Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Columbus Underground — Opinion — Provide Jobs for All and End Poverty

Let’s go back to the future and create livable wage jobs again for every man or woman who needs one. There is a new economics (Modern Monetary Theory aka MMT) that has designed Job Guarantee (JG) proposals that are carefully crafted to complement the need for real, full employment when the private and public sector​s​ fail to meet the needs of our workforce.
MMT economists understand that our capitalist economy must be organized for the benefit of everyone (i.e., Main Street communities, not just Wall Street investors). Without good jobs, our communities will continue to face all the costly and humiliating symptoms of poverty: food insecurity, unaffordable housing, drug abuse, domestic violence, the school-to-prison pipeline, etc.
A Job Guarantee program is both practical and affordable. MMT economists would tap the nonprofit sector to fund jobs that are needed now to meet the needs of our communities. The upfront costs would be high (some estimates are around three quarters of a trillion dollars), but it would save money in the long run by reducing the “safety net” costs and increasing local tax revenues. The Federal Reserve spent far more dollars bailing out the big banks after the Great Recession of 2007-08.
These would not be make-work jobs: skilled and unskilled labor is needed right now to insulate homes, plant trees, expand after school programs, offer rides to senior citizens, clean up our neighborhoods, etc. Ask any nonprofit agency if they are ready to hire. When true full employment returns, the private sector will again attract workers from the JG programs, many with new skills and work experience. JG programs will shrink as the private sector expands. More tax returns will strengthen local government services.
MMT economists have operated in the shadows of the dominant Chicago school of economics and the neoliberal policies of government austerity and income inequality driven by economic globalization, which benefits multinational corporations at the expense of Main Street local economies. We are fortunate in central Ohio to have a major think tank for MMT economists at Denison University in Granville. Anyone interested in JG programs and macroeconomic policies may visit the Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity.
Columbus Underground
Opinion: Provide Jobs for All and End Poverty