Guaranteed government paid jobs, oh my‼️

I have been reading about various proposals to provide guaranteed government jobs and trying to understand the concept, trying to see how it would work and thinking about the consequences.

I don’t think I have ever heard any idea that better displays the convoluted, naive, short-sighted thinking of the American left.

But you see it’s not about jobs at all. What we are seeing is a backdoor way to increase the minimum wage and move closer to Medicare-for-all … without regard to the consequences.

When you lower your standards to fit jobs to people instead of people to jobs because the people are not qualified, the outcome will not be good.

When you pay working couple a wage that is greater than the US current household income, you distort the economy, raise prices for everything and then you have a new definition of “livable wage.” Nothing will stay static.

Let’s look at what they say here

🤔 It would benefit people marginalized from the workforce. That means poorly educated, marginally qualified and perhaps a dash of poorly motivated to find any of the current available jobs.

🤔 You take the worker the way they are and you fit the job to the worker. You don’t have to meet certain requirements. Okay, so no qualifications needed to do a job the “community wants and needs.” Let’s jump to the example jobs

🤔 “jobs in infrastructure, teaching, caring for the young and elderly, environmental restoration or green energy, to name a few.” Is it only me that sees a major mismatch here; not a mismatch an absurd naivety. Do you want your teaching jobs, child and elder care jobs tailored to fit a marginalized, unqualified worker? On the other hand, according to Sen Sanders they are doing productive, needed jobs, they are “serving their communities and their country.”

🤔 Then think of the impact on current workers and their employers and the prices for goods and services across the board. You better think about it, no one else appears to be doing so.

🤔 Then we learn “The government will pay for it.” Is there even any need to comment on such a statement?

🤔 But not to worry, more naive, pie in the sky thinking will take care of costs. Such a program will pay for itself through “reduction in crime, better health, better social and economic stability and reductions in Social Security spending.”

I have other questions. Where does it end? Do people keep these jobs for life? Is there a limit to the number of made up jobs? What size bureaucracy does it take to manage such a program?

I won’t even bother raising the matter of job performance, or evaluations. If your job is guaranteed, who cares?

And there is one critical point.  The Levy report cited below repeatedly calls $15.00 an hour plus Medicare and other benefits a living wage, and assumes the program will lift millions out of poverty. But won’t the broad impact on the economy and existing jobs simply raise the standards for poverty and soon make $15.00 an hour not a living wage? How will the $15.00 be adjusted or will people be content to remain federal employees at the lowest level? The report also calls for the $15.00 to be uniform across the Country? How is that practical in lower cost areas?

Wouldn’t a joint public/private job training, skills training, apprenticeship program provide more lasting benefits sustainable by individuals and provide unlimited growth opportunities? Oh, and maybe we ensure everyone is qualified to graduate high school.

The premise is that everyone should be entitled to a good job, one that pays at least $15 an hour and comes with benefits such as health care, family leave policies and child care. (The Sanders version calls for retirement and health benefits on par with other federal employees).

It’s not exclusively tailored to address a certain section of the population ― “it’s the whole gamut of potential people who come through the door,” Kelton says ― but one benefit would be the chance to address people marginalized from the workforce, who are disproportionately women and people of color.

“You take the worker the way they are and you fit the job to the worker.” “It’s pretty simple at its core level,” Kelton said. “You don’t have to prove anything, you don’t have to meet certain requirements. It’s just an open-ended offer of employment for anyone seeking work, and that’s the end of it.” Professor Stephanie Kelton

The wage and benefits package would set a minimum standard for private businesses, supporters say, as they would have to match the government offer. But the policy would not compete with the private sector beyond setting that minimum floor, suggests Kelton, who says that the program would be elastic depending on the state of the economy ― growing in downturns and shrinking during recoveries.

It would be for the community to determine the type of jobs they want and need. These could be jobs in infrastructure, teaching, caring for the young and elderly, environmental restoration or green energy, to name a few.

In Sanders’ draft proposal for a jobs guarantee, he writes: “People working under the federal job guarantee will be serving their communities and their country, uniting us together in a common purpose, rebuilding the social fabric of our nation.”

“It would be funded the way everything else is funded,” Kelton said. “The government will pay for it.” The Levy report doesn’t include new taxes to fund the project, but analyzes what would happen to the economy if the government simply cut a check for the program. “What the models show is that you can do this without creating an inflation problem,” Kelton said, “and therefore why would you pay for it with tax increases of one kind or another?”

The program could even “pay for itself,” the Levy report says, taking into account reduction in crime, better health, better social and economic stability and reductions in Social Security spending.

