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Friday, June 9, 2017

A Ten Year Vision towards Full Employment

This post highlights two reports which describe plans to create millions of jobs by 2027. The first by Frank Stricker, and then the report "What Would Sanders Do?" by professor Gerald Friedman: 

          Full Employment and How to Get It       

                             (see here to read the article)

Full employment to men means an abundance of good jobs, higher wages, growing income. White Americans with "no college" voted for Trump by a margin of two to one, 67% to 28%, nearly a 40% margin in favor of Trump. And "white males" also went for Trump by a two to one measure, a 32% margin. They were impressed by Trump's claim to be able to create good jobs. Here is Stricker's report card on job and wage growth: 

Report Card on Growth in Real Wages and Total Jobs, Five-Year Periods, 1950-2015                                                                                    
                                  Wages          Jobs                 
1950-1955 A+ A
1955-1960 A B
1960-1965 B+ A
1965-1970 C A+
1970-1975 F B+
1975-1980 FF A+
1980-1985 FF D
1985-1990 FF A
1990-1995 FF D
1995-2000 C- A
2000-2005 F F
2005-2010 F F
2010-2015 D

Total five-year growth in wages and jobs graded thusly: 10% or more = A, 8%-9% = B, 7% = C, 6% = D, under 6% = F, decline =FF.

I recommend readers go straight to "Full Employment and How to Get It", by professor Frank Stricker, who also wrote the book Why America Lost the War on Poverty, and How We Can Win It. (He also wrote an article on Infrastructure here.) Stricker's program, like the Sanders' Program I deal with below, would lift the income of the middle income,  non-supervisory employee, whose income would increase by $20,000 a year, a 50% increase by 2026.              

Michael Braxton.

Michael Braxton states: “I am for Hillary. Praise the lord. Trump will probably start us another war. Praise the lord. And he is a racist. Praise the lord.”
This photo originates from an article in the British paper The  Guardian, by Chris Arnade, "What I learned after 100,000 miles on the road talking to Trump supporters". Pictured above,   Michael Braxton, a resident of Natchitoches, Louisiana, offers his straight-from-the-shoulder assessment of Trump before the election. Arnade, the author states,  
"It became simple: if I wanted to talk to a community overwhelmingly supporting Trump, I would go to a white town or neighborhood nearest the rusting factory surrounded by razor fence. . . .  The early Trump voters I met were the losers from these changes. Their once superior status – based only on being white – was being dismantled, while their lack of education was also being punished. They lived in towns and communities devastated by economic upheaval. They were born in them and stayed in them, despite their fall. For many, who had focused on their community over career, it felt like their entire world was collapsing."
Read the article  here.

These articles vividly portray the men and women who swung their votes to Trump. "Pride and Poverty in America" is the apt title of his articles. Arnade drove his car 140,000 miles across the U.S. searching for his interviews. Then you can listen to a friendly interview with Arnade at the radio broadcast Behind the News with Doug Henwood, here.

I need say no more. But here's some additional background reading. 

The Political and Economic Impact of                        Infrastructure Programs                                         

Bernie Sanders called for a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure over 10 years. Unfortunately he downplayed the direct job creation part of the program. Had he called it a jobs program first, that also upgraded infrastructure, the clear intent would have been appreciated by voters -- white male voters -- who rejected Hillary Clinton. But perhaps he shied away from sounding too socialistic. Read this important report   What Would Sanders Do?  , describing the wide-ranging effect of his public investment program. See Table 1 for a quick glance. Most of his spending increase, 74%, deals with universal health care or Medicare for All. Yet he calls $1 trillion over 10 years in Infrastructure, and another $1.2 trillion in spending for "Climate change, energy resiliency." 

Also see his web page platform describing his program" Rebuilding America. His program would have served two important national purposes: 1) upgraded public roads, seaports, airports, rail lines, electrical grid, drinking water and sewage systems, private home and public building insulation leading to energy conservation, public school building and municipal building upgrades, and broadband internet improvements, as well as human services improvements in senior health care and pre-school education, and 2) jobs. See the Stricker article above for the impact millions of public jobs will have. Readers can review also the Progressive Caucus Budget, The People's Budget, 2017, which claims would create 3.6 million new good jobs; and view the spending program for this budget here at the Economic Policy Site, see Table 2, page 22. Page 8 states, "

This stimulus program includes a $208 billion investment in 

infrastructure, spending that reaches $1.2 trillion over FY2016–

2026, which approaches the level the American Society of Civil 

Engineers calls for to close the nation’s investment shortfall while 

offering a sustained, continuing dedicated source of funding 

specifically for infrastructure investments (ASCE 2013)."

Readers may also read the Center for American Progress report "Toward a Marshall Plan for America".

Trump's plan will be financed by borrowing from the private financial market, doubling the cost of investment. And it will saddle users with life-time user fees -- an obvious avoidable error. But it will enrich the private corporations who feed on the government. The shortcomings of the Trump Infrastructure plan are displayed by the Economic Policy Institute, here. And see a report from the Center for American Progress, How Donald Trump's Infrastructure Plan Fails America.  And more from CAP,  "Fact Sheet: A Plan for Investing in America's Infrastructure". 
The Economic Policy Institute presents two articles on Infrastructure and Trump, here and here

Hillary Clinton lost the "white no college" vote by 39% points -- 67% for Trump and 28% for Clinton. I remember this as 70 to 30. That represented 34% of all votes cast. And she lost the "men - white" vote by 32 points -- 63% to 31%; also representing 34% of votes cast. See the results at Wikipedia. White men with little education beyond high school turned to Trump, there's no doubt. 

If Democrats in 2018 wish to make gains among these voters they must offer better employment and wage growth programs that will rescue these disenchanted workers who have had decades of poor job and wage growth (see the Stricker article).  This malaise portends a future of bleak social disruption.   

Later I'll expand more of the infrastructure and direct job creation.  This is an essential issue that can break the iceberg of disaffection and recast our  political theater as we know it.  

As I always state in my latest essays, my best utopian essay is December 2016, and the most thorough run down of Inequality is the one before that, July, 2016.  

Another photo from the Arnade articles, this of Robert McAdams of Peru, Nebraska, from the article linked to already, here.  "We need to get this country straight again," he says. 

Robert McAdams, 78, of Peru, Nebraska: ‘We need to get this country straight again.’

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