Read a bit of nonsense this morning from the so-called ‘Taxpayer’s Alliance’ about how ‘work for dole’ programmes should be expanded to save money. The effectiveness of this as a policy rest upon the idea that most unemployed people are generally taking the piss, and if we make being unemployed more unpleasant (as if it’s not unpleasant enough already), people will just go out and find a job. The idea also appeals to a certain type of person who view themselves as ‘paying for’ unemployed people to live it up on benefits, and think they should have to dance for their suppers.
Needless to say, I think this idea is garbage, and the actual problem is a lack of paid work. The solution to this seems obvious. The government should just create jobs. This is anathema to people like the Taxpayer’s Alliance, who suffer from a certain kind of cognitive dissonance about the issue. While they have no problem in coercing welfare claimants into jobs at Poundland et al as long as it pays no more than the current level of benefits, if the government were to actually create jobs paid at a living wage, these jobs would be ‘make-work’, akin to Keynes’ digging holes and filling them in again.
Even people who realise there simply aren’t enough jobs to go round are resistant to the idea that the government should simply create some, because they doubt that sufficient useful work could be found, so it’s better to leave people unemployed.
To counter this, I thought a list of potential jobs that could be created might be useful. I’ll start with a few of my own and request others to add their suggestions below in the comments:
Community Allotment Worker
English Language Teacher
Childcare (own kids)
Childcare (someone else’s kids)
Adult Social Care
Household Energy Efficiency Installer