Saturday, January 8, 2011

Substitute Ben Franklin

Well it seems like the substitute teaching jobs are rolling in--and by request. It's nice to have teachers approach me to work for them rather than for them to post the job for any sub to pick up. It means they feel comfortable with me in their room and trust the class is in good hands. I know, first hand from some subs Theresa has had, not all subs do a good job. Knowing her class is in good hands means having a stress-free day off if sick or needing the day off for personal business. I'm glad teachers know there class is in good hands when I cover in their absence.

Yesterday was a day in a math classroom. I must admit, this is my second love next to Social Studies. In fact, one of my favorite subjects is Geometry. I would like to teach high school geometry as much as I'd like to teach some of the available social studies courses. I have no doubt at some point in time I will have an additional endorsement to teach high school math. I just need that first teaching job at the high school level before considering that endeavor.

Speaking of jobs, history, and life in America today. The national employment data came out yesterday...and low and behold, the nations jobless problems continue to damper the economy. Little wonder why if you look at words one of our best founding fathers had to say. Good ole Ben Franklin had a lot to say about the topic. We all know Ben Franklin was a man of many talents and interests. It's no wonder Ben Franklin was a man I really admire. Ben Franklin said, "I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."

Is this not the proverbial "Teach a man to fish" concept? I cannot agree more with Ben Franklin. Our nation's unemployment laws need to change. I definitely think people laid off work for economic reasons and no fault of their own should have some financial relief while looking for new employment. However, is there not a better way of providing the relief that benefits more than just the worker out of a job? What if we provided a means of acquiring financial relief while at the same time requiring the worker to work.  My idea, which I believe Ben Franklin and all of our other founding fathers (and mothers) would support--allow workers to work at a job they are skilled at and pay them the equivalent of the unemployment benefit they already receive. How would this work? Unemployed workers (those relieved of work due to no fault of their own) would be able to go to an employer and work for them doing a skill they are qualified for. The government would have a voucher system where unemployed workers would take a voucher to an employer and the employer could employ the worker for their services at no cost to the employer.  The vouchers would allow the worker to work for 12 months. Employers would receive incentive tax benefits for paying additional wages in addition to the voucher amount the government provides. There would need to be some safeguard to insure businesses were not firing employees simply to reduce costs and use the voucher system--and this is very possible. This would create an economic boom during hard economic times. Businesses would have increased productivity with reduced labor costs. They could continue making goods and providing services with reduced costs. The costs of goods and services would be competitive in the free market which is the essence of capitalism. As the economy grows, unemployment declines and eventually the unemployment program will be a simple safety net and not a widely used program. Because once the economy is soaring, employment will be every bit as competitive as the goods and services it provides. Employers will be paying more for workers because workers will be in higher demand.

Our nation's unemployment system needs a drastic change. Providing something for nothing insures the odds of getting nothing in return is greater than getting something of similar or greater value. Providing a means of employment in lieu of providing a check accomplishes at least three things: 1. The worker to receive the same benefit check (and possibly more if the employer gives the worker more money in addition to the voucher he/she receives). 2. The worker receives employment and improves job skills, training etc. 3. The worker receives a sense of worth and value as opposed to being perceived as a drain on society.  I think this proposal would be something Ben Franklin would have suggested himself if he were alive today.

1 comment:

  1. If only he hadnt flown that kite out in that storm! Enjoying the blog Chuck!