This is an interesting proposal.
Some have opposed work requirements in welfare programs because there is no guarantee of a job. But with new technologies much of the friction in the job market is reduced radically. For instance an Uber type app might list a bunch of small jobs in the general vicinity which a welfare recipient might be more able to do in return for, or as part of, the transition away from benefits. The recipient could do the job. The “employer” could confirm the work and rate the “employee” and then move on. It is an interesting way potentially to break the cycle of government dependency, which though not politically correct to say, exists.
There’s quite a lot to work out but this proposal deserves more attention. There is also quite a lot of potential for cronyism potentially. But what we are doing now is not working. It’s about time welfare got with the times.
Historically, some opponents of workfare have argued that work requirements are untenable because the government cannot find a job for every welfare beneficiary. That may have been true years ago, when a “job” was binary and full time, but today the gig economy offers the solution: It can easily and quickly put millions of people back to work, allowing almost anyone to find a job with hours that are flexible with virtual locations anywhere. Much of this work is well above minimum wage and it can further the careers of workers as well. With a wide array of different employment options, workers can choose jobs better tailored to their skill-sets and upgrade their skills, which can advance their careers.
What do these jobs look like? For those willing and able to drive, Uber and Lyft enlist anyone to be a driver — assuming they pass a background check — and offers special financing or rental discounts for vehicles. Currently, the average Uber driver makes about $19 an hour, and in cities like Los Angeles and New York, their earnings are even higher.
For those who don’t drive, the options are nearly endless. They could deliver goods and groceries for Postmates and Instacart, assemble furniture on TaskRabbit or mow lawns and plow driveways with PLOWZ & MOWZ. Or if they have the know-how they could offer photo shoots, voice lessons, mural painting, tennis lessons, or painting a house on Thumbtack. Amazon’s MechanicalTurk, Fiver and other companies pay for general tasks that can usually be done on a computer or phone anywhere across the country.