Unemployment Watch

sarcastic pratchett fan
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#1
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I was watching my collection of 'Yes Minister' and 'Yes Prime Minister' recently when this clip got me wondering. For those who don't wish to watch 5mins of the best political comedy ever, the view I am talking about follows:

(Sir Humphrey is the head of the civil service whilst Mr Kennedy is his interviewer. The interview has just 'finished')

Sir Humphrey: Was I alright?
Mr Kennedy: Couldn't you have said a bit more, especially about unemployment.
Sir Humphrey: Such as?
Mr Kennedy: Well the truth.
Sir Humphrey: (laughs)
Mr Kennedy: Why do you laugh?
Sir Humphrey: My dear Ludo nobody tells the truth about unemployment.
Mr Kennedy: Oh, why not.
Sir Humphrey: Because everybody knows you can halve it in a few weeks.
Mr Kennedy: But how?
Sir Humphrey: Cut off all social security to any claimants who refuses two job offers, there's genuine unemployment in the north but the south of England is awash with layabouts, many of them graduates, living off the dole and housing benefit. Plus quite a lot of cash that they pick up without telling anybody.
Mr Kennedy: You mean moonlighting.
Sir Humphrey: Well sunlighting really. Most employers will tell you they're short staffed, but offer the unemployed a street sweeping job or a dish washing job they'd be off the register before you could say parasite. Frankly this country can have as much unemployment as it's prepared to pay for in social security. And no politicians have got the guts to do anything about it.

This was written ove 20 years ago. What I want to know is do you think Sir Humphrey is right?
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Bagration
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#2
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It would be faster and less painful to remove the minimum wage.
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Shaun1991
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#3
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Sounds right to me
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Ed.
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(Original post by Bagration)
It would be faster and less painful to remove the minimum wage.
Why would we want to do a thing like that ?
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Bagration
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(Original post by Ed.)
Why would we want to do a thing like that ?
I answered the question in a non-conventional form, I didn't suggest policy.
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lemily
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It would also be a solution to limit the amount of time you can claim JSA from like 2 years before they transfer you to New Deal (or something like that, not entirely sure) to 4 months.

If you have had a job and therefore contributed to the tax system etc, the period you can claim JSA is extended depending upon your contribution to society by how long you have worked. So if you have worked for 15 years and paid tax and national insurance etc and then get laid off from your job you would obviously be able to claim JSA for longer than 4 months as you have contributed to the system more.

In America they have a system where you can only claim federal benefits for so long. You use up that time/money, then you don't get anything.
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Ed.
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(Original post by Bagration)
I answered the question in a non-conventional form, I didn't suggest policy.
Meh, whatever, I don't get how removing the min wage would solve anything.
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AnythingButChardonnay
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Yes, [Prime] Minister is utterly fantastic.
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steveoyo
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#9
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Yea min wage should realistically be about £8 ph, and I think the non taxable amount is probably too low. then people might actually consider it worthwhile working for min wage. Scrapping some benefits might make this an affordable option?
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Bagration
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... No.

The minimum wage caps labour at a price that may not be affordable to low-level employers. If it is not within my interest to hire someone at £6, but it is at £5 - then, the minimum wage is harming that person, and all the people around him who pay for his JSA and unemployment benefit. It's not "helping him" avoid capitalist exploitation.
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L i b
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(Original post by Bagration)
It would be faster and less painful to remove the minimum wage.
Yes, rather typical Labour really. They tell us the smoking ban won't affect pub trade, and low and behold pubs are now closing at a rate never before seen. Equally they tell us the minimum wage won't bring about unemployment then, bam, a large increase in unemployment.
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Gremlins
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If it's an accurate portrayal of the civil service (and I reckon it probably is), this kind of attitude just show how insular, homogenous (class-wise), and unfit for purpose the upper echelons of the organisation are.
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Howard
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#13
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(Original post by lemily)
In America they have a system where you can only claim federal benefits for so long. You use up that time/money, then you don't get anything.
Actually, it's a state deal, not a federal one. Each state administers a separate unemployment insurance program within federal guidelines.

