PBS maintreams jobs guarantee
Persistent high unemployment has produced a crisis for virtually all Americans. But we can resolve the crisis by adopting a federal job guarantee for all citizens.
A system of job assurance, rather than unemployment insurance, could have been implemented at any point by presidential directive under the mandate of the Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act of 1978 (popularly known as the Humphrey-Hawkins Act).
Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., has proposed a new bill: the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act, which could pave the way for implementation of a federal job guarantee.
The idea is straightforward: any American 18 years or older would be able to find work through a federally funded public service employment program -- a "National Investment
The basic idea has been endorsed by policy analysts as disparate as Kevin Hassett from the American Enterprise Institute and Jared Bernstein from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. The Congressional Black Caucus included the proposal in their budget and deficit commission report in 2011.
Each National Investment Employment Corps job would offer individuals non-poverty wages, a minimum salary of $20,000, plus benefits including federal health insurance. The types of jobs offered could address the maintenance and construction of the nation's physical and human infrastructure, from building roads, bridges, dams and schools, to staffing high quality day care.
The program would include a training component to equip employees with the skills necessary to fill state and municipal needs.
The program would be cost effective, too. Suppose that the program put 15 million Americans to work -- the total number of persons out of work at the nadir of the current depression -- at an approximate cost of $50,000 per employee. The bill for the program would be $750 billion.
In 2011, the total cost of the nation's anti-poverty programs was about $740 billion. But since the National Investment Employment Corps would function simultaneously as an employment assurance and anti-poverty program, the existing anti-poverty budget could be slashed drastically, with those savings going to finance the job guarantee.
This initiative would remove the threat of unemployment and provide a direct route to sustained full employment, particularly for those groups intensely struggling to find steady work: Young veterans, young people in general, blacks subjected to discrimination in employment, all high school dropouts, and especially black high school dropouts. While providing a particular benefit for those Americans in the most desperate straits, a universal job guarantee would benefit all Americans who could experience joblessness.
I guess.... A few years ago I'd have applauded this story as progress -- though The God(ess)(e)(s) Of Your Choice, If Any, forfend that MMT's work on a Jobs Guarantee be mentioned! -- but after so many years my attitude is just send the helicopter and drop a pallet of fucking money over my house, just like for the banksters. I'll fix my teeth, so I can still pass, and buy a new boiler, giving employment to a dentist, a dental assistant, a clerk, some technicians, and a plumber, his assistant, and some manufacturing workers.
Of course, that will never happen, so what next?