(i) A Job Guarantee Would Cost Surprisingly Little Money
Professor L. Randall Wray discussing the (monetary) costs of a Job Guarantee program. The conservative estimates are 1-2% of GDP (about $150 Billion) but there are other estimates that suggest it could be much less, possibly even breaking even, when you consider the amount of other government spending that might decrease (on social programs) and tax revenues that might increase from more economic activity.
(Amerikar bilioi bat = mila europar milioi)
This is far, far less than we spent to bail out the banks in 2008.
(ii) Where Would The Money For A Job Guarantee Come From?
Professor L. Randall Wray discussing how to fund a Job Guarantee proposal. Because the federal government is the issuer of the currency, it is actually not constrained in its spending to how much income it receives. There’s no such thing as being “unable to afford” a program in monetary terms, because the government can’t run out of dollars, and in fact always spends by creating new money (and taxes and “borrows” by destroying that money). We saw this when the government bailed out the banks in 2008, and “created” far, far more money than the entire federal budget (and note that there was zero inflation of the price of goods and services). Although people fear inflation whenever the talk of creating money comes up, in fact a Job Guarantee policy is not only NOT inflationary, it actually would reduce inflation. (See more on that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiahT…). But furthermore, the claim that Wray and Modern Money Theory are making is that in fact the government ALWAYS spends by creating money, not just sometimes. A Job Guarantee would just be a normal addition to spending, like any other.
(iii) Even Conservatives Should Support A Job Guarantee
Warren Mosler, L. Randall Wray, Marshall Auerback, and Bill Mitchell discussing the Job Guarantee policy from a right wing perspective.
(iv) The Job Guarantee: What About Automation?
Professor L. Randall Wray, on with Steve Grumbine at Real Progressives, discussing automation and the Job Guarantee. One of the arguments sometimes made against the Job Guarantee is that, “well we don’t need jobs. Automation is coming and it will destroy all jobs. Trying to give people jobs is clinging to the past.”
It’s true that automation destroys jobs. But this should be a good thing! If automation eliminates boring and grueling jobs, then this frees up people to be able to do things that are more fulfilling and creative.
“But this time is different,” they say, “the automation will destroy all jobs, even creative ones.”
Firstly, just look outside your door: how much stuff needs doing that’s not being done? Sure, we can imagine robots making human labor unnecessary on a wide range of tasks, but the idea that it will become impossible for any person to meaningfully contribute to society through effort is ludicrous. There has always been more work to be done than people available to do it, and there always will be, because every time we become more technologically sophisticated, our standards and expectations about what quality of life should be like go up proportionately too.
What’s more, the problem with automation is that it eliminates **paid** work, not the possibility of working. This might be an imperative for the private sector, to maximize profits, but it’s not for society as a whole. There are many reasons why society might want humans to do jobs that robots could do, even if the robots could do it more profitably: perhaps consumers prefer interacting with a human (like doctors); there are some jobs that people enjoy doing and would rather do themselves than delegate to robots (like playing music, or teaching). The government, through its power to issue currency, can enable this.
Bottom-line: criticisms about automation generally mistake what the purpose of an “economy” is for: the economy exists to serve people, not the other way around. If something happening in the economy is not making life better for people, then we don’t have to do it.
(v) A Job Guarantee Creates Jobs Where People Are
Professor L. Randall Wray, on with Steve Grumbine at Real Progressives, discussing the spatial aspect of the Job Guarantee. The purpose of the JG is to create opportunities for people to earn an income improving their local community, and so the JG is meant to create jobs wherever people already are, rather than forcing them to move to cities or the latest boom-town.