Unemployment benefit should be paid in the form of vouchers for food, shelter and the basics of life
Last updated: December 4, 2019
Being unemployed is a situation none of us would like wind up in and when we find ourselves in it due to circumstances, we should get out of it as fast as possible. However, unemployed people who are receiving their unemployment benefits often forget that the role of the state transferred resources towards their welfare is to keep them afloat until they find their next job. It has been found that a large part of the unemployed stay that way because they like to be paid for not working. A situation where a person who is fit to work, however chooses not to at the expense of the society is utterly unacceptable. Furthermore, one’s ability to use the money transferred to him by the state as if he had earned it by himself is inadmissible.
Our plan is to pay the unemployment benefit in the form of vouchers for food, shelter and the basics of life to those unemployed people who have been unable to find a job for at least 6 months. We believe that is sufficient to find a new job. We would like to remind that countries provide free professional training that enables people to return to the job market more competitive and more likely to find a job. The unemployed person would receive several warnings and information that he has to find a job before his benefit would be converted into vouchers. They would cover the necessities of life for the person and conditions that allow him to lead a life in safe environment, yet he would not be allowed to purchase alcohol or cigarettes or other things he might see fit, but which our society does not recognize as the basics needed for human life. Such a plan would provide additional stimulus to gain economic independence, help the government to fight the high levels of unemployment. We on the proposition side believe that a person that does not play by the rules is justified to receive sanctions.
1) Aim of unemployment benefits
Current unemployment benefits system fails because it has incorrect goal for the unemployment benefits and doesn’t serve its needs. The current system only gives monetary rewards for job you have done in the past and with condition that you are searching for a job. However the existing conditions do not achieve the goal of the program as many individuals decide not to work for a prolonged period and instead choose life on the welfare payments. The goal of unemployment benefits is secure proper ground for people who seeking for a new job and willing to become employed again and the program should be designed to reward the work searchers and discourage those that abuse the system.
The group of people who should obtain those benefits is the one that are seeking the job but because of some reasons are not capable of getting it. Unemployment benefits help this group to exercise their opportunities while having enough funds to retrain and secure the living costs. As this group is incentivized but for some reason is not capable of exercising this opportunity, government has to help.
We believe people mustn’t receive money just for the sake they have worked before. We still recognize that we have to take care of your basic needs if you are not capable of securing them, but we believe monetary funds should serve for the purpose of exercising your opportunities not as reward system. The harm of reward system is that it’s not incentivizing people to get back in job market while simply paying for not working.
Opposition might argue that we already have reward systems i.e. pension systems. But even in these cases we say these people receive money not because they have worked their whole life but because they are the age when they cannot secure their needs on their own and government has to help by monetary helping them.
Firstly, the unemployment benefit is nothing like a welfare system because a welfare system is giving people who can’t sustain living with the lack wealth because they have been fired, has had no job in the first place, or are drug addicts. On the other hand, unemployment benefit is for people who have been laid off from work because of substantial lack of jobs in the economy. In fact, there are standards the people need to meet before requesting for unemployment benefit such as having worked for a certain number of years, depending on the state in which they live in the US.
Secondly, unemployment benefit is not a ‘rewarding system’. It is a system that provides people with funds so they can sustain their lives after being laid off. These people are paid monthly funds because they absolutely need it. They need it because they have no other options or ways to earn money on their own. Thus, this insurance is essentially preventing people from getting their houses repossessed or only eating half a meal per day because they cannot afford it.
Moreover, a pension system is very irrelevant to his resolution because it is vastly different from an unemployment benefit, as we have proved and clarified what an unemployment benefit is.
Lastly, we'd like to point out that the Proposition is misunderstanding the entire point of unemployment benefits. As they were kind to mention once, one requirement to be eligible to the benefit is to constantly search for jobs. The government only pays benefits to sincere people, and once it has decided that a person's not searching for jobs, it'll stop paying
2) More economic incentives to find a job
First, the unemployed will have an economic incentive to find a job. All people have different consumption preferences, which means they need different goods to satisfy their needs. Under status quo, the unemployed receive a monetary benefit; as money is a universal means of exchange, people prefer to spend it according to their preferences, not the state's or society's. There are cases when the unemployed sacrifice some of their basic needs for another good - it could be a harmful one, such as drugs, as well as a 'neutral' one, such as an MP3-player. They conclude that spending money on things other than basic needs will be more beneficial for them (i.e. bring them more satisfaction and happiness); they make an economic choice and allocate resources available to them, as any other member of society would do with her salary, scholarship, etc.
