Full Employment

 

FULL EMPLOYMENT
Jobs for All at Living Wages
A guaranteed job at a living wage for every adult willing and able to work.
Private jobs are good, but public jobs are necessary for full employment.
The work to be done includes renewable energy, mass transit, public housing, water and sewage infrastructure, child care, public education, health care, elder care, parks, and youth programs.
A Good Job is the Key to the American Dream
We say we believe in the Work Ethic. We say we believe that people who work ought to be able to realize the American Dream of providing a decent, self-sufficient standard of living for themselves and their dependents.
The right to a job at a living wage ought to be a personal, enforceable right. It ought to be the obligation of government to provide a public job doing socially useful work at decent pay when a private job is not available.
The Crisis of Unemployment and Underemployment
But government today fails to provide everyone the opportunity to work at living wages. The majority of working people do not have job security. A study of unemployment and underemployment by income deciles in the fourth quarter of 2009, found the following:
For the working poor (the bottom 40 percent of the income spectrum, who fall below a self-sufficiency standard of poverty):
Unemployment ranged from 30 percent in the poorest decile to 12 percent in the fourth poorest decile.
The underemployment rate, which counts people involuntarily working part-time and those who are ready to work but have given up looking, ranged from 50 percent in the poorest decile to 30 percent in the fourth poorest decile.
For the struggling class of middle-income workers (the 40th to 90th income percentiles where households are indebted on average about twice their annual income):
Unemployment ranged from 9 percent in the 5th decile to 4 percent in the 9th decile.
Underemployment ranged from 17 percent in the 5th decile to 8 percent in the 9th decile.
For the affluent classes of top salaried professionals and owners of substantial income-generating assets (the top 10 percent):
The unemployment rate was 3 percent.
The underemployment rate was 6 percent.
What these numbers show is that unemployment and underemployment are devastating the lower-income working class and undermining the solvency of the middle-income working class.
What is worse, economists tell us that due to structural changes in the larger economy, high levels of unemployment will be the new normal for years to come.
Public Investment to Create Jobs
The worst thing to do is to cut state spending, cut taxes for the rich, and provide corporate welfare tax incentives to businesses. We've done that for the last 35 years in New York and across the United States, but instead of taking their extra money and investing in productive enterprises here, the corporations and wealthy investors used some of the money to move manufacturing abroad and the rest to speculate in the financial markets. So financial profits rose from 10 to 20 percent of corporate profits until the late 1980s to 30 to over 40 percent in the subsequent years. The extra money given the corporations and the super-rich to invest never trickled down to the rest of us in the form of good jobs at living wages.
In the last two years, the two major parties have joined forces to soak the working class taxpayers to the tune of trillions of dollars to bail out the big banks and insurance companies when their financial bubbles burst. Meanwhile, the enormous productive capacity of mature capitalism leaves an industrial base operating at less than 60 percent of capacity. The factories can produce more than the workers can buy back. It will be many years before investors begin to invest in new productive facilities if left investment decision are left to market forces alone.
But we need a new productive system that is sustainable, because we face an environmental as well as an economic crisis. To deal with global warming, ocean acidification, resource depletion, toxic pollution, and ecosystem destruction, we need to rebuild our productive systems around sustainable principles. That means retrofitting all of our buildings for energy efficiency, building new systems of renewable energy and mass transit, and new systems of clean manufacturing and sustainable organic agriculture.
We know how to do this. We've done it before. We redirected production for the World War II mobilization and ended the Great Depression. We created millions of jobs in direct government employment in public works and services during the Great Depression through the Works Progress Administration.
These are the kinds of things we must do now in New York to create jobs for all, putting people to back to work addressing the environmental and economic crises. New York can do it both by funding contractors to meet these needs and hiring workers directly to provide public works and services.
Private Jobs: A State Bank to Finance a Sustainable Green Economy
To create more private jobs quickly, state government  increase public spending to hire private contractors to meet public needs for sustainable green infrastructure, mass transit, water and sewer systems, renewable energy, and green building retrofits.
State government should also take a direct, active role in the financial system. Private investment on its own will not stimulate an economic recovery. Excess capacity and the incentives structured into the private financial system encourage short-term speculation in financial assets (claims on income from existing productive activity) over long-term investment in new production in the real economy of labor and production.
The only way now to get the private economy moving again is to democratize the allocation of investment. New York should create a state-owned bank to target investment into the new technologies and businesses of a sustainable green economy. Public investment is the fastest way to jump-start private job creation.
The state bank would be capitalized by the deposits of state tax revenues, a portion of state pension funds, and private individuals, businesses, and pension funds that want to invest in the future of New York. This capital would then be invested in productive ventures in New York State that benefit the people. The state bank will keep the interest collected for the benefit of the people, instead of seeing that interest further enrich the same giant Wall Street banks that have preyed upon workers, homeowners, and taxpayers. The state bank would partner with local community banks and credit unions in financing new business activity. It would also refinance the mortgages of homes facing foreclosure on a reduced-principle, fixed-rate, long-term affordable basis. It should also have a technical assistance arm to develop worker and consumer cooperatives. Cooperatives are how we can own our own jobs because they locally owned, democratically controlled, and have no incentives to move jobs and capital out of state.
Public Jobs: State Funding of Community-Sponsored Jobs in Public Works and Services
Direct government employment should take up the slack in the private sector. The state should fund planning by county and metropolitan agencies to utilize unused labor to meet unmet community needs as determined by those local communities. Then, if a person cannot find a job in the private sector, he or she should be able to go into the local Employment Office  not the Unemployment Office  and say, I want my job. The state would fund these jobs through progressive taxes. Local communities, who know their own needs, would define the jobs.
This kind of public jobs program could pay for itself through the savings from expenditures on public assistance programs, proceeds from the sale of some goods and services it produces, and the stimulation of the economy from putting people back to work and money to spend in their pockets.

