize your "business" (backdoor corporate welfare). There should be ZERO tax incentives or breaks for businesses that create drag in
Unfortunately -- decades of inertia have been built up behind the notion that some of these companies are the engine of America. This might be true,
to a certain extent, IF the tax revenue for these businesses (earned by the state) exceeds the outlay the state must provide to make up the
difference, but -- if that is true -- then a massive reeducation program is necessary to inform the populace that such a thing is occurring.
Yes -- you can invent your own work. Yes -- you can creatively "make money" without a job. The question is: what regulations prevent most people from
doing so? Are the barriers to entry in a particular market high enough to keep most honest people out of it? A good example is the "baby-sitting"
example cited twice in this thread. It is simply not legal in most states for an unlicensed child-care provider to look after more than X kids at any
given time (where X equals the local regulation on licensed versus unlicensed care).
In a similar way, there are licencing requirements for builders of all kinds, and operating without one often carries significant monetary or criminal
penalties. Asking people to ignore these rules, laws and regulations, to "boot-strap" themselves might work in Bosnia, but they fail in a state where
significant enforcement and penalties are the norm.
Demographically -- we have a huge problem. Because technological efficiency has increased five-fold, employers need fewer employees to make the work
happen. But the population has doubled in the same time-frame, and millions are entering the workforce every year, many with college degrees.
Over-saturated fields of study are definitely part of the problem, but what incentives do schools have to deprioritize degrees in Psychology, or
Ethnic studies if they are cheaper to provide, and student loans are easy to get? Yes -- many community colleges and trade-schools are turning out an
inferior product, and yes -- most students are paying full premium prices for these degrees and certificates, and there is no rational authority to
turn to to determine which are which: The notion that if the school is eligible for student loans, than the government must approve of their
curriculum is bogus. The student, as a consumer -- is thrown to the wolves of a market that has no incentive to correct itself in any meaningful
I could go on for 25 more paragraphs, detailing structural problems with our notion of education and work (why don't public schools teach math the way
the Khan Academy does, for example?) but such a thread is dangerously out of focus. The facts on the ground are simple: our concept of full employment
is badly out of date given the technological advances in computerization, automation, manufacturing and resource management. We can no longer afford
to subsidize employers who create drag by employing the greater majority of their workforce below levels that qualify for assistance, and we can no
longer afford to subsidize employers who ship much of their "work" overseas to even cheaper markets.
We could do away with assistance completely. Unfortunately -- it is an elegant and seductive solution, but it would sink the economy even more than
edit on 12-11-2012 by 0zzymand0s because: (no reason given)