Skip to comments.Your Government Owes You a Job
Posted on 04/29/2014 12:47:26 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
The federal government can easily afford a job guarantee program, becoming our employer of last resort.
Involuntary unemployment is barbaric. In the wealthiest country in history, almost 30 million people wish they had full-time work. But, as always, there arent enough jobs. And because economic security requires decent work, its unsurprising that 50 million people are poverty-stricken and 16 million children are hungry.
This is a disgrace and an economic error: the US government can easily afford a Job guarantee (JG) program, becoming our employer of last resort.
A right to a job may sound outlandish, but its common sense. You need dollars to eat, and unless you steal the dollars, you generally have to earn them. If the government wants to protect property with cops, courts, and prisons, issue a single, common currency, and tax and fine us in it, it should at least guarantee we can work for our own dollars. Politicians ramble about equality of opportunity and the dignity of work, but to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, we need boots. And lest our boots stomp each others necks in senseless competition for too few jobs, we need a job guarantee.
A job guarantee isnt that radical. Thomas Paine proposed one in 1791. In 1944, FDR included the right to a living wage job in his Second Bill of Rights and his Republican opponent promised state-ensured employment. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrined the right to work and philosophers Rawls and Dewey advocated government provide enough work. LBJ deliberated a JG and Martin Luther King Jr., demanded one.
In 1977, the Senate proposed legislation guaranteeing employment, allowing residents to sue the US government should it fail to provide it. The litigation provision was cut, but the final Humphrey-Hawkins Act authorizes Uncle Sam to create a reservoir of public employment. According to legal scholar Cass Sunstein, in 1990, an overwhelming 86 percent of respondents expressing an opinion wanted that reservoir. This January, the JG still polled high at 47 percenteven higher among people of colordespite its relative unfamiliarity.
Would a job guarantee just create dismal make-work? No. Even ultraconservative idol Bill Buckley admitted theres always something to be accomplished. New Deal employees built dams, bridges, roads and parks. Similar efforts have succeeded in Sweden and South Africa. Congressman Conyers has proposed creating enough public works for full employment, targeting decaying, unsustainable infrastructure.
But JG employees neednt construct trains or solar panels. Locally administered, non-capital-intensive programs have thrived in Argentina and India. Economist Pavlina Tcherneva has extensively researched Argentinas decentralized strategy, which emphasized childcare, eldercare and community gardening, empowered women in particular and swiftly slashed extreme poverty by 25 percent. A bottom-up JG could bolster small businesses and nonprofits, and co-ops could apply for JG grants to pay wages. Neighborhoods wouldnt have to bankroll Walmart or McDonalds.
It may sound expensive, but a JG would pay for itself. Deficit owls argue we can afford much more federal spending of this type. Remember, current anti-poverty programs like unemployment insurance pay people not to work, destroying human capital, sales, output, and the tax base. Estimated spending for a national infrastructure JG is $750 billion; bottom-up models, cheaper. JG outlays would replace or reduce the costs of much current anti-poverty spending (roughly $746 billion), with exponential benefits. The Treasury should finance a JG, but national, state or local agencies could administer it.
As conservatives Kevin Hassett and Peter Ferrara have argued, Obama-style stimulus is sloppy. Unlike a JG, it doesnt target households directly. Elegantly, JG spending is inherently constrained; a JG would implement a universal guaranteed wageeffectively the new minimumand employees could join or leave in response to private sector booms and busts.
Would jobs for all skyrocket wages and prices, spurring inflation? Such unfounded belief holds the jobless hostage to hysteria. The JG is an inflation stabilizer, easily compatible with additional precautions. Because non-JG employees could quit for a JG job, their bargaining power would increase. By the same token, businesses could hire JG-trained employees, so employers negotiating power would increase as well. Thus, wages wouldnt spiral. Furthermore, guaranteed employment for low-income individuals would discipline the prices of goods and services they typically buy.
