Barron’s: Obama’s Make-Work Jobs Harm Teenagers

Barron’s ran an article of mine on summer jobs boondoggles as a guest editorial in the issue hitting teh stands today. Here’s an outtake from the article (a subscription is required to see the full version on the online site).

Playing At Work Isn’t Productive Barron’s July 20, 2009
by James Bovard

LONG BEFORE THE AGE OF OBAMA, FEDERAL SPENDING became the panacea for social problems. Not content with new spending for new ideas, from high-speed passenger-rail services to bankruptcy bailouts, the Obama administration has revived spending for bad old ideas. Nothing better illustrates this folly than federally funded summer-job programs.

Congress torpedoed such programs a decade ago, but President Barack Obama’s team revived them in the stimulus package passed in February. The federal government is providing $1.2 billion to hire 125,000 teens and young adults this summer…..

In Philadelphia, teens are getting paid to engage in high-tech scavenger hunts.

In Cincinnati, small Kentucky towns, and elsewhere, youth are enjoying painting large pictures on building walls.

In Memphis, teens are being paid to “job shadow” government workers.

In Washington, DC, the 800 members of the Green Summer Job Corps, which carry out projects such as “maintenance of schoolyard butterfly habitats.”

Such jobs teach kids all the wrong lessons – as far as “work” goes….

….American teenagers should not be sacrificed on an altar of political photo opportunities.


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One Response to Barron’s: Obama’s Make-Work Jobs Harm Teenagers

  1. Dirk W. Sabin July 18, 2009 at 11:17 am #

    Reckless Feel-Goodism is the Bane of the Age of Change As Stasis.

    Was there not a long-time program of youths painting with spray cans on available urban surfaces? The effort even made it into Chelsea Art Galleries. I don’t think anybody was paid though so this really is a Change!