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Once upon a time, the United States actually cared about those without jobs. Humphrey-Hawkins set a standard. We have not met it and we are going further away from it every day. It's time to get rid of unemployment insurance and replace it with jobs--guaranteed jobs that offer at least $12.50 per hour plus health care and day care benefits--not just for those who have been laid off, but anyone who wants a job and has not found a better one in the private sector. Come to think of it, we can get rid of welfare programs that way, too. The only problem will be that the employers who depend on getting rich on the backs of the underpaid poor might have to get honest jobs for themselves.

Of course there will be other objections: "we cannot afford it", "we don't need make-work", blah-blah...

We have a lot of work that needs to be done and won't be done by anyone other than government. Much of it can be done by people who will need to get a small amount of training with on-going training and opportunity for job search throughout the program. Other jobs might be done by those who have been laid off, have special skills, and are currently looking for new jobs.

Jobs matter. People need to find things to do that they are rewarded for. Sure, volunteer work can be rewarding, but unemployed people cannot afford that luxury. There are millions of elderly who need help fixing or cleaning their homes or taking care of themselves. Often the alternative is to put them into care facilities at taxpayer expense. Why do that?

Capitalism is not a very good system, but it is good enough if the sharp edges are padded. Let the rich who have benefited from this system pay for the costs of helping those who have not. We need jobs for all, jobs that pay, jobs that people can be proud of. If capitalists don't like it, they can hire these people away from the Jobs for All program.

We could call it the Walton Family Jobs Fairness Act.

Originally posted to freelunch on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:20 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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