The Way To Beat Unemployment Is To Guarantee Jobs

The Way To Beat Unemployment Is To Guarantee Jobs

Can the government provide jobs for everyone?
215
views

Cory Booker has just recently proposed to introduce a bill that would guarantee everyone in America a job. The idea is a simple one in principle. If you want a job, and can’t get one, then the American Government will give you one. The job would include a minimum wage of $15 an hour, with paid leave, and health insurance.

This would have a number of benefits. For one thing, it would effectively make the minimum wage $15 an hour, because if you are employed at McDonald’s for $8 an hour, why would you stay there if you are guaranteed a job at $15 an hour. To prevent this McDonalds would need to raise its wage. Plus it would, theoretically, mean full employment.

With something that sounds so good, some people are thinking it couldn’t possibly be true. The main argument I’ve seen against this bill is the cost. One Forbes article put it thusly: “Another recent proposal suggests $24,600 to start and rising to an average salary in the program of $32,500. According to the Census, there are currently 50 million wage and salary workers with annual earnings below $25,000 and 72 million earning below $35,000. So let's stop right there and ask: is this a joke? The idea here is to nationalize what a quarter of the U.S. labor market and therefore economy? Half of it?”

So, how would this be paid for? Booker’s plan is very similar to one commissioned by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, so I’ll be using their program to answer the question. If you think it’ll be a small number the authors quickly tell you otherwise, saying “Make no mistake, this is a policy to transform the U.S. labor market.”

Right off the bat, they say “we estimate a total annual program cost of $543 billion, or just under 3 percent of GDP.” They follow up later saying “the gross cost of implementing the NIEC would be offset substantially by increases in local, state, and federal tax revenues, decreases in the uptake of existing social insurance programs, increases in the growth rate of GDP, and substantial productivity and capacity gains in the U.S. economy.” The estimate that TANF, the Earned Income Tax Credit, SNAP would all be practically unused which would be about $160 billion saved.

They also predict that the use of unemployment insurance, and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program would have much less use. Combined those programs spend $415 billion. The authors seem less sure that the use of these programs would fall to 0, but they would see much less use. All and all these programs represent roughly $575 billion of spending, which is more than the job’s program would cost. If we just shuffled the money around, it might work even with our existing spending, and that’s before you look at the additional tax revenue.

All in all this looks like a manageable program, especially when you open up conversations about creating new revenue specifically for this program. Booker has introduced a bill which would allow this program to be tested in a number of counties so that we can see how effective it is before we try it out nationwide.

I think this is exactly the kind of thinking we need to help out those who have been left behind as our economy evolves. Although I am a huge fan of the program though, I think it will only serve us so far. Giving every person who wants one a job is fantastic, but wages will rise, and this program would need to rise wages with the times, something there is little incentive for it to do. In the end this is a step in the right direction, but the underlying problems of our system, one which incentivizes workers working for less than the next guy, just to at least make some money, is not addressed in this proposal.

That being said, I think this program is exactly the kind of thing America should be considering, and I think it could make a real impact in people’s lives.

Cover Image Credit: Cory Booker Instagram

Popular Right Now

Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

7765
views

Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Pete Buttigieg Is On Everybody's Radar Now, But Can Mayor Pete Really Become President Pete?

Charisma, polyglot and success in reviving a Midwestern city make him a viable candidate for president. But will this hold?

127
views

At the time of writing this, at least 18 people are vying for the Democratic Party nomination to challenge Donald Trump during the Presidential election in 2020. This includes some heavyweights, such as Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Cory Booker. There are also fringe candidates, like Andrew Yang. Then there are the formerly fringe candidates. One person fits that bill: Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Pete Buttigieg has erupted as a potential candidate for the Presidency. He recently took 9% of a recent poll in Iowa, the state that begins the general election season. The question is this: why has he gained so much traction? There are several potential reasons.

First, Mayor Pete has, at least compared to Trump, significant governmental experience as the mayor of South Bend. He has been mayor since 2011. He began his time in office at the age of 29 and has since been re-elected with 80% of the vote in 2015. His success in the city has shown: the city experienced significant growth following a population decline between 2000-2010.

The Mayor has also spearheaded some rebirth projects in the city, including converting the old Studebaker plant in town into a tech hub, conversion of the city streets downtown, and millions of dollars of private investment into the city. As a result, Mayor Pete can tout his success here as examples of why he could be president.

Other supporters claim that he is immensely talented and intelligent (though I do not like this reasoning). Mayor Pete was a Rhodes Scholar after attending Harvard. He knows myriad languages, including Norwegian. He is well-acquainted with various philosophies, including that of well-known intellectual Antonio Gramsci, whom his father has written on.

Though this line of thinking is flawed (I mean, Julian Castro attended Stanford, Cory Booker was also a Rhodes Scholar and Elizabeth Warren lectured at Harvard Law School), it is easy to see WHY he resonates: when compared to the President, Pete is levels above him.

Finally, a lot of what he says resonates with people. He speaks about his faith with fervor and honesty, something I appreciate greatly. He talks about the virtues of progressive politics and supporting policies like universal healthcare, labor unionism, combating climate change among other policies. His youth ideals combined are valued by many.

However, Pete still has his critics. Concerns about the gentrification of the city, wiretapping, and targeting of vacant properties that led to accusations of targeting of minorities in the city are what concerns many people. There were also previous issues with the police chief in the town, who recorded conversations, and who he demoted, which raised concerns for racial bias.

Whether or not this affects the primary at all is anyone's guess. However, he has momentum. Maybe Mayor Pete will become President Pete someday.

Related Content

Facebook Comments