Aside from the economic benefits, we deserve to participate in society as both producers and consumers. Participation is a premise for both collective enterprise and the self-determination Americans cherish. Even the best education and training programs cannot assure full employment. We need to change the economy, not people.
On that note, a JG is key to the movement for further reforms. Its a complementary framework for the living wage campaign. It offers strikers security. It relieves parasitic student debt. JG wages could even be deposited into postal banks.
A JG would offer a hand-up from the isolation and stagnation often accompanying joblessness. As economists Sandy Darity and Darrick Hamilton argue, it would also combat racist hiring discrimination, anti-immigrant sentiment and crime.
Some critics dont want dignified living to depend on wages, preferring an income guarantee. Im sympathetic, but people want checks and good jobs. Moreover, unemployment, like disenfranchisement, feeds the fat cats. Paying people to sit on the sidelines, without offering an option to participate, can finance apathy.
To paraphrase MLK, call a JG what you want. I call it common sense. And I call it justice.
Raúl Carrillo '15 is a J.D. student at Columbia Law School. He earned a B.A. in Social Studies at Harvard College, where he wrote a column on American politics for The Harvard Crimson. He subsequently worked as a staffer for California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, assisting with the 2012 multi-state mortgage fraud settlement. In the summer of 2013, he interned at the Securities and Exchange Commission in New York City.
The federal government can easily afford a job guarantee programOf course, because money that is printed always has value no matter what.
According to legal scholar Cass SunsteinThats some nuclear stupid, right there.
They don't have to now. People freely choose to go to these outlets - because they provide goods at excellent prices and/or at excellent speed.
If Government is given monopoly power over the means of production you get a totalitarian state. You get Nazi Germany. You get the USSR. You get Mao's China.
Carillo wants this because he is a budding fascist.
Sure it does. Grab a shovel, Raul.
I’m thinking if we could pay people to actually work, it would be cheaper and more humane than the way our social safety is currently administered.
We have to ask ourselves if government dependency is a good thing and if not how to begin changing it.
Another entitlement program is not the answer.
he doesn’t realize that the people who he most would align with wouldn’t even work if given a job, and would never vote for a politician who supported it.
I actually agree with the guy
If people want to work, yhey shoudl be able to work
Cass is a communist pig
And they could work, if the government would just get out of the way. As in the Keystone Pipeline, for instance.
People who live off the Gov should not be allowed to vote. Including SS and Gov workers, with the exception of land owners.
A Job Guarantee is justice?
Scary, perverted language.
I completely agree with you.
That's some real deep, deep thought there, Raul.
It's the kind of simplistic drivel that socialists the world over cling to - having 'no dollars' forces you to steal to get them, or with GOVERNMENT giving you a job you don't have to steal (we won't talk about how government STEALS the dollars to give to you for a job that has no merit).
But even giving the concession in this quote you might have to 'earn' them, you immediately launch off to JOBS GUARANTEE, or 'JG' you constantly cite thereafter as the panacea for every ill that besets us. Yes, JOBS earn you money. However the kind of jobs you're thinking of are really nothing more than sinecures - government jobs, more specifically government-funded jobs.
Future lawyers like Carrillo are what this country is producing in its liberal institutions. They are being trained to trample our rights; subvert our laws, misuse them and create new ones in which there is no Constitutional basis.
Raul also makes the idiotic argument that starts “In the richest country in the world....” Hey progressives, guess what? There are things even the richest country in the world cannot afford. Being richest is not the same as having infinite resources.
This idea of government as employer of last resort has gotten traction over the last year or so in mainstream media, as if it has never been tried before and is elegantly simple. Read a history books some time, will ya!
We ought to put our focus back on the Lord here.
The Lord made, and makes, astounding promises. Believing them opens the door for blessings.
I spent a brief period in the belly of the beast. It was frustrating. I bucked the system so hard to try to get something done, even within the context of the pencil pushing, that I got kicked out of the “job.”
