Whether America Can Afford A Job Guarantee Program Is Not Up For Debate

Tuesday, May 1, 2018
The Intercept

The job guarantee proposal from Mark Paul, Sandy Darity, and Darrick Hamilton for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated an annual program cost of $543 billion, enough to pop out the eyes of more cautious policymakers. This would be partially offset by reduced demand for benefit programs for the working poor, like food stamps, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, as well as the increased economic activity driving up tax revenues across the country. A report from economists at the Levy Institute put final costs at between $260 and $354 billion annually in the first five years and lower outlays after that.

Put aside the fact that America controls its own money supply and that modern monetary theory suggests that the country need not actually pay for all federal spending. The question here is whether the nation can possibly manage spending $354 billion a year toward the goal of ensuring that all Americans have a job if they want one. Here’s the often-overlooked data needed to answer that question.

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