If our plan was implemented, the unemployed would still be able to sustain their living, but they would be deprived of the opportunity to spend money freely, i.e. on things other than basic needs. In other words, they wouldn't be able to make the same unrestricted economic choice as other members of society. Under status quo, limited amount of money is the only constraint for the unemployed; under our plan, they will also face the limited amount of spending options. Saving money or substituting one good with another wouldn't help them purchase desirable goods; thus, the unemployed will be incentivized to find a job to get rid of this spending option constraint.
The opposition’s interpretation of the proposition’s argument about how they will get people out of unemployment by depriving them of their freedom of choice is that they will use the ‘stick’ rather than the ‘carrot’. In other words, they are essentially using hard power to force people to do what the government wants them to. History has proven that hard power is not the best way to resolve issues, such as the Korean war, where the US would have saved thousands of lives through negotiations.
The government only gives back a certain percentage of the person's original salary when the person requests for a unemployment benefit. For example, an average American makes about $28,000 annually. When they request for an unemployment benefit because they were laid off, they would be getting about half of their original salary, which is barely enough for their necessities. Thus, if they want to get back into their normal lifestyles, they will be motivated to get a job as soon as they can. Thus, this is already an enough incentive for people to pull themselves out of unemployment. This means that we do not need another incentive because this already serves as a sufficient incentive.
3) More social incentive to find a job
The state brings numerous benefits to an individual throughout her life; thus, when she chooses not to work, though she can, the state is justified if not force her to work, then at least regulate her consumption. Our plan would remind the unemployed that their condition is not normal and show them that they are not eligible to things other than basic needs because they do not contribute to society. This would motivate the unemployed to find a job as soon as possible in order not to get exiled from society. And even if a group of jobless people do not mind being seen as work shy they will still be incentivized by their personal consumption preferences, which was explained before.
4) The right to benefits comes from obligation
Upon agreeing to be a part of the society and share part of income with it, individuals do not only get a right to be protected by the society when they lose their job in order to not be exposed to starvation and lack of shelter. Individuals also get an obligation to use this protection for the purpose the society has intended to. In the case of unemployment benefit it is simple – to get by for until their search for a new job concludes successfully and the person can sustain himself and family on his or her own. However, now more people choose to receive unemployment benefit while not working at all. In their minds the benefit becomes their salary for being unemployed, and can be spent on whatever they want, like a holiday trip, while essentially it is not their salary, but society’s protection, which in this case is misused.
If an individual misuses the protection awarded to him, the society has the authority to enforce sanctions on him in order to incentivize him to fulfill his obligations. For example, if you burn your own insured house, the insurance company will not pay you anything, despite the large premium you have paid to them over the years. In a likewise fashion the society has a right to establish incentives which benefits the individual and the society in the long run.
People that are claiming unemployment benefits are responsible people. They were gainfully employed, full time and responsible people will make sure they have a roof over their heads and food in their kitchens. If given the choice between having their homes seized by the bank and going to Mexico, the obvious choice is to use the money to pay their mortgage. There may be a few people whose intention it is to abuse the system, but the majority of people are only claiming benefits because they have no other choice. People are only given a percentage of their previous income. This cut in income would not allow for frivolities and as such the majority of the money would be used for necessities.
Last but not least, regarding the last point, the Washington Post source is very irrelevant to this debate. The article outlines a scandal regarding a republican politician. Moreover, they merely used the first paragraph of the article, but did not bother to read the rest of the article. If they had read the whole article, they would have noticed that the woman backtracked about what she has stated before.
5) Why the plan would work
The assumption that people are not able to find a job, because there is none is completely false. In the US, which the team Canada wants to speak so much about, there are 5 million job opportunities . Many employers struggle to find employees not because there is none, but because they lack the qualifications or are unwilling to take a particular job. Under our plan we incentivize people to understand their possibilities. Under the status quo people are looking for a job still being unqualified, not willing to train, and getting paid for that. The current system has no tools to avoid it. A good examples are Germany or France where a lot of unemployed receive enough monetary support for a very long time and are unwilling even to look for a job. They live well being on benefits, and the state has no tools to avoid such cheating.
