A job should be a right, not a privilege!

NEP’s Marshall Auerback appears on the Thom Hartman program, 20 February 2013, discussing limits on banksters’ salaries and bonuses. There is some discussion of jobs guarantee near the end of the segment (near 9:00 mark).

34 responses to “A job should be a right, not a privilege!

  1. There is already an act in place that has the verbiage to shore up government jobs if/when the private sector fails to do so. Why its never been used is anyone’s guess.


  2. Really good Marshall. Crystal Clear.

  3. ‘Banker Hate’ risks confusing the absolute righteousness of the job guaranty message….

    Suggest unapologetically lead with the JG…. Then contrast that with the ‘JG’ that the ‘bankers’ have been given…


  4. A job should be a “right”? Really? What kind of “job”? A “dignified”comfy, clean-nails one that pays what I “need”? Or, a disagreeable nail-breaking WPA sort of gig?

    • Jobs that the community thinks are useful and the individual can perform (with “dignity”).

      But you already know the answer you’re looking for…so why ask?

      • Good luck with this one, Comrades.

        • I’ll take the wage slavery government job if I receive a living wage (a good start would be what a typical tenured college econ professor rakes in), otherwise you can shove it.

          • Malmo: Tenured college econ profs get rather more than a living wage. So you are saying your reservation wage is higher than most. Good for you. But will you refuse income if it comes, however indirectly, from federal payments for somebody’s JG job? I doubt it. And this is scarcely possible.

            BobbyG: I don’t know how many nails Hyman Minsky broke on his WPA job. There is no reason, with modern technology, for the general run of JG jobs to be any more unpleasant than Minsky’s. Government jobs are most certainly a right in a modern monetary economy. After all, the government maintains its right to tax you, and denying you the right to earn the means to pay taxes and more generally – live – is “logically absurd” (Mosler).

  5. With sufficient income and other resources (e.g. land), people can find their own meaningful (by definition) work to do.

    So why are the vast majority of people short of sufficient income and resources to do meaningful work? One need look no further than the government enforced/backed credit cartel that drives the population into non-serviceable debt and which then seizes their collateral when they can’t pay. Such was the fate of very many family farms in the US.

  6. On his radio show, Thom Hartmann has recently announced a commitment to learning and understanding MMT, but so far he keeps having Steve Keen on the show (who of course is not strictly MMT). Marshall, above, was on Thom’s TV show and they only got into the MMT job guarantee idea briefly toward the end of the segment. Thom has a large radio audience and I think he could be an articulate advocate for MMT ideas if he had a good understanding of them. Considering his stated interest of learning more about MMT, I think it’s a great opportunity for the MMT community to reach out to his show, perhaps get Prof. Kelton on for an interview.

  7. To reiterate what Joe said above, Hartman has been mentioning MMT. This seems a great opportunity to educate progressives about how to better argue their positions through having better economic arguments.

    Hope to see more Hartman/MMT interactions!

  8. “A job should be a right, not a privilege!”

    One might add “a job that pays a living wage.”

    But what would these people actually do in a government provided job ? Well, nothing really, unless the US government embarks on infrastructure repair and replenishment. This could only be achieved by putting contracts out to bid to private contractors or maybe the Army Corps of Engineers.

    From my experience, for example when I made a brief foray into hazardous waste clean up of superfund sites, I paid a visit to the EPA offices in Washington and discovered that giving jobs to otherwise unemployed people with little in the way of skills, was utterly ridiculous. I saw hundreds of women sitting at desks looking at blank computer screens and doing absolutely nothing. I imagine that they were “secretaries” awaiting an order to actually respond to a letter by one of their bosses, who was doing nothing other than paper shuffling.

    The real unemployment rate in the US is around 18% of the workforce, where 143 million people have jobs out of a total population of 314 million. Now that computers and robots do the grunt work in many occupations, this is not going to change much in the future. We can in fact look forward to even higher levels of unemployment. So what is the the solution ? Will it be Brave New World or 1984 ?

  9. As always, Marshall presents MMT brilliantly.

    ‘A job should be a right, not a privilege’
    Mr ‘MMT adds nothing new’ Palley. Take note.

  10. A job should be a right? Not to this dood:



    (BTW, Hartmann once interviewed him in what I consider one of the most all-time obscene interview, not only softball, but Hartmann was so fawning of Peterson, it was despicable!