Source: HuffPost

Because there are various schemes, the annual cost runs from $158 billion to over $1 trillion. But the unknown implications for the economy, the existing workforce and the cost of goods and services is most concerning.


  1. Well, hard to give this much credence, since the study starts with an oxymoron. “… there
    are never enough jobs available for all who want to work. … What if we sought to eliminate involuntary unemployment …” Today, it is my understanding that there are more jobs to be filled than available workers. To quote CNBC: “… There are 6.7 million job openings and just 6.4 million available workers to fill them, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. … April marked the second month in a row that there were more vacancies than available hires, a phenomenon that had not happened before 2018. …”

    So, sure, there may be a mismatch between available jobs and the skills required with the workers who are willing to work. But, the report proposes “… 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. …”

    OK, what I think I am hearing is that today, we identify work that needs done that is not being addressed through private investment/business, investments in infrastructure and other programs where apparently the return does not justify the investment. Then, when the National Bureau of Economic Research declares that we are in a recession, Congress will refuse to increase social spending on unemployment, welfare, Medicaid, and other government programs, and that workers who lose employment must now accept those government positions.

    OK. Let’s guess about what the federal government interventions would be in the last five recessions – which all occurred during the last forty years. The duration was 6, 16, 8, 8, and 18 months (Great Recession). So, we have the trigger. The question is what level of employment to maintain, whether employment is voluntary or some form of mandatory, indentured servitude, and when to end the temporary interdiction.

    Six months is the shortest period for a recession, so, these employment policies should not be implemented until the end of the third consecutive calendar quarter of recession, and they should remain in place no less than three calendar quarters once implemented. So, we can ignore three of the five recessions (January 1980 – July 1980, July 1990 and March 1991, March 2001 – November 2001).

    That leaves two recessions, July 1981 – November 1982 (16 months), and December 2007 – June 2009 (18 months).

    For the July 1981 – November 1982 recession, according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, total employment in 1981 was 100,397,000 declining to 99,526,000 in 1982, and recovering to 100,834,000 in 1983, 105,005,000 in 1984. This is to be a “gap filling” jobs program – only in place until “private sector employment recovers”. So, the period of interdiction (offer of government jobs while holding constant the cost to the federal government of social programs throughout the recession and recovery period) would start no earlier than April 1982 and gradually decline starting at the end of the fourth quarter 1982, ending no later than month-end, September 1984.

    The Great Recession would be a more significant challenge. It started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. However, total employment in 2007 was 146,047,000 declining to 145,362,000 in 2008, 139,877,000 in 2009, 139,064,000 in 2010, 139,0869,000 in 2011, 142,469,000 in 2012, 143,929,000 in 2013, 146,305,000 in 2014. So, the interdiction should start no later than July 2008, and should continue through March 2015, gradually declining starting July 2014, eliminated by month-end March 2015.

    Of course, by eliminating unemployment, welfare, etc. for those who lost employment, there would be much more incentive for workers to accept a private sector position where the alternative is a minimum wage, federal government position. This idiocy was previously rejected when it came to unemployment benefits. Say you were a construction worker. Your unemployment benefits would not end if you were offered but rejected a position flipping burgers at the McDonalds grill. Of course, that would have to change since there would be no entitlement to unemployment – as there is a government job guarantee.

    OK, so we have shifted the expense we might have incurred from increased welfare and other social spending during recessions (crime prevention, justice, incarceration, etc.) to now be spent on this jobs interdiction. That raises the last issue – Must a recently unemployed worker accept the job offered – or receive no unemployment, welfare, disability or other benefits from the federal government? How do you define “willing”? And, if someone is able but not “willing”, however that is defined, do we discontinue all social spending for those individuals during the recession and recovery period – why would we treat the recently unemployed worse than the long term unemployed?

    This is a proposal that is beyond foolish.


  2. I thought there already was a guaranteed income program called welfare and nobody likes that program. Welfare doesn’t pay enough, people don’t get off of it, requires job training to keep it, taxpayers don’t want to fund it.

    But I do see a money making opportunity here. I’ll get my wife to start a minority business offering the government a place to send all these unqualify workers that the government is paying for a “job”. Then the minority company can bid on contracts such as office cleaning and displace workers who go the job on their own. She will win the bid since the money to pay the workers not coming out of her pocket. She could charge the government a “management fee” and the business the cleaning fee. The government can then raise income taxes to pay for it all. The original employee goes on unemployment until his benefits run out and gets a guarantee government job. It is a lose-lose-lose.

    Even during the draft and less so now, a military job is not guaranteed and they even try to find jobs to do for even the worse soldier. Why would anyone think this is a good idea?


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