As I have stated several times, the best possible solution to employment problems, including the upcoming automation crisis, is a federally-guaranteed employment program. It’s not a simplistic utopian idea–the details of course would all have to be worked out and would be complex in reality–but there is plenty of history of full employment ideas to work from and all sorts of ways in which such a policy can be implemented. I find a federal job guarantee far more convincing than more utopian Universal Basic Income ideas, which are totally disconnected from the centrality of work to American culture, gendered norms, the history of the welfare state, etc. Moreover, a guaranteed job is in fact a version of UBI that could actually gain political support outside of techbros, libertarians, some leftists, and people hate their jobs. That’s why I think we need to embrace the early drafts of the 1978 Humphrey-Hawkins as a useful model.
While the details won’t be known until Sean McElwee publishes his piece tomorrow, this is incredibly promising:
News: @SenGillibrand tells me she supports a job guarantee. “Guaranteed jobs programs, creating floors for wages and benefits, and expanding the right to collectively bargain are exactly the type of roles government must take to shift power back to workers and our communities."
— abolish ice. send homan to the hague. (@SeanMcElwee) March 19, 2018
Whatever this looks like, it’s going to be a huge advance. It’s a demonstration of how left organizing over concrete policy matters can move senators to supporting them, which is also why I want to reiterate the need for a Corporate Accountability Act for international labor and environmental problems that would go far to stop the global exploitation of workers. Putting these ideas in front of our politicians is absolutely critical to moving the ball forward on both social and economic justice issues.