I recently learned that Obama’s American Jobs Act of 2011 included a program called the Bridge to Work plan. The Bridge to Work would allow companies to hire unemployed workers without having to pay them. Essentially, the plan boils down to free labor for employers and free job-training for the unemployed, or in my opinion, a win-win.
The plan carries some risks and challenges, for instance the possibility that employers will take advantage of the program and rotate free labor in and out every eight weeks without officially hiring anyone. And since employees would still need to make minimum wage, the program would add costs to government balance sheets from having to pay some people more than their current unemployment rate.
But let’s not get too stuck on a few shortcomings, since there is no such thing as a perfect plan. In the end, companies will increase profit, reduce prices to consumers, or both. And unemployed Americans will learn new skills, increase their chances for future work, and play a role in rebuilding our economy instead of sitting on the sidelines. The point I want to make is that this is a good idea, and there is support for it on all sides. So what’s the problem?
The problem lies with leadership, specifically President Obama. Unfortunately there is a significant portion of our country who reject his proposals for the mere fact that he proposed them. And even more unfortunately, that portion has been growing.
Maybe President Obama should start soliciting ideas through well-liked, third-party sources like Betty White, Ryan Seacrest, or panda bears. Maybe then people would actually consider an without automatically rejecting it. Or perhaps Obama should try a little reverse psychology: urge people to vote the opposite way of what he wants and then witness the squirming as people struggle between listening to him or following through on ideas that were theirs in the first place.