Whatever Happened to “Good Jobs”?

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


More articles by:

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

March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us
Nomi Prins 
Jared Kushner, RIP: a Political Obituary for the President’s Son-in-Law
Georgina Downs
The Double Standards and Hypocrisy of the UK Government Over the ‘Nerve Agent’ Spy Poisoning
Dean Baker
Trump and the Federal Reserve
Colin Todhunter
The Strategy of Tension Towards Russia and the Push to Nuclear War
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
US Empire on Decline
Ralph Nader
Ahoy America, Give Trump a Taste of His Own Medicine Starting on Trump Imitation Day
Robert Dodge
Eliminate Nuclear Weapons by Divesting from Them
Laura Finley
Shame on You, Katy Perry
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography
Kathy Deacon
Me, My Parents and Red Scares Long Gone
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Rexless Abandon
Andrew Levine
Good Enemies Are Hard To Find: Therefore Worry
Jim Kavanagh
What to Expect From a Trump / Kim Summit
Ron Jacobs
Trump and His Tariffs
Joshua Frank
Drenched in Crude: It’s an Oil Free For All, But That’s Not a New Thing
Gary Leupp
What If There Was No Collusion?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Bernard Fall Dies on the Street Without Joy
Robert Fantina
Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel
Brian Cloughley
Be Prepared, Iran, Because They Want to Destroy You
Richard Moser
What is Organizing?
Scott McLarty
Working Americans Need Independent Politics
Rohullah Naderi
American Gun Violence From an Afghan Perspective
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Why Trump’s Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US
Ted Rall
Democrats Should Run on Impeachment
Robert Fisk
Will We Ever See Al Jazeera’s Investigation Into the Israel Lobby?
Kristine Mattis
Superunknown: Scientific Integrity Within the Academic and Media Industrial Complexes
John W. Whitehead
Say No to “Hardening” the Schools with Zero Tolerance Policies and Gun-Toting Cops
Edward Hunt
UN: US Attack On Syrian Civilians Violated International Law
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Outside History
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Long Hard Road
Victor Grossman
Germany: New Faces, Old Policies
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the US Invasion
Binoy Kampmark
Amazon’s Initiative: Digital Assistants, Home Surveillance and Data
Chuck Collins
Business Leaders Agree: Inequality Hurts The Bottom Line
Jill Richardson
What We Talk About When We Talk About “Free Trade”
Eric Lerner – Jay Arena
A Spark to a Wider Fire: Movement Against Immigrant Detention in New Jersey
Negin Owliaei
Teachers Deserve a Raise: Here’s How to Fund It