Entitlement Programs

From AM New York – the free daily paper:

“Straphangers, start bringing a broom on your commute. Because of budget constraints, the MTA has curtailed station cleaning, with Transit officials acknowledging they are down by about 100 workers. The agency has also slashed overtime for cleaners, and workers say they simply can’t keep up with the mounting trash.

“Maintenance took a hit,” said Mark Jones, a commuter from Harlem, who said a rat recently boarded the No. 6 train he was riding. “I feel like it is going to get worse before it gets better.”

Station cleaners sweep platforms and stairs, remove graffiti and clean token booths and MetroCard machines. Busy stations receive 24-hour cleaning, with workers floating among most of the other stations throughout the day.”

There are more than 300,000 unemployed people in New York City alone. I’m going to take it as fact that the vast majority of these people are physically able to work. The article above started off by facetiously asking commuters to bring a broom with them, but they are on the right track. Why are we paying people unemployment insurance benefits NOT to work when there is clearly work that needs to be done for an organization (the MTA) which is part of the state budget already???

Why don’t we arm the people who are collecting unemployment with dustpans and brooms and let them (actually, REQUIRE them) to clean the subway and the sidewalks?

I’d love for someone to give me a reasonable, legitimate answer to this question. As I mentioned in a previous post, my friend Eric once answered a similar question by saying that it depends on if you think the government should provide a minimum standard of living for its people, or if you think the people have to earn it. The difference here is that the government itself lacks the funds to provide this standard of living. It’s clear to me that instead of paying people not to work, while at the same time cutting back government services, we should instead pay the people to do the government services!

Jeez – that just made me realize how uber-absurd this whole thing is: the workers who were previously getting paid to clean the subway will lose their jobs and instead collect unemployment insurance while they don’t clean the subways… I can’t make an ounce of sense out of how that policy can be justified.

-KD

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