Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Government Has A Job To Do-- Creating Full Employment... And It's Been Failing At It

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There have been rumors circulating for months that one of the planks of Bernie's 2020 platform will be Job Guarantee. This week the Levy Institute at Bard College published a paper that could well be the intellectual underpining of that plank, Public Service Employment-- A Path To Full Employment by distinguished economists L. Randall Wray, Stephanie A. Kelton, Pavlina R. Tcherneva, Scott Fullwiler, and Flavia Dantas. It's well worth reading the entire report (at the link above). This is the executive summary:
Despite headline-grabbing reports of a healthy US labor market, millions of Americans remain unemployed and underemployed. It is a problem that plagues our economy in good times and in bad-- there are never enough jobs available for all who want to work. The problem is most acute for women, youths, blacks, and Latinos, although research also finds a persistent lack of employment for large numbers of working-age men. This report asks a set of big questions: What if we sought to eliminate involuntary unemployment across all demographic groups and geographic regions, by directly creating jobs in the communities where they are needed through a federally funded Public Service Employment program? How could such a radical transformation of the labor market be implemented? What would it cost, and what would it mean for the US economy?

A number of important implications emerge from this analysis. Joblessness, defined as the inability to secure a job at a living wage ($15 per hour), can be eliminated in every corner of America for every eligible person who desires to work. With a standing job offer-- a “public option”-- available at all times, the US labor market would transition to a permanent state of true full employment. Millions of American families would be lifted out of poverty, and the economy would grow as the benefits of the program spill over into the private sector. Perhaps most astonishingly, this can all be done without the need to raise taxes and without creating an inflation problem.

We propose the creation of a Public Service Employment (PSE) program that would offer a job at a living wage to all who are ready and willing to work. This is a “job guarantee” program that provides employment to all who need work by drawing from the pool of the otherwise unemployed during recessions and shrinking as private sector employment recovers. Federally funded but with a decentralized administration, the PSE program would pay $15 per hour for both full- and part-time positions and offer benefits that include health insurance and childcare. In addition to guaranteeing access to work on projects that serve a public purpose, the PSE program establishes effective minimum standards for wages and benefits.

We have simulated the economic impact over a ten- year period of implementing the PSE program beginning in 2018Q1. Drawing from the unemployed, underemployed, and those who are out of the labor force, the program would attract roughly 15 million people into the PSE workforce, based on our higher- bound estimates of likely program participants. While the report also presents lower-bound estimates, the results highlighted here correspond to this higher- bound scenario:
 Real, inflation-adjusted GDP (2017Q4 dollar values) would be boosted by $560 billion per year on average, once the PSE program is at full strength (from 2020 to 2027).
 The economic stimulus generated by the PSE program would also increase private sector employment by up to an additional 4.2 million private sector jobs relative to the baseline, due to the “multiplier effects” of the program.
 Even though it boosts GDP by over $500 billion per year, adds more than 19 million private and public service jobs, and raises wages nationwide above $15 per hour, the program’s impact on inflation is minor: the boost to inflation peaks at 0.74 percentage points higher than the baseline projection and then progressively falls to a negligible 0.09 percentage points higher than the baseline by the end of the simulation period.
 The program’s net impact on the federal budget averages 1.53 percent of GDP in the first five years of the program (2018–22) and 1.13 percent of GDP in the last five years (2023–27). These net budgetary impacts could be significantly overestimated, since the simulation makes very cautious assumptions about offsetting reductions in Medicaid and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) expenditures that would result from higher employment and wages.
 State-level government budgets are improved by a total of $53 billion per year by boosting employment and growth.
 Based on the demographics of estimated PSE participants, the program would disproportionately benefit women and minorities.
 One full-time worker in the PSE program could lift a family of up to five out of poverty. With one full-time and one part-time worker, a family of eight could rise above the poverty line.
 In addition to these measured benefits, the PSE program would lower spending by all levels of government, as well as by businesses and households, on a range of costly problems created by unemployment. It is possible that the program would “pay for itself” in terms of savings due to reduced crime, improved health, greater social and economic stability, and larger reductions in Medicaid and EITC expenditures than those assumed in the simulations.
 The projects undertaken in every community would provide visible benefits, meeting specific local needs through work that involves caring for people, strengthening communities, and protecting and renewing the environment. This report develops a blueprint for the design, jobs, and implementation of the PSE proposal for the United States.

