by Naked Capitalism, published August 18, 2015
By Pavlina R. Tcherneva, Assistant Professor of Economics at Bard College, Research Scholar at The Levy Economics Institute, and Senior Research Associate at the Center for Full Employment and Price Stability. Originally published at New Economic Perspectives
Discussions of the ‘politically possible’ always remind me of a favorite quote: “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.”
Bernie Sanders’ issues page reads like a list of everything we’ve been told is not politically possible. And yet he’s getting record breaking support, precisely because people are tired of being told that something cannot be done–that it is impossible to get money out of politics, or that tackling inequality and racial injustice is unrealistic, or that securing a living wage is a political nonstarter.
Bernie has unapologetically rejected sclerotic visions of what is ‘politically possible’. And now he should add the Job Guarantee (JG) to his list of issues. Indeed, he already has the key ingredients—a bold proposal to eliminate unemployment by creating 13 million decent-paying jobs, a living wage, and a federally-funded youth job guarantee, which Sandy Darity correctly called a stepping stone (a pilot program) to a blanket job guarantee for all.
The Job Guarantee’s time has come.
- It secures a basic human right
- It tackles at least three key sources of “economic violence and injustice”—unemployment, precarious work, and poverty wages
- It is good for families, the economy, the environment, and our communities
Here’s what you need to know about the JG.
The Job Guarantee Is Not Big Government
A common misconception of the JG is that it is a large and unpredictable program, echoed by Matt Bruenig in a recent post:
“The size of the workforce on the JG will greatly differ across the business cycle … Because the JG workforce should theoretically turn over a lot and shrink a lot, work valuable over the long run is ruled out.”