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What if Joe Sixpack creates more value by being unemployed that by being formally employed? You do understand that some people can destroy value by doing work?

You're talking about in the government employ right? Obviously no commercial enterprise will pay Joe Sixpack to do anything if he can't create value.

So let's say that Joe Sixpack can't get a "real" job. Then society's choices for him are

1. Let him starve to death. Hope that if his alternative is starving then he will reform himself enough to get a job.

2. Give him money with no strings attached (currently various welfare programs, possibly UBI in the future)

3. Give him money but make him work a gov't job where he subtracts value (e.g. he is actively making things worse than if he was just not there)

4. Find some kind of gov't job where he creates less value than he is getting paid but is still creating positive value

If we ignore #1 (because if you believe #1 is always the answer then the rest of the conversation is pointless) then the question is who falls into bucket 3?

My guess is that you have two types of people, people who are not capable of doing productive work (which I'd argue are very, very few) and people who will choose to be unproductive because of the jobs guarantee (they know that they have a job no matter how badly they do it).

So maybe the jobs guarantee should be combined with a UBI with differing levels of support. Provide a UBI which covers basic needs and a jobs guarantee which provides a little more money. There will always be people who want to work just for something to do and there will be people who want to earn the extra money to improve their lifestyle. Then you don't force people into jobs where they create negative value.

I don't see why it has to be a job guarantee. If the government allocates 50000 jobs to correct inflation there is no reason why they can't hire people under any condition but limit the work contracts to 1 year and "fire" unproductive workers and extend the contract to productive workers. It's not like those jobs are supposed to be a life long career. The goal is to help people during the bad years.

Unless joe is making more money by not working than working, that is extremely unlikely.

Making money for all intents and purposes is the definition of creating value.

There are some exceptions, but they usually involve distortion by the government or theft.

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