Alternative Job Creation Plan (S. Aronowitz)

by Chris Sturr | February 26, 2009

This is from Bob Feldman—he sent it to me before the last item he sent for me to post about alternative job creation plans (the one from a 1973 book), but I forgot to post it. It raises interesting issues that we have covered in D&S, e.g. the idea of a “basic income guarantee” (and he might have also mentioned the related idea of “employer of last resort,” which we covered in our March/April 2008 issue), and the key issue of tax havens, which we’ll be covering in our May/June issue.

Aronowitz’s Alternative Jobs Creation Plan Of 2005

If you’re wondering what an alternative left jobs creation program to the Obama Administration’s recently enacted “stimulus” economic program might look like, here’s what CUNY Grad School Professor Stanley Aronowitz proposed in his 2005 book Just Around The Corner: The Paradox of the Jobless Recovery:

“Slightly less than 10 percent of the annual military budget (not counting emergency Iraq funds), $50 billion, would create almost 2.5 million jobs…Jobs could be created to build low-and moderate-rental or limited-equity cooperative housing (where `owners’ are obliged to sell their apartments back to the co-op rather than offer them for sale in the private market)…

“…The housing story of the postwar era has been one of federal, state and local abandonment and betrayal of the brave New Deal public-housing program. It was replaced by a program that used public funds to subsidize private developers…

“Where will we get the funds for creating public jobs and for building new housing…? We urgently need to reinstitute a progressive tax system where large corporations and wealthy individuals are required to pay their fair share and no individual or profitable business is exempt from paying taxes. In addition, in the interest of creating these jobs, loopholes for upper-middle-income taxpayers should be closed. And the bloated military budget, much of which neither enhances our security nor is justified if we had a reasonable foreign policy that was not oriented toward empire, could be slashed and reorganized. The savings could help fund a labor-intensive public-service jobs program.

“Would this jobs program require a new government institution such as the New Deal Public Works and Works Project Administration (PWA and WPA)? Probably…It would be important to stipulate that these are public jobs to expand public goods, and slots should not be crated to subsidize wages in the private sector. Right now, huge quantities of federal funds are shoveled into private contractors’ pockets…

“…When will working people share in the benefits of the technological revolution of our time?

“We need to amend the Wage and Hour Act to provide for overtime pay for work performed after 6 hours in any day, and after 30 hours a week…

“What to do about the unwaged and the underwaged?…America needs a basic-income guarantee…It is time to revive the concept of a basic guaranteed income for all Americans…

“…Corporations that register offshore must be required to pay U.S. taxes. Those who avoid such taxes should lose their right to sell their goods and services in this country. (Of all U.S. corporations, 60 percent failed to pay taxes in 2003. Many of them were registered in another country, usually a Caribbean site; others simply took advantage of gaping loopholes in U.S. tax law.)”

–b.f.

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