2012's Silliest Ideas To Solve The Jobs Crisis

Bad ideas to solve jobs crisis

If this past year were to be summed up in a Sweet 16 birthday bash, then the theme would be jobs, and there would be a lot of tears and yelling. While the unemployment rate has been slowing slipping for three years, this country still has a jobs crisis, and lots of people have lots of ideas about how to solve it.

Some of those ideas have come from the government, a handful have come from the private sector and nonprofits, and others from really, really rich people. Some have been obvious, a handful have been inspired, and others have been really, really silly. In this latter bracket, here are the top five:

5. Replace Adult Workers With Schoolchildren

During the Republican debates back in January, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich proposed a gem of an idea for reducing the dropout rate and promoting the work ethic of poor youth: fire absurdly overpaid New York City janitors, and let 30 kids do each of their jobs.

More: Unions' Secret Strategy To Win Back Workers

Researchers and journalists pounced quickly, pointing out that New York janitors aren't paid an "absurd amount of money" ($37,710-a-year after two years on the job), that there's no research to suggest that working keeps poor kids in school, and that if one maintenance job was divided by 30, those kids would be earning a little over $24 a week.

There's also the matter of those grownups who worked those jobs joining the ranks of the jobless, and of their families, who'd join the ranks of people asking why children are taking adults' jobs.

4. Get Rid of Taxes for Corporations

David Cote, CEO of the diversified manufacturer Honeywell International Inc., called for corporations to pay no taxes back in May, claiming that it would boost job creation. There is some logic to this: If corporations didn't have to pay the 35 percent maximum corporate tax rate, they could use that money to hire more workers.

Unfortunately, Cote isn't the best man to make this argument. His company paid just 2 percent in taxes between 2008 and 2011, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, and between 2008 and 2010 it received more in government subsidies than it paid out. And in the past two years, a Wall Street Journal analysis found that Honeywell -- despite increasing sales -- cut its U.S. workforce by 1,000 and added 11,000 jobs abroad.

3. Scrap Employment Laws

Last year, the British government asked venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft to write his recommendations for spurring job growth. The resulting report, published in May, was called a "bonfire of regulations" by the British press for its assault on labor protections. Beecroft's proposals included making it much easier for employers to fire workers, saying in a redacted portion that a few people getting fired just because their boss didn't like them was a "price worth paying" for economic growth.

Other controversial suggestions included allowing companies to hire staff from other countries without first advertising the opening in local job centers (as British law currently requires), making it easier for employers to hire children for certain jobs, and re-introducing the mandatory retirement age of 65.

2. Make The Unemployed Work For Free

The U.K. Department for Work and Pensions completed a pilot program earlier this year that forced jobseekers who have been receiving unemployment benefits for three years to work without pay for six months -- or have their benefits stripped. The government planned to roll out the project nationwide, but it hit a tiny legal snag involving the European Convention on Human Rights.

More: Is Outsourcing Good For The Economy -- And Workers?

One 41-year-old job-seeker and former mechanical engineer, Jamie Wilson, refused to wash and clean furniture for six months for no money, calling it "slave labor," and lost his benefits, forcing him to rely on the kindness of friends and family to survive. The British High Court ultimately found that his benefits couldn't be lawfully taken away, since he wasn't properly informed about the penalty. In a December hearing, the government tried to overturn the ruling, while Wilson's lawyers countered that the entire program violates a European law "prohibit[ing] forced labor."

1. Lottery Tickets

Spain is suffering one of the worst jobs crises in the world, with unemployment standing at 25 percent at last count, and over 50 percent for young people. Sixty-year-old driving instructor Bartolome Florido decided that he wanted to soothe some of that pain, so he visited welfare offices in five southern cities, and handed out lottery tickets to the unemployed people waiting in line.

Encouraging job seekers to gamble is not the most practical or sustainable strategy for job growth (the lottery is often referred to as a "tax on the poor"), but Florido did at least offer people an ounce of hope. In response to his simple gesture of caring, many hugged him and wept, he said.

Don't Miss: Companies Hiring Now

More From AOL Jobs

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

return the rule of law and when investors feel safe their investment will be protected then jobs will come back.

January 03 2013 at 12:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

silliest...let BHO run the Treasury..oh we are seeing that unfold right in front of our eyes.

January 03 2013 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not the silliest but the number 1 best idea to solve the jobs crisis is take the money we give to other countries and use it to lower America's gas cost to about 1.50 a gal. then people could not only get to work, they'd have a few dollars to spend along the way.....Voila! Commerce..............

January 03 2013 at 10:18 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Print 40 bil. a month, dump it into circulation buying under water forclosed property. Ben Bernanke's solution to unemployment. This guy could not manage a Dollar General store, but Obama has him in charge of our bank. The Federal Reserve. When the inflation rate goes through the roof look in the mirrior and ask yourselves if the right people are in DC and who you voted for.

January 03 2013 at 10:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

6. Deport the illegals

January 03 2013 at 9:31 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

wheres the one about borrowing 3/4 of a trillion dollars and giving to banks and wall street? oh right that didnt work either

January 03 2013 at 8:43 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

We all pay corporate taxes... except corporations. It's just another cost of doing business that's passed to the consumer. Getting rid of corporate taxes is not a silly idea at all.

Let me make a bold prediction: Nobody at Huffington/AOL will ever win the Nobel Prize in Economics.

January 03 2013 at 5:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I own a business. We have offered people jobs who have told us that they did not want the job because they would rather stay home and collect unemployment. These are not minimum wage jobs. In some cases, these are 35K + jobs. Almost all of us would not go to work if someone said they would pay us even if we do not go to work. Requiring someone to do some work for the unemployment compensation they receive is not unreasonable. That is not slave labor. They ARE getting paid. Furthermore, if they would work and do something... anything... on average it would improve the economy. That would be good for everybody.

January 03 2013 at 1:47 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to joebevatl's comment

The Silliest Idea To Solve The Jobs Crisis... Elect A Republican

January 03 2013 at 12:08 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

To tell the truth, I've been on unemployment insurance for over a year now. I wouldn't mind if they required me, being that I'm able-bodied, to do some work. I prefer to work for my income. I know this isn't welfare, it's money my employers put into the system (something many people don't realize), but I still wouldn't mind if I had to put in some sort of hours/effort.

January 02 2013 at 10:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Megan's comment

I guess I just really want a job.

January 02 2013 at 10:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Picks From the Web