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Your Government Owes You a Job
The Nation ^ | April 23, 2014 | Raúl Carrillo

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 aren’t enough jobs. And because economic security requires decent work, it’s 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 it’s 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 other’s necks in senseless competition for too few jobs, we need a job guarantee.

A job guarantee isn’t 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 percent—even higher among people of color—despite its relative unfamiliarity.

Would a job guarantee just create dismal make-work? No. Even ultraconservative idol Bill Buckley admitted there’s 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 needn’t construct trains or solar panels. Locally administered, non-capital-intensive programs have thrived in Argentina and India. Economist Pavlina Tcherneva has extensively researched Argentina’s 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 wouldn’t have to bankroll Walmart or McDonald’s.

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 doesn’t target households directly. Elegantly, JG spending is inherently constrained; a JG would implement a universal guaranteed wage—effectively the new minimum—and 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 wouldn’t 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. It’s 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 don’t want dignified living to depend on wages, preferring an income guarantee. I’m 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.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: communism; guaranteedincome; jobs; makework; socialism; stupidity; welfare
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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.

1 posted on 04/29/2014 12:47:26 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

2 posted on 04/29/2014 12:48:19 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The federal government can easily afford a job guarantee program …
Of course, because money that is printed always has value no matter what.
3 posted on 04/29/2014 12:54:40 AM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: dfwgator
According to legal scholar Cass Sunstein …
That’s some nuclear stupid, right there.
4 posted on 04/29/2014 12:55:29 AM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Neighborhoods wouldn’t have to bankroll Walmart or McDonald’s.

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.

5 posted on 04/29/2014 12:56:17 AM PDT by agere_contra (I once saw a movie where only the police and military had guns. It was called 'Schindler's List'.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Sure it does. Grab a shovel, Raul.

6 posted on 04/29/2014 12:58:16 AM PDT by Fido969 (What's sad is most)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

*facepalm*


7 posted on 04/29/2014 1:00:38 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (Richard Warman censors free speech.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

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.


8 posted on 04/29/2014 1:02:38 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: All

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.


9 posted on 04/29/2014 1:06:44 AM PDT by willywill
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To: goldstategop

I actually agree with the guy

If people want to work, yhey shoudl be able to work


10 posted on 04/29/2014 1:25:14 AM PDT by yldstrk ( My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: Olog-hai

Cass is a communist pig


11 posted on 04/29/2014 1:25:43 AM PDT by yldstrk ( My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: yldstrk

And they could work, if the government would just get out of the way. As in the Keystone Pipeline, for instance.


12 posted on 04/29/2014 1:50:28 AM PDT by skr (May God confound the enemy)
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To: willywill

People who live off the Gov should not be allowed to vote. Including SS and Gov workers, with the exception of land owners.


13 posted on 04/29/2014 1:51:09 AM PDT by MaxMax (Pay Attention and you'll be pissed off too! FIRE BOEHNER, NOW!)
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A Job Guarantee is justice?

Scary, perverted language.


14 posted on 04/29/2014 1:57:42 AM PDT by Gene Eric (Don't be a statist!)
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To: MaxMax

I completely agree with you.


15 posted on 04/29/2014 2:50:13 AM PDT by Ancient Man
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To: dfwgator
"You need dollars to eat, and unless you steal the dollars, you generally have to earn them."

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.

16 posted on 04/29/2014 2:55:39 AM PDT by Gaffer (Comprehensive Immigration Reform is just another name for Comprehensive Capitulation)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Ok, the guy is a law student. He is not a historian or economist. The idiot does not know that it has been tried before. Back then, it was the Second French Republic. Ask anyone who knows economic history how that turned out. It quickly turns into straight up welfare. One person paid to dig a hole, another to fill it. Mind you, Paul Krugman thinks that is a great idea, even though nothing has been gained and yet money changed hands.

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!

17 posted on 04/29/2014 2:58:17 AM PDT by Seraphicaviary (St. Michael is gearing up. The angels are on the ready line.)
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To: Gaffer

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.


18 posted on 04/29/2014 3:01:40 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

For some strange reason, the phrase “Arbeit Macht Frei” immediately comes to mind.


19 posted on 04/29/2014 3:03:13 AM PDT by Bob
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To: Seraphicaviary

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?


20 posted on 04/29/2014 3:04:06 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: Bob

Sounds like an excuse for the work/concentration camps.


21 posted on 04/29/2014 3:04:43 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

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.


22 posted on 04/29/2014 3:08:11 AM PDT by exDemMom (Current visual of the hole the US continues to dig itself into: http://www.usdebtclock.org/)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
A job guarantee isn’t 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.

So, out of the hundreds of millions of people that have lived in the U.S. these are five that got it right, right?

