FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Whatever Happened to “Good Jobs”?

by CARL GINSBURG

It is hard to pinpoint the precise moment when “good jobs” disappeared from national discourse, ignored by our leaders and the media that cover their agenda.   The phrase was invoked during President Obama’s campaign—that is, his first run for the presidency.   But it soon disappeared in a West Wing dominated by Wall Street men.  This time around it was altogether gone from campaign rhetoric, a vanishing act with the potential for catastrophic consequences for millions of Americans.   “Good jobs” continues to be banished from national discourse, as if the censors of capital wished it away.

Corporations have nothing to say on the subject, intent to hold down wages and sit on vast amounts of capital – some $3.4 trillion, by last count.  Over the next decade, 7 of 10 new jobs will be low wage, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics.   The rate of corporate profit is at its highest level in more than a century, according to Bloomberg.   That’s quite a record… Coolidge, Harding, Eisenhower, Reagan, Clinton, Bush II… all left in the dust.

Wall Street is thriving.   The stock market S&P index shot up 13% in 2012, and JPMorgan Chase had its best year ever that same year, with Goldman Sachs close behind.  Indeed, the 1% continues to accumulate vast wealth, as U.S. economic inequality becomes even more pronounced, while alarms go off at the International Monetary Fund and elsewhere, sounding off  that inequality undercuts growth with emphasis on the U.S.

In spite of it all, everyone knows this central truth:  life is at a dead end in this country without a full-time job at a good wage and with decent benefits: a good payroll job.

Since the Inauguration earlier this month, official debate has focused on debt ceilings, women in combat roles and most recently on immigration.  These are hardly irrelevant matters; but in the end they fill front pages and newscasts where we should see and hear the clamoring for good jobs.

The  immediate goal of the Robin Hood Tax, whose profile has come up fast in just a year,  is to put revenue into the many communities still reeling from the effects of the financial collapse of 2008.  An estimated $350 billion can be raised annually from a small sales tax on Wall Street financial transactions, today embodied in The Inclusive Prosperity Act, sponsored by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN).   He has 16 co-sponsors, to date.  More than 125 organizations – labor, religious, consumer, health advocates and others – have endorsed the bill.  Together these groups total millions in membership.   They join financial transaction tax movements worldwide; 40 countries have such a tax in place today, as economists, even leading business executives, are raising their voices in support.   The European Union moved forward this month towards implementation in 11 member countries, to start January 1, 2014.

Meanwhile, the corporate sector in this country staunchly refuses to invest in good jobs, making government action on jobs an essential step to move forward.  Robin Hood tax revenue for good jobs in healthcare, in education, to provide a clean environment and to rebuild a deteriorating infrastructure would mark a significant turnaround.

Many millions need these jobs and communities need assistance without delay.  There are a staggering  22 million adult Americans who are without full-time jobs today  and for whom the hardship of enduring unemployment is taking a terrible toll.    Some are recent college graduates, loaded down with debt from escalating school costs.   A Rutgers University survey found that half the college grads in this country over the last six years do not have full-time employment.   Robin Hood funds can help them get a start in life.

What we do not need are more of the low wage jobs being offered, as the numbers of working poor escalate  each year to astonishing levels.    According to the Census Bureau, one-third of adults who live in poverty are working but do not earn enough to support themselves and their families.   A quarter of jobs in America pay below the  federal poverty line for a family of four – $23,050.   Close to half of food stamp allocation goes to households where an adult is working full-time- that’s taxpayer money paid to workers whose bosses won’t pay a living wage.    Even with this critical food assistance, we have reached a point, the Department of Agriculture says, where nearly 1 in 4 young children in the U.S. lived with insufficient food in the last year.

Our government should join Rep. Ellison and his co-sponsors and embrace the Robin Hood tax and its call for good jobs in a real economy.  Without it, and the yearly revenue it would provide for an enduring recovery, the legacy of our nation’s leaders will be poverty on a vast scale.

Carl Ginsburg is a communications specialist for National Nurses United, a founding organization of the Robin Hood Tax Campaign.   www.robinhoodtax.org

 

CARL GINSBURG is a tv producer and journalist based in New York. He can be reached at carlginsburg@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
Mike Whitney
The Trump Speech That No One Heard 
Conn Hallinan
Is Europe Heading for a “Lexit”?
Stephen Cooper
Truth or Twitter? Why Donald Trump Is No John Steinbeck
Binoy Kampmark
Scoundrels of Patriotism: The Freeing of Chelsea Manning
Ramzy Baroud
The Balancing Act is Over: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel
Josh Hoxie
Why Health Care Repeal is a Stealth Tax Break for Millionaires
Kim C. Domenico
It’s High Time for a Politics of Desire
Shamus Cooke
Inauguration Day and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
More and More Lousy
David Swanson
Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey- The Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
Kevin Carson
Right to Work and the Apartheid State
Malaika H. Kambon
Resisting the Lynching of Haitian Liberty!
January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Clobbers Ocean Life
Patrick Cockburn
The Terrifying Parallels Between Trump and Erdogan
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail