Sep 10, 2013 at 4:47 pm
In policy discussions about getting back to full employment, I often make the point that if the market fails to create the needed quantity of jobs, there’s a role for policy to help make up the difference. Many find that a radical idea, or at least one that perhaps made sense in the 1930s, but is antiquated by now.
What if I told you that, in fact, there recently was such a program—a temporary one that was an unheralded part of the Recovery Act—that in its heyday placed “more than 260,000 low-income adults and youth in temporary jobs in the private and public sectors…?”
Well, there was. The above quote comes from a post on the CBPP blog yesterday by my colleague Donna Pavetti. She, in turn, is citing a new evaluation of the TANF (Temporary Assitance for Needy Families) Emergency Fund, a program wherein state employment programs worked with employers, mostly in the private sector, to create jobs where, for a limited time, the wage is mostly paid by the federal government. Most states—39 in all—joined in and used $1.3 billion to subsidize job creation. That comes to $5,000 a job, which in this business is known as big bang-for-the-buck.
Here’s a summary of the findings from the new study:
OK, you’re saying…that was then, this is now. Surely nobody wants to keep this going.
Wrong again! According to Donna: “…at least five states — Nebraska, Colorado, California, Minnesota, and Rhode Island —expanded state funding or provided new funding for subsidized employment for TANF recipients or other disadvantaged individuals.”
So, yeah. Rep Paul Ryan isn’t going there anytime soon, but if we plot the path forward based on the constraint called “House Republicans” will we get nowhere fast. If we instead recognize that in a society that wants to poverty reduction through work, there must be jobs—then we have a rationale for scaling up efficient programs like this one.
Source: Economic Mobility Corporation
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