Generally it is considered a good thing when the government saves money on its labour costs… This aside, the Government can’t undercut private sector wages if workers (especially skilled/mobile workers) are not willing to work for those wages e.g. Engineers are not going to go work in Engineering for minimum wage, when they can look overseas or alternatively enter “wait unemployment”, where they choose to wait for labour market conditions to improve rather than choosing to work.
More to the point they can’t use JG workers in conventional public sector (or even private sector) work given the requirement for the projects to be ceased immediately when workers leave them.
This is the whole point - de facto minimum wage enforcement. It’s what we already try to do with minimum wages, except this policy actually makes them effective through a market mechanism without legislative enforcement.
Businesses are already legally obligated to meet these minimum conditions, so the only businesses you are evidently referring to are those currently undercutting law abiding businesses by breaking the law. Existing businesses which pay above minimum wage do so due to either market forces or unions compelling them otherwise. These forces do not somehow disappear upon the introduction of a JG.
This is already happening with work for the dole. Workers are already providing free labour for private companies but instead are being paid below the poverty Newstart. The purpose of this program is to make it illegal for JG workers to perform any jobs for private profit unlike work for the dole, and should maintain oversight by a citizen’s jury of JG workers. Worst case scenario even if a violation somehow happened, the workers would still be better off than under current circumstances. Thrown in onerous fines and enforcement and this problem should be minimal to non-existent.
Of course, we want communities to be empowered to have the work they want done. The reason BI is deficient is there is obvious overwhelming evidence in the empirical literature that income support is not a substitute in well-being for actual employment - those who claim otherwise are either ignorant of the literature or disingenuous.
Additionally the state has access to mobilising and organising vast collective resources that individuals do not have access to. Thus making opportunities possible that are not feasible under supposed self-organising, rational “homo economicus” individuals subsisting on below the poverty line BIs.
Mind you, in these BI discussions no one seems keen to explain what people are supposed to do if they cannot get a job for whatever systemic reason, but the BI is insufficient to meet their basic needs given how costly it is to implement above the poverty line. The assumption is some right-wing bs that charities will somehow come to the rescue or people will magically start pooling their BIs together - all of these features being mute points given this is the failed situation of the current welfare system - it does not work. The alternative being to raise the BI amount, which under our modelling is not feasible given the insane marginal rates involved, nor is it desirable given how ineffective BI is as a redistribution policy.
Additionally there are many macroeconomic advantages JGs provide which BIs are inherently incapable of providing by their nature. I will not re-hash these given they are mention ad nausea in previous comments and links.
In comparison to what? The current welfare system? A potential BI that a future government might slash and hack into or reintroduce means tests? This is mute point since any future government can exploit any policy or overturn it. At least with a JG workers are guaranteed MW and benefits of employment all Australian workers are currently entitled to. I would not call this an unstable system either since it effectively operated in Australia (and many developed nations) from 1945-1975, and still operates in various partial forms to this day in different countries around the world e.g. The Indian Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
Given the millions of unemployed and underemployed Australians, I do not see this program as necessarily having narrow participation - especially across the business cycle. Nor do I see it as being divisive, especially since it is reciprocal in nature. Whereas “handing out free money” is a much more divisive subject given in our culture there is a narrative of “lifters and leaners”. There is historical precedence for a JG but not a BI - de facto JGs (through public sector employment) effectively being bipartisan for 30 years and receiving wide spread public support. Menzies almost lost government over allowing unemployment to rise above 3%.
cough work for the dole cough
Frankly I don’t think your criticisms stack up given we have real world examples of JG type programs operating for long periods on a national scale, and the problems you are suggesting do not occur. The labour in these programs is locally directed and controlled autonomously, to the benefit of local communities.