Thomas Molloy: Major changes required to get FAS working properly again
AN old joke says the economy is in recession when your neighbour loses a job while it is a depression when you lose your job. Using that measure, around 300,000 people are now suffering a major depression while the rest are enduring a recession.
Yesterday, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was scathing about job-creation schemes here and suggested sometimes brutal remedies to get people back to work.
Perhaps the most controversial proposal was a mechanism to reduce unemployment benefit for the long-term unemployed. While such an idea is alien to a country that has visceral dislike of means testing and almost any other attempt to curtail social welfare, it is common in most other European countries where initial payments can be very generous but soon taper off. The continental model can be harsh but it acknowledges a simple fact that almost all long-term unemployed people can attest to; living on the dole quickly saps morale, energy and ambition. Sometimes a prod is needed.