Friday, October 13, 2017

[NJFAC] Oct 27-28: NEW “NEW DEAL” FOR NYC & THE USA; We Can Guarantee Jobs and Build

 A NEW "NEW DEAL" FOR NYC & THE USA/WE CAN GUARANTEE JOBS AND BUILD GREAT THINGS AGAIN
       
Upcoming Event
The New New Deal
October 27–28, 2017
The New Deal's Forgotten Legacy: Then and Now
The New School and Columbia Law School
New York, N.Y.


Sponsored by Columbia University Seminars, National Jobs for All Coalition, New School for Social Research, with support from the Levy Institute

New "New Deal" for NYC & the USA
The New School, Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, Room I-202, Manhattan
October 27, 5:00–8:00 pm

Strategizing for a New "New Deal" for NYC & the USA
Columbia Law School  
October 28, 10:00 am–4:00 pm

For information, reservations, or to RSVP, please visit NJFAC.eventbrite.comwww.NJFAC.org
Download Event Poster and Program 
To register through eventbrite, please go to https://njfac.org/index.php/2017/07/29/strategizing-new-new-deal-nyc/

The publication in Spring 2017 of a Map and Guide to New Deal Public Works and Art: New York City by Living New Deal, is an occasion to Celebrate the "dual legacy" of the New Deal—employment of millions of jobless workers whose work vastly expanded the nation's physical, environmental, and cultural resources. It is also an opportunity to Advocate a Job Guarantee implemented through an updated model of the New Deal Job Creation programs. Clearly, the nation, with its infrastructure given a grade of D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers, deficient human services, out-of-reach affordable housing, and a looming environmental crisis could use the work of the millions of men and women, especially minorities in lower-income neighborhoods, who are jobless and often not counted.
 
This Public Meeting is the culmination of a series of events to Celebrate and Advocate. The planning group has worked with the staff of the NYC Public Advocateon a Job Guarantee for this City. NYC Public Advocate Letitia James will speak at the meeting of her plans to introduce Job Guarantee legislation. Gray Brechin, founder of Living New Deal (Dept. of Geography, University of California, Berkeley) will present highlights from the NYC Guide and Guide showing how many of the landmarks and cultural treasures that we associate with New York City are New Deal legacies.  A panel of outstanding economists will discuss current conceptions of full employment or job guarantees….
 
In the currrent issue of Dollars & Sense (p. 6), NJFAC Chair Trudy Goldberg has an article on the Living New Deal and the need for a New, New Deal based on an upgraded model of the job creation programs.   http://dollarsandsense.org/d&;s-sept-oct17-full-color-FINAL--high-res.pdf 

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June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition
http://www.njfac.org

