Category Archives: NEP

Why Bernie Sanders Should Add a Job Guarantee to His Policy Agenda

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.”

Continue reading Why Bernie Sanders Should Add a Job Guarantee to His Policy Agenda

Peterson Thinks We Need Austerity While He Lives It Up!

by Joe Firestone, New Economic Perspectives

The Peterson Foundation reacted to the President’s budget document with a report repeating its usual whining about the debt problem, and the need to cut entitlements. Here are quotations from the report and my explanations of why they are ridiculous deficit/debt terrorist nonsense.

While today’s deficits are much lower than those during the financial crisis and recession, over the next ten years debt will remain at historically high levels under the policies outlined in the President’s budget. Over the long term, our debt is on a rising and unsustainable path that harms our economy and threatens our future standard of living. 

First, Government deficits that don’t exceed the sum of private sector savings and trade deficits are not bad for the private economy. They are good because they contribute directly to private sector savings and the aggregate demand and subsequent economic growth it can create. It would be nicer for all of if Mr. Peterson learned that lesson before his propaganda turns the US into a third world banana republic; unless, of course, that’s what he’s about. Continue reading Peterson Thinks We Need Austerity While He Lives It Up!

Getting Big Money Out of Politics: A Solution

By Joe Firestone, New Economic Perspectives, February 26, 2014

A lot of Americans have the feeling that those who have and supply big money to candidates, office holders, lobby groups, think tanks, and media have bought politics. That it is they who are determining the agendas that office holders act upon and even the specific decisions they make in passing laws and rendering executive and even judicial decisions. This short post won’t debate the extent to which big money has perverted democratic processes in the United States. Instead it will offer a simple, perhaps an oversimple, solution to the problem that will really work. Here it is.

If you really want to do something about this, then just follow a very simple rule. If the election you’re voting in is virtually a two candidate contest, then vote for the candidate, who, in combination with her/his supporters spends the least amount of money. In a virtual multi-candidate contest, do the same thing.

That’s the proposal, in its simplest form. Its objective is to reverse the current race to the bottom in buying elections by ensuring that there would be a powerful incentive to start a race to the top to raise and spend as little money as possible in campaigns. That incentive is that if you spend too much you lose, pure and simple.  Continue reading Getting Big Money Out of Politics: A Solution

Dear Dr. Krugman: Please Let Me Explain

By Joe Firestone, New Economic Perspectives

Paul Krugman can’t explain why the deficit issue has suddenly dropped off the agenda. He says:

. . . quite suddenly the whole thing has dropped off the agenda.

You could say that this reflects the dwindling of the deficit — but that’s old news; anyone doing the math saw this coming quite a while ago. Or you could mention the failure of the often-predicted financial crisis to arrive — but after so many years of being wrong, why should a few months more have caused the deficit scolds to disappear in a puff of smoke?

Why indeed are they so quiet? Could it be because the deficit hawks have succeeded in getting the short-term result they want, which is a likely deficit too small to sustain the private savings and import desires of most Americans, and also because the political climate is such right now that they cannot make progress on their longer term entitlement-cutting program until after the coming elections have resolved the issue of whether there will be strong resistance to such a campaign if they renew it? Let’s look at the budget outlook first.

Continue reading Dear Dr. Krugman: Please Let Me Explain