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John Moonstroller

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Is Citizen volunteerism necessary to pull the US out of it's financial hole?

We are in a rut in the USA. Everybody can see this clearly. The discussions concerning the distribution of money to maintain our services have revealed we may not have enough to do the job without further going into debt. Obviously just paying our taxes is not enough to solve our national problems.

Could citizen voluntarism be the kicker that gets the ball over the goal post? Is it possible to make Citizen voluntarism mandatory, say 100 hours per year or military service, to get the right to vote in elections?

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  • Jan 13 2013: No, it wouldn't.

    However, we have many projects and programs that could benefit from people working with them. The National and State parks need trail work. Schools need tutors and helpers. Programs need helpers for basic skill jobs. And the US has a large number of people not working. Linking the welfare checks to some sort of work, preferably a job skills based program, would definitely provide some opportunities to get people back on the right track and serve the community as well.

    I am an advocate for "if you can work you should be". Many people who are on welfare, want to work, allow them to and supplement their welfare with finances and job training so they can get back on their feet. Those who don't want to work, should not receive the same benefits, or even limit the benefits.

    I know this is not quite volunteerism, but it does link to it.
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      Jan 13 2013: @ Everett Hill, (If there is nothing in your profile to indicate gender I use the @ symbol)

      " Linking the welfare checks to some sort of work, preferably a job skills based program, would definitely provide some opportunities to get people back on the right track and serve the community as well." ~ Everett Hill.

      This would work if we were a socialist society instead of a capitalist one. Otherwise we are dividing the population into separate social classes of citizenship. Those in the welfare system would be dependent on those at the top to create jobs that would allow them to move out of the system. If those at the top found the working welfare system to be profitable, why would they want to change it?

      Actually, this "is" or current system, with the welfare check being variable in amount.

      In the negative sense, you are forming a union of welfare workers who could become politically active and powerful, leading to an uprising of workers which could usher in a system of socialism or communism -food for thought. In the darker reaches of my mind I think this is why many politicians propose then withdraw such legislation.

      You know, we could also link the congressional welfare checks to how productive they are in congress. That, I'm sure would have a great effect on how fast societies problems get solved.

      Based on this concept; how much of their salary would each congressperson and the president, be paid for the last 20 years?

      Of course, if we create a nation wide system of volunteers, we could also be laying the groundwork for a socialist system too. There are only two sides of capitalism, those who gather the profits and those who receive dispensation for their labors. In the middle is the government which provides regulatory functions and infrastructure
      • Jan 14 2013: John, I don't see us creating a socialist type system to resolve this issue. Perhaps more along the lines of the CCC which worked on public works projects during the great depression.

        Volunteering is a truly wonderful thing, but mandating it creates a whole new set of issues. However, we do have a large group of individuals who currently are unemployed, receive a check from the government, and would probably like to work. Rather than just handing over a check, because it is better to receive welfare checks than work minimum wage jobs based on benefits alone, ask for those who want to work to work. Then provide opportunities whereby they will receive job skills and training to improve their employment in life.

        Not everyone would be willing to do it, but enough would that our country would benefit from their efforts. Also, increasing job skills, productivity, and self-esteem would put more people in a position to be employable.

        I don't see us creating a "worker" class, though it would be an issue. There have been recommendations to do just this thing with welfare in the past. It would create incentive to work though, if you were training people and they could get hired into a better paying job, then you would see more money flowing into the system in a positive way. We all ready have what, around 10% of our population (guesstimate) on some sort of public assistance? Let's give them a better way out of that system.

        I guess I see it as difficult to get people to volunteer on a "required" basis and easier to get those who need work or want work to do it based on what we are all ready providing.

        As for Congress, well, my momma always told me if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.

        I don't know what a good scenario is for this issue. I am a proponent of supporting what we have rather than forcing something new on people.

        The "socialist" issue is one that I don't have an answer for.
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          Jan 14 2013: Many of those receiving those checks are former middle class people Everett. In fact, the bulk of them. If they were mere labor class people, they would not have the political clout to make the continuation of those check an issue with the last elections.

          After the checks are gone we will have to help those people and that's my point. When it's just the poor, it is easy to ignore their plight, putting aside our humanism. But when it's people who can think, organize and join together in force, we have a different animal to deal with. It these people are not taken care of they will put pressure on the system to change, somehow, to create jobs, if that is even possible anymore, to put them to work.

