Put 'em to Work! - The Missourian: Opinion

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Put 'em to Work!

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Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2014 10:00 am

There is a letter to the editor in this issue in which the writer suggests that people who are out of work and are given weeks and weeks of unemployment aid should be put to work by the government in lieu of making careers out of collecting jobless aid. Congress is debating giving some jobless people extended unemployment aid.

We feel for some of the unemployed who due to circumstances beyond their control are out of work and unable to find a job. In many instances, they can’t qualify for positions because of a lack of the necessary skills. While a public works job may be “below them” in their minds, it’s a job and it would qualify them for the same pay as they are receiving in jobless benefits.

We have a welfare state today in this country although some people do not accept that fact. There are those people who believe the government should take care of them from birth to death.

Many of the people drawing jobless aid today probably never heard of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s. It was a government program that put the jobless to work on public works projects. The CCC workers built roads, bridges, schools, improved parks and did other work that needed to be done for the benefit of people. The CCC workers received pay for their work. Many of the men lived in camps, including several in Franklin County. People were different in those days. Welfare didn’t have the wide grip it has on life in the United States today. They were willing to work, even eager to do anything to put bread on the table.

There is an attitude today in the federal government, and by some of our elected officials, that it would be insulting to people to require them to work for extended jobless aid. The key word is extended benefits.

There was a time in America when most people were too proud to take handouts from the government. That was the time of strong work ethics. We still have that trait but not to the extent we once had. Welfare in some instances can be a disease that spreads. The more of it, the more is wanted. A line must be drawn that ends welfare in particular circumstances.

There are public projects that are needed and if a person is able to do the required work, he or she should be placed in jobs with the rate of pay based on what they would receive in jobless benefits. Let’s don’t create another federal agency to oversee such a program. Place it under an existing agency such as the Department of Labor. There would be opposition to such a program. Too radical, they would say. There would be objections to giving the work to people who were jobless instead of to companies that do that sort of work. Make the companies part of the program.

The long-term good that would result from such a program outweighs any of the negatives.

/opinion

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