Back to Work: How Democrats can win over Americans left behind in the new economy
So how, exactly, would a federal jobs guarantee work? William Darity Jr., an economist at Duke University who has long advocated for guaranteed jobs, has proposed that employment come with a minimum salary of $23,000 a year—enough to push every American above the poverty line. The CAP proposal looks similar, calling for each job to pay at least $15 an hour plus payroll taxes, or $36,000 a year. Even if the guarantee focuses only on increasing employment for workers without a college degree, CAP says, the plan would create 4.4 million new jobs.
The federal government could allow cities and states to determine which jobs are most needed in their communities. Flint might prioritize rebuilding its water system, while Fort Lauderdale could deploy more home health care aides to assist the elderly. A federal jobs program could preserve public lands in Wyoming, install broadband in East Los Angeles, and build affordable housing in New Orleans. Schools could get teaching aides; poor neighborhoods could get grocery stores. The government could provide universal, affordable childcare so more parents could work. The New Deal even employed artists to write plays and paint public murals.
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