There are lots of divergent opinions on whether or not government can or should do anything to help people get back to work. From stimulus spending to government programs to tax policy, government's role in lowering the unemployment rate is hotly debated.
Regardless of which side of that argument you come down on, I think we can all agree that government should not stand in the way of someone getting a job.
I am not talking about some esoteric argument like whether or not too much regulation stifles industry and prevents companies from hiring.
This is about an actual person and an actual job:
A friend of mine recently received a job offer from a large, high-tech corporation - not a trivial accomplishment in this economy. She has all her paperwork, including the official offer letter. She was all set to fly across the country to corporate headquarters for orientation and training, except that the company needed one more piece of information: a criminal background check which, apparently, is standard operational procedure.
My friend, of course, hasn't so much as a parking ticket in her past. This check would take a total of about 30 seconds.
Unfortunately, her local county government can't seem to find that 30 seconds to respond and clear her to start her job.
So instead of her earning a paycheck and buying an airplane ticket and paying for a hotel room and going to restaurants and buying magazines and gummy bears at the airport and renting a car and buying coffee...
...she is stuck waiting for some paper pusher, who probably is union and has a job for life, to rubber stamp her file.
In the mean time, she keeps a careful eye on her spending and Rome burns.
Lesson: Government may or may not be able to help, but there is no doubt that it sure can hurt.