Welfare system needs overhaul, not tweaks

Listen to the way young people talk about unemployment.

This story from the New York Times features teens and 20-somethings talking about the problems they face in a lagging global economy.

It truly doesn’t matter that it takes place in London because the sentiments are those of global young people and people of many ages.

Lack of apprenticeships, adequate training and the cost of education are cited as reasons these people can’t find work.

Here’s the problem: people expect the government to just hand them the keys to the car of their future.

Well, if there aren’t apprenticeships out there, it’s the government’s fault. They should make them available to everyone right?

If the government wanted to go bankrupt making sure that it took care of something you should take care of on your own then yes, of course they should.

One girl in the story even went so far as to call it “perverse” that the government subsidizes apprenticeships for people who are 25 and older. You know, the people who have life experience. Also, the people likely in far worse debt given that they’ve been struggling to find a job much longer than the 19 year-old.

You know what works? You know what makes sense?

Join the Navy.

They’ll house you, feed and train you for a couple years and when you’re done, not only will you have experience and skills, the government will pay for your education.

Why should the government just give you money? Why should they just give you training?

Offering four years of your life for the chance to make something of yourself, a chance you may not otherwise get, should be well worth the sacrifice.

The commitment is great, no question, so what if the government created a new program: no free aid. If you want a check you can join the service.

Don’t want to make that large a commitment but still want an unemployment check? We’ve got trash in our parks that need picking up. Public works departments across the country are understaffed due to budget cuts.

It would be the government’s version of work study.

Of course, that would never happen.

The reality is: governments need to reduce the kind of welfare programs that simply give people stuff. People don’t need stuff, you can get into credit card debt you have no intention of paying (plenty of people do this already) if you want stuff. 

Interestingly, it was in my discussion of the London riots where I mentioned this issue of feeding the bear.

I’m all about government subsidies for job training, apprenticeships and fellowship programs, but cut funding to unemployment and Medicaid.

If you want to support yourself on the government’s dime it’ll be because the government trained you to become self-sufficient. That will cut long-term cost per person because it will shorten the time spent on the dole.

It will also bring more workers with skills to the marketplace, put more people to work and raise revenues to help pay this aid.

Government creating a system that actually creates revenue? Unheard of.

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