Wednesday, October 03, 2012
John Stossel's latest gem of investigative reporting resides at Townhall.
Oddly, I found myself having to get past the title, "We Fund Dependency", which I thought was weak because it makes sense only in light of context provided by the article
The article, written with the help of an intern, exposes what goes on the the bowels of government "job centers", including one that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to expand because, he says, it helps people "find real opportunities". Stossel quotes his intern regarding Workforce1:
"One lady told me that she comes to WorkForce1 because it helps her collect unemployment. One asked another, 'What do you want to do?' The second laughed, 'I want to collect!' One told me, 'I've been coming here 17 months; this place is a waste of time.'And this was the "job center" whose staff member didn't summarily tell the intern that it didn't help people find jobs.
"Finally, I met with an 'adviser.' She told me I lacked experience. I know this. I asked for any job she thought I was qualified for, and she scheduled an interview at Pret, a food chain that trains employees. At Pret, I learned that my 'interview' was just a weekly open house, publicized on the company's website. Anyone could walk in and apply. Workforce1 offered no advantage. Despite my 'scheduled interview,' I waited 90 minutes before meeting a manager. He told me that WorkForce1 had 'wasted my time, as they always do.' He said, 'They never call, never ask questions.' He prefers to hire people who seek out jobs on their own, like those who see Pret ads on Craigslist.'"
Despite their misleading name, it would seem that "job center" is a fraudulent term meant to lull conservative voters into thinking these agencies are something other than enrolment centers for entitlement programs. This one deserves widespread dissemination.
That said, I have to register my disagreement with Stossel's contention that "government does everything badly". It does things outside its proper scope badly, and it works against its proper mission when it does those things. But a government -- one that protects individual rights -- is necessary for a free society and, I dare say the one we had a couple of cenuries ago, for example, did that quite well. Government per se is not the problem here. Improper government is a major part of the problem, and the culture of the people (by whose consent our government functions) is, too. The second must change before substantial progress can be made on the first, but proper government -- not, say, "small" government or anarchy -- is the goal.