Create Good Jobs
Problem: Our generation faces the biggest job shortage since the
Great Depression in the 1930s.
Solution: As a first step to providing more permanent, full-time,
high-paying jobs, we should increase our national investment in
education, training, technology, and infrastructure, and provide younger
Americans more opportunities to develop critical work-force skills.
The good news: Since the beginning of 1993,
America's recovery has generated over 2.5 million new jobs. The bad
news: Many of these new jobs are part-time or temporary positions,
mostly in the service industry -- a step to building a lifetime career
selling clothes at the mall.
Over half of all workers under 25 are paid hourly wages -- which
means no health benefits -- and have earnings below the poverty line.
Minimum wage has 26 percent less purchasing power today than it did in
The largest private employer in the U.S. today is not General Motors
but Manpower Inc. -- a temporary employment agency. Manufacturing
employment, where millions of our parents earned decent livings, is on
the decline. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of
new college graduates will outpace the number of new jobs by half a
million a year, every year, for the rest of the decade.
In the past, when the U.S. has faced this kind of "permanent"
unemployment, we've done one of two things: tried to create new jobs by
stimulating the economy through increased government spending, or cut
spending and taxes in an attempt to boost investment and growth.
Today, we need to do a little of both, adopting policies that will
restore strong enough growth in the private economy, jump-start job
creation, and begin to close our national "investment gap". To
undertake this effort, the United States should
- Guarantee every young person the opportunity to enhance his or
her skills through apprenticeship tracks in high schools, and provide
college assistance for anyone willing to do national service. The
National Service Program, passed in 1993, is one step toward this goal.
- Ensure access to retraining for jobless people and for displaced
and low-wage workers. This can be accomplished through "one-stop"
assistance centers for retraining workers.
- Increase investment in basic research, infrastructure, and
worker training -- three areas that will be underfunded without help
from Uncle Sam. Despite its importance to job creation, federal
investment as a share of national output has declined by over 30 percent
since 1976. Meanwhile, other countries such as Japan have saved and
invested much larger shares of their national incomes. The result:
U.S. job growth has slowed, while job growth in nations with high
investment has increased.
- Remove subsidies and trade protections on most U.S.
industries. Just like you can't make new wine in old bottles,
America will not create new jobs by protecting the old ones. A recent
study by the Institute of International Economics showed that 15 of the
21 most heavily protected industries (in terms of quotas, tariffs, and
other trade protections) in the U.S. suffered significant job
losses from 1986 to 1990 -- and three others showed no
significant gains in employment.
- Eliminate wasteful programs and tax breaks that insulate certain
private industries from market competition. This would free up tens
of billions of dollars to invest in our future.
The harsh reality is that the job market is bleak -- and will be for
some time. But these five actions would be important steps toward
solving our job crisis and creating longer-lasting, higher-wage
employment for millions in our generation.
America should get busy and help put us to wotk. It would be one of
the best investments this country could make for the 1990s and beyond.
For More Information
The job-creation demand was designed with
the help of the Progressive Policy Institute, a moderate
Washington-based think tank with cutting-edge policy ideas. The PPI was
instrumental in framing the economic platform that helped Bill Clinton
get elected. For more ideas about how America can create better jobs
and more economic growth, call
- Progressive Policy Institute, (202) 547-0001
Maintained by Adam Rifkin,
adam at xent dot com (last modified February 1, 1995)
From the Lead... or Leave WWW page.
No, I am not the guy who makes the movies.
I make no money off this, so please don't sue me. Have a nice day.
Disclaimer: This page is neither sanctioned by Lead... or Leave nor
does it reflect the policies or opinions of Caltech. Fair Use Notice: This
document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically
authorized by the copyright owner. I believe that this not-for-profit use on
the Web constitutes a `fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for
in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted
material for purposes of your own that go beyond `fair use,' you must obtain
permission from the copyright owner.