Unemployment assistance properly handled has an important role in a responsible, free society. With the tremendous benefits of free enterprise comes the necessity of phasing out enterprises that are no longer profitable and needed by the consumer. This causes shifts in employment, the need for workers to establish themselves in different jobs or move to a different location. On the other hand, redistribution of wealth by the government beyond the limit of absolute need is legalized pilferage, a form of injustice, social corruption and political subversion over people.

Government power to take from the working citizens a tax to be given to non-workers for daily living must be strictly limited. Those who honestly, and without fabrication, have a need because they are physically or mentally incapable and have no honorable alternative, should be the recipients of a modest welfare program. The liberty and possessions of working citizens are destroyed through usurious taxation-inflation and by promoting irresponsibility in able-bodied citizens with handouts that make work seem unnecessary and justice a mockery.

Work is a form of pain for each individual, the honorable way in society to gain material possessions and the price the Creator intends for material progress. Because of human genius for conniving and deception to avoid work, it is not even possible for bureaucrats to know who honestly is and is not in legitimate need. Their well-intentioned subordinates serving as welfare workers are constantly frustrated in their efforts to get proper control. Welfare decisions on the legitimacy of need should be returned to the local citizens who pay the bills, greatly reducing abuses. Then slackers, deadbeat voters, as well as collectivist politicians, will again have the incentive to work and be a part of the solution rather than the problem. Such decisions could be handled locally by citizen committees selected at random, removed from politics; a simplification of the system of jury selection we use to judicate criminal allegations. The enormous problems in the present system could be minimized if unemployment insurance were removed from short-term political control to alleviate vote-buying. If it is restructured 1) without any political gimmickry, 2) paying its own way and 3) private enterprise is given the freedom to compete, benefits would be the same and also would serve to decentralize power.

What about unemployment benefits given out on a “matching funds” basis? Too often the unemployed will not take a job because the jobs available are in another skill or the wages are less than the unemployment benefit. The matching fund approach would require that they work somewhere to receive any benefit at all, and their unemployment benefits could match dollar for dollar what they earn on a temporary job up to a modest limit. This, along with a moving allowance when necessary, would reduce the present cost of welfare significantly and get people into productivity.

One of the most unpublicized statistics in America today is the number of jobs seeking workers. Millions of these jobs would be filled, and some workers would find the new work to their liking and challenge to a new career. Just as important, those of us who have accepted government subsidies need to realize the harm that is being done to our future well-being and the very present danger to freedom caused by government debt.

~ David Norris

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