Bernie Sanders has a plan to solve America's wage stagnation and its long-neglected infrastructure: tax the super-rich and massively profitable corporations, then use the money to fix the multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure overhand left behind by decades of neglect, and hire Americans at $15/hour, plus full healthcare, to do the work.
Business leaders have protested that this will make it hard for them to retain employees who are paid below-living wages and who don't get health care. They've threatened to fire all their low-waged employees and replace them with robots.
Sanders hasn't responded, but the solution is obvious: tax the robot-owners and use the money to hire their former workers to fix our nation's crumbling roads, dams, waterworks, power-lines, schools, and other public infrastructure.
Job guarantee advocates say their plan would drive up wages by significantly increasing competition for workers, ensuring that corporations have to offer more generous salaries and benefits if they want to keep their employees from working for the government. Supporters say it also would reduce racial inequality, because black workers face unemployment at about twice the rates of white workers, as well as gender inequality, because many iterations of the plan call for the expansion of federal child-care work.
"The goal is to eliminate working poverty and involuntary unemployment altogether," said Darrick Hamilton, an economist at the New School who has advocated for a jobs guarantee program along with Stony Brook University's Stephanie Kelton and a group of left-leaning economists at the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College. "This is an opportunity for something transformative, beyond the tinkering we've been doing for the last 40 years, where all the productivity gains have gone to the elite of society."
Others, including some Democrats, are not convinced. The idea is also dead on arrival with Republicans in control of Congress, and conservatives have trashed the idea of a jobs guarantee as impractical, impossibly expensive and dangerous to the private sector.
"It completely undercuts a lot of industries and companies," said Brian Riedl, of the conservative-leaning Manhattan Institute, a think tank. "There will be pressure to introduce a higher wage or certain benefits that the private sector doesn't offer."
Bernie Sanders to announce plan to guarantee every American a job [Jeff Stein/Washington Post]
(via Naked Capitalism)