Friday, May 15, 2009

Gov. K gets one right

From the Oregonian:

Citing a "jobs emergency," Gov. Ted Kulongoski took a page from the Great Depression on Friday, proposing a hurry-up plan to put 12,000 Oregonians to work at low-wage jobs in food banks, on forest trails and in state campgrounds.

The jobs would be temporary and would pay minimum wage or a bit more. But they would help turn the economy around and give at least some of the growing ranks of jobless the sense of dignity that comes with a paycheck, Kulongoski said in a speech to the City Club of Portland.

"President Roosevelt gave hope to millions of unemployed Americans when he created the Civilian Conservation Corps and other jobs programs," Kulongoski said, harking back to an era of bread lines and soup kitchens. "We need to take the same kind of immediate action in Oregon."

Kulongoski said he will ask the Legislature to approve spending $90 million from the state unemployment insurance fund to pay for the jobs program, which would be overseen by the state's community colleges and Workforce Development agency.

Money is taken from the unemployment fund and given to the unemployed in exchange for work. Basically the state is trying to get some service and maintanance upkeep performed in exchange for the unemployment check.

This is a really good idea. The lower skilled portion of the labor force is in terrible shape and most of them will not find jobs in the private sector right now. Instead of just allowing them to watch Jerry Springer all day and collect unemployment checks while 'searching' for work the state will get something productive in exchange for the weekly remittance.

It isn't very often I agree with our Governor but I think this one is a great idea. The fact that he is offering minimum wage is a clear sign that he is trying to get maximum value out of this plan.