I came across a FOX News article earlier today stating that Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. has proposed that the federal government hire all unemployed Americans at a salary of $40,000. Initially, I considered the plan ridiculous. However, I later realized that the government is already paying most of these people $17,000 for not working. I could accept the Jackson proposal with the following changes:
1) Use this proposal to replace the current unemployment system. No more unemployment paid to people who are not working. Instead, you come work for the government 3 days each week and document at least 8 hours of work searching for a job on the other two days. Meet the work requirements: get your check. However, just like the current unemployment system, this opportunity to work for the government would expire after a set number of weeks.
2) Reduce the salary to around $20,000. This would reduce the burden that would be placed on the government and would give people incentive to continue searching for work instead of living off of the government.
3) Only those currently eligible for the unemployment system would receive benefits. If you quit or are fired and would be ineligible for unemployment, you receive no benefits.
This plan would be financed by the current unemployment taxes. It would also benefit the federal, state, and local governments by giving them added labor without much added cost. (Imagine the cost savings this winter if we had those on unemployment blowing snow off the sidewalks instead of paying overtime.) It would also benefit the unemployed by allowing them to gain experience and skills, which could increase their marketability. Furthermore, it would reduce the hesitancy of employers to hire unemployed workers, since they know that the person has not just been sitting around collecting a check for weeks. If we implement the above changes to this proposal, it might just become a Democratic jobs plan that I could actually support.
UPDATE: I just want to add that I do not support the portion of his proposal to bail out state and local governments. The only part of this proposal I support is putting the unemployed to work.