Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Unemployment idea

The people who are supposed to know such things are forecasting many years of high unemployment.  High unemployment is a huge drag on the economy.  Unemployed people don't buy stuff.  Stuff being bought is the driver of our economy.  Unemployed people can't make their mortgage payments.  Missed mortgage payments hurt the banks.  This is a troubling vicious cycle.

The top 1% of the US population now gets about 60% of the income in the country.  That is a massive concentration of wealth.  This is a social problem.  But it may also be a great opportunity.

We need to get people back to work.  And we have a small group of people with the resources to hire them, if only they will.  So how do we enable the rich to employ the unemployed?

Traditionally employment involves having an idea for a product or service, forming a company, managing a company, etc., etc., etc....  I've done some of that, and I don't really blame people for not wanting to do it.  So what if we shortcut that?

Let's form a single non-profit company.  Let's hire unemployed people to build and manage the company.  Let's offer basic benefits, like health insurance, and low-but-livable salaries.  Let's put up a website where anyone can suggest projects for the company to work on.  We'll do make-work, if we have to.  But it would be better if we could do work that would actually benefit society.

It will be a non-profit company.  Any services provided would be either no-cost or low-cost to the recipient of the services.  Any products created would be given free, or virtually free.

We would have to employ a management staff to hire people and administer the business.  We would need project managers to oversee the (probably) large number of small projects being done.  All of the work would be fully documented, so anyone and everyone could see that the workers were doing what they were asked to do.

Clean up that vacant lot and build a park.
Repair those old people's houses.
Tutor children after school.
Help poor people apply for assistance programs.
Provide free after-school care for single parents.
Whatever, wherever, whenever.

Obviously the company would be donation-driven.  Donors would get priority in voting for projects, and would get whatever amount of progress reporting that they wanted to see.

As the economy rights itself, sometime in the future, the workers will start finding better-paying jobs.  The company will definitely shrink, but depending upon the level of need it might not ever go away.

It would be something like a Goodwill for people who are fully employable, but who just can't find jobs right now.

What do you think?

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