New Solution for Unemployment -- Marriage?!
The Dutch believe that women can get off unemployment benefits if they would just get married to a nice guy with a job. So the government is putting its money where its mouth is, offering single, job-free women a $1,695 fashion and beauty makeover, date coaching and free membership to a dating agency. Oh, those wacky Western Europeans!
This is no joke. The program was organized by three councils in Friesland, a section in the north part of the Netherlands, and while it's available to both men and women, organizers predict that the women who take advantage of the program will far outnumber the men.
The unmarried and unemployed who sign up receive a free outfit, hairstyle and makeup consultation, plus personal advice from a life coach about how to land a job -- or a spouse. In addition, they get a free consultation on social and presentation skills, and free placement with the exclusive matchmaking service Mens & Relatie (People and Relationships). And they also get a professional photo to place on the service's website. (Cue the gleaming tooth sparkle!) Mens & Relatie says they have a 75 percent success rate for matching up long-term partners.
And once you're married to a decent wage-earner, voila! You're off the government dole.
Not everyone in the Netherlands is in favor of this. Some politicians think it's an unethical waste of taxpayer money. But representatives of Mens & Relatie beg to differ. Social Security pays about 650 Euros per month, which is the same as the one-time fee that the matchmaking service charges Friesland, so they figure that Friesland can get its money back in the first month the wife stops receiving benefits.
Besides, Radboud Visser, the managing director of Mens & Relatie, told Fox News, "We know from national statistics that people in a relationship have better health, more happiness, make more money and live longer lives. They make less use of medical systems and social security. So in Friesland they thought, we can try to get people out of social security by bringing them a nice new husband."