Jobs for All at Living Wages


  • A guaranteed job at a living wage for every adult willing and able to work.
  • Private jobs are good, but public jobs are necessary for full employment.
  • The work to be done includes renewable energy, mass transit, public housing, water and sewage infrastructure, child care, public education, health care, elder care, parks, and youth programs.

 

A Good Job is the Key to the American Dream


We say we believe in the Work Ethic. We say we believe that people who work ought to be able to realize the American Dream of providing a decent, self-sufficient standard of living for themselves and their dependents.


The right to a job at a living wage ought to be a personal, enforceable right. It ought to be the obligation of government to provide a public job doing socially useful work at decent pay when a private job is not available.


The Crisis of Unemployment and Underemployment


But government today fails to provide everyone the opportunity to work at living wages. The majority of working people do not have job security. A study of unemployment and underemployment by income deciles in the fourth quarter of 2009, found the following:


For the working poor (the bottom 40 percent of the income spectrum, who fall below a self-sufficiency standard of poverty): 

  • Unemployment ranged from 30 percent in the poorest decile to 12 percent in the fourth poorest decile. 
  • The underemployment rate, which counts people involuntarily working part-time and those who are ready to work but have given up looking, ranged from 50 percent in the poorest decile to 30 percent in the fourth poorest decile.


For the struggling class of middle-income workers (the 40th to 90th income percentiles where households are indebted on average about twice their annual income):


  • Unemployment ranged from 9 percent in the 5th decile to 4 percent in the 9th decile.
  • Underemployment ranged from 17 percent in the 5th decile to 8 percent in the 9th decile.


For the affluent classes of top salaried professionals and owners of substantial income-generating assets (the top 10 percent): 


  • The unemployment rate was 3 percent. 
  • The underemployment rate was 6 percent.


What these numbers show is that unemployment and underemployment are devastating the lower-income working class and undermining the solvency of the middle-income working class. 


What is worse, economists tell us that due to structural changes in the larger economy, high levels of unemployment will be the new normal for years to come.

