The United States is facing some of it’s highest unemployment levels in years. The latest numbers show approximately 14.9 million people without jobs. What the numbers don’t show is how many are not actually looking for a job. The people in charge of unemployment will tell you all recipients must apply for at least three jobs a week. What they don’t tell you is they don’t actually check. It is done on an honor system. You call in or go online every two weeks, and are asked if you were actively seeking work. You answer yes and a few days later your check arrives. No one actually checks, how could they? I am not going to bad mouth the people in the local unemployment offices, I actually think they do the best with what they have. The problem is with the program. Unemployment works when the people who are jobless are in the lower middle class and below, when it comes to wages. How many of us see help wanted signs daily? The jobs they offer are usually entry level positions at or just above minimum wage. There are jobs out there, just not ones that most of the unemployed can afford to take. If your not familiar with unemployment you may say “not afford to take?” Yes, you see most of the currently unemployed are middle to upper income people who are receiving the max payout of somewhere in excess of $500 a week. Why would anyone getting a check for that amount take a job even paying $12 an hour, when after deductions, they would bring home less and have the expenses related to going to work. This is why the system isn’t working now, it’s not because people don’t want to work. You can’t take a job for less money and still pay your mortgage and feed your kids.
The system needs updating. We need to get people back to work, even if it isn’t in a job paying what they once made. A change I would like to see considered is supplemental unemployment payments. The idea behind this is let someone who is currently collecting take a job for less than what unemployment pays them. Then supplement their pay with a check from the government for maybe six months. This should give both the employee and employer time to decide if they can make this work. The benefits of this are two fold. The jobless go back to work, the amount they collect from the government goes down, and the employer gets an employee he otherwise could not afford to hire. The not so obvious benefits include the reduction in the amount the government pays out, various employment taxes collected, and maybe most important of all. The feeling of worth a person with a job has, that may do more for our poor economy than any government bailout could ever do.