Unemployment, hidden and official, with all of its attendant social harms, is a policy choice. The results in this report lend more weight to the argument that it is a policy choice we need no longer tolerate. True full employment is both achievable and sustainable.
Alan Grayson is running for Congress again. This is right up his alley. Yesterday he told us that "During the worst of the Great Recession, with unemployment in double digits, I pointed out that the Government could hire every single unemployed person, paying them all $15 per hour, and that would cost around half of the military budget. Today, it would cost barely a quarter of the military budget or, alternatively, right around the cost of the Trump tax cuts for the rich. And if we did, then America would no longer be a country of cheap labor and debt slavery."

Goal ThermometerJenny Marshall is the progressive candidate running for the 5th district in North Carolina, currently held by Virginia Foxx-- a big waste of a seat. This morning, Jenny told us that "as she has "traveled around the district what I have found is that people want to work. They want a job that pays the bills. The jobs guarantee would provide work to those who need it in places and spaces where they could have a huge impact in empowering their community and providing much needed labor. I have been talking to people in the recent weeks about this proposal and people are excited about it. They start rattling off places that need help and things that need fixed. With a jobs guarantee, we could tackle those and so much more. A job gives a person autonomy, dignity and builds community. The jobs guarantee is a win-- win situation."

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6 Comments:

At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If one doesn't already have a job, or if one doesn't have a large financial reserve, then one is deemed by the powers-that-be to be surplus. There will be no rescue of such persons as long as corporatists dominate the government and the media.

 
At 1:50 PM, Blogger Peter Janovsky said...

I strongly favor the Job Guarantee. But if you want it to be adopted by mainstream Democrats, I adcise not coupling it with Bernie. For example, Gillibrand has also endorsed it.

 
At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter, I'll go further. I wouldn't trust ANY member of the democrap party that advocates it to be sincere. But even if they are, the FUCKING PARTY will never go along. Their corporate donors will forbid it and will pay to not have it.

The other part of the recipe would have to be raising taxes on the rich and on corporations to offset the half-tril per year in expanded discretionary spending. Only in this way will inflation be reined.

Making GE pay their 35% instead of ZERO% would be a good start. Closing the offshore loopholes would help a lot too. Taxing the likes of the trumps such that they have to shit through porcelain seats would be great too.

And concentrating on jobs for ages 16-24 would be great. When you have people that age and up who have never been able to earn any self esteem... it just makes for a very shitty society -- as we now see.

 
At 12:13 AM, Blogger Larry Piltz said...

So tell us, Democrap-Obsessed Anonymous, what do you think of the Republican Party?
You never mention those amoral nihilists, and every single Republican is worse than even the worst Democrat. Your omission is suspicious for your being a Republican troll. So what is your plan for the country? Or is there no plan because you have given up, quit trying, don't give a damn? That would make you the biggest piece of political crap of all. And if you're so certain of your nihilistic opinions, then why don't you identify yourself?

 
At 6:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry, you don't read a lot do you?
I often opine that the Rs are Nazis and there are no good Nazis.
My plan is to rid ourselves of democraps and coalesce around a TRULY left party. A tall order for sure, but the alternative is what we now have -- descent into hell.

Absent a true left movement, we're fucked. And I think you know this. So the question isn't whether to be fucked or FUCKED. The question should be how to ditch the democraps and form up a truly left movement.

I've forsworn ever voting for any member of the democrap party. I've been voting Green mostly, but once in a while I will vote for another candidate I like.

And everything I just wrote I have written often before. So either read or don't read, I don't care. But don't ask me why I don't say shit I say often.

 
At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The government is NOT failing.

It's job since the '80s is to serve and enrich corporations and billionaires. They've being extremely successful at it.

Problem is that 300 million of us need to be ratfucked in order to give corporations and billionaires more and more. So that's what government does.

They're very dedicated and successful.

Perspective is everything. wake the fuck up.

 

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