Anyhow, even “make work” is better than nothing when it is something good and useful that is made. But the free market is the stellar place for work to occur, because something that isn’t good and useful won’t be rewarded for long. America used to be prized for its opportunity and now the same America is despised.
For some strange reason, the phrase “Arbeit Macht Frei” immediately comes to mind.
And also how did it get to be richest. The liberals speak as though it was by “robbing the poor.” Hello. Who has the richest poor in he world?
Sounds like an excuse for the work/concentration camps.
Actually, I do somewhat agree with the guy.
Anyone who gets welfare should be required to work for it. Pick up trash, clear out vacant lots, maintain parks, etc. Maybe if the welfare weren’t just handed out for doing nothing, they’d have a bit of incentive to make themselves eligible for real jobs and actually improve their lives for a change.
So, out of the hundreds of millions of people that have lived in the U.S. these are five that got it right, right?
Pick up trash, clear out vacant lots, maintain parks, etc....And the NLRB or somebody would be on you like a ton of bricks for taking jobs away from AFSCME,UAW or some union. Of course WE know they aren’t doing it in the first place but Courts have upheld the as they COULD do this work.
One would think this not knowing government in its usual modus operandi. It's true there might be 'something good and useful' produced, but how good is it if the money it took to get there was stolen from someone who produced that money on their own - provided good and useful value for it - and then had it taken from them. How much 'good and useful' stuff could they have done with it had they not had it taken from them.
The problem with these government funded jobs is the massive wasteful administrative bureaucracy it takes to oversee the disbursement of the booty. Couple that with the outright graft and corruption often associated with it and you have nothing but a few dollars thrown around some blighted urban area that doesn't even amount to hardly anything.
Where is charity in this picture? Private church/religious charity used to be stellar in America, then Caesar wheedled the church charities into letting his “efficiency” take their place. Some efficiency, it is a skim and scam job today.
This is why I say better than nothing. Even better is taking the strangle holds off of the private market and letting it do what private markets generally do. Case in point is what happened to GM and Chrysler. They should have died and their pieces auctioned. By being basket cases, they offer less value to the world than they would as totally private affairs — and somebody would have bought them and made something out of them.
“The US government can easily afford a Job guarantee (JG) program, becoming our employer of last resort.”
“Easily afford?” What a blithering idiot. The US Government is deeply in debt. It can no more afford some new utopian entitlement than a college student with four credit cards maxed out and 50K in loans can afford to take his buddies out for a gourmet meal with drinks.
Bingo. It would quickly devolve into something like the “Summer Jobs” program did—pay people just for showing up somewhere (for an hour to two a day) and wearing a t-shirt. Trying to make the underclass do actual hard labor would be labeled “racist” in no time. Can’t have that.
I’m not an economist, but common sense tells me this.....
pencil pushing, paper shuffling, cleaning, building roads, etc. are all essential jobs, not these kind of jobs do not PRODUCE anything. A strong economy cannot be based on only service type jobs. There must also be production of goods to be sold for a profit. Our government (and the unions) now makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the producer businesses to make a profit. And it is producer industry that created good-wage-paying jobs for masses of blue collar workers in the past.
“People who live off the Gov should not be allowed to vote.”
Absolutely, because if you rob Peter to pay Paul you will ALWAYS have the support of Paul. Here in NJ that has had disastrous consequences, as taxpayers (corporate and individual) flee the tax burdens imposed by our government workers and unassimilated gibsmedats.
Saw on the news last night that tax revenue projections were missed by $750 million; we need to get back into the layoff mode we had for gubmint workers a few years ago...
“The federal government can easily afford a job guarantee program ”
“Of course, because money that is printed always has value no matter what.”
Actually, they are just doling out wages with no return at all right now; if they can afford to do that, they can afford to make the recipients get off their asses and do something...