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

[NJFAC] "Poverty Down, Jobs Up: It's All Good," by Frank Stricker

Poverty Down, Jobs Up, Everyone Earning More: What's Not to Like?  A Father and Son Discuss the News                                       by Frank Stricker                     
The Son, a college student home for the weekend:  We always have different viewpoints. You are never happy, you're always criticizing President Trump who's bringing more jobs to America. You criticized Obama a lot and you said you liked him. What's the deal? Never happy, are you, Dad.
The Father, a college professor: I am happy you are getting your own ideas about the economy, even if everyone of them is wrong.  But hey, I was a conservative for a couple of years in college. I'm hoping it's just a phase.
Son: I read the paper. I keep track of the unemployment report and saw the latest poverty report. Unemployment is so low that we are really at full employment.  A professor at UC Riverside's Business School said that we have 5.1% unemployment in California and that's full employment. People do need a little time to find a job. That's the 5%. Everyone is making more money. The poverty rate is falling and has fallen for several years. What's your problem?
Father: You've got a point. I am trying to be supportive. But we had 40,000,000 poor people last year and the poverty rates for black people and Hispanics were 22% and 19%. Sounds bad. And here are two more depressing facts. We have a fair number of programs that help poor people, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, but they have not been enough to reduce the overall rate of poverty. The economy stinks for many people. That's one eason we have not been able to get the poverty rate under 11%. We came closest in the 1970s and the late 90s.  
 Son: Hold on. We studied some of this in one of my economics classes. America has some of the richest poor people in the world. Our teacher told us that a guy named Rector discovered that poor people have cars and even air conditioners. How poor is that?
Dad: Is having an air conditioner an indicator that living in poverty is pretty soft? It's almost a necessity if you live in Indio, California where the temps hit 115 in the summer. Or if you live in hot and muggy southern states. It's like needing heat in the winter. One more thing: the poverty line for a family of 4 was about $25,000 a year. So a family that has $26,000 of annual income is not poor, according to our government.  Really? Think about living in a big city, trying to find a decent apartment for four people. You could easily pay $1500 a month. That's $18,000 a year. There goes your income. Not much left for food, transportation, clothing, and other stuff. You're ok with skimping on those things? We should raise our poverty lines by 50% right away. The lines have not been lifted in fifty years, except for inflation. So while the average American, and rich people especially, have seen their incomes rise, poor people are relatively poorer--much farther from the middle.
Son: Fine, people are poor. They need to go to college, work harder, get better jobs. There are a lot of jobs out there. Employers are having trouble finding workers.  I'll bet you don't believe it.  When you went to grad school, did you major in extreme skepticism? Your always criticizing everything.  
Father: I believe that we need more good jobs. I believe the U.S. undercounts the unemployed. You've heard this before. You might have read one of the articles I sent you. You are probably sick of hearing about it, and you want to believe the opposite of anything I say. I hope that's good for your ego-development. But here goes. I and other people, although not many economists, believe that we are not close to full employment. We think that the real rate of unemployment today is not 4+%, but 10%.  We add part-timers who want full-time work and also people who say they want jobs but haven't looked lately. We think more people would be looking for work if there were more half-way decent jobs out there. I told you about the artichoke farmer who faced a labor shortage; when he raised pay a couple of bucks an hour, he had a labor surplus. 
Son: Heard it. Been there. Done that. Just one guy. Artichokes are not important.
Dad: Ok, smarty pants. How about this. Just an example, but think about it. There are quite a few men 25 to 54 years old who we'd expect to be working or looking for work--maybe 7 million. Some are truly disabled. Some have other things to do. But a lot of them are reacting to lousy job markets. If you can only find a job that pays 8 or 9 or 10 dollars an hour, and it is part-time too, you might try to find other ways to get by. Say you have a back problem. Not terrible but a problem. You'd work if it paid off, but it doesn't, so you are trying to get disability benefits.
Son:  Except in the big cities, it's cheap to live. Look at the cost of computers--you could buy a new one for a couple of hundred dollars. Eggs? Sometimes only 99 cents for a dozen. And a lot of people are making more money. Here's a headline from the Los Angeles Times--you know, the one you still have delivered out on the porch every morning. I printed it from the on-line edition because I figured you'd try to forget it. Here it is: "Household Income Rises to New High." Got it?  Taking out the effects of inflation, which I know you love to do, household incomes have risen by 8% in two years. And the median is $59,000. What's your problem with that, Doc?
Dad: I like it. I am happy. I want average incomes to grow. I don't like poverty.  I want fewer poor people--none, really. But there are three things I hope you remember. First, I am always right. You will figure that out some day. Second, a $59,000 median is better than $55,000; but if it is the median, half the households are below it. A lot of people are not doing very well at all. They are making maybe $10 an hour or less in Alabama and South Dakota and dozens of other low-wage states. Even in California many people aren't paid well. Talk to some of the employees down at the grocery store where you buy your organic kale. Or the coffee shop you love. Find out how much they earn. And the third thing to remember. I don't think everyone has to be rich--in fact I don't think anyone should be extremely rich--but $59,000 is not much money if you have a family and especially if you live in an urban area. If you bought a house, and had a low down payment, you may have a monthly payment of $2000, maybe more, so right off the top almost half your income is gone. Then you have Social Security and income taxes taken out of your paycheck, and so on. You get the idea. 
Son:  I do, I really do. For you it's always, "Accentuate the negative." You should write a song about it and sing it. Might cheer you up.
Dad: I think we've had a fruitful discussion.
******************************************************************************
Frank Stricker is emeritus professor of history and labor studies at California State University, Dominguez Hills. He has written What Ails the American Worker? Unemployment and Crummy Jobs: History, Explanations, Solutions. This article uses the United States Census Bureau publication called Income and Poverty in the United States: 2016 (September,2017). For encouraging information, check out Isaac Shapiro and Danilo Trisi, "Child Poverty Falls to Record Low, Comprehensive Measure Shows Stronger Government Policies Account for Long-Term Improvement," October 5, 2017, at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities site.  
 
 

 

 

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

[NJFAC] What if we had a job guarantee

What America would look like if it guaranteed everyone a job Dylan Matthews 
Imagine if a well-paying job, with benefits and a high enough salary to pay for rent, transportation, and food, were a human right.

Imagine the US federal government established a policy whereby anyone who didn't have a job and wanted one could go into a local office for a government agency — call it the Works Progress Administration — and walk out with a regular government position paying a livable wage ($15 an hour, perhaps) and offering health, dental, and vision insurance, and retirement benefits, and child care for their kids.

