In another push to remind people that if you aren’t employed, there must be something fundamentally flawed in you that needs to be fixed, the state of South Carolina is proposing to make it mandatory that those who have been unemployed for more than six months must perform 16 hours a week of volunteer services in order to continue to receive benefits.
Of course, there is the inherent problem that if you force someone to do an activity in order to receive a reward of some sort, that’s not “volunteering,” that’s simply mandatory unpaid labor. Or, when you think about it as them receiving their benefits in exchange for providing services, it’s just lower pay employment. But the lawmakers proposing the bill say that it’s not really forced labor if it’s in the unemployed person’s best interest. “I just think if someone’s busy working, they’ll be more industrious and more likely to get a job,” said [State Senator Paul] Campbell, R-Goose Creek. “Depending on the skill they’ve got, I think we can put that skill to work. I’m not talking about collecting garbage on the side of the highway.”
But there may be an underlying motive that isn’t being discussed. Campbell says “his intent is to match people’s skills with work that needs done in city or county governments and schools, from electrical work to assisting in classrooms.”
In other words, he wants to use these “volunteer” workers with mandatory hours in a way that would allow the state to cut the hours or lay off workers who are already being paid for doing government-paid work. The bill isn’t just to “better” the unemployed, it’s to get free labor in order to cut government costs, and would put even more people in the unemployment line.
But I guess that means more free workers for the state government, right?
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