No one has a RIGHT for a job. They have to EARN the job.
The problem we have here in the United States is that the ever increasing “Jack booted thug” (the government) has made unemployment by “feeding the animals” and choking free enterprise to death by regulations, taxes and laws.
Get the government out of business and quit feeding the animals and everyone will be better off. Those with ambition and work ethic will thrive while the animals that once sat on their butts and got fed will be forced to “forage” for their food and shelter....and that means they have to get off their asses and actually WORK.
This guy’s got his head so far up his @$$ that he’s hallucinating from lack of oxygen.
Another college indoctrinated moron.
Yes, what we need here is another government directed, Soviet style “busy work” economy.
Knowing the government, they would all be unionized.
OMW! This clown is serious, and this isn’t the Onion!
Yeah, scary world we live in now.
The unions would never let that happen unless, of course, those welfare recipients were forced to join the unions, and then the operation would cause the government even deeper into debt.
Doing what? Digging holes and then filling them in again? A great pct. of non-workers are lazy, shiftless people who you'd have to whip to get any work done. And then the "work" you'd get would most likely be very substandard. I like the idea of punishing people who don't like to work for a living...by making them starve.
Instead of a make work program, make those living in Section 8 housing spend part of their time maintaining it like picking up litter. Require those who collect SNAP to spend time sorting and distributing freebies, like food coops that give a discount to those who sort food into boxes and distribute them.
Instead of government becoming an employer, use those already one benefits in some form or fashion.
Unionized and guaranteed retirement benefits starting at age 48.
Yet another Ivy League genius, lacking any comprehension about the simplest of economic concepts. He’ll soon be working for the Obama Administration.
Would a job guarantee just create dismal make-work? No. Even ultraconservative idol Bill Buckley admitted theres always something to be accomplished. New Deal employees built dams, bridges, roads and parks. Similar efforts have succeeded in Sweden and South Africa. Congressman Conyers has proposed creating enough public works for full employment, targeting decaying, unsustainable infrastructure.A shovel is a useful garden tool. But when there is a big excavation job to do and a bulldozer to do it with, digging with a shovel instead of operating the bulldozer does not satisfy the motivation for having a job - which is to convey dignity. The dignity of a job flows from the dignity of the boss. And the dignity of the boss flows from his responsibility for the money he pays for the job. The responsibility of the boss for the money he pays flows from the fact that money is credit, in the sense that"It is not the critic who counts . . . the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena . . . who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds . . .Ultimately the money the boss pays is and must be scarce; if the boss simply writes meaningless IOUs for the payment, the job is and can only be just dismal make-work.
And that is the fundamental reason the government cant create jobs by fiat. To impart dignity, a job must have an extrinsic purpose. The minute you start out from the premise of giving Joe a "job, Joe is already being patronized - and your purpose is already defeated. Start from the need, find a way for Joe to fill it, and you have done something. Joe is a solution looking for a problem. If Joe is a problem and the solution is to put him to work, just dismal make-work follows as the night follows the day.
There is scant difficulty in finding things to do whose value is not zero.
The great problem is to find things to do which are seen to be actually worth doing.
Everyone has a right to an opportunity. When the market isn’t hag-ridden, the opportunity will be there.
This is plunderful.
I agree that an “opportunity” is important.
However, in this day and age “opportunity” means your chance to trip up a prospective employer so that you can have the “opportunity” to sue him to have the “opportunity” to live the high life for the rest of your life.
Opportunity is the chance to show a prospective employer just why you would be a good employee. It’s not an opportunity to force a prospective employer to hire you in fear of a legal torpedo with the word “racial bigot, faggot hater, and all other types of social vermin” on it.
In my original post I stated the word “earn.” A large portion of today’s potential applicants for a job “DEMAND, EXPECT, OR think that based on color or sexual choice, they are given the right to the job by the Supreme Court of the United States......and they are right.
I am an employer and I see it everyday.