Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Larry Summers — A jobs guarantee – progressives’ latest big idea

Summers comes out for a job guarantee and offers some qualifying comments. Overall positive.

Maybe not an exactly a VSP endorsement of MMT or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but close enough to be considered a big win for the up-and-comers.

It is a wake-up call to establishment Democratic policymakers as well as encouraging progressives.

Larry Summers
A jobs guarantee — progressives’ latest big idea
Lawrence H. Summers | Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus at Harvard University, 71st Secretary of the Treasury for President Clinton, and the Director of the National Economic Council for President Obama


Matt Franko said...

Right now there are more job openings than unemployed people... first time in history of the country...

Matt Franko said...

What they are saying is “we don’t need to create more infrastructure we need to create more genders....”

Tom Hickey said...

As Neil Wilson has pointed out many times, the issue is not numbers of unemployed versus job offers, but matching people and jobs. They assumption that labor is fungible is wrong, and there are "transaction costs" involved that are not only economic but intersect with non-economic factors as well.

Again, it's the nuance.

Ralph Musgrave said...

We’ve just had the second JG type scheme in my neighbourhood in within the last year. The first one tried to fill potholes in a hardcore road. That was a bit of a shambles. The potholes re-appeared in about two months. For more on that (including pictures) see:

Then a week ago, they tried re-surfacing a footpath, but left lots of chuncks of stone etc about 3” diameter on the surface: not much use for old people to walk on.

This was not strictly JG: it was a scheme we have in the UK for getting those convicted of petty offences to “repay society” for their mis –deeds. In practice it ends up much like JG: one responsible adult trying to get half a dozen unskilled youths to do something useful. The results are normally not too brilliant.

This is exactly what economic theory predicts: i.e. the normal mix of skilled and unskilled labour and capital equipment produces results. In contrast, a high concentration of unskilled labour produces poor results.

Tom Hickey said...

Ralph, whoever designed and implemented that scheme was patently incompetent.

The obvious way to proceed is to with a step by step operational plan, training, and on the job supervision. That is what a contracting company would do.

It should have been obvious that sending a bunch of unqualified people out to a job site with some tools and material was not likely to be successful.

I would blame in on the organizers rather than the workers.

BTW, this is how prison labor has been used in the US from the time of the old chain gangs. It's worked fine.