"Job Centers" vs. Productivity

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 itself.

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.'

"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.'"
And this was the "job center" whose staff member didn't summarily tell the intern that it didn't help people find jobs.

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.

-- CAV


Vigilis said...

"...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." GVH

" The second [...the culture of the people (by whose consent our government functions)] must change before substantial progress can be made on the first." -GVH

Public education (via union labor) has largely fostered the culture freely chosen and representative of those like the lady in your excerpt.

Are K-1 through 12 education within the proper scope of federal government? The government must be doing it badly, or has it actually encouraged an under-culture of low achievers by political design?

Jim May said...

A friend of my wife's told us a story about one of these "job centers" where the friend's daughter went in for retraining. What the daughter saw, was that just as the class was about to wrap up, nearly all the other students resigned. The teachers found it remarkable that she had actually gone on to graduate. In the meantime, the other students had signed up to different classes, to keep the gravy train going -- you see, being "in training" is one of the qualifications for handouts.

But be careful, here. As we are seeing in the aftermath of the "Obama Phone" viral video, the Left is carefully attacking any and all such reportage as "racist" -- with the goal, of course, to keep certain inconvenient facts outside of "polite" discussion.

Gus Van Horn said...


No. The government shouldn't be running schools any more than it should force an employer to deal with a union.

You are correct that these schools have an effect on the culture, but they function like amplifiers, (1) putting corrupt educational theories (like "Progressive" education) into practice, making young minds warped and ill-prepared for independent or creative thought, and (2) spreading bad philosophical ideas (and the bad political ideas that derive from them) around. The bad educational theory and philosophy ultimately come from corrupt philosophers.


The formula is simple: Many stereotypes derive from facts (e.g., many blacks have been affected by/have adopted very bad cultural influences, which they act upon). So, for example, maybe most Obama phone recipients or "job training" "students" are black. This fact allows any negative reporting on what is ACTUALLY A BAD THING to be taken as a covert attack on the people, who, because they happen to be black, MUST be attacked for being black. Coincidence is conveniently turned into a charge of racism, ironically preventing a closer look at something that needs changing about black culture -- which leftists will admit exists, so long as nothing critical is said about it by the "wrong" people.