Tuesday, November 20, 2018

[NJFAC] Trying Again for Full Employment

Trudy Goldberg's article, "Trying Again for Full Employment," was published as the lead article in Dollars and Sense.

"As prominent progressives talk up a federal job guarantee, what can we learn from earlier attempts to legislate full employment?"

Goldberg is chair of the National Jobs for All Coalition, :


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

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

[NJFAC] Economists admit that $15 Seattle minimum wage was largely beneficial, reverse claims

Earlier this year, a group of business school researchers from the University of Washington and NYU, as well as Amazon, published an influential paper claiming that the rising Seattle minimum wage had decreased take-home pay for workers by 6% due to cuts to work hours -- the paper was trumpeted by right-wing ideologues as examples of how "liberal policies" hurt the workers they are meant to help.
But a new paper by the same authors (Sci-Hub mirror) shows that the rising minimum wage generated major increases for the workers who had the most hours, whose hours were only cut a little, but still came out ahead thanks to the wage increase; workers with fewer hours saw no financial harm from the rising minimum wage, working fewer hours and bringing home the same sum; and they found some harm to people who had the smallest number of hours) (which may actually reflect stronger demand for workers and fewer workers in this category of very-low-hour work).
The study's authors explain that their findings are all consistent with one another, but people who found methodological flaws in the first study say that the reversal is inevitable. Here's Barry Ritholz (previously) in Bloomberg:....

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

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Saturday, October 13, 2018

[NJFAC] Wages Rising? by Frank Stricker

            Some observers write as though we are waiting for wage growth to return to normal. We just need money wages to grow a little more and inflation rates to fall a bit and we'd be back on the right track. But what's normal?  For example, how often since 2000-2017 has the real wage of average employees increased at least 1% a year? In only four of eighteen years: 2001, 2002, 2014, 2015.
            If you want to feel good for five seconds, the latest earnings report shows that real wages for average employees are up since September of 2017. But the increase is just 0.4%--less than a half a percent. That's what we are getting in what is supposed to be a red-hot labor market and a strong economy--so strong that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates to cool it down.
            So for workers the economy is good but not great, and has been so for years. Basic power structures and institutions lean heavily against the working class. Unions cover few workers. Some states and localities are raising their minimum wages, but many are not doing so, and the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 for years.
            And while labor markets are good, and causing wage upticks in some places, there is no generalized shortage of labor--nothing dire enough to push up money wages to increase 4 to 5% a year. Employers aren't used to having to expend real effort to get medium to low-skilled workers. When they have to exert, they think it's a labor shortage. But real unemployment is not low enough to give average workers enough individual bargaining power. On the sidelines there are millions of people who are ready to work. The labor force participation rate of prime-age workers (25 to 54 years old) is rising but it's still several points below where it was in the 1990s. Today, some distribution centers, trucking companies, and other businesses have to pay more, but there are plenty of applicants for many job slots across the country. That's one reason why wages haven't risen much. That is why Blue Ridge Health Care in North Carolina can get entry-level certified nursing assistants for $9.50. It's why, over the past year, ZipRecruiter registered 8.1 million applications for 68,500 postings for administrative assistant jobs, and 9.2 million applications for 136,000 warehouse job listings.
            It's true that some employers are having to pay more to get the employees they need. That's one reason Jeff Bezos is raising pay to $15 an hour at Amazon. (Another reason is that it's bad P.R. that Amazon workers are stuck at $12 or $13 whilst Jeff is worth almost two hundred billion dollars.) But that might not be as much of a raise as it seems. What Jeff gives with the left hand, he takes away with the right. The company is pulling back on its bonus and stock programs. Some employees think they will be worse off.
            One final note on $15. Amazon's move reflects what a good thing the $15 minimum goal is. It has been a tremendous rallying point, a unifying force around an ultra-reasonable goal. But it is just the first step. Fifteen dollars looks good because wage growth has been mostly terrible since the early 1970s. But $15 is just $31, 200 for a person who works absolutely full-time, year-round. If you think that amount is adequate, you've been drinking the Cato-Kool-Aid at Republican Congressional parties.

Frank Stricker is on the board of NJFAC and has written What Ails the American Worker? Unemployment and Crummy Jobs: History, Explanations, Remedies.
           
 
           
 

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

[NJFAC] a bouquet to Sanders' effectiveness in raising some wages

(and a critique of the notion that the market determines wages, even in giant firms.-j)
https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/10/bernie-sanders-shows-how-to-do-politics

"...Sanders was lectured by the Heritage Foundation: 'wages are contingent on the additional value that a given worker contributes to the company,' and the bill would (tell me if you've heard this one before) Hurt The Very People It Was Trying To Help. Here's a Cato Institute libertarian writing in USA Today:

However much Sanders insists otherwise, in competitive industries, workers' pay and benefits tend to match the value of the work they're doing. Firms cannot "underpay," or else they risk losing employees to other businesses, while "overpaying" would be financial suicide. …Of course, Sanders is right that wages at major corporations do not always guarantee a decent standard of living, particularly for part-time workers, those with many children, or high rent. But shareholders and customers of companies should not be responsible for every factor of their workers' lives. Companies pay people for the work they do, and it is unrealistic to expect them to pay people based on the number of children they have, where they live or their medical bills. … My research estimates a program of liberalization in land use planning and zoning laws, child-care regulations, cost-inflating food programs, fuel standards and car dealership laws, tariffs on clothing and footwear and occupational licensing, could directly save poor households anywhere between $830 and $3,500 per year....