Different people would do different things: teaching or working for after-school programs or providing child care or building roads and mass transit or driving buses and so on. But everyone would be guaranteed a job, including during recessions. Involuntary unemployment would be a thing of the past. No one who works would be in poverty.

That's a truly radical policy idea. But it has deep roots in the Democratic Party's past, from the New Deal's emergency employment programs to the Humphrey-Hawkins Act, a 1970s proposal that, as originally written, would have given unemployed Americans the right to sue the government.

Today, there are even some actual proposals on the table. In May, the Center for American Progress issued a report calling for a "large-scale, permanent program of public employment and infrastructure investment."

....

An effective job guarantee that eliminated unemployment and boosted wages without negative side effects could be a very good thing. But an ineffective job guarantee that amounts to a welfare check plus onerous work requirements wouldn't just be bad policy — it would also be politically toxic.

Why liberals are flocking to job guarantee plans in 2017

It might seem strange to be debating how best to solve mass joblessness at a time when the US unemployment rate is 4.3 percent, the lowest in over a decade.

....there are both political and policy reasons for why the job guarantee is suddenly a hot topic.

In the wake of the 2016 election, liberal commentators have latched onto the job guarantee — an idea pushed by some left-wing economists for years — as a way to forge a cross-racial working-class coalition. They need a plan that appeals to both to the white Wisconsin and Michigan voters who switched from Obama to Trump and to black and Latino workers left behind by deindustrialization. The ideal plan would both improve conditions for lower-income Americans while supporting Americans' strong intuition that people should work to earn their crust.

"A federal job guarantee is both universal—it benefits all Americans—and specifically ameliorative to entrenched racial inequality," Slate's Jamelle Bouie notes.

"The job guarantee asserts that, if individuals bear a moral duty to work, then society and employers bear a reciprocal moral duty to provide good, dignified work for all," Jeff Spross adds in the influential center-left journal Democracy.

"If Democrats want to win elections, they should imbue Trump's empty rhetoric with a real promise: a good job for every American who wants one," writes Bryce Covert in the New Republic. "It's time to make a federal jobs guarantee the central tenet of the party's platform."

But there's also a policy rationale for the idea's resurgence. Many experts think the unemployment rate makes the economy, or at least the labor market, look better than it really is. The unemployment rate only counts people looking for work, and the most recent recession and slow subsequent recovery forced some people out of the labor force. In January 2007, 80.3 percent of people ages 25 to 54 were employed; in July 2017, only 78.7 percent were.

If the rate had stayed at its prerecession peak, there'd be 2 million more people employed today. If the rate were at its all-time peak (81.9 percent, in April 2000), there'd be 4 million more people employed....


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June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition
http://www.njfac.org

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

[NJFAC] update on employer who set $70,000 wage


....There had been bumps in the road, notably a dispute with his brother who also held some Gravity stock. Two experienced employees quit, because their raises weren't as big as those for people lower on the scale. A few customers cut their ties, as well.

The upside, though, was far greater. The publicity landed Price many new customers. Revenue and profits went way up, plus Price was flooded with thousands of applications from talented job candidates.

Another year has passed, so now it's time to check in again. The news continues to be strongly positive on two different fronts. On the business side revenue continues to grow, as the company has rapidly expanded its customer base. The number of employees has climbed by 40 percent.

I recently asked Ryan Pirkle, Gravity's head of marketing, how it is that they prosper, in spite of their higher labor costs. "We don't compete solely on price," he said, (though they charge significantly less than the industry average.)

"We're old school," says Pirkle. "No robots. No telephone trees. Instead, real people are our infrastructure." The key to the company's success is a dedicated, engaged support team. When one of their customers—a restaurant, let's say—is having credit card problems on a busy Friday night, its manager will talk directly with a knowledgeable Gravity person who can solve their problem.

In the long run, it's not just a matter of landing more customers. Keeping them is the critical factor. And Gravity's retention rates are very high.....

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June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition
http://www.njfac.org

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

[NJFAC] The Affordable Care Act as a Job-Creation Program by Frank Stricker

         Despite conservative assertions, there is not much evidence that employers decided not to grow their businesses because of the mandate that all but small businesses provide health insurance. Nor does it seem that employers disrupted their organizations by shifting employees from full to part-time to limit the reach of the mandate. There is at least anecdotal evidence that Obamacare made it easier for some people to work as independent entrepreneurs because they did not have to join a large company to get a deal on health insurance. 
 
