Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Government workers who are paid less than minimum wage

The 2014 budget requested $1.061 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service, an increase of $12.2 million over the 2012 funding level. This is our tax money used for "unpaid volunteers." That means they work below minimum wage, but all the government workers in the agency above them get paid nice salaries with benefits. In true government double speak it is supposed to expand ...opportunity and embrace competition. ???? This is not to say people haven't had wonderful experiences in AmeriCorp or benefitted from being farmed out to a church organization that helps immigrants, but somewhere we need to let these organizations stand on their own and actually hire people to take their place in the work force.

I was in Brethren Volunteer Service as were my sisters in the 1950s. It can be done without your tax dollars. This is me showing off a pair of shoes after we went shopping in downtown Fresno. The washing machine (wringer) was in the shed. It was a great experience—many churches now offer volunteer opportunities at no cost to the taxpayer, except from her own pocket.

new shoes

The Job Corps is a “Great Society” program, which offers job-training services to disadvantaged youths age 16–24 in 125 sites across the nation. The Department of Labor Office of Inspector General estimates each Job Corps participant who is successfully placed into any job costs taxpayers $76,574 (I don't know what the unsuccessful cost us). They are less likely to finish high school than those disadvantaged who don't participate, and when employed, make 22 cents more per hour than a control group. I'll bet McDonald's or Wendy's could have trained them and at least taken them to assistant manager, beginning at minimum wage.

I'm fine with internships and volunteerism; I'm fine with the minimum wage for entry level jobs for people who need to learn job skills, team work, and dealing with the public. It's the Democrats who scream about minimum wage not being high enough, and then pay their political lackeys at the Obama campaign (OFA) or fancy non-profits nothing. They have options: full time for nothing, or half time for nothing. I wonder if they get Obamacare?

Three years ago the Labor Department said it was going to do something about this—but in the for-profit sector only. Non-profits like the President's campaign arm is free to abuse employees, I mean interns and unpaid volunteers, any way they choose.

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