By taking away this opportunity we will stimulate people to take a job according to what they deserve and what is available in the current state of the economy. They won’t be able to wait for a miraculous job they ever dreamed of anymore. Moreover, because there are 5 million free spots, it will have a massive impact on the economy. If we stimulate these people to fill these spots, it will improve the economy, boosting the GDP. This is what both sides are looking for today.
Furthermore, the problem is not a lack of people trying for jobs. Because the highly educated people have more incentives to work and potential to serve in tertiary/quaternary sector of economy, it is more efficient to let them work at their places. They even agreed that they “will stimulate people to take a job according to what they deserve."
The status quo definitely incentivises unemployed people. If getting back into employment was as easy as 1,2,3, the plan would be acceptable. Furthermore, the proposition is confusing the past with the present. The difference is that in SQ, countries’ investments in education for people are going to waste because these people are not living up to their full potential due to unemployment as a result of a recession.
There are natural incentives for educated laid off workers in SQ. Not only do these people need the jobs to pay their higher bills, but also the incentive of pursuing their careers is motivation. The issue of people abusing the system is inevitable; neither plans can completely solve it, but we believe both sides should focus on helping people participate in a healthy economy.
The proposition says that enforcing their plan will make people “understand possibilities”; leading unemployed people to fill any open jobs. However, for example, if we force unemployed scientists and CEO’s into low-income jobs, this creates more problems. Not only will the lower class unemployment rate go up due to their replacement with skilled workers, but also the millions spent on education for these people will go to waste when they are merely making coffee.
How work places are created and economies revived
The opposition thinks the unemployed should just wait until the economy recovers by itself and starts offering wonderful job opportunities they were dreaming of. No one is willing to work for a minimal wage. The difference between receiving the benefits and working for a minimal wage is that the latter is a productive activity bringing benefits to the economy. The government could also use the tax revenue to boost the economy further. This process starts a chain reaction of working, earning, and spending, which revives the economy.
The opposition doesn’t understand how work places are created in the economy. It is wrong to say there is no demand for labour. There could be no demand for the labour at the wages the unemployed demand. Companies can earn more by producing goods in other regions where people ask for less, boosting the economy there, for example in the South East Asia.
Unemployed here demand too much for their level of productivity, so they are not competitive and are not worth the wages they wish for. Moreover, many of them are simply unskilled. It is easy to sit doing nothing receiving benefits and wining about the state of the economy. It is hard to motivate yourself to accept a job offer below your level of expectations or improve your skills. Those people need additional stimulus from the government to return to the labour market. The longer the unrestricted benefits are available, the longer it will take for the unemployed to find jobs, and revive the economy.
Moreover, the proposition has stated that the money that people will get from unemployment benefits will remove the incentive to take low-paid jobs. This is probable in a sense that high paid skilled workers will be offered the jobs with low wages of unskilled laborers, which is what the opposition is advocating for. However, it is wrong to put highly qualified people into unskilled jobs, when their skills are able to bring economic growth. Also, they have stated that it’s hard to motivate yourself to accept a job offer below your level of expectations. We do not want highly skilled intellectuals to bend down to lower paying jobs that pay less than their original salaries. Educated individual have a valuable place in society because they contribute to the well being of all. We need to make sure that they can sustain themselves until they find skilled jobs again.
There are two major impacts that can result with skilled workers taking away the jobs of unskilled laborers. First, society will not benefit as much because the education and intellectual aspects of those skilled workers are going to waste. Second, unskilled laborers will not be able to get those jobs.
The proposition has stated that workers in the West demand too much for their level of productivity. However, we do not want an economy that is based on sweatshop labor. We the keep clarifying our point that in today’s economy highly qualified people are unemployed too.
We also explained why the plan would be successful and dealt with opposition’s claims. Firstly, unemployed have economic incentives to find a job, because they want to have choice over their consumption. The inability to choose the brand of toothpaste is not stripping of basic human rights. Secondly, we show being unemployed for too long is not acceptable for the society, thus people lose the ability to make consumer choices. The opposition replied by proclaiming it is not their fault they can’t find a job. Mostly this plan tackles long term unemployed, who are also the less educated ones and according to opposition, need incentives. In most cases they have failed to take the advantage of state provided free training programs to fit the labour market, such is their choice.
