Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Will The Bernie/Elizabeth Warren 2020 Campaign Include Job Guarantee? It Sure Appears So


Monday evening, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren took their probable 2020 campaign out for a test run, calling their 90-minute TV show the Economic Inequality Town Hall, or more formally, "Inequality in America: The Rise of Oligarchy and Collapse of the Middle Class." You can watch the whole thing above. Last night 1.7 million people did. And Bernie's goal was clearly towards shaping and promulgating a national progressive narrative that very few in Congress are communicating effectively, Elizabeth Warren, Ro Khanna, Barbara Lee and Pramila Jayapal being four of the pitifully few exceptions. Warren-- rumored to be Bernie's pick to run on a 2020 presidential ticket with him-- was a co-host, as were Michael Moore and New School economist Darrick Hamilton. They interviewed three guests: Catherine Coleman Flowers, a founder of the anti-poverty Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise Community Development Corp., Cindy Estrada, a vice president of the United Auto Workers and University of Oregon political scientist Gordon Lafer, who helped explain how corporate special interests have helped turn our democracy further towards plutocracy.

Hamilton brought up one of the likely planks in Bernie's 2020 platform: Job Guarantee, something that several of the best cutting edge congressional candidates are already running on. Kaniela Ing, for example, has been working with Bernie's economic advisor, Stephanie Kelton, on how to make sure Job Guarantee serves the needs Hawaii's working families, where he serves in the state legislature and is now running for the open HI-01 congressional seat. A few weeks ago Kaniela told us that "America’s promise has always been clear-- work hard and your family will prosper. Today, too many hard-working Americans feel that our leaders have gone bad on that promise. I talk to folks who tell me everyday, they grind and sweat, but struggle to get by. Wages are stagnant, unemployment and underemployment are rising, the threats of automation and globalization are becoming real, all while costs are skyrocketing. But just take a walk outside and look around at all the work that needs to be done in America. There are bridges to be built, highways needing repair, kids to be taught, aging folks needing care, oceans to be cleaned, trees to be planted. But private markets fall short. For every job opening in America, four people are gunning for it. This pits worker against worker and creates a power imbalance between workers and their bosses. It’s too risky for a worker to stand up to wage theft, inhumane working conditions, or sexual harassment, when they know there’s nowhere else to go. Our elected representatives must stop pretending that everything is okay, and that the job market will some home fix itself. It’s time for real solutions that will actually help working families across America. It’s time for a new New deal. Since the start of my campaign, I’ve been leading with a universal job guarantee, and I ask other progressive candidates to join me. Let’s remind the establishment that the ability to work for a livable wage is a human right that should be afforded to all. In these uncertain times, progressives will lead with real solutions that offer hope to the many, and just the privileged few."

Ellen Lipton is the former state legislator and progressive Democrat running for the open seat in the suburbs north of Detroit. She's interested in Bernie's Jobs Guarantee ideas and tildes that "the federal government has been at the mercy of corporate-controlled lobbyists for long enough. How long are we going to allow them to offer the same tired economic policy of tax cuts for the phantom 'job-creators?' How about trying something that actually has a track record of working-- direct federal investment in people rather than profits. A guaranteed jobs program would put people to work on everything from infrastructure to IT, renewable energy to healthcare and social work-- the possibilities are endless."

Tim Canova, a South Florida reformer in a tight contest with status quo Democrat Debbie Wassermann Schultz has been a long time supporter of a federal jobs guarantee. "In the 1990s, at the National Jobs For All Coalition, we called for this approach,” he told me recently. “The need for a federal job guarantee has been even greater since the 2008 financial collapse and the trickle down recovery that has followed. New Deal public works programs helped build so much of the country’s infrastructure while providing hope and dignity to millions of people. Today there are millions of Americans, particularly among our youth, who are unemployed or underemployed in bad part time jobs. We need to provide them with opportunities in public jobs programs, building our crumbling infrastructure, in conservation projects, and in service to others. This is a big part of our agend."

Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, the Blue America-endorsed candidate running in the open Albquerque district, us also a big fan of Job Guarantee. This is what she told us this morning: "I believe that all human beings deserve to live in dignity, and that as part of that we build a government that ensures a well-paying job to each and every individual. Imagine if we guaranteed to all human beings a well-paying job with a livable wage that allows for healthcare, housing, transportation, food, and ultimately the dignity of work? What it would mean for our communities, poverty, racial and gender equality? Well, we've done parts of this before with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the New Deal era. Imagine a program that achieves delivering well-paying work to all individuals, all while overhauling our nation's infrastructure and educational systems. It has the potential to breakdown the entrenched racial and gender-based inequality that exists in our labor force, and enshrines the ideal that all Americans who want a good job will have one. It assures that the dignity of a well-paying job is not just for a plurality of Americans, but for all who seek it. In an increasingly evolving economy, it's important that our government think creatively about the future of our labor force, and ensure that people's needs are put first in the changing labor economy."

Tuesday morning Kelton followed up with a note about Job Guarantee from the Sanders Institute, starting with a quote from Franklin Roosevelt: "“The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."
In 1933, President Roosevelt launched a series of public programs aimed at helping Americans recover from the Great Depression. The right to a job was his first policy item in his Second Bill of Rights.

Then in 1967, a group of core organizers of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom introduced the Freedom Budget for All Americans. This program was the blueprint for achieving Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s “I Have A Dream” speech, and also called for a national employment guarantee as a way to eradicate poverty within ten years.

In 2007, the Great Recession began and, despite the prevailing narrative of our economy being at full employment, we have still not recovered from it. There are still millions of people who are underemployed or discouraged from looking for work, and an estimated 43 million Americans still live in poverty.

It is time to take a fresh look at the policies and ideas that could help all of our people to recover, not just the very wealthy. It's time to seriously consider the country's need for a National Jobs Program.

I recently sat down with Dr. Jane O'Meara Sanders to talk about how a National Job Guarantee Program for the 21st century might work. Over the past year, I have been working with a team of economists to create a full report on the costs, benefits, and projections of such a program.

Our proposal, which will be released next month, will fulfill the goals outlined in FDR and MLK's visionary programs by employing an estimated 14-19 million people, and will almost completely pay for itself.

This is a bottom-up program, designed to shrink the existing levels of income and wealth inequality and guarantee a fundamental right to employment for anyone willing and able to work.

Government at its best can be used to increase the health of the individual and society itself. We can transform America with a federal job guarantee, caring for our people, our planet, and our communities.

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At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democratic Party leaders are already meeting to discuss ways to torpedo this campaign before it can gain any traction with the voters.

At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

Wow. If only.

At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The imaginary B/E CAMPAIGN may include job guarantee. But no lege will ever be passed. The Nazi party will start a civil war rather than allow the feds to use their taxes to pay a guaranteed salary to a brown person or, horrors, a woman.

I remember obamanation saying several times that he LOVED the idea of a PO for health care... just before and AFTER he'd vowed to the lobbies that there would never be a PO nor SP in ACA.

Your beloved democraps lie. Just take your BP meds and accept it. It's true. Bernie says shit he knows he can't do. Elizabeth too. Just because they make sense and would be wonderful -- the better they'd be for the commons, the less likely they'll ever get done.. or even tried.

And always remember who will be tyrannically ruling the congressional caucuses. And remember who they lay with for money. **NOW** try and believe this can be done.
If you still believe... I can't help you.

You people have to understand this... right?!? Tell me you understand this.


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