        The big-picture on jobs is that the ACA can be considered as something of a model of a centrist job-creation program. First, it subsidizes useful activities that improve the quality of life for dozens of millions of people. Second, in a saner political atmosphere than the one we inhabit today, the ACA would have broad appeal, even to centrist-conservatives. It does not eliminate private-sector insurers and it includes mandates that were once championed by the extremely conservative Heritage Foundation and by Republican Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts. Third, the left should be happy that the ACA is partly financed by progressive taxes on the wealthy; from the most affluent it takes dollars that may be doing nothing useful and uses them to expand health care access and create new jobs. And that brings us to the fourth point: the ACA gave an already expanding job sector a shot of adrenaline, adding as many as 500,000 health-care jobs.  
 
         On the profoundly negative side is the fact that the ACA did nothing to control the costs of health insurance, drugs and medical care. And as a job program the ACA creates many good jobs for nurses and doctors but also many that are not so good. A $15 federal minimum wage would be a good start here and it would help many more people than trying to open a couple of coal mines.  Democrats ought to present a program to lift health care workers, control the cost of drugs, and lift the income levels at which families get a subsidy of some kind. Some day the Trumpian dirt and dust might settle. Democrats ought to be ready. They should be broadcasting a strong message about the minimum wage and about useful reforms to Obamacare in preparation for the 2018 elections. Not having much of an economic program did not work in 2016. 
  
Notes: Nelson D. Schwartz and Reed Abelson, "Health Act Repeal Could Threaten Job Engine," New York Times, May 7, 2017, 1, 14; Dan Mangan, "500,000 Jobs Added to Health-Care Sector under Obamacare, Goldman Sachs Estimates," March 23, 2017, accessed 8/5/2017, at cnbc/2017/03/23/500000-jobs-added-to-health-sector-under-obamacare-goldman; and Vann R. Newskirk II, "Repealing Obamacare Could Kill Jobs," The Atlantic, January 10, 2017, accessed 8/5/2017, at theatlantic.com/politics/archive/ 2017/01/obamacare-economic-effects-repeal.
 
Frank Stricker has just completed What Ails the American Worker? Unemployment and Crummy Jobs: History, Explanations, Solutions.  He is a member of NJFAC and Emeritus Professor of History, Labor Studies, and Interdisciplinary Studies, California State University, Dominguez Hills.
 

 

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

[NJFAC] The poor need a good job

....

full-time work is responsible for the low-poverty results of the various Success Sequences [Graduate high school; Get a full-time job; Get married before having children] But you don't even need to do that. It's perfectly obvious if you just think about it for a second.

A full-time worker who is paid the $7.25 minimum wage has an annual income of $15,080. If they live alone, the poverty line for their one-person family is $12,486. Since $15,080 is greater than $12,486, no full-time worker who lives alone is in poverty, at least as poverty is measured in the official statistics. What this means is: a person can only be in poverty (1) if they do not work full time or (2) if they live with other people who do not work full time.

If the Success Sequence was not just a vehicle for litigating cultural beefs, what it would really say is that individuals wanting to minimize their risk of poverty should work full time and live alone. Or, if individuals insist on living with others, they should only live with other full-time workers, such as in a double-income-no-kid (DINK) arrangement. Stay away from children, individuals with a work-limiting disability, elderly people, students, unpaid family carers, and those prone to joblessness. If you keep these types of people out of your household and make sure you work full time, you will never be in poverty. That's the truth.

Despite what the Success Sequence says, marriage does not help you except insofar as marrying adds another full-time worker to the family. If it does not do that because the person you are marrying has a disability or some other work limitation, then marriage will actually increase your risk of poverty.

A high school degree does not do much for you either. It might help you get a higher wage, but minimum wage keeps you out of poverty anyways. A minimum wage could leave you in poverty if you have dependents you are caring for (such as children), and in those cases a higher wage driven by a high school degree might pull you out of poverty. But if you have found yourself in a household with dependents, you are already ignoring the most correct wisdom about staying out of poverty, which is to never live with non-workers.

To be clear, I am not actually saying people should pursue a life where they either live alone or only with other full-time workers. My personal view here is that our economic institutions, and especially our welfare state, should be designed to ensure that nobody is in poverty and that people can form the families they would like. But in our current economic system, it is the no-dependent lifestyle described above that actually minimizes your risk of poverty, not the lifestyle envisioned by the Success Sequence.

What About the System?...

 the way we have set up the economic system to distribute income in society is a necessary cause of any observed poverty.....

Fifty years from now, conservatives will write op-eds saying the real trick to staying out of poverty is a college degree, cohabitation, and delaying child birth to age 30. No Success Sequence will stay around if it stops describing most middle class lives or if it begins to describe too many poor lives. The goalposts will shift constantly but the conclusion will always remain the same: the poor did this to themselves and the rich should be spared from higher taxes.

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June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition
http://www.njfac.org

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

[NJFAC] 80% of US households had stagnant incomes from 2005 to 2012-14

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