I applaud the President for acting boldly to save America’s economic future. However, boldness must be coupled with the right prescription for our time. Unless we act decisively with the right tools, we will face a decade of languishing high unemployment. If we are to escape the fate of our grandparents, government must partner with American business to create historic advances in innovation and productivity.
A partnered solution can replace extended unemployment payments with a hiring voucher plan. Small businesses can hire voucher employees at their unemployment rate. In return, Voucher employees can work twenty five hours per week and receive the same pay they would have received through unemployment. The Federal Government can then reimburse employers the employees’ wages without increasing the unemployment budget.
A few benefits include: Employees learn new skills and can continue to seek full employment. Employers lower risks of hiring new employees, spur innovation, and reduce prices of goods and services to compete in the global market. Government supports job growth through direct infusion of dollars into small businesses, and lets the free market determine how to maximize resources.
Issues: Rules will keep bad employers from cheating. The free market will determine how to employ people and will ensure America gets a return on its investment. The plan can be phased out as America gets back on its feet. All Americans will once again contribute to American ingenuity and global competitiveness. This idea can employ all Americans now, and can move many from the sidelines of our economy onto the field of American ingenuity and global competitiveness.
The idea behind the voucher plan comes from the fulcrum of five ideas. One is that America is losing jobs to other countries through multinational corporations transferring our trade secrets and innovations in exchange for the opportunity to sell into foreign markets. Second, small businesses have great ideas to improve their communities but lack capital and credit in this great recession. Third, the unemployed have great skills and a desire to be employed in productive jobs that have purpose for society. Fourth, extended unemployment greatly harms both America and the unemployed. And fifth, America will not allow our citizens to go hungry even when the economy is in an extraordinary recession, and therefore has extended unemployment an unprecedented 99 weeks for another 13 months.
When these five ideas are stirred into a thought soup, out comes the voucher plan. Eliminate restrictions of our existing paradigm and a new paradigm rises to the surface. Can the committed dollars of unemployment actually pass through small businesses to help them innovate and create jobs that compete with those leaving to foreign countries? Can these same dollars create a fluid, market based employment process that hires all able Americans and reduces the stigma of the long term unemployed? I think the answer is yes and I hope you will join me in asking Congress to debate the merits.