FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

A Public Option for Jobs

Creative destruction is one way to say it.  In order for capitalism to create a job, it must first promise to destroy it.  In years when this gruesome formula works out, capitalism creates more jobs than it destroys.  Then there are years like these.

Thursday night on the Capitalism Knows Best Channel (CNBC) Larry Kudlow said one thing that made sense.  What if we stop wasting time on the blame game and start getting busy with solutions.  Not that I’m taking my bets off the short table, mind you, but I’d feel a whole lot less hysterical these days if I thought someone actually knew how to get “the system” to create more jobs than it destroys.

The catastrophe of our economic atrophy since the market top of 2007 was too easily sketched in Thursday’s New York Times by a life-long worker whose skills had finally been displaced by the revolution in desktop computing.

Today’s economy, said the worker, only favors special-needs groups like minorities and veterans and the disabled.  I don’t think the worker said a thing about how capitalism really works, except that someone had sold her some worthless training recently, along with one more goddam loan that she can’t pay back.

So where do jobs really come from and where should we really be looking–if not at minorities, veterans, and the disabled?

The worser the world gets the fewer words will be acceptable to boil down the process of job creation, and the less time we’ll have to block the hip shots aimed toward the usual suspects that fascism loves to detain.  Imagine blaming the hardest working immigrants on the planet earth for the fact that we have no jobs!  Yet, look who the police are coming for in Arizona.  I guess if you’re caught standing at the curb looking for a job, it must be your fault you didn’t find one quicker.

“Too complicated for television” is what my news director used to tell me when I’d turn in a tape that played for three minutes and fifty-four seconds.  If we don’t get the real jobs story down to fifteen seconds or less a lot of innocent people are going to tear each other apart.

Under these emergency circumstances we have two quick choices.  There is supply and demand.  Or there is labor and need.  These are not the same things by a long shot.

The longer that “free market capitalism”—recently valued at $49 trillion dollars globally by the World Federation of Exchanges–fails to solve the problem of supply and demand the sooner we’re going to have to get serious about a public option where labor meets needs.

In either case it’s a national disaster to have one million people willing to work while the private and public sectors are both paralyzed before them.  The wise labor economist Ray Marshall said somewhere recently that a day of unspent labor is a day you never get back.  And if you are working all day only looking for work, soon enough you are scarred for life.

An economy of needs can be organized if unmet needs are matched with unused labor.  There may be no profit in the deal–no supply or demand–but useless lives can be made useful and the swift transformation can get us all focused on solving some real problems rather than playing blame.

Now here’s what can be done.  The world’s most wealthy holders of sovereign debt (yes, the White House knows who they are) can accept a restructured payment plan.  The present-day savings of the sovereign debt service can be funneled into emergency public service programs.  Did you know there are children on the playgrounds of public schools who have no one to watch them?  Out of a million unemployed people, how many could be quickly certified for that?

What?  Are there not a million playgrounds?  What?  Are some workers not suitable for children?  How about reshelving books at the city library?  How about scooping buckets of oil from the Gulf of Mexico?  One million workers paid $30,000 per year each would cost $30 billion, a fraction of the financial bailout called TARP.

Now I want you to stop me when you see “free-market capitalism” hiring away these “public option” workers onto paths of so-called prosperity, but until then, as I say, there is so little time.  Soon enough the fascists will be cramming new detention centers full of immigrants and calling it sovereignty or somesuch nonsense as that.

Instead of passively undergoing creative destruction we can demand creative engagement and we can demand it quickly from the people who have the power to deliver it.  Meanwhile, decency demands that we stop the nonsense of blaming minorities, veterans, and disabled people for suddenly becoming folks the rest of us have the time to think about, again.

GREG MOSES is editor of TexasWorker.org and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence.  He can be reached at gmosesx@gmail.com.

 

WORDS THAT STICK

 

More articles by:

Greg Moses writes about peace and Texas, but not always at the same time. He is author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. As editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review he has written about racism faced by Black agriculturalists in Texas. He can be reached at gmosesx@gmail.com

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 25, 2019
Jen Marlowe
The Palestine Marathon
Binoy Kampmark
Lethal Bungling: Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings
Michael Slager
“Where’s Your Plan?” Legalized Bribery and Climate Change
Jesse Jackson
Trump Plunges the US Deeper Into Forgotten Wars
George Wuerthner
BLM Grazing Decision Will Damage the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness
April 24, 2019
Susan Babbitt
Disdain and Dignity: An Old (Anti-Imperialist) Story
Adam Jonas Horowitz
Letter to the Emperor
Lawrence Davidson
A Decisive Struggle For Our Future
John Steppling
The Mandate for Israel: Keep the Arabs Down
Victor Grossman
Many Feet
Cira Pascual Marquina
The Commune is the Supreme Expression of Participatory Democracy: a Conversation with Anacaona Marin of El Panal Commune
Binoy Kampmark
Failed States and Militias: General Khalifa Haftar Moves on Tripoli
Dean Baker
Payments to Hospitals Aren’t Going to Hospital Buildings
Alvaro Huerta
Top Ten List in Defense of MEChA
Colin Todhunter
As the 2019 Indian General Election Takes Place, Are the Nation’s Farmers Being Dealt a Knock-Out Blow?
Charlie Gers
Trump’s Transgender Troops Ban is un-American and Inhumane
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Just Another Spring in Progress?
Thomas Knapp
On Obstruction, the Mueller Report is Clintonesque
Elliot Sperber
Every Truck’s a Garbage Truck
April 23, 2019
Peter Bolton
The Monroe Doctrine is Back, and as the Latest US Attack on Cuba Shows, Its Purpose is to Serve the Neoliberal Order
David Schultz
The Mueller Report: Trump Too Inept to Obstruct Justice
Geoff Beckman
Crazy Uncle Joe and the Can’t We All Just Get Along Democrats
Medea Benjamin
Activists Protect DC Venezuelan Embassy from US-supported Coup
Patrick Cockburn
What Revolutionaries in the Middle East Have Learned Since the Arab Spring
Jim Goodman
Don’t Fall for the Hype of Free Trade Agreements
Lance Olsen
Climate and Forests: Land Managers Must Adapt, and Conservationists, Too
William Minter
The Coming Ebola Epidemic
Tony McKenna
Stephen King’s IT: a 2019 Retrospective
David Swanson
Pentagon Claims 1,100 High Schools Bar Recruiters; Peace Activists Offer $1,000 Award If Any Such School Can Be Found
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
Kerron Ó Luain
What the “White Irish Slaves” Meme Tells Us About Identity Politics
Andy Piascik
Grocery Store Workers Take on Billion Dollar Multinational
Seiji Yamada – Gregory G. Maskarinec
Health as a Human Right: No Migrants Need Apply
Howard Lisnoff
Loose Bullets and Loose Cannons
Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada
Dreaming in Miami
Graham Peebles
Consuming Stuff: The Polluting World of Fashion
Robert Dodge
Earth Day: Our Planet in Peril
Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail