"America has inspired most of the interesting thinking on the role of the state in the past 50 years, from deregulation in the 1970s to New York's 'broken windows' policing." - THE ECONOMIST, July 28, 2012
The Creative Class, although that term hadn't been coined yet by Richard Florida, got a shot at fame and enough money to pay their bills through public works programs in The Great Depression. The current analogue is digital publishing outfits which give us exposure and pay us something, which is better than nothing, to fill cyberspace with information and insight. By the comments readers pen and the new business we develop we know this is working. Unfortunately, there's no comparable vehicle for jobless lawyers to pitch in and help with the surge of legal problems and make about $40,000 a year. Instituting a public works program in the legal sector deserves to be a presidential campaign issue.
Who doesn't need legal guidance and can't afford it? Most legal aid societies have found their funding gutted. The 1400 unit Bella Vista complex, in New Haven, Connecticut, where I have lived for six years, could sure use a lawyer based in the community room in Building B. There Catholic mass is celebrated on Saturday evenings, folks play Bingo several nights a week, politicos meet with voters, and subsidized lunches are served. About 40 hours weekly, a lawyer can take on the kinds of end-of-the-world issues my neighbors are in angst about. They include:
- Personal bankruptcy
- Filing for SSI
- Creating a living will
- Alleged wage and hour violations by employers
- Elder abuse.
Lawyers who serve in this kind of community outreach could have some of their average $100K student loan debt forgiven.