          In the mean time, they do react well to volunteer help. Those are the ones I repair most of the computers for and offer gas money from time to time. They earnestly want a job.


          We have to change as the demands of the world change. Things can't remain the same, they never have.

          I'm Leary of the Socialist issue myself. They do have an active agenda and are seriously organized in many countries and globally.
      • Jan 14 2013: John, sorry, weird reply system only allows me to reply here.

        I realize that many of those receiving assistance are former middle class people who are now getting help. I also know, from speaking with several in that position, that they want to work but they don't have the skill set or a place to be employed with their skills. I am suggesting that, those who want to improve their lot and work, be supported in doing so. Take their skills, use them, and add to their skill sets with training so that they can get back into the workforce at a middle level of income if possible.

        There are also those who just want to milk the system and not work, because they get more financially by not working and receiving checks than by working minimum wage or low wage jobs.

        I see a potential opportunity to encourage folks to work, do a valuable service with their skill set, add skills, and get out of the cycle they are in. Only because they are all ready in need of new skills we are providing for them. The fewer people receiving assistance, the less that goes out to support individuals. Essentially, break the cycle that these folks are in so that they get back into society and contribute positively rather than where they are.

        I am all for volunteering and supporting it. And many people do great things. I just see a large portion of those on public assistance who could get off by providing job skills, through public works and other training programs, that would be a positive, long - term solution. If people are improving their position, they are happy and contributing. I don't forsee it turning into a socialist issue unless we worked to keep people down, which is not what I am suggesting.

        Good thoughts to wrestle with.
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          Jan 14 2013: " I am suggesting that, those who want to improve their lot and work, be supported in doing so. Take their skills, use them, and add to their skill sets with training so that they can get back into the workforce at a middle level of income if possible." ~ Everett Hill

          Yes, this would be good for them. However, the skill sets that are no longer needed extend to surrounding areas of similar function. It will reach out to those areas also, increasing those who need new skill sets.

          I think it's a good starting point in these types of discussion to elaborate on the meaning of skill sets and how they can be morphed to pursue other profitable jobs. My favorite example is project engineering analysis, which used to comprise a huge set of people and can now be done almost exclusively by handful and some computers. These people have no transferable skill set towards manufacturing because the same jobs are being replaced by computers there as well.

          Sadly, the skill sets that are needed are engineering, technical, Medical and scientific. Almost every office function can be done by a computer these days. These are all high education jobs and are heavily pursued by people educated in India, Europe, and Russia. They are the replacements for the lack of skill sets in the USA.

          In my opinion, we are stuck with these none-working people for many decades to come, especially if they are over the age of 40. Under that age it is possible to learn a new, highly technical skill set, if one is amenable to learning math, science and technology. If they didn't like these subjects the first time around and opted for a business or management education instead, they will probably like it even less on this go.

          A really good example of jobs being done away with are in the publishing industry which supports a huge (or used to) amount of people. E-readers are more popular along with a paperless office. The paper industry is suffering and looking for a better way.

          Jobs are drying up.
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          Jan 14 2013: Everett, you are welcome to email me and discuss issues like this anytime you like rexrino@moonstroller.com Or through teds email system.
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        Jan 15 2013: John, I believe that people can retrain successfully in their forties. I work with many who are enjoying math and taking it more seriously this time around!

        The community colleges are a great retraining resource with financial aid available.

        I have gotten confused about the link, though, between the retraining and the volunteer program. Assisting with an elderly dependent with Alzheimers or volunteering as a tutor at school gives the time meaning and the volunteer satisfaction, but these sorts of opportunities will not offer skills applicable to reentry.

        The public service employment/non-market employment programs in the last fifty years have tended not to focus on using skills that are in increasing demand today in unsubsidized settings. Construction and infrastructure projects offer skill building and useful work but not, I think, skills that are promising pathways into new employment for laid off middle aged people. Arts sorts of projects or positions that expand the reach of non-profit agencies also are unlikely to offer more than a very few a pathway into unsubsidized employment.

        Businesses and enterprises that want to train people in technical fields with upcoming private sector demand do do this sometimes via internships, which are volunteer. But they would naturally want to pick the sorts of candidates they find most promising, which would not typically be, I think, the cohort of hard-to-reemploy forty or fifty-somethings.

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