  11. I really liked the point that if the government is providing a living wage to anyone who wants to work, the private sector can not use the threat of unemployment to drive wages into the ground.

  12. There is no ‘right’ to force others to give to you something, be it health care or a job.

    I have suggested the re-militarization of the military – no more civilian contractors. Let the military have it’s own cooks, doctors, teachers, janitors and other jobs that support the mission and bases. The employment from that will add 2 million GOVERNMENT jobs, increase training across a broad spectrum of fields and provide structure and ‘respect’ for work rather than government handouts.

    • The reason for privatizing so many government jobs is that the workers, who are employed by the subcontractors, can in general be paid far less, have fewer benefits such as healthcare, pensions and can be laid off under the fire at will employment policies of most states. It is supposed to save the taxpayer money, but the kicker lies in the profits that these corporations cream off, while awarding dividends to their shareholders and rewarding their CEOs and boards of directors with super remuneration packages. After all, these are the people who make campaign donations.

      • I understand why it was done, I am just suggesting that 1) it has been a failure in that it has not reduced costs; 2) it has put the military in the position of paying contractors to go into or near to combat situations at extreme costs (both $ and lives).

  13. Now that computers and robotics do so much of the work required for businesses and government to function, this will leave larger and larger numbers of people without paid employment. How will we, as a society adapt to this new reality ? At one time, mothers of young children stayed at home to look after their offspring and teach them the basics of growing up to become decent members of society until they went to school at the age of five or so. Now it takes both a mother and a father in paid employment to sustain a decent standard of living, so that the children are farmed out to day care centres which are a poor substitutes for parenting. Perhaps we should consider giving all young mothers a state income, so that they can return to the traditional role of motherhood. I think we men should support this idea, since it is us that get them pregnant 😉

    How can Homer Simpson, who has a menial job at a power station, afford to live in a nice suburban home, have a wife who does not work and have three children at school. The answer is that this is no longer possible in American society. We have regressed, so that the rich can get even richer.

    • There is no shortage of jobs once we can afford them. Government can increase wealth of its citizens by spending more into the economy than it removes in taxes – it’s called deficit spending. More wealthy people will then feen that they can afford more, they will spend more. Spending will induce firm to produce more and hire more labor. Mass unemployment has nothing to do with ‘computers and robotics’. It’s wealth issue.

      • And this whole economic crises started when people lost approximately 8 trillion dollars in housing wealth, a slump that government deficits have been slowly healing over time.

        • The housing wealth was based on borrowed money. When people lose their jobs, they cannot pay off their loans. But the Federal Reserve bailed out the lenders, not the borrowers.

      • The ultra wealthy do not need nor want to spend more. They have more than enough already..
        more money needs to be in the hands of the 99% workforce – higher wages, hence more spending.

  14. Article 23 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    I stress “Everyone has the right to work” and “Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration”.

    Article 23.

    (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
    (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
    (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
    (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

    • The United Nations Charter was written in 1945


      “We the peoples of the United Nations determined: to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”

      But since then we have endured the Korean War, the Vietnam war, various intrusions by the US in Iran and South America to topple democratically elected governments. Often these were precipitated by false flag attacks and lies. For example the Gulf of Tonkin. Roughly the same could apply to Afghanistan and Iraq.

      • Ignoring the UN, because, well, it should be, the declaration of a right does not endow a right. As for the equal pay schtick….should secretaries working in Dehli, Bejing, Capetown, New York City, Joplin Missouri and Brussells all be paid the same wages per hour? Who sets the wage scale? the employer or the State or the UN?

        What an institution grants, it can take away. Do not individuals have the right of self determination? Voting, speech, religion and association? I am not saying that the United States is a perfect society, I am saying it is a better one than the others and an organization made up of non-democratic states makes a, IS a mockery.

        • Of course, the world is not perfect, but the UN Declaration of human rights sets a benchmark we should be aiming for, rather than the current system whereby a few people are billionaires at the expense of everyone else.

  15. Only banksters have Job Gaurantee, and the privilege to create money out of thin air. When they make a mess in the “create money out of thin air” biz we must all step in and guarantee their jobs.

    • Actually the banks can only create money as debt by lending against collateral. The amount they can create is approximately 14 times their assets according to the Basel accords.

      However, when the Federal Reserve buys up debt, it is cash for trash. The collateral is essentially worthless, since no one else would buy it for 100 cents on the dollar.