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THE PROGRAM IS continually plagued by glitches because it is premised on a fallacy. Its reason for existence is to employ the unemployable — kids who, by definition, have minimal skills and little to no experience. Many of them have anger-management issues to boot. “Sure, some of our young people have attitudes,” Alexis Roberson, former director of the Department of Employment Services (DOES), once admitted. “If you have a young person with a bad attitude, help them change it.”
That offer is unlikely to entice many employers.
That’s not the point, say advocates of subsidized child labor. As they see it, D.C.’s summer jobs program exists not so much to make kids productive as to prevent them from being counterproductive. It is a method of crime prevention, supposedly. “Youth offending is directly correlated to youth employment,” claims City Administrator Dan Tangherlini. Earlier this year, Mayor Fenty told a group of business leaders, “So many young people can get into trouble when they’re not challenged, when they’re not busy.”
Fair enough. But the whole point of staying busy is to suppress boredom, and it’s obvious these summer jobs don’t suppress boredom but, in many cases, intensify it.
If there is a solution to this dilemma, it is to stop devising solutions. D.C.’s summer jobs program, like many of its participants, doesn’t work. As its numbers increase, so do its failures. However, it does succeed in one respect. By teaching kids that it pays to do nothing, it is preparing them for, if nothing else, future careers in the public sector.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?