The plan would revive the economy which is the greatest priority now. The opposition doesn’t understand there is no difference in the degree of stimulus for the economy whether the money is spent as vouchers or cash. The workers of a big shop where people spend vouchers get paid in cash and stimulate the economy further. Vouchers should be used in the most cost effective way and local markets have to reduce costs if they want to compete. This is a step they would be forced to take anyway, because in the downturn people prefer lower prices. The plan would deal with the collective action problem. People will start taking jobs at wages currently offered by the market or learning new skills to get a job. Filling positions at reasonable wages is crucial for firms to stay competitive and develop. Scientists making coffee is an over-exaggeration, but even then, the money spent on their benefits is just lost if they do nothing. Under our plan more people would return to work and enjoy earning, spending, and reviving the economy.
Opposition Introduction with Topicality
We would also like to clarify another misunderstanding. Because of our language barrier, we mixed social welfare with social security, but even then it is based on state money and is distributed accordingly to states policies. Moreover, in some countries it equals the unemployment benefit.
The attempt to bring the debate down to US and bringing example of FUTA tax is ridiculous. First, it is paid only by employers and has no impact on employee's wage, so we don’t see why employees could demand this money in particular . Second, the money goes to the state budget, because IRS is a government agency, so the state is entitled to spend this money accordingly to the needs of the whole society. Third, its primary purpose is to fund state workforce agencies,  not unemployment benefits. It is spent on unemployment benefits only during strong fluctuations like under the status quo, but not in general.
The state provides you with monetary funding if you are looking for a job. If you are looking for a job for two years and being unemployed has become your lifestyle (like in Germany or the US where 6 million are unemployed for over 27 weeks ), it is yours problem, not of the economy. Some people are getting money, because they are under-qualified as is seen in the US, where the highest unemployment is among high-school drop-outs , but they are unwilling to accept the job offers that are bellow their expectations.
Vouchers for Basics of Life Limits People's Freedom of Choice
Furthermore, the idea of limiting freedom of choice as a means of forcing people to search for jobs is both contrary to democratic beliefs and debilitating. According to the democratic ideology, the state must serve its people. While it seems that the government is rescuing its people from destitution, it is, in fact, sacrificing people’s needs for better economy. Does the government really have rights to use people’s money however they want? Vouchers impose limitations to where people can shop. When such a high percentage of the population is unemployed, forcing these people to shop at large chain stores would negatively impact revenue for small local businesses. Those people who prefer to support small businesses would be unable to do so.
Unemployment benefits are reserved for the case of economic emergency. Therefore, the government has no jurisdiction on how the benefits are to be spent. With cash, unemployed people can maintain better life quality altogether with basic necessities, which is why they have saved and paid the government 1.5% of their income.
What is more, not allowing unemployed people pursue their personal needs simply pressures both the people and the society. The people would be forced to give up their private life and live as the government would have them to instead.
The opposition is talking about protecting individuals, we believe the individuals make decisions hurting themselves, and the government is justified to intervene. An average unemployed doesn’t think in about prolonged unemployment and its disastrous effects. An individual that is out of the job market for a long period of time loses the skills necessary to return. The longer the period of unemployment is, the smaller the chances of coming back. 
Individuals act in an irrational way as they are unable to see the future consequences of their actions. The intervention with the freedom of choice here is no stranger than making people to contribute to their retirement benefits, although some might not want to do it. The government here is able to make better decisions, because it sees the broader picture and thinks about the long run.
Sometimes it is hard to motivate ourselves to learn new skills necessary to return to the job market. Also we often find ourselves unwilling to learn at school or go to vaccinate ourselves. The state intervention here is crucial for overcoming that difficulty.
