Sen. Cory Booker's, D-N.J., new bill that would guarantee jobs for all residents in up to 15 high-unemployment communities and regions "could be a good way of both fighting recessions and getting more Americans into the workforce in the long term," Bloomberg columnist Noah Smith writes.
The Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act, announced by Booker last Friday, would establish a three-year pilot program where the Department of Labor awards grants to the selected areas so every adult living there is guaranteed a job paying at least $15 an hour. The positions would also offer paid family/sick leave and health benefits.
The idea has gained popularity, specifically among Democrats, as Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., have both suggested they would back plans for a federally funded program, according to BuzzFeed.
"There is great dignity in work — and in America, if you want to provide for your family, you should be able to find a full-time job that pays a fair wage," Booker said in a statement. "Both Martin Luther King, Jr., and President Franklin Roosevelt believed that every American had the right to a job, and that right has only become more important in this age of increasing income inequality, labor market concentration, and continued employment discrimination."
A government job program could have several benefits, including the creation of better roads and nicer buildings and battling unemployment.
It is "less scary than critics think," writes Smith, "but there's no assurance that it will be a game-changer for poor Americans."
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