How to Solve the Problem of Unemployment
The waste of human resources on unemployment must end by creating
a reserve-retraining work force, making employment available to everyone.
If it makes sense to have a reserve backup force for the military, it also
makes sense to have a reserve backup for the civilian work force. No longer
would any person be unemployed except on a voluntary basis if a reserve-retraining
work force were created so that people could always be working or training.
This group of disenfranchised people, the unemployed, represent a large,
diverse segment of our population, including not only single parents and
inner-city teenagers, but also people with families who have recently been
laid off from good jobs and who realize they must acquire new career skills
to support their families.
Almost every town in this country has an employment security office,
whose purpose is to match the unemployed with appropriate work. A noble
effort, but of little benefit to the millions who lack skills and training
that would qualify them for decent paying jobs. But the employment security
offices could be the doorway for a reserve-retraining work force. The reserve-retraining
work force would do more than maintain meaningless job listings for people
who can’t fill them. Through this initiative, the mission of the old employment
security agencies would be dramatically changed. They would be transformed
into centers for the redirection of lives. People could report to these
offices and be assigned to training courses in the public or private educational
systems to learn new jobs; or they could serve as a backup work force for
people taking vacations, sick leave, or leave to look after family members
who are sick. Employers would have a ready source of people for new jobs—or
to fill in for one day, one week or one month, while a regular employee
By giving people on-the-job training, every job could be learned by
someone who would be ready when needed in the regular work force. The nation
would have a large pool of workers qualified to perform a wide variety
of jobs. On call for temporary work assignments or permanent positions,
these retrained millions would form a cadre of workers, a reserve to bolster
our nation’s labor force—ready and qualified to step in at a moment’s notice.
No longer would the operation of small and large employers alike be compromised
and threatened by the temporary absence or the permanent loss of any personnel.
Child-care centers could be established in conjunction with the reserve-retraining
work force—staffed by competent people needing work—to care for dependents
of trainees and others who work through the reserve-retraining work force.
These could be operated on a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week basis.
With the establishment of the reserve-retraining work force and child-care
centers, no longer would any individual be able to honestly lament that
they were powerless to improve, to earn a paycheck, or to become productive.
There should be virtually no excuse for unemployment. By supplying trained
personnel, no job should remain unfilled. No worker should remain idle.
With all able-bodied individuals earning an income, the need for welfare
payments would be all but eliminated. Those certified to be truly unemployable
because of physical or mental impairment would still receive income from
the government. Those able-bodied individuals who refuse to be retrained
or to work afterwards would receive no further government assistance. The
door of the reserve-retraining work force would always be open, where one
can get a day’s pay for a day’s work.
How would we pay for this new approach to helping those who help themselves?
The money now being spent on a host of dead-end welfare programs and unemployment
compensation, paid by employers, could be diverted to the start-up and
support of this effort. Employers would benefit by having a supply of pretrained
workers. Eventually, as increasing numbers of individuals receive training,
obtain jobs, leave the welfare rolls, and begin earning salaries and paying
taxes, cash flow would reverse. The program would actually save the government
more money than it costs. We would see the reserve-retraining work force
program starting to pay divid-ends…dividends that not only affect the bottom
line but, more importantly, the human spirit as well.
A basic premise: Since earning a living is a person’s first requirement
in life, this need must be met before one can realize social and intellectual
potential. Any government that does not provide a means by which all of
its citizens can partake completely in society has more of which to be
ashamed than proud.
Individually, a person, a company, or a corporation cannot provide a
job for every citizen at all times; but together they can. The injustice
of unemployment cannot wait for better economic times. Passage of time
does not solve problems; only people can solve problems. The solution to
the unemployment problem is long overdue.
For people who are employed to allow the government not to become the
“employer of last resort” without strong protest loses any legitimate claim
they may have as part of society. To say that anyone who wants a job can
find one without establishing a system to accomplish it is an excuse for
When America establishes a reserve-retraining work force so all of the
people can have a job all of the time, the country will be in a position
to eliminate many injustices. Once the injustice of unemployment has been
corrected, America can then see clearly how to correct all other existing
injustices. Furthermore, America will also be able to correct new injustices
as they arise.
For any country, much less America, to have an office of Employment
Security where people receive unemployment checks for a few weeks and then
continue to be unemployed without a check is a result of the poverty of
the minds of government leaders. For 95% of those who are employed to work
any overtime without protesting while 5% of their fellow persons go unemployed
demonstrates a lack of care.
All the people in society, collectively through their government, have
sufficient resources to be the employer of last resort. To place people
on welfare or give handouts rather than establish a system that will provide
a job for anyone desiring one is unforgivable.
For labor unions to have a system by which people retain their jobs
simply due to seniority, while those of shorter employment lose all, is
not justice. All employees should share in the percentage of loss. If a
set number of employees can work overtime when there is more work, all
the employees should work less when there is less work.
How in good conscience can those of us who share the wealth of the richest,
most powerful, innovative nation on earth be content while millions of
our fellow citizens live in poverty, trapped in the welfare cycle? A reserve-retraining
work force is the answer to unemployment and welfare. More than enough
money is already being spent on unemployment compensation and welfare benefits
to pay for it.