 

Public Investment to Create Jobs


The worst thing to do is to cut state spending, cut taxes for the rich, and provide corporate welfare tax incentives to businesses. We've done that for the last 35 years in New York and across the United States, but instead of taking their extra money and investing in productive enterprises here, the corporations and wealthy investors used some of the money to move manufacturing abroad and the rest to speculate in the financial markets. So financial profits rose from 10 to 20 percent of corporate profits until the late 1980s to 30 to over 40 percent in the subsequent years. The extra money given the corporations and the super-rich to invest never trickled down to the rest of us in the form of good jobs at living wages.


In the last two years, the two major parties have joined forces to soak the working class taxpayers to the tune of trillions of dollars to bail out the big banks and insurance companies when their financial bubbles burst. Meanwhile, the enormous productive capacity of mature capitalism leaves an industrial base operating at less than 60 percent of capacity. The factories can produce more than the workers can buy back. It will be many years before investors begin to invest in new productive facilities if left investment decision are left to market forces alone.


But we need a new productive system that is sustainable, because we face an environmental as well as an economic crisis. To deal with global warming, ocean acidification, resource depletion, toxic pollution, and ecosystem destruction, we need to rebuild our productive systems around sustainable principles. That means retrofitting all of our buildings for energy efficiency, building new systems of renewable energy and mass transit, and new systems of clean manufacturing and sustainable organic agriculture.


We know how to do this. We've done it before. We redirected production for the World War II mobilization and ended the Great Depression. We created millions of jobs in direct government employment in public works and services during the Great Depression through the Works Progress Administration.


These are the kinds of things we must do now in New York to create jobs for all, putting people to back to work addressing the environmental and economic crises. New York can do it both by funding contractors to meet these needs and hiring workers directly to provide public works and services. 


Private Jobs: A State Bank to Finance a Sustainable Green Economy


To create more private jobs quickly, state government  increase public spending to hire private contractors to meet public needs for sustainable green infrastructure, mass transit, water and sewer systems, renewable energy, and green building retrofits.


State government should also take a direct, active role in the financial system. Private investment on its own will not stimulate an economic recovery. Excess capacity and the incentives structured into the private financial system encourage short-term speculation in financial assets (claims on income from existing productive activity) over long-term investment in new production in the real economy of labor and production.


The only way now to get the private economy moving again is to democratize the allocation of investment. New York should create a state-owned bank to target investment into the new technologies and businesses of a sustainable green economy. Public investment is the fastest way to jump-start private job creation.


The state bank would be capitalized by the deposits of state tax revenues, a portion of state pension funds, and private individuals, businesses, and pension funds that want to invest in the future of New York. This capital would then be invested in productive ventures in New York State that benefit the people. The state bank will keep the interest collected for the benefit of the people, instead of seeing that interest further enrich the same giant Wall Street banks that have preyed upon workers, homeowners, and taxpayers. The state bank would partner with local community banks and credit unions in financing new business activity. It would also refinance the mortgages of homes facing foreclosure on a reduced-principle, fixed-rate, long-term affordable basis. It should also have a technical assistance arm to develop worker and consumer cooperatives. Cooperatives are how we can own our own jobs because they locally owned, democratically controlled, and have no incentives to move jobs and capital out of state. 


Public Jobs: State Funding of Community-Sponsored Jobs in Public Works and Services


Direct government employment should take up the slack in the private sector. The state should fund planning by county and metropolitan agencies to utilize unused labor to meet unmet community needs as determined by those local communities. Then, if a person cannot find a job in the private sector, he or she should be able to go into the local Employment Office  not the Unemployment Office  and say, I want my job. The state would fund these jobs through progressive taxes. Local communities, who know their own needs, would define the jobs.


This kind of public jobs program could pay for itself through the savings from expenditures on public assistance programs, proceeds from the sale of some goods and services it produces, and the stimulation of the economy from putting people back to work and money to spend in their pockets.

 

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