How about a 'job bank' for US IT workers?

In 2005, more than 12,000 people in the US were paid not to work. What's more, they received as much as 95 percent of their salary plus benefits, such as health insurance. The idea of such a 'job bank' would be great for the IT industry, helping people whose jobs are lost through offshoring, datacentre consolidation projects and other changes.

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When an organisation undertakes any kind of technology-based project that automates tasks previously done by a person, the company must put money into the bank. This would apply, for instance, when a company deploys desktop management software that enables the management and support of PCs from a central location rather than sending technical foot-soldiers from desk to desk to install software or update configurations.

When a company sends any type of IT work offshore, it must put money in the bank to pay the salaries of workers who now are out of a job. This would help all the software developers whose jobs moved to India, Israel and Eastern Europe, as well as the help-desk staff who were forced to turn over their headsets and support scripts to their much cheaper counterparts in Latin America, the Caribbean and India.

Organisations that do any kind of datacentre consolidation or server-virtualisation projects must contribute to the bank. That's because their projects are aimed at using fewer resources - people, as well as devices - to do more work. Such productivity boosters require a hefty deposit to the bank.

Suppliers, vendors and consultants aren't exempt from the jobs bank program, either. If they sell or recommend a product or service that is designed to increase productivity by consolidating or automating processes, and this results in a reduced need for labour, they must contribute to the jobs bank.

If they source any component of a solution from overseas, such as motherboards designed in Korea, they must make a deposit to the bank. After all, at one time those motherboards were designed in the good old USA, but those engineers are long idled by global competition.

By now you realise my ideas are completely facetious. The notion of the auto workers' jobs bank seems just as crazy to me, but obviously someone sold the idea more than 20 years ago. No wonder it's an industry on the verge of collapse. More than a billion dollars were spent on the program. Geez, for a billion dollars, all those idle auto workers could have been trained for more secure jobs as help-desk technicians!

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