Vouchers for Basics of Life would Exacerbate the Economy
The second impact is that decrease in small local markets will cause people to rely on to big companies even more. This increasing dependence on large corporations is bad because big corporations are not the nicest folks you meet. The corporations, solely operating for profit, will eventually jack up their prices for their profit. When the prices soar, the people dependent on the companies would have no choice but to adapt to the high prices. Hence, people’s lives would be a monotonous cycle where they work, then spend nearly all of their paychecks on human necessities. This essentially means decrease in quality of life, all because of the issue of vouchers for basics of life skyrocketing the prices, thus putting people on the verge of poverty. Therefore, we don’t see the need for implementing the Proposition plan, as it will certainly do more harm than good to the status quo.
The opposition has not proved why the millions of shops would go bankrupt considering that the unemployed don't make the majority of the population. But if there is a situation somebody goes bankrupt, the government should take care of the big companies. This is why it bails out big car manufacturers and important banks. Their bankruptcy hurts the economy the most, and it is much harder to deal with the consequences of big business collapses. They have many creditors, suppliers, and employees, and their bankruptcy has the largest impact on the economy. Remember Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.
It is ridiculous to claim the prices soar when big companies grow. Not only they face incredible competition and constant gains from the economies of scale, but also they are closely watched by the state anti-monopoly agencies. In the US monopolies are one of the most closely watched aspects the market. If the government sees the prices grow, it can break the contract and offer it to another company with cheaper prices. Retail business doesn’t have big barriers to entry, so there is no issue with natural monopolies like in gas or electricity supplies. The market is extremely competitive.
Maintaining Status Quo would Boost the Economy and Reduce Unemployment Rate
We have proven why vouchers will only make the situation worse in the SQ. We believe that unemployment benefits should be cash compensation, the way it is now. Roughly 1.1 million “discouraged workers” in the US have given up hope of finding jobs, which indicates how bad the market is. As aforementioned, only jobs can reduce unemployment, and a healthy economy is the key to more jobs. For a healthy economy, the population needs to stimulate the economy, which can be done by investing money into the market. First, when given money, people can spend it in local markets, which will prevent small businesses from closing. Secondly, spending money provides “double benefits,” meaning it helps those who lost their jobs by stimulating economy which is a key for more jobs, and acts as a “job creator” for those who are being paid. This is the best option because we are helping the unemployed and providing more jobs for people, which the voucher program certainly lacks. Thus, the cash reimbursement increases the quality of millions of lives regardless of their employment status because the economy is being pushed forward. Most importantly, the cash benefits create more jobs, thus decreasing the unemployment rate and fostering a healthy economy. Hence, the opposition solves for the SQ of unemployment, and in fact, the proposition’s plan may be the last straw on the camel’s back, as their plan may lead to a future with higher unemployment rates. Distribution Checks will give people more choices on their own needs. Distributions of Checks are just like replacing the salary the people deserve but are not earning. These people have not been fired, are qualified to work, but due to unfortunate circumstances they cannot find work to support themselves.
We don’t understand why an unemployed deserves a salary for the job he is not doing. It is false to declare that an unemployed provided himself with a prolonged vacation. Firstly, he uses much of the tax payments within the first few months in which he is free to operate with the money. Secondly, the people receiving the unemployment benefit for a long period are predominantly low income people, who contribute the least part of the state tax revenue. For example, in 2007 in the USA the lowest earning 50 % of the population contributed only 2.89 % of all the income tax. They cannot claim to have the right for unrestricted benefits.
There are jobs in the market, but an unemployed person either chooses not to accept it, because it pays too little, or he is not willing to gain the necessary qualifications to become suitable for it. A situation when the society has to support such a person for prolonged time is unacceptable and he cannot claim the right to choose how to spend money.
response to proposition's counterargument against freedom of choice
Their plan of using vouchers to take away the freedom of choice concerns side opposition. Freedom of choice is one of the main pillars of democracy and the backbone of human rights. When the government takes this away from people, they are not fulfilling one of their main obligations to their own people. Hence, not only will the proposition’s plan fail, but also it will cost them the trust of the people in their government.
Currently people are waiting for the jobs they want. But when the economy is in downturn, there is less money, and a lower wage becomes fine. People don't understand they should all go to work to revive the economy. Skilled labour force working for a low wage in the recession is not unproductive. Even people working for a minimal wage add to the GDP. We never told skilled workers should take less demanding jobs. On the opposite, we were arguing for training the unskilled labour force. Skilled workers should lower their desired wage to get a job in the recession, overcome the crisis, and start earning nice wages again when the economy revives.
