Posts Tagged ‘Guaranteed Jobs’

How much equality do we want?

January 9, 2017

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Grant that extreme economic inequality is a bad thing.  Grant that ever-increasing economic inequality is a bad thing.

Grant that complete equality of incomes is not feasible and maybe not desirable.  How much equality is enough?

The economist Friedrich Hayek wrote in The Road to Serfdom (as I recall) that it is impossible that people could reach a consensus on what each and every person deserves.   Once you reject complete equality, he  wrote, the only acceptable distribution of income is what results from the impersonal working of the free market.

A democratic government could never determine a distribution of income that is satisfactory to everyone, or even a majority, Hayek thought; if it tries, the result can only be gridlock and a breakdown of democracy.

But there are ways to reduce inequality that neither set limits on any individual’s aspirations nor give some group of bureaucrats the power to decide who gets what.   Some that come to mind immediately are:

  1. Prosecute those who get rich by lawbreaking.
  2. Set limits on unearned income.
  3. Break up monopolies.
  4. Empower labor unions and cooperatives.
  5. Provide good public services to all, regardless of income.
  6. Provide decent jobs for all who are willing and able to work.

What are your ideas?

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U.S. still hasn’t caught up with Dr. King

August 30, 2013

martin.luther.king.jrThe Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for voting rights and the abolition of Jim Crow laws, but he didn’t stop there.  The 1963 March on Washington was a march for Jobs and Freedom.

He believed that everyone who wanted to work should be guaranteed a job.  This is more relevant now than ever.  All you have to do is to look around, and there is work that needs to be done, from ensuring old people in nursing homes get good care to rebuilding our nation’s bridges and water systems.

Yet the jobs aren’t there.  Why should the upper 1/10th of 1 percent of income and wealth holders be the job creators?  Why can’t we the people create jobs?

Dr. King also believed in a minimum guaranteed income, which I’m not sure about.  I’d rather have a guaranteed jobs program, in which everybody could do something useful according to their abilities and receive an income adequate to their basic needs.  But then again, a guaranteed minimum income might work better than our present hodge-podge welfare system.

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