I think one of the reasons liberals have failed politically is that they think of politics as "designing the optimal policy" and have no clue how to actually build the political power that allows you to pass and implement the optimal policy. Bernie Sanders does know a thing or two about building political power—that's why he managed to be the "Amendment King" in the House of Representatives, passing more roll call votes in a Republican Congress than any other member despite being a radical democratic socialist. Sanders' bill was criticized as a stunt. But that shouldn't be a criticism, and we on the left need to try more stunts...."
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June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition
http://www.njfac.org

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

[NJFAC] Bloomberg: Unions Did Great Things for the Working Class

Unions Did Great Things for the Working Class

Strengthening them could blunt inequality and wage stagnation.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

link from Naked Capitalism
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June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition
http://www.njfac.org

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

[NJFAC] No Gloomy Danes? Frank Stricker, NJFAN Board, and Deborah Schopp

            Most of you know something about the advantages of social democracy in the countries of Scandinavia: generous health care, decent wages, free college, less income inequality, and more. These countries and others like them including the Netherlands, are not utopias: some have racist anti-immigrant movements, some are privatizing public services and trimming benefits. More of their citizens believe in science than is true in America, but they are not perfect on fighting global warming. (Norway gets rich selling North Sea Oil.) But in these countries there are extensive income support programs, virtually universal government-supported health insurance, and many other things that help people live more securely.
            And against conservative assumptions, generous government programs aren't demoralizing people. We felt no gloom and doom during two weeks in Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands in June. Most of the people we met were friendly and upbeat. In fact, the Danes were recently judged the happiest people on earth. As the attached article mentions, a Fox Cable commentator recently talked about the horrors of socialism in Denmark. Nothing new with that. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was knee-jerk among American right-wingers to harp on high suicide rates in Scandinavia. The explanation for the high rates was that when everything is given to people, they lose initiative and sense of worth. But the people we met were getting help from the welfare state and/or paying for it in high taxes)--but they were professional, friendly, positive, and proud of their social democracies. The tour guide who led us through the spectacular murals in Oslo's city hall emphasized that people in Norway valued the practice of helping one another through their government. So did the guide for our food tour in Copenhagen. By the way, on the food tour, we visited six businesses that ranged from very small to almost medium-sized. None were owned by the government and none, as far as I could tell, were being run and ruined by Bolsheviks working out of Commie Central. Some of these businesses were cutting edge and there was pride among the beer-makers and bubbly enthusiasm from the guy who knew all about hard cider. In other words, there is plenty of entrepreneurialism in these countries.
            There are many lessons that Americans can learn in Western Europe. The idea of Americans learning from the European social democracies is second nature to socialists like Bernie Sanders, but a fearsome thing to others. One Democratic candidate--not a conservative-- stated in 2016 that we should not learn from the Danes. But young people in America are less resistant to things socialism and the Democrat Socialists of America have recently had a surge of new members. Maybe it will get harder for Trump and Swamp-dwellers to flail away at the welfare state while they are beating up on the working class. The attached article, "Something Not Rotten in Denmark," is Paul Krugman making good points about the Danish system. By the way, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway have suicide rates below those in the United States. So does Iceland.
 
 
 
 

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Monday, September 3, 2018

[NJFAC] Announcement of Important Conference on a Jobs Guarantee and MMT


Dear Friends,
I want to call your attention to the following Conference of interest to all who advocate "Jobs for All. It is led by NJFAC's Board members Raúl Carrillo and Rohan Grey. I hope to see you there.
Best regards,
Trudy Goldberg
 
 
The Second Annual MMT Conference will be held at the New School in New York City from Sept 28-30. This year's theme is "Public Money, Public Purpose, Public Power", signaling the MMT community's efforts to build bridges between social justice movements, inspire broad-based participation, and more deeply discuss how our ideas may be concretized politically.
We are especially focused on discussing the future of the movement for a Job Guarantee, as well the Job Guarantee's eventual implementation.
 
Day 1 of the conference will feature a keynote discussion of how we might organize around a right to a job. This conversation will feature Raúl Carrillo (Director, Modern Money Network & National Jobs for All Coalition), Shawn Sebastian (Director, Center for Popular Democracy's Fed Up campaign), and Sarah Treuhaft (Senior Director, PolicyLink). This will be followed by a panel on the substantive dimensions of the Job Guarantee, especially focused on green work and care work. The panel will feature Pavlina Tcherneva, (Director, Economics Program, Bard College), Kate Aronoff (Journalist, The Intercept), Vicki Schultz, (Professor, Yale Law School), and Donatella Alessandrini (Professor, Kent Law School).
 
Day 2 of the conference will consist of a series of workshops, both academic and non-academic. Many of these workshops will focus on the Job Guarantee.  The Modern Money Network is taking a leadership role in organizing this year. We are still in the process of finalizing workshop topics and formats, so if any NJFAC members are interested in participating, with the knowledge that this is a yearly MMT community event, we would earnestly welcome your participation.
 
See program and register at

http://www.mmtconference.org/program.html

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

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