In general, benefits are based on a percentage of an individual's earnings over a recent 52-week period -- up to a state maximum amount and typically last for up to 26 weeks in most states. When things get really bad, the federal government will extend the number of weeks that people can collect benefits (Congress temporarily added 13 more weeks in June)
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Howard
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(Original post by Bagration)
... No.

The minimum wage caps labour at a price that may not be affordable to low-level employers. If it is not within my interest to hire someone at £6, but it is at £5 - then, the minimum wage is harming that person, and all the people around him who pay for his JSA and unemployment benefit. It's not "helping him" avoid capitalist exploitation.
Indeed. If we would only be happy to work for £4 per hour, 18 hours a day we could at last compete with China and India and regain our lost status as a world economic powerhouse.:rolleyes:
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DrunkHamster
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(Original post by Howard)
Indeed. If we would only be happy to work for £4 per hour, 18 hours a day we could at last compete with China and India and regain our lost statuds as a world economic powerhouse.:rolleyes:
You may sneer, but on the margin where decisions are actually made, I'd argue the minimum wage makes quite a difference. My biggest problem is that it hurts the least well off people in society - the ones whose labour is not sufficiently valuable to an employer to justify the minimum wage. It might even explain this graph:



Given that it's precisely the young, minorities, and other groups who have the least training and expertise and hence the lowest marginal product of labour.
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lemily
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(Original post by Howard)
Actually, it's a state deal, not a federal one. Each state administers a separate unemployment insurance program within federal guidelines.

In general, benefits are based on a percentage of an individual's earnings over a recent 52-week period -- up to a state maximum amount and typically last for up to 26 weeks in most states. When things get really bad, the federal government will extend the number of weeks that people can collect benefits (Congress temporarily added 13 more weeks in June)
Thanks for the clarification. I knew it was something like that but didn't know the details. My mum's American but its been a long time since she's lived there, and thankfully, none of my American family has ever had to deal with unemployment in the states (military careers generally). I do agree with it being based somewhat on your previous contribution to the system, with people who have worked consistently, but have hit a bad patch, being given support for longer as they have contributed more to the system. And then people who get a job for two weeks and then quit for whatever reason, can only claim state support for a shorter amount of time as they have contributed less to the system.
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Howard
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(Original post by lemily)
Thanks for the clarification. I knew it was something like that but didn't know the details. My mum's American but its been a long time since she's lived there, and thankfully, none of my American family has ever had to deal with unemployment in the states (military careers generally). I do agree with it being based somewhat on your previous contribution to the system, with people who have worked consistently, but have hit a bad patch, being given support for longer as they have contributed more to the system. And then people who get a job for two weeks and then quit for whatever reason, can only claim state support for a shorter amount of time as they have contributed less to the system.
I'm American myself but I've never been unemployed so don't know all the ins and outs.
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Howard
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#18
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(Original post by DrunkHamster)
You may sneer, but on the margin where decisions are actually made, I'd argue the minimum wage makes quite a difference.
It all depends at what level it is set at. Too high and it'll kill jobs. Too low and people get ruthlessly exploited. It needs to be Goldilocks. But, as to the need for some sort of minimum wage? Why, even WalMart executives don't argue that! (in fact they have recently argued that it be increased)
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DrunkHamster
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#19
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(Original post by Howard)
It all depends at what level it is set at. Too high and it'll kill jobs. Too low and people get ruthlessly exploited. It needs to be Goldilocks. But, as to the need for some sort of minimum wage? Why, even WalMart executives don't argue that! (in fact they have recently argued that it be increased)
Walmart want a higher minimum wage? Fancy that.

This is just another example of big business actually pushing for regulation because they know they are better placed to withstand the costs compared to their smaller competitors. It's not a new phenomenon at all - see, for instance, Corporations vs the market
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Howard
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(Original post by DrunkHamster)
Walmart want a higher minimum wage? Fancy that.

This is just another example of big business actually pushing for regulation because they know they are better placed to withstand the costs compared to their smaller competitors. It's not a new phenomenon at all - see, for instance, Corporations vs the market
I never suggested Walmart did it out of the goodness of their hearts.
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