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City of Amsterdam Offers Alcoholics Work-for-Beer Program

Finally, a government policy we can get behind!

Photo: CREATISTA | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013

Are you an out-of-work alcoholic living in Amsterdam? Good news! The government would like to make you an offer: You work for them - cleaning streets and such - and in exchange, they'll buy you beer! And tobacco! And, just to really sell you on it, 10 Euros!

No, it's not just your lifelong dream job, it's a real program, and it is detailed in an article that appears in today's New York Times. The program, initiated last year by a government-subsidized organization called the Rainbow Foundation, is designed to help alcoholics, homeless people, and addicts get back on their feet by entrusting them with the responsibilities that come with having a real job, and giving them just enough beer to keep their shit together.

For those lucky enough to get into the program (there is a waiting list, because OBVIOUSLY), an average day begins with two complimentary cans of beer, followed by a few hours of picking up trash; there are two more cans of beer at lunch, then some more trash; and after that, another can of beer - or two, "if all goes smoothly," i.e., if you manage to get through the day without engaging in any knife fights. Each employee also gets half a packet of rolling tobacco, free lunch, and 10 Euros a day.

But the best part is that, this being Amsterdam, at the end of a long, hazy week, you can stumble over to the Red Light District and use your 50 Euros to buy hallucinogenic mushrooms, a fat sack of chronic, and 20 minutes with a toothless prostitute - without even breaking the law!

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