23 posted on 04/29/2014 3:14:25 AM PDT by raybbr (Obamacare needs a death panel.)
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To: exDemMom

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.


24 posted on 04/29/2014 3:16:22 AM PDT by Safetgiver ( Islam makes barbarism look genteel.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
Anyhow, even “make work” is better than nothing when it is something good and useful that is made

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.

25 posted on 04/29/2014 3:19:13 AM PDT by Gaffer (Comprehensive Immigration Reform is just another name for Comprehensive Capitulation)
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To: raybbr

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.


26 posted on 04/29/2014 3:21:29 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: Gaffer

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.


27 posted on 04/29/2014 3:24:17 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“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.


28 posted on 04/29/2014 3:33:44 AM PDT by Junk Silver
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To: willywill

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.


29 posted on 04/29/2014 3:52:39 AM PDT by rbg81
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Agreed.


30 posted on 04/29/2014 3:52:57 AM PDT by Gaffer (Comprehensive Immigration Reform is just another name for Comprehensive Capitulation)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

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.


31 posted on 04/29/2014 3:58:42 AM PDT by Apple Pan Dowdy (... as American as Apple Pie)
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To: MaxMax

“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...


32 posted on 04/29/2014 4:13:21 AM PDT by kearnyirish2 (Affirmative action is economic warfare against white males (and therefore white families).)
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To: Olog-hai

“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...


33 posted on 04/29/2014 4:16:21 AM PDT by kearnyirish2 (Affirmative action is economic warfare against white males (and therefore white families).)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

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.


34 posted on 04/29/2014 4:28:40 AM PDT by DH (Once the tainted finger of government touches anything the rot begins)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

This guy’s got his head so far up his @$$ that he’s hallucinating from lack of oxygen.


35 posted on 04/29/2014 4:32:53 AM PDT by RWB Patriot ("My ability is a value that must be earned and I don't recognize anyone's need as a claim on me.")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Another college indoctrinated moron.

Yes, what we need here is another government directed, Soviet style “busy work” economy.


36 posted on 04/29/2014 4:55:35 AM PDT by headstamp 2 (What would Scooby do?)
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To: rbg81

Knowing the government, they would all be unionized.


37 posted on 04/29/2014 5:00:07 AM PDT by headstamp 2 (What would Scooby do?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

OMW! This clown is serious, and this isn’t the Onion!


38 posted on 04/29/2014 5:14:13 AM PDT by Bigg Red (1 Pt 1: As he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct.)
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To: Bob

Yeah, scary world we live in now.


39 posted on 04/29/2014 5:18:29 AM PDT by Bigg Red (1 Pt 1: As he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct.)
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To: exDemMom
Anyone who gets welfare should be required to work for it. Pick up trash, clear out vacant lots, maintain parks, etc.

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.

40 posted on 04/29/2014 5:31:17 AM PDT by Fresh Wind (The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.)
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To: goldstategop
"pay people to work"

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.

41 posted on 04/29/2014 6:26:08 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: dfwgator

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.


42 posted on 04/29/2014 6:29:22 AM PDT by tbw2
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To: headstamp 2

Unionized and guaranteed retirement benefits starting at age 48.


43 posted on 04/29/2014 6:31:17 AM PDT by kjam22 (my music video "If My People" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74b20RjILy4)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Yet another Ivy League genius, lacking any comprehension about the simplest of economic concepts. He’ll soon be working for the Obama Administration.


44 posted on 04/29/2014 6:34:02 AM PDT by andy58-in-nh (Cogito, ergo armatum sum.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; PGalt
Would a job guarantee just create dismal make-work? No. Even ultraconservative idol Bill Buckley admitted there’s 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 can’t 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.


45 posted on 04/29/2014 7:34:16 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion ("Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
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To: kearnyirish2
Lay-offs is the rational answer. Gov can only grow so big and with the promises
of lifetime retirement for minimal effort the Gov cannot keep raising taxes to cover it.
And the Feds cannot keep printing money to cover theirs. It's an ugly bubble and we'll
all suffer in the end. It's UN-AMERICAN!
46 posted on 04/29/2014 8:18:21 AM PDT by MaxMax (Pay Attention and you'll be pissed off too! FIRE BOEHNER, NOW!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on.” ― Frédéric Bastiat, The Law, 1850
47 posted on 04/29/2014 8:27:35 AM PDT by EternalVigilance
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To: DH

Everyone has a right to an opportunity. When the market isn’t hag-ridden, the opportunity will be there.


48 posted on 04/29/2014 12:50:50 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: EternalVigilance

This is plunderful.


49 posted on 04/29/2014 12:51:29 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

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.


50 posted on 04/29/2014 3:01:37 PM PDT by DH (Once the tainted finger of government touches anything the rot begins)
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