by Korky Day.
Revised 2011 Aug 10.
A short introduction
When I see my fellow poor people lining up to cash in huge bags of bottles and cans for a few cents each, I always think, “People with that much drive and initiative surely could work for pay, at least as a casual labourer, if anyone would hire them.” My proposed programme to hire almost all applicants is called Guaranteed Jobs (GJ).
Canada and most countries now have a political-economic system which is unlikely to hire any of the poorest people--ever, even during so-called labour shortages. We never have better than about 5% unemployment officially. Unofficially, it’s likely closer to 20%, maybe 4 million in Canada. Of that 20%, the people suffering the most will hardly notice the ups and downs of the economy because most of them are permanently exiled from wage labour.
Work should not be required; that’s slavery. Work should not be a privilege; that’s the present fatal failed system in Canada and almost all countries. Rather, the third way is to make work a right, as proposed in 1944 by USA President Franklin Roosevelt just before he died.
Have jobs always been scarce? No, it’s a recent development of the human race. Is that how it always will be? Only as long as we allow it.
A very few politically and economically powerful people think that they benefit by forcing idleness. However, my Guaranteed Jobs proposal will end up helping everyone: the poor, directly; and the rich, indirectly. The plan requires federal funding because the localities which need it most can afford it least.
India now has a government programme of guaranteeing some citizens the right of 100 hours a year of paid work. In the old Soviet bloc, no one was involuntarily without paid work other than prisoners and dissidents. The USSR accomplished full employment for about seven decades. Yet now, neither the former Soviet bloc nor the wealthiest countries in the world guarantee anyone any work.
Why not? Is it considered too socialistic, or is it that such a system would be too expensive? In truth, it would be neither.
Canadians are willing to pay some "welfare", even though the recipients don't work for the money, so surely they also would favour adding the less generous option of letting everyone work who wanted to. That should appeal to almost everyone, even those who resent government give-aways.
Neither would a Guaranteed Jobs scheme be too expensive, according to my research. In fact, the whole economy would be buoyed and stabilized by Guaranteed Jobs, benefiting everyone. Instead of bailing out just the fat cats (as government does), bailing out the poor and jobless would inject massive amounts of money directly into the businesses serving those poor. That includes grocers and apartment owners, many of whom are rich. That would boost the rental housing industry and create housing for the homeless. That would be much faster than the occasional direct government funding of mere dozens of new housing units.
The cost of Guaranteed Jobs would more than pay for itself. We can add up the huge savings in many sectors, both public and private, such as in health care and in the costs of family instability.
Consider one of those areas of savings: crime. If everyone can work for pay anytime they want, many fewer would turn to crime for money or to rioting in anger. So the whole society would save on the tremendous governmental and private costs of theft, alcoholism, drug trafficking, vandalism, criminal gangs, prostitution, and so on. For instance, addicts would have an incentive to reduce their intoxication so that they could work.
Canadians feel very guilty and distraught seeing people begging and freezing on the streets. We want to do something, but are afraid of making matters worse by giving money to beggars.
Some generous people will buy a local "street" paper or ladle out soup for a charity, which help. However, what about the other millions of unemployed? Most poor people would rather work, even for minimum wage and part time, than get welfare only. The private sector, though, has no financial incentive for hiring the least "employable". They never want to hire those who they think are the worst workers.
But those people could work at jobs such as picking weeds instead of the labour-saving practice of poisoning weeds on park lawns. Mothers could work part-time walking groups of neighbourhood children to and from school (which saves a lot of fuel, too). Such job options would reduce the severe financial penalties for breastfeeding mothers. Some people, even if disabled, could be transit guides, riding each bus and subway car. They would help passengers and report problems.
The plan also guarantees no reductions in the present number of regular government jobs. I have a long list of jobs that could be offered with this plan.
Contact the author for more about Guaranteed Jobs.
(c) 2010 and 2011 by Korky Day,
korkyday [at] yahoo [dot] com .
Revised from the article in Megaphone (2010 December 31, page 16; Vancouver, BC, Canada) and
Victoria Street Newz
(2011 February, page 1; Victoria, BC).
End of article about Guaranteed Jobs.