The Democrats’ New Agenda Is Everything That’s Wrong With the Party

Thursday, July 27, 2017
In These Times: With Liberty and Justice for All

This isn’t some pie-in-the-sky fantasy. A federal job guarantee has been part of the national conversation going back to at least 1934 when Louisiana’s populist governor Huey Long called for it in his “Share the Wealth” plan. Franklin Roosevelt included a federal job guarantee in his famous second bill of rights. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out in favor of such a plan. George McGovern ran on it in 1972, and some form of full employment was featured in the Democratic Party platform from 1944 up until 1992, the year Bill Clinton won the presidency.

And today, it’s not just socialists and far-left economists calling for a jobs guarantee: Even the Center for American progress is pushing the proposal. What’s more, it’s popular. And as scholars such as Darrick Hamilton, Mark Paul and William Darity Jr. have pointed out, such a plan could help stem the tide of income inequality, as well as the racial wealth gap, while increasing the power of workers to organize and win fairer wages and conditions on the job.

If the Democrats want to prove they’re fighting for working people and offering dynamic leadership on jobs and the economy, a jobs guarantee for everyone is a much clearer position to stake out than a promise of 10 million more over five years.

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