The government limits the freedom of individuals by making them to pay taxes. Because of the collective action problem people are not able to build roads or parks without authority. When a former banker now is looking for job offers, he is not taking those with a low pay. He is receiving the benefits and waiting for the economy to revive, and the banking sector to start offering better salaries. On the other hand, every citizen is better off if the economy revives. No one is willing to take the first step and take a job with a low wage. The largest benefits would be acquired by those joining the labour market later, when the economy is healthy and wages high. Under our plan the government motivates people to take the first step solving the collective action problem.
Response to Proposition's Counterargument against Effects on Economy
They claim that vouchers and SQ benefit are essentially the same. However while money circulates in markets with expenses benefiting millions, vouchers are only applicable to one corporation. SQ works as a “double benefit” by letting people spend their money on crucial things other than survival needs, like job creation by healthy economy.
They’re still mixing welfare systems with unemployment benefits. Unlike reward systems, benefits sustain people’s lives while allowing them to use it for other needs until a job is found.
Their lower class with little rights to benefits claim is very biased. These people met the standards for the benefits and pay the regular tax rate just like anyone else; thus they’re just claiming the money they paid, which is fairly low due to their low income anyways.
The system abuse claim had been addressed many times in this debate and the opposition doesn’t feel the need to mention it further
Laws of supply and demand work, but in terms of industries, not a particular retailer. The demand for bread from a particular retailer goes up, but not the demand for bread in general. If one retailer sets his prices high, we purchase from others. If all of them raise prices, a new player comes in and sells the same for less. The competition is open and anybody can enter the contract.
Laws of supply and demand and competition imply there are no abnormal profits and too high prices.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the government or individuals who spend money on bread. The bread is purchased, it has been produced, adds to the GDP, the money is in the economy. Money is created not by a transaction and its type, but when goods are produced. Besides, big companies use the money to expand and hire workers. Money is still spent and “double benefit” made.
Abuse of the system is still there. Failing a job interview purposely is easy and hard to prove, yet technically going to an interview is looking for job, regardless of performance. According to newest available source from Canada 10% of unemployed people there are chronically unemployed and account for 30% of accumulated unemployment (when calculated in days) . We also need to keep the recession in mind here. Hardworking people will not suffer much anyway, because they will get a job fast. Also they usually have their own savings to spend.
Opposition Summary & Conclusion
Secondly, vouchers worsen the economy. Since small markets don’t have vouchers but high prices, they’d go bankrupt. Then the economy would stagnate, for money circulates in them. Proposition’s attempt to attack this in 3 ways is futile. We explained how the government must focus on local markets, which are undersupported in SQ and vulnerable to recessions. We also explained how supply & demand proves the probable inflation when local businesses go out.
Last and foremost, maintaining SQ would boost the economy and reduce unemployment. Free flow of money is a key to secure economy and employment. Therefore, public expenses save small business from bankruptcy. Again, they try to attack this in 3 ways. However, we’re concerned that they don’t understand the SQ. First, we clarified that money circulates in markets stimulating economy while vouchers only benefit a few enterprises. Also, the unemployed people once had paid UI tax so they’ve rights to benefits like anyone else. The claim that unemployed people are predominantly low income used to be true in the past, but not in SQ. Lastly, we stated the impacts on economy when CEOs are forced to serve food in McDonald’s.
The Proposition would convert to vouchers after 6 months to limit freedom of choices to force people back to whatever work found, hopefully boosting the economy. However, they’re misunderstanding three things:
1) As reiterated, those we’re focusing on are high-skilled people who need high-skilled jobs. Therefore, there’s no need to pressure them more since they’re desperately finding suitable jobs to develop the economy. Also, please note that unemployment benefits are for those who cannot find jobs or work due to personal circumstances, not by a choice of not working.
2) Their plan is severely flawed as there’s no warrant that 6 months is enough to get a job. Also, this idea is in no way relevant to vouchers. 3) They do concede that “society can make a better use of this money for the whole society,” however do not realise what “a better use” is. To us, the better use is a system that reflects democratic ideologies, as well as benefits the economy.
We have so far proven how their Plan is useless, for the time frame is not even substantiated, and how it does more harm